TeamCBC Cycling Tip – How Fast Should You Pedal?

What cadence do you pedal? I’ve read that 80 rpm’s is ideal, in a lab. However we don’t ride in a lab, we ride outside with all kinds of factors. So I decided to get some real life numbers. Since many of you have cadence sensors, I looked up a few on Strava (I’m sneaky that way). I chose riders who rode consistently and are in reasonably good cycling shape. What I found was that most of you ride in roughly the same average range regardless of distance, for example 71-76, 75-80, 77-82, 85-90, 88-92. It didn’t seem like climbing was much of a factor because all the rides were local and averaged about 400’ per 10 miles. While stopping short of a full blown statistical analysis, I did see a direct correlation between cadence and speed. The higher the cadence, the higher the average speed. Is it that simple? Probably not, but it seems to be something you should consider. As they say, “ Spin to win!”
Below is a chart showing how your cadence varies based on your types of muscles and your fitness.
* Fast Twitch/Less Cycling Fit: Your preferred pedaling cadence is definitely slower, likely in the 75 to 85 rpm range.
* Fast Twitch/More Cycling Fit: You’ll be more efficient at moderate cadence range, about 85 to 90 rpm.
* Slow Twitch/Less Cycling Fit: Your preferred cadence will be in the moderate range of 85 to 90 rpm.
* Slow Twitch/More Cycling Fit: You’ll be more efficient at the higher end of the pedaling cadence spectrum: 95+ rpm.
Here is an article explaining this chart as well as a few other factors:
Just to confuse you a little more, here is an article which states that a cadence of 60 rpm’s is most efficient. However in the end they still say the higher the better.
Quote of the week: “They are not hills, they are mounds of opportunity.”
Stay Safe.
Rick Bunnell
President, TeamCBC