I love to bike. You might say I'm an amateur (I only own one pair of spandex shorts), but I'm always looking for new ways to improve. Recently I was talking to a more experienced friend, who introduced me to the idea of cadence.
He explained that cadence is how fast you spin the pedals on your bike. Having the right cadence helps conserve energy and reduce muscle strain, so you can ride faster for longer without getting tired.
I did some research and discovered that most amateur cyclists pedal too slowly, pushing hard in high gears and wasting energy. Shifting down and increasing your cadence uses a different set of muscles and makes your biking more efficient.
I wanted an easy, intuitive way to keep track of my cadence, so I would know exactly how fast to pedal and which gear to choose. This project was the result.
Step 1: Research, and some more about cadence
Cadence is measured in rotations per minute (rpm). In my research, I found that the ideal cadence for most people falls in the range of 85-95 rpm. I used my watch to conduct some very scientific tests and found that that range worked well for me.
Instead of a stopwatch, advanced cyclists use fancy cycling computers to track cadence and other data while riding. But, like watches, they tend be expensive and hard to read while riding. Even dedicated cadence meters use the same grey, calculator-style numerical display. I wanted more than just a number. I wanted something that I could understand at a glance, and that would actively help me interpret the data.