Friday, May 22, 2009

Cadence Computation, The Rantwick Way

I used to have a cycling computer on my bike. Somewhere along the way I lost the little magnet bit that goes on a spoke... ah yes, I remember! The bike was stolen and the magnet stolen with it! It was my own damn fault; I left the bike unlocked on the porch. Who wouldn't take an unlocked bike of medium quality off of somebody else's porch, really? Anyway, I didn't bother to get a new magnet thing, partly because I am lazy and partly because I thought the computer was taking away from the pleasures of riding. I couldn't keep my eyes or paws off of it, and I was becoming fixated on things like average speed and total distance. When I was using the computer, I remember wishing that it was the kind that measured cadence (rpm), which is in my opinion one of the more useful numbers you can get out of such things.

What cadence you ride at is a matter of personal choice, of course; people ride at all different rpms for many different reasons and purposes. Many cyclists espouse higher cadences for greater fitness and efficiency, but like I said, how you turn your crank is your business. Anyway, if you have an interest in what your cadence is, you don't need a computer to figure it out. I still don't have a cycling computer, but I have developed a system of cadence computation that works really well, and I would like to share it with you.

Step 1 - Counting:

While pedalling your bike, choose a foot and start counting every time it hits the bottom of the downstroke. You may count silently or aloud. I find that counting quite loudly works best, and helps clear busy multi-use pathways much better than an "on your left". Listen to the counting, and pretend that you are playing hide and seek and that you are 'it'.

Step 2 - Classify Yourself:

If you were one of the kids running off to hide, what would you think of the counting? Here are 5 main types of "counters" to help guide you in your cadence computation exercise:

Type 1: The Fair Kid

If you sound like the fair kid, your cadence is around probably 60 rpm or less, so if you were looking to ride for fitness or calorie burning or are an aspiring racer, either gear lower or step it up.

Type 2: The Competitive Seeker

If you are the Competitive Seeker type of cyclist, you are pedalling between 90 and 110 rpm, a good range for fitness and many other riding situations. If your goal was to really spin, however, you want to sound like our next Counting Type...

Type 3: The Big Fat Cheater

If you are a Big Fat Cheater (in a cycling cadence sense only, of course) you are spinning around 120 or even more... keep it up, and you will be the king or queen of spin, likely developing a smoother pedal stroke and sexy, supple leg muscles! Oooh baby.

Type 4: The Speed Freak

If your cadence count sounds like the Speed Freak, stop counting and get control of yourself and your bike, you maniac!

Type 5: The Confused Little One

If you sound like this, for the love of God, get off your bicycle and walk home if you can. You, my cycling friend, are drunk.

Yer Pal,


PS: While searching for hide and seek videos, I found this slightly disturbing tidbit, and y'know, why not share my mild discomfort?

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