Cadence: the number of revolutions per minute that the pedals/cranks/chainrings make. Apparently somewhere between 80 and 100 revs a minute is about right. Everyone has a 'natural' cadence, though this can be improved (generally increased) with training. It's all about efficiency. Ripping your guts out grinding hard at a cadence of 50, or twiddling merrily at a cadence of 120, wastes energy that could be giving you more forward momentum if you were pedalling at a cadence of 90.
If your cadence drops eg going up a hill, change to an easier gear (larger back or smaller front ring) to boost your revs a minute (and conserve valuable energy!)
If your cadence rises, eg going downhill, change to a harder gear (smaller back or larger front ring) to reduce your revs a minute (and go faster!)
Some bike computers have an extra sensor that measures your cadence; you can count the number of times each minute that one of your feet reaches the 12 o'clock position (or every 15 seconds then multiply the answer by 4) but it becomes a fairly complex task if you're having to concentrate on the road at the same time.
Posted: 11/07/2008 at 08:35