Modern cycling has gone through an enormous development. Changes on the bike, technique, training regimes and rider types have influenced the sport. Today, science has focused upon all these aspects. Trying to find the optimal pedalling frequency , in term of the most economical cadence, has been a major field of science within this sport. This question was the background for this undergraduate project.
Material and method
6 non cyclists took part. Five days for testing, 2 times for familiarising and three days for tests. In each session they pedalled seated for 27 minutes, at two different workloads. The 27mins consisted of three work periods. First 10min warm-up, then one minute to prepare, followed by two 8 minutes` periods with two different workloads, the latter workload greater than the first and increasing with 50watt.
02 uptake, respiratory quotient, ventilation, blood lactate and heart rate were measured. The tests were pedalled with 60, 80 and 100 rotations pr. minute.
Two-way repeated measures ANOVA was first used calculating overall significance in response between experiments (SPSS v.8.0). When differences were found between experiments, a paired sample T-test was used between each pair of experiments.
Main result was that for all subjects the work economy (measured in ml02/J) was less good with an increase in pedalling rate, but it was better for the higher workload.
Conclusion is that there is a difference in the effect of cadence on work economy, depending on the workload you are cycling on.