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Spinning For The Next Season…


January 2013

I don’t hate spinning, riding my bike on a trainer, as much as I hate running on a treadmill, but it’s not far behind.  Riding a bike in my office, even if I do get to watch a movie while I’m doing it, I miss the breeze, the sun on my back, and the fresh air.  But I’m more into outdoor running in the winter rather than cycling.  The problem is that it works.  I rode all last season on the back of my daily half-hour spin sessions…  And this year I’m stronger.

Just for a fluke I decided to try to see what I could do and keep it in zone two(128-141 bpm) after reading Elisariva’s report on her testing…  With a cadence of 88 rpm I could ride in my 52/13 gear and my heart rate was between 128 and 130 – as long as I stayed on the hoods (and I’ll get into why this is important later).  I played around with cadence, gear, position, everything, to find out what was comfortable  but keep my cadence as close to 90 as possible for actual riding next season.  I can tell you this, it sure kept it interesting.  My half hour flew by.

Last year, easy zone two riding (guessing of course, I was even more low tech last year) was accomplished in the neighborhood of 52/17 to 52/19, three to four gears higher.  To keep this short, I’m excited to see what next season holds (only two months left).

So, back to position and heart rate.  I checked my heart rate several times during the spin.  In the drops, on the hoods and sitting up (bar top) with my cadence steady between 88 and 90 rpm…  My heart rate dropped 11 bpm riding on the hoods, arms bent slightly – or in the proper riding position.  The first time in the drops my rate jumped a bit too, but that has more to do with the fact that end up with a Batman complex in the drops – I speed up because pedaling is so much easier and I can remember cruising down the mountain roads in North Carolina, and at the front of the pack on the Tuesday night club ride.  It’s a Pavlov’s dog kind of thing.  There’s an interesting point in there though.  My heart rate jumped, though cadence and gear stayed the same when I sat up…in the exact posture that I’d ride my mountain bike in – not only is riding a mountain bike less aerodynamic, not only do you have to work harder for the tires, but if there’s anything to what I realized in this little test, it’s just plain old harder to pedal in that position, period.

Oh well, I’m off to the sporting good’s store(s)…  Gotta stock up on ammo before tomorrow.  😉


  1. elisariva says:

    Thank you for the shout out! One thing to share- aerobic zones are the bike are usually lower than running. Doing the test with te mastlk, my zone two on the bike is about 105-115, compared to 118-139 running. Make sure you use you perceived exertion as a guide.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Shoot, I thought 130 was way low… I wasn’t even breathing heavy. Now all I have to do is figure out how to maintain 20mph on the road at that level. That’s be awesome!

      I did intervals yesterday and I thought about checking the HR during that, but it just wasn’t possible without a monitor. My arms were shaking too much to hold my phone right.

      • elisariva says:

        Really the best indicator, regardless of sport, is put on a heart rate monitor, warm up for 10-15 minutes and then go all out for 5-10 minutes. All out to the point you will see your last meal again if you go any harder. That point is your max heart rate. Take zones as percentages of that.

      • bgddyjim says:

        I’ve read that before but I’ve got other things to plunk money down on… On the other hand that does sound like fun. I ralphed twice last year and laughed my butt off afterwards. 😉

      • elisariva says:

        Yes, I remember reading about it…

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