Aim for a cadence of between 80 and 100. Therefore if you are cycling inside I suggest aiming for 90. Just in case you have forgotten, cadence is the number of times you turn your pedals over in a minute. Cadence will fall when riding outside due to variations in the terrain, so practice higher cadence inside to accommodate this. Practice cadence and variations in cadence. Pedal at a high cadence (100 – 120) in an easy gear to refine technique and train your neuro-muscular system to be more adaptable. This makes holding a cadence of near 90 for general riding easier.
Think about more efficient pedalling. This is how you propel the bike and you do an awful lot of it, so the better it is the better your cycling. A two hour ride involves turning your pedals over 10,800 times if your cadence is 90. Think about pushing across the top of the stroke to improve the force in the drive downwards. These two are the most important parts of the pedal rotation. In order to put the power on early you need to have flexible joints so don’t forget that yoga and mobility work. Also don’t forget a decent bike fit.
Elements of style – toes pointing more or less ahead, knees pointing forwards, sit bones on your seat, bending forwards from hips, not middle of your back. Engage your core to hold a good position, this also takings strain off your back. Shoulder blades are down and shoulders relaxed, elbows slightly bent to act as shock absorbers and hands covering the brakes but relaxed. Look forwards to where you are going.
Let the bike do its job instead of fighting it. NEVER be forced into going faster than you want, practice on gentle slopes and build up your confidence. Feet at the 9 – 3 position, so level with each other. Put your weight through your feet, raise yourself off the saddle a fraction and move yourself back. The steeper the hill the further back you should go. Braking is most efficient on the drops, its also an aerodynamic position so you can go faster if you wish! Head down, backside up. Cover your brakes – so have your hands ready to brake, but have your arms and hands relaxed. The weight needs to be through your feet. If you put your body weight through your hands, and therefore the front wheel, the bike finds it hard to adjust when it hits a bump or stone. You also get very sore shoulders and neck. If your weight is back the front wheel will realign itself more easily and you will feel a whole lot better. If you can’t comfortable reach your brakes on the drops think about the size of your brake levers, (some are smaller for smaller hands), your flexibility (yoga..!), strength in order to hold the position and bike fit. Have a chat with your local bike shop.
It takes 10% more energy to cycle standing up with the same power output as sitting down so think about why you wish to stand up – sometimes a hill is genuinely too steep, sometimes you just need a bit of force to get over a short steep section. Sometimes people just can’t be bothered to change gear, that’s not a good reason in my book. If you are cycling long rides then stay seated when you can and if you are constantly having to get out of the saddle go and talk to your bike shop about a change in your gears. Or work on developing leg strength! Stand up by actually standing up, using your legs, not pulling yourself up with the handlebars. When the gradient isn’t too bad still keep relaxed arms, putting the force through the pedals. As it gets steeper then you end up pulling on the bars. When someone initially stands up their bike loses momentum so if you are riding on someone’s wheel look out for the body movement and be prepared for the deceleration. … unless they are looking for a surge of speed and have changed up a gear just before standing.
So much to say about corners…The most important is to have the leg on the outside of the corner straight, inside leg bent. Make sure your weight is in the outside leg.Brake and change down your gears as you come into the corner. If you have to brake in the corner use the back brake if possible, this helps you keep control.Ride wide into the corner, then close to the apex of the corner and then wide out again.Put some weight into your inside hand, especially going downhill. This will help bring the front wheel round smoothly. Look through the corner to where you are going.
Above all have fun and stay safe.