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  1. #1
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    Making better time

    So I've been commuting on my bike now for almost two months and yet as hard as I push I'm finding it impossible to even get an extra minute faster. I wondered it anyone had any suggestions?

    cheers!
    Sc00t

  2. #2
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    You should start listening to the free Cycle360 podcast, especially these episodes:
    Structured Training
    The Cadence Show
    Buying a Bicycle Computer

    The summary:
    To go as fast as you can, you need to maintain the most optimum, that is highest(within limits) cadence usually between 70-90 revolutions per minute. Cadence is everytime your your pedal-crank makes a full revolution. To know what your cadence is you will need a cycling computer(funny enough, I don't have one that can measure cadence, I need to get one....) that has support for a crank sensor.

    Listen to the actual podcasts for far more info.

  3. #3
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    So, sc00t, a little more info would be helpful. Bike and tires? Gearing? Distance involved? How long have you been biking? Pics?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    Don't go hard all the time take at least a day off a week, maybe only two really hard rides a week.

    figure out traffic patterns etc.... the record ride will have the best hit on all lights etc.
    my fastest commutes are the ones where I hit the most green lights on my route, not necessarily the ones where I hammer the hardest.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sc00t View Post
    So I've been commuting on my bike now for almost two months and yet as hard as I push I'm finding it impossible to even get an extra minute faster. I wondered it anyone had any suggestions?

    cheers!
    Sc00t
    Don't go hard all the time take at least a day off a week, maybe only two really hard rides a week.

    figure out traffic patterns etc.... the record ride will have the best hit on all lights etc.
    Also pretty much have to do this for normal rides and safety anyway.

    Check out riding position etc, optimize for speed/long term comfort.

    Pump Up tires

    Lube up bike.

    Lots of other things, but you get the drift...

    Somebody said doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results...is stupid???

  6. #6
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    jeffscott's first statement is the first thing that popped into my mind when I read your post. If you really want to get faster just do a little research on "structured training". ;-)

  7. #7
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    My best times were when i would leave earlier and not have to deal with as much traffic. I was doing my 36 mile commute every day and i'd still hit a personal best from time to time, despite taking it easy to preserve my legs. Then i got hit by a car, and haven't found the enthusiasm to commute again.

    My advice- you'll hit that random PR more often if you don't worry about it and just be careful!

    (i KOM'ed a 45 minute section on strava because i left at 5am and caught all the lights. Super proud of it, although i'm a cyclist of middling fitness.)
    .

  8. #8
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    Making better time

    Smooth tires, lots of shifting, hard up to lights and hard take offs. I dont care how long im at lights, i cant control that, my run keeper app pauses at stops. One day no lights, the next two, the next one, its inconsistent.

    I found a speedo works well, figure out your pedal speed and keep an eye on it to see when you are dogging it. Also my run keeper you can set it to tell you time marks, if im not across the river by 15 minutes im dogging it as well.

    First time biking i was in the 40 minutes, then i broke 40 minutes, then 35 then 30. Fastest was around 27 minutes. Then my office moved, little further but one less stop and no train track jumping, i started out this spring at 35 minutes then 30, now ive been able to get there under 27.

    Its great, now i try to alway beat 30, some times a head wind, some times a tail wind. Really pushes me to pedal, otherwise im not getting a workout.

  9. #9
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    Some might laugh, but my method of measuring cadence is using a musical beat in my head. Not constantly but every now and again. I was way into electronic music in the 90's and 00's and so I can precisely think of a 140 or 180 beat per minute tempo, which works out to 70-90 RPM's.

    So instead of a power meter or whatever, I have a "boom boom boom boom boom boom boom boom-boom boom" going on in my head

    You can do it with a song that you know by heart- if you don't know the tempo, google metronomes on YouTube. Type in "160 BPM metronome".
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    That sounds like total bs and that is why I don't like internet advice. I seriously doubt anyone can with any degree of accuracy or with any regularity self-check their cadence and I especially doubt the claim that using a "head beat" would make it any easier. And a power meter measures how many joules of energy you are outputting. You definitely cannot bs about beat-boxing in your head instead of having a power meter...

    But your nonsense brings up something interesting: what did people do before cadence sensors, power meters, cycling computers in general? How did they structure their periodized training without those inputs? Maybe that would be a good place to start for the original poster.

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    I would be fairly certain they ran a stopwatch and counted pedal strokes (maybe even with the coach driving alongside the rider, doing the counting for him). Hardly accurate and not something you can realistically do ALL the time, but you could do it for periodic checks. I would say that the desire for real time cadence metrics spurred development of cadence meters for cyclocomputers, and the advent of that progressed the science of training.

    The advent of the power meter and the portable heart rate monitor again brought progression to the science of training.

    Sometimes you hit a wall, and to do better, you have to do some other stuff to mix it up and force the muscles to work harder. Strength training.

  12. #12
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    I found a related discussion on the much more excellent and technical stackexchange:
    How do you measure your cadence? - Bicycles Stack Exchange

    They said to try to count your cadence for 15 seconds and multiply it by 4. That seems easier than doing it for a full 60 seconds. But either way it will be mentally taxing, onerous and likely inaccurate.

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    Nonsense? Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't cranks that hook up to power meters cost like $1500?

    I certainly wasn't positing that I had the most accurate method; but for those of us who don't take it super seriously but still want to be kinda sorta accurate, it is OK.
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    Re: Making better time

    Quote Originally Posted by XJaredX View Post
    Nonsense? Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't cranks that hook up to power meters cost like $1500?

    I certainly wasn't positing that I had the most accurate method; but for those of us who don't take it super seriously but still want to be kinda sorta accurate, it is OK.
    Yes, power meters are expensive. A basic computer with cadence sensor will cost you less than $100.

  15. #15
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    The musical beat method is accurate enough for CPR (they teach you to use the beat of. "Staying Alive"), so it is likely accurate enough for casual cadence use.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    Yes, power meters are expensive. A basic computer with cadence sensor will cost you less than $100.
    Ah, derp I see now. I sort of stopped paying attention to cycle computers once GPS's started popping up on phones so I had no idea.
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    I am a lifer musician. I dare you to tell me I can't keep a steady beat in my head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by XJaredX View Post
    Ah, derp I see now. I sort of stopped paying attention to cycle computers once GPS's started popping up on phones so I had no idea.
    there are some aftermarket wireless cadence sensors on the market that can be had for even less. Fewer for phones, but if you have a Garmin or other ANT+ enabled computer, you can get a sensor for $50 or less.

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    I'll check those podcasts out, thanks for that reply.

    As for the cadence computers etc - I'm broke, so they're not something I'll look to invest in for a good few months, but it's good to know they're there when the bank-balance is suitable, heh.

    -sc00t

  21. #21
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    @sc00t:
    Think of things you have that were worth a similar value new to a GPS bicycle computer and cadence sensor and try to list them for trades on craigslist.org, pinkbike.com, etc. You don't always have to have money to get stuff.

  22. #22
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    What kind of tires you riding on? knobby tires don't work for commuting.. Is your seat height adjusted properly so you getting the most out of your legs...tire pressure at the correct psi,to low and your ride will be sluggish..have you checked the bearings in the hubs lately? how's your chain,old and stretched out,needs to be cleaned? no computer or meter will get you going faster if your bike isn't dialed in sc00t

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    Somewhere between switching to smoother tires and losing 15 pounds I went from 11 mph average over 20 miles of piddling about to 13 mph. Physics and psychology both explain why the smoother tires and/ or less flabby pedal engine work better on flat roads.

    The counter- intuitive bit, I got the higher average speed in a lower gear (middle ring on the crank arm) after I got over the need to push harder and accepted the cadence concept.

    I found I would burn out my legs and lungs pushing a higher gear at lower rpms, for which I blamed the bike and poor city planning. At lower gearing/ speed, my patience and dignity wore out while climbing hills. A $20 bike computer/ speedometer showed that I was maintaining 8 mph on these embarrassing hills instead of the 2.2mph I have averaged while walking the same hills.

    While testing this theory, a 60 -65 year old homeless guy passed me uphill every evening on his old huffy with a trailer full of deposit cans, his cadence was almost twice mine and he had enough breath to warn me of the impending apocalypse as he overtook me while I wheezed. Practice makes perfect.

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    Woah 7 % less drag

    79 secs in an hour faster...2.19% faster

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