Improving your cycle cadence


It seems to be commonly thought that the optimum cadence for triathlon is 90RPM to maximise the bike-run transition. But, for track cycling, 110-120+ would be more like it. So how do you improve cadence?

Ideas for working on cadence

1. NOVICE RIDERS At least get a cadence sensor on your bike and watch how you actually ride: Are you spinning? Chugging? Or oblivious? Then, once

you’ve made the mental link between your legs and the cadence, start the drills below. It takes time to sense your cadence so only start the drills when you can accurately guess your cadence.

2. FITNESS DRILLS Gain fitness and efficiency by using a cadence sensor with dedicated sessions of:

SPINNING Once warmed up hold a minute each at 90, 100, 110rpm, then spend two minutes at your preferred cadence, before repeating the 90, 100, 110 spin drills for two minutes each. Do this once more for three minutes at a time before descending through two and one minute spin intervals. Aim to hold periods of 20 minutes.

POWER UP Warm up for at least 20 minutes then find an incline around five percent (1:20). Ride three minutes uphill at your preferred cadence around 85% HRmax, then spin back down before riding another three minute incline in a gear one cog bigger on the rear cassette. This will mean cadence drops, but your power per revolution will be higher. Repeat the drill until you get either big lactate burn or your breathing gets out of control. Aim long term to adapt to low cadence work and being able to tolerate using bigger gears up your power incline.

3. ADVANCED Use your cadence sensor and HR monitor to see how you race and where you can improve. Do drills as above (cadence and power inclines). Also consider rollers, fixed wheel road and/or track work and some off -season mountain biking or cyclo-cross fun.

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