Faster Still? Try pedalling. This will be one of those things
that you probably do already, so I’ll try not to dwell on it for too long.
Comments like "choose a nice smooth cadence" are way open to differences
in individual interpretation. I’ve seen people pedalling at their own "nice
smooth cadence" with their legs going round so fast their arse jumps
about all over the saddle. Very elegant I’m sure.
Keep it smooth!
Smooooth is the name of the game. Pedal circles,
that is the way the cranks turn after all, stamping up and down is fine when you’re
standing up giving your gusset some ventilation, but you’ll be much more efficient
sitting down, spinning circles roadie style.
What is a good cadence then? The pro roadies can get
up to 100-120rpm, but if you’ve got meat on your legs that’ll be difficult to achieve.
A more sensible off road cadence would be over 65-70rpm, but don’t go so fast that
you can’t keep your arse comfortably and firmly planted on your saddle.
Spinning your legs helps loads with climbing. It makes you more efficient up long
smooth climbs, and is often the only way to get up a steep technical rooty
gnarly thing (with fangs). Get your weight forward on the saddle, and spin smoothly.
The aim is to get your power into the ground as smoothly as possible. Stamping
on the pedals means your tires only push you forward for less than half the pedal
stroke, but by spinning your tires can propel you forward through most of the stroke,
and you’ll be less likely to spit traction away over that slippery rooty bit.
Oh, and by the way, to all those kids that go everywhere at over 200rpm, this only
helps if you’re trying to go fast. If you only want to go 5mph along the pavement
then take it easy, please.
Did I mention that you’ve got to do this smoothly?