Cadence, combined with your gear choice, will determine your power output. To increase your power, you can use a higher cadence or bigger gear so which is better?
Cadence v Big Gear
The answer somewhat depends on the type of cyclist you are, your physique and strength. Generally, choosing to pedal faster rather than grind a big gear is better. There are a few reasons for this:
- You will reduce stress on leg muscles.
- Allows you to ride for longer before exhaustion.
- Your legs can stay fresher for subsequent training.
- Increases stress on your cardiovascular system and therefore increases fitness.
- It is quicker to improve by learning to pedal fast than develop the musculature for pushing big gears.
Choosing the right cadence is the first step, and once you are comfortable at that, you can work to progressively improve your strength (use harder gears) at that cadence.
What Cadence to Target?
85-90 rpm is ideal for many riders. If you are new to cycling you may need to build to this, so don't expect too much at the start. And it may not be perfect for you anyway, but it should be close. It may take some time for you to learn to select the best gears that enable you to optimise your effort while holding your target cadence. Be patient though, it will happen, and then you will be riding efficiently and effectively.
More on Pedalling
Have a look at the video below from GTN for more on how to pedal efficiently:
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