You watch these cyclists, alone and in groups, and they're all pedaling with the most graceful pedal stroke and revolution possible. Then, you think about your own pedal stroke, and how you can make yours, look like theirs.
It starts with knowing your gears. I tell cyclists to shift early, and shift often, in the hunt for the 'Perfect' cadence. Cadence is about understanding how you're using the bike to go forward, how much energy it takes to climb, accelerate, and pedal steadily, and what your "happy cadence" might be. The less fit you are, the lower that cadence will be, and as you gain experience and become stronger, that cadence will go up.
The range of cadence between gear shifts is usually about 7-9rpm. Too slow, and you'll feel like you're grinding away, which is uncomfortable. Too fast, and you'll bounce all over the saddle, which is also not very fun, and can be dangerous. Think about finding the gear and cadence combination that will help you ride aware, and will feel automatic. As you go faster or start a climb, you'll need to shift, so start a little early.
The SPINNING phenomenon and some popular books left many people believing that a higher cadence was always better. In reality, it's more nuanced than that. Spinning can be beneficial, but pedaling revolutions in the right gear, at the right time, at a speed that is comfortable, will get you further down the road.
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Our studio offers features and testing that can accurately diagnose your pedaling efficiency, and help you develop a smoother pedal stroke more quickly. Come by some evening and watch a class, or call us to set up a demonstration.