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How Fast Should I Pedal When Biking

Bike On: How to Find Your Ideal RPM

May is National Bike Month, and we hope you're planning on pedaling. And when cruising on two wheels, to protect your knees and prevent leg fatigue while cycling, you need to pay attention to your pedaling speed! You calculate your pedaling speed through rpms — the revolutions per minute of your pedals.

The magic number is 80 rpms. Between 60 to 80 rpms is considered ideal for your knees, but most of the pro cyclists bump the number up and try to stick between 80 and 110 revolutions. So the magic number is really a range; for speed and joint safety, aim to keep your rpms between 60 and 110. Essentially, you don't want to put on a heavy, heavy gear and pedal slowly — this unduly stresses the knee joint.

To figure out your rpms, count how many times your right leg comes to the top of the pedal stroke during a 15-second period, then multiply your count by four. That number will be your revolutions per minute. Timing yourself, counting, and doing multiplication while biking can be a bit challenging, but you'll get the hang of it. You could also skip the math and invest in a cycling computer that measures cadence like this one from CatEye ($50). If you have a cycling computer that you love, share the details in the comments below.

Image Source: Thinkstock
Join The Conversation
Fitness Fitness 7 years
too right iheartkerning!I fixed it and changed the link to the bike computer that I have that does do cadence. Thanks!
iheartkerning iheartkerning 7 years
Fit, that computer you linked from Specialized doesn't measure cadence...
Arthur Arthur 7 years
when i first started getting in tune with my cadence, I targeted 90 rpm (and still do). I was amazed at how brisk that felt. I had to try hard to keep my feet spinning that fast. Definitely improved my endurance on long rides and pace on shorter rides. Also helped me warm up much faster.
Bikgrl Bikgrl 7 years
Cateye makes good cycling computers that are simple to use.
nancita nancita 8 years
I have always wondered about this too. thanks for the tips.
opentypeA opentypeA 8 years
I always wondered what was ideal. Thanks!
ella1978 ella1978 8 years
I warm up around 78-82, but when I get going i'm usually in the mid 90's. Knees are okay so far!
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