Beginner’s Guide to Cycling Cadence

Ever wondered how an elite cyclist can cycle so quickly and efficiently? A huge part of it lies in cycling cadence.

Cadence refers to the pedal revolutions per minute (RPMs), the rate at which a cyclist pedal. Mastering your cycling cadence will improve your cycling experience drastically – allowing you to cycle more efficiently.

Importance of Cycling Cadence

Did you know that a higher cadence can increase blood flow to your muscles? This means higher oxygen level in your blood, resulting in higher aerobic performance. Couple that with lower gear, fats will be burned to fuel your ride, allowing you to become more resistant to fatigue.

While cycling in low gear, 60% of your power is used for the motion of your legs, while the rest is spent turning the pedals. Hence, you should choose a gear ratio that provides the right cadence to help maximize your power output.

How to Calculate your Cadence

Follow the steps below to calculate your cadence! All you need is a stopwatch and your bike, easy as 1,2,3!

Step 1: Calculate the number of times your leg pushes down on the pedal for 30 seconds

Step 2: Multiply that by 2

Alternatively, get yourself a cadence measuring tools! Don’t we just love it when technology makes our lives easier!

Is my Average Cadence Good?

While everyone is different, a cadence of 85-90 RPM is a good start to avoid muscle fatigue, however, beginners tend to average around 60 RPM. That being said, you can’t improve your cadence overnight! This process may take weeks to months to see any significant improvement so be patient, young grasshopper!

How do you Improve your Cadence?

There are many ways to improve your cadence, here are two great examples!

#1 Cadence Intervals

  • Shift to an easier gear from your normal cadence
  • Ride for 5 minutes at this new cadence (approx. between 90 – 120 rpms)
  • Return to your normal cadence
  • Repeat several times

#2 Single Leg Training (Indoors)

This is a great exercise if you have an indoor cycling trainer.

  • Clip in one foot onto the pedal (other leg can be resting on the frame or a stool next to the bike)
  • Shift to an easy gear, pedal for 20 – 30 seconds
  • Repeat with other leg
  • Increase duration of drill

Don’t have an indoor trainer? Check out our Train It Yourself program. Training is as simple as walking in. Ride on real road bikes paired with Zwift/Elite app, cycling shoes will also be provided by us.

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Published by: Vivien Sim, 30 May 2022