Today’s QT comes to us from Jim Skinner, who wrote:
I’m an 8k+ miles a year road biker who, last year, decided to expand my horizons; so I purchased a fat tire bike. My wife and I have a cottage on 60 or so acres in northern Indiana so I decided to cut trails and start mountain biking(loose definition….we do have over 100′ of elevation change….).
As a road rider I average 90rpm cadence, relatively high (for an old guy). On my fat tire bike, I try to use a similar cadence and have now adjusted to the bouncing on a suspension bike that challenges efficiency at high cadence. Much more difficult when the bike is trying to help you bounce in the saddle.
Going back on the road bike, my max before starting to bounce used to be about 115rpm. After much off-road as well as fat tire on-road riding, now when I get back on my road bike I can comfortably spin at 125 without bouncing on the saddle. Takes some practice and discipline but, for me, was well worth the effort.
I’m a Reformed ‘Cruncher’
Seems like I was a cruncher forever, with a max cadence of 80rpm other than on the occasional downhill. About four years ago I did serious damage to a quad. Still not sure how but the ‘diagnosis’ by the doctors was overuse caused by my ability to ignore pain and keep pushing. At that time I met a trainer who was big into high cadence riding, using one’s cardio system and saving the muscles for special events.
I was a bit skeptical when he told me to try to spin at no less than 90rpm as much as possible. It took a while for it to feel natural. But once I got the hang of it, there was no going back!
Why did it take an injury for me do this? I think I considered high cadence to be an offshoot of the pro culture where it was easy if one were amped up on PED’s. Not so. I am not trying to start a revolution or social commentary – I just have found it to be a better way for me.