Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Spun Out

Apparently, riding a fixie hasn't done much for my pedalling cadence.

I've gone back to my geared bike this week, as I plan to take it to Dunedin for a couple days holiday before a conference and want to check its condition. At the start of the week I taped onto my bike computer the speed I would achieve in each gear if pedalling at 90rpm, and have tried to gear down whenever my speed dropped below that level. It turns out that I have little power at that cadence, and on the long-but-not-that-hard climbs I am used to grinding up on the fixie I slowly sink to lower and lower gears. By the time I'm crawling up in the lowest gear, my legs are all spun out.

Part of my problem seems to be that my legs don't quite keep up with the pedals. I thought that I was doing 90rpm before I got the fixie set up (having only had the computer for a couple months before that), but perhaps was changing up at 90 rather than down at 90. That difference, combined with a drop towards 75rpm on the fixie (for the small bits of 'flat' on my route), adds up to a challenge. Hopefully the body will get on top of it soon, and at least I am getting a very good aerobic workout according to my heart rate monitor.

Interestingly, I had been thinking that the fixie kept me working hard on the commute. I tend to slack over time, but this is supposed to be exercise as well as convenient transport. The fixie offers more of a hard-grinding workout, with an effort required to keep the cadence above 60 on the many and varied hills. The up and down variations come so regularly that I never get to develop a steady cadence, and while some people may report approaching 200 rpm I find myself losing control whenever I go past 130. Consequently, in conjunction with the terrain of my commute, I am almost always trying to slow down not speed up once the cadence rises. Perhaps I should keep swapping bikes to keep interest and fitness up?


Another new game has been carrying soft white bread in my shoulder bag on the way home. If I bend over to get more power then the bread gets squashed, but it remains safe if I hold my posture correctly. I eat lots of strangely shaped bread.

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