European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 106, Issue 6, pp 799–805 | Cite as

Freely chosen pedal rate during free cycling on a roller and ergometer cycling

Original Article

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of regulation of work rate, computer controlled versus controlled by the subject, on the relationship between work rate, freely chosen pedal rate (FCC) and gross efficiency. Eighteen male cyclists participated in the study. One group, freely cycling (FC) on a competition bike mounted on an electromagnetic roller, could use gearing and cadence to achieve each work rate. The other group (EC) was cycling on an ergometer which enables a constant work rate, independent of cadence. Subjects performed an increasing work rate protocol from 100 W up to exhaustion. We found a strong interaction between group and work rate on cadence (P < 0.001). In the FC group, work rate affected cadence (P < 0.001), increasing from 72 rpm at 100 W to 106 rpm at 350 W. For the EC group, no work rate effect was present (average FCC 92 rpm). Gross efficiency increased with work rate for both groups. The efficiency–cadence relationship was strongly affected by the protocol. At a given work rate, very similar efficiency values were obtained at highly different cadences. The discrepancy in the FCC-work rate relationship between the EC group and the FC group may be related to the manner in which one can regulate work rate. FCC depends not only on work rate but is also affected considerably by the manner in which the work rate can be controlled by cadence. This finding may have important implications for the interpretation of the preferred pedaling rate, especially how this is related to optimizing metabolic cost.

Keywords

Bicycling Cadence Pedal rate Efficiency 

References

  1. Argentin S, Hausswirth C, Bernard T, Bieuzen F, Leveque J-M, Coutrier A, Lepers R (2006) Relation between preferred and optimal cadences during two hours of cycling in triathletes. Br J Sports Med 40:293–298. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2005.020487 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Belli A, Hintzy F (2002) Influence of pedalling rate on the energy cost of cycling in humans. Eur J Appl Physiol 88:158–162. doi: 10.1007/s00421-002-0674-5 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chavarren J, Calbet JAL (1999) Cycling efficiency and pedalling frequency in road cyclists. Eur J Appl Physiol 80:555–563. doi: 10.1007/s004210050634 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Coast JR, Welch HG (1985) Linear increase in optimal pedal rate with increased power output in cycle ergometry. Eur J Appl Physiol 53:339–342. doi: 10.1007/BF00422850 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ebert TR, Martin DT, Stephens B, Withers RT (2006) Power output during professional men’s road cycling tour. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 1:324–335PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Ettema G, Lorås HW (2009) Efficiency in cycling: a review. Eur J Appl Physiol 106:1–14. doi: 10.1007/s00421-009-1008-7 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Foss Ø, Hallen J (2004) The most economical cadence increases with increasing workload. Eur J Appl Physiol 92:443–451. doi: 10.1007/s00421-004-1175-5 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Foss Ø, Hallen J (2005) Cadence and performance in elite cyclists. Eur J Appl Physiol 93:453–462. doi: 10.1007/s00421-004-1226-y PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hansen EA, Ohnstad AE (2008) Evidence for freely chosen pedaling rate during submaximal cycling to be a robust innate voluntary motor rhythm. Exp Brain Res 186:365–373. doi: 10.1007/s00221-007-1240-5 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hansen EA, Smith G (2009) Factors affecting cadence choice during submaximal cycling and cadence influence on performance. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 4:3–17PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Hansen EA, Waldeland H (2008) Seated versus standing position for maximation of performance during intense uphill cycling. J Sports Sci 26:977–984. doi: 10.1080/02640410801910277 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hansen EA, Jørgensen LV, Jensen K, Fregly BJ, Sjøgaard G (2002a) Crank inertial load affects freely chosen pedal rate during cycling. J Biomech 35:277–285. doi: 10.1016/S0021-9290(01)00182-8 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hansen EA, Andersen JL, Nielsen JS, Sjøgaard G (2002b) Muscle fiber type, efficiency, and mechanical optima affect freely chosen pedal rate during cycling. Acta Physiol Scand 176:185–194. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-201X.2002.01032.x PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hansen EA, Raastad T, Hallen J (2007) Strength training reduces freely chosen pedal rate during submaximal cycling. Eur J Appl Physiol 101(4):419–426. doi: 10.1007/s00421-007-0515-7 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jeukendrup AE, Craig NP, Hawley JA (2000) The bioenergetics of World Class Cycling. J Sci Med Sport 3:414–433. doi: 10.1016/S1440-2440(00)80008-0 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lucia A, Hoyos J, Chicharro JL (2001) Preferred pedaling cadence in professional cycling. Med Sci Sports Exerc 33:1361–1366. doi: 10.1097/00005768-200108000-00018 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lucia A, San Juan AF, Montilla M, Canete S, Santalla A, Earnest C, Perez M (2004) In professional road cyclists, low pedaling cadences are less efficient. Med Sci Sports Exerc 36:1048–1054. doi: 10.1249/01.MSS.0000128249.10305.8A PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. MacIntosh B, Neptune R, Horton J (2000) Cadence, power, and muscle activation in cycle ergometry. Med Sci Sports Exerc 32:1281–1287. doi: 10.1097/00005768-200007000-00015 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Marsh AP, Martin PE, Foley KO (2000a) Effect of cadence, cycling experience and aerobic power on delta efficiency during cycling. Med Sci Sports Exerc 32:1630–1634. doi: 10.1097/00005768-200009000-00017 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Marsh AP, Martin PE, Sanderson DJ (2000b) Is a joint moment-based function associated with preferred cycling cadence? J Biomech 33:173–180. doi: 10.1016/S0021-9290(99)00155-4 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nielsen JS, Hansen EA, Sjøgaard G (2004) Pedaling rate affects endurance performance during high-intensity cycling. Eur J Appl Physiol 92:114–120. doi: 10.1007/s00421-004-1048-y PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Samozino P, Horvais N, Hintzy F (2006) Interactions between cadence and power output effects on mechanical efficiency during sub maximal cycling exercises. Eur J Appl Physiol 97:133–139. doi: 10.1007/s00421-006-0172-2 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sarre G, Lepers R, Maffiuletti N, Millet G, Martin A (2003) Influence of cycling cadence on neuromuscular activity of knee extensors in humans. Eur J Appl Physiol 88:476–479. doi: 10.1007/s00421-002-0738-6 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sassi A, Rampinini E, Martin DT, Morelli A (2009) Effects of gradient and speed on freely chosen pedal cadence: The key role of crank inertial load. J Biomech 42:171–177. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2008.10.008 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Seabury JJ, Adams WC, Ramey MR (1977) Influence of pedaling rate and power output on energy expenditure during bicycle ergometry. Ergonomics 20:491–498. doi: 10.1080/00140137708931658 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sidossis LS, Horowitz JF, Coyle EF (1992) Load and velocity of contraction influence gross and delta mechanical efficiency. Int J Sports Med 13:407–411. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-1021289 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Umberger BR, Gerritsen KGM, Martin PE (2006) Muscle fiber type effects on energetically optimal cadences in cycling. J Biomech 39:1472–1479. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2005.03.025 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Vogt S, Roecker K, Schumacher YO (2008) Cadence-power relationship during decisive mountain ascents at the Tour de France. Int J Sports Med 29:244–250. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-965353 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Movement Science ProgrammeNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)TrondheimNorway

Personalised recommendations