Bike RPM

I listened to the news report on NBC about biking three times a week for 40 minutes at 80-90 RPMs. I put my stationary indoor bike on the lowest pedal setting so I wouldn't have to push hard on the pedals and proceeded to do what it said and after about 2 minutes was completely exhausted and panting. 40 minutes?! Really? I would love to hear other people's experience with this. I usually ride my outdoor bike, which I love, but am determined to try to do what they recommended. Maybe I could do 20-2 minute sessions. Haha

84 Replies

  • Sounds like going to have to work up to it

  • 20 2 minute sessions would be a great start! You have to build up to it. My stamina is rubbish but I started 2 minutes at a time. I rested for 30 seconds then did two more. After two weeks I'm up to 30 minutes. I do ten minutes then I rest for one minute. I have downloaded some songs with a great backbeat for cycling (oddly, the bee-gees are particularly good for stationery cycling. I never thought I'd say that sentence). I feel terrific.

  • Thank you for your responses! I was afraid of that, I am actually going to have to work. There are no hills to coast down on this indoor bike. Thank you for the encouragement! And for the Bee Gees suggestion. I'll give it a go.

  • I won't be held responsible (jive talking is particularly good).

  • Hahaha, I also realize that I need to be at the top of my meds in order to do this. Now the hunt for the right music starts. And the cat needs to be in the bedroom so I don't kill him with the pedals.

  • Do you get have a normal bike in the gym? Thanks

  • Depends what you mean by an ordinary bike? It's a stationary bike that you pedal yourself.

  • I just wondered if it was one of these super dupa bikes that everyone is talking about that pedals for you! Thanks

  • Don't tell Enidah. I use Pharrell's Happy to cool down.

  • You're right Stevie. I downloaded three of their songs. Pharrell Williams song Happy is a good one too. The beat is about 80 RPMs. I never thought I'd be shopping for songs according to RPMs!

  • I would be mortified to show my exercise playlist to anyone outside of this forum. Oh, and I should have said - you do have to actually cycle. Listening to the music alone won't cut it. See if you can get to the end of Jive Talking without stopping by the end of the week.

  • Music is a key to keeping your mind off the physical aspects and just enjoy the music. Dance on those peddles. I use Spotify because you can program your own songs. Start with 2 warm up songs then 2 steady beat songs then an insanely fast song, something that just makes you want to go all out and then a calming​ song to cool down to. 7 songs at 3.5 min. each apx. 25 min. of good quality exercise. Jive Talking is a good steady beat song. Misirlou by Dick Dale would be an insanely fast song.

  • Lots of 80s songs had good strong beats.

  • Thank you for the suggestions. I noticed that some of the disco songs are pretty good. I will just pretend I'm on roller skates.

  • Disco, I will just pretend I didn't hear you say that. Disco, at least it is not rap.

  • I know. Disco. Isn't it great how PD has relieved us of any burden... or ability to be cool.


  • Paper in Fire by John Mellencamp always gets me fired up.

  • I will check it out. I'm getting quite a playlist going. I love the help!

  • Enidah, when I first read your post, I assumed you were referring to the "forced exercise" type of biking which causes the person's legs to go round and round very fast but they are not supplying the muscle power themselves; instead, either a motor or another person (as on a tandem bike built for two) is supplying the necessary power. However, as I read through the post, it starting sounding like this is the old fashioned supply-your-own-muscle-power type of cycling. Please confirm. Also, do you have a link to the NBC report? Thanks.

  • Yes, this is the standard do your own pedaling exercise bike. I Googled, NBC news report on Parkinson's and biking. That should get it for you.

  • On a tandem the captain provides 75% of the power and the stoker (PwP) provides 25%. On a solo bike the rider provides 100%. A motorized bike won't get you to your goals.

  • I struggled for a while reaching the 80rpm until I happened to be in a gym and tried the process on one of their machines. Made such a difference and from this point I realised how crappy my home exercise bike was. I agree with the others that you may have to build up but believe me, big expensive pieces of kit will offer a much wider range of resistance 🚴‍♀️

  • My gym (YMCA) has just gotten some new cycling equipment with TV screens so I can watch news or soap operas. But they're quite popular so I have to go early afternoons. And it has been a challenge to work up to 45 minutes--legs were like rubber afterwards! I do notice a difference in how I feel the next day. I'm so happy with this forum for passing along such helpful information.

  • I've just started with this regime as well. I do it at my local gym and I've found that th newer bikes make cycling at 80 RPM much easier. My average is now 83 RPM. But you should build up to that.

  • The recumbent exercise bikes seem like they'd be so much more comfortable and easier. I have an old, but quite good when it was bought, bike. I think I will try out some different ones. Worth the investment. It's not like I'm going to use it to hang my clothes on. If I quit moving... I quit moving.

  • Good luck ! I actually like the upright bike better than the recumbent one. I think I find it easier to keep the pedaling motion going for 45 mins (and it has an inbuilt tv to watch!).

  • It's harder to reach 80rpm on a recumbent compared to an upright. Don't ask me why but the uprights are definitely quicker.

  • My experience is that it depends on the individual. One type doesn't fit all.

  • It's great to hear of so many of you now doing high-cadence cycling, especially jeeves19.

    Nan will be thrilled!

    Here is the "Pedaling for Parkinsons" news item from NBC, originally posted by Xenos:

  • Thanks for sharing the link.

  • Yeah, I can't reach 80-90 rpm for any length of time on my home exercise bike, so I go to the gym. I'm aiming for 4 times a week.

  • Just do what u can

    Anything is better than nothing

    Don't beat urself up over it

    Be well


  • A lot of good advice..... to an extent though. Newly diagnosed should be aware that some people, quite understandably, recommend the exercise they find most beneficial or that they enjoy. They may also give the impression, inadvertently, that they have no challenges arising from PD, when this is probably rarely the case. Sure, exercise in various forms can be good for you and be part of your pd management plan but it doesn't take pd away.

    It might help the newly diagnosed if people gave an account such as exercise has helped me in this way ......... but I still have .......... as symptoms. Otherwise the newly diagnosed may be disappointed when they still suffer from symptoms even though they exercise a lot.

  • That's absolutely right Ozie, and I remember when I found the forum first I was outraged actually by people promoting exercise! Frankly I was a complete couch potato and I thought the silver lining to the cloud that is Parkinsons would be that no one would expect me to do anything strenuous ever again! However, it made me do some research and I realised that exercise can be a game changer. The beauty of this site is that if I dig and use the search engine I find really valuable information that I don't get anywhere else. I think we're discussing stationery cycling because there's been a report published recently in relation to the benefits for people with PD.

    I do the Parkinsons warrior programme and my walking is better in that my leg doesn't drag as much and I've started swinging my arm again. The cycling makes me feel better generally. I've also noticed the incipient tremor I have is lessened. But there are days when I don't feel great. This evening, I could barely totter to the station for my train.

  • I have access to recumbent, upright and outdoor cycling and vary by mood and weather. You can reach the goal on each if you put the work into it... have to work your way to it gradually. In spinning classes the instructor would throw in Meatloaf's -Paradise by the Dashboard Light. The song is great for intervals as it speeds and slows. It is an oldie and I can't help but chuckle at the lyrics.


  • Now I know meatloaf is not merely food! I'll stay with Vivaldi!

  • You relax to Vivaldi, you move to the Love Shack.

  • Oh that's a good one! that is going on the play list

  • love loveshack

  • I was trying to come up with more classical fast workout song and thought Classical Gas.

  • For those who like Rock and roll-

    or if you just want a strong beat

  • Roll, it's roll.

  • That's pretty good but it can't compete with Love Shack. I kept jumping off my bike to dance around a little and then remembered I don't dance so well anymore. Sad, as our fearless leader would say.

  • Are you sure? Maybe its spelled that way in some part of the world.

    As long as the music makes you want to move. There are so many times I am ready to stop and a really good song starts and I say a can't stop on this one and exercise another 5 to 10 min.

  • Nope. The Love Shack is the quintessential must dance to song.

  • I Think I found the perfect workout song for those with a more refined taste.

    or for the Red Necks of the group

    or Heavy Metal Bagpipes????/

  • Meatloaf song very good too. If these songs don't get me moving nothing will.

  • love meatloaf

  • After 6 Months of riding my " home made " theracycle I was able to go to the gym and pedal at 80 -90 RPM for 40 min no problem. Before, when I tried the gym bike the best I could do was 5 Min. at 80 RPM.

  • How did it affect your symptoms?

  • It's hard to say, not having an idea of where I'd be without it, but my symptoms are progressing at a very slow rate.

  • 80-90 rpms must be on spin type bikes. No way I'm doing 80-90 going up a hill on my bike outdoors!

  • I started with 10 minutes which exhausted me, and worked my way up to 45 which gets me really sweating! Anyone have suggestions for exercise induced dystonia in a foot? I cycle 5 minutes and then have to stop 30 seconds to relax my foot, then repeat until I've gone 45 minutes (plus 10 warmup and 5 cooldown). I have a may appointment with my neuro and this is at the top of my list, but any suggestions here would be super welcome.

  • You have my sympathies, I have that in my right foot. The only thing I found is to make sure I've got enough sinemet in my system. Also when I ride my bike I tend to have the pedal more towards the middle of that foot instead of using my toes.

  • I'm able to make it to 5 minutes at a time before resting by shifting my foot between slightly different positions. Middle of the foot is a good one for me too. For some reason, once in a while it will be much better but the following day goes back to cramping up. I haven't started sinemet yet but probably will soon, or mucuna extract.

  • I also have this problem in my right foot. After a few minutes of cycling, my toes curl under and then I stop for 30 seconds. After 20 minutes the problem stops happening.

    I'm going to try Nan's suggestion to just keep cycling, and see if I can "cycle through it" so to speak.

  • Sometimes magnesium helps me

  • Wondering if 45 minutes at 100 RPM on the NuStep, recumbent elliptical, would be comparable to pedaling on a stationary bike. Lumbar back issues preclude use of upright bike.

    Any ideas appreciated.

  • jeffreyn is correct. Nan is thrilled to see this long thread on forced pace cycling and PD. FYI, I was actually in the piece on NBC news, only since I sat in the back row, I'm hard to identify. The simple truth is that if PwPs cycle for 45 min-an hour 3 times per week at a cadence of 80-90, there is an average improvement of 35% in their symptoms as measured by the UPDRS. Dr. Alberts has just finished a five year followup study with 100 PwPs that confirmed his initial finding. It doesn't matter what kind of bike, upright or recumbent, spin or road bike, tricycle, solo or tandem, road or stationary. The key is the cadence of 80-90 rpm. There is something about the fast paced turning of the legs that is apparently neuro-regenerative. You can't do that pace on an elliptical, but Syncletica, you can use a recumbent bike or trike.

    Rebtar, when I first started I had dystonia now and then and I just powered through the pain. Pretty soon it stopped all together and now I never have it on the bike.

    jrg, If I'm outside, I pedal 80-100 (when it's a little downhill) and figure it averages out to 80-90. We're not expecting miracles here. I like pedaling outside better than in the basement but whatever works...

    Midnight wonder, and others, good job of sticking to it and making it work.

    It's not true that any exercise works to improve your PD symptoms. Any exercise will help make you more fit, but there is something in that cycling cadence that encourages the neurons to regenerate. It's also important to remember that PD comes in many shapes and styles. Whereas cycling will work for many, it is not a cure. When I was diagnosed 9.5 years ago at age 62, I couldn't turn my head more than 90 degrees, my arm was locked at my side, etc. etc. After speaking with Dr. Alberts and agreeing to ride 450 miles across Iowa that summer, I trained like crazy for a month. At the end of it my doctor said if he didn't know I had PD, he wouldn't diagnose it. You can read about my further exploits on my webpage: or in my book, "If I Can Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, Why Can't I Brush My Teeth?" I still have PD for sure, but it's much less dominant in my life than anyone expected it to be after these years. BTW, I'm 71.

    Best to all of you. You can do this!

  • On a road bike with 11 speeds and two front rings i am doing 30-35 miles at avg of 16mph. Would you guess that gets me 80 rpm?


  • Very inspiring, Nan. Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm up for trying powering through the curling toes for a while to see if it goes away and I can get the whole 45-60 minute cycling workout without stopping. I exercise daily between Rock Steady Boxing, cycling and weights at the gym and hiking, but I can ramp it up and perhaps get better results.

  • You sound pretty ramped up already!

  • "Albert Cadence" close to the "Pepper Cadence"? #JohnPepper

    It looks like we have a hint toward a Unified Theory Of Parkinson-Enhancing Exercise (UTOPEE, pronounced "you-TOH-pee"). Jay Albert's cycling cadence of 80-90/min is quite similar to the cadence of rapid walking advocated by John Pepper. I just timed myself walking at top speed in circles, and measured 110 steps per minute. Pretty similar, isn't it? John Pepper has been disheartened at the neurologists' indifference toward his fast-walking protocol. Patience, John! The by now well-documented ability of cycling to slow down the progression is much more modest than your claim to substantially reverse the symptoms, but some years down the road, with further exploration and better understanding, these two protocols may find a path to meet up in amity.

  • No responsible scientist would accept a sample of 1. John's experiences are anecdotal, as are mine except that mine parallel Dr. Alberts' experiments.

  • Nan, point well taken. Medical research is slow, arduous, and painstaking. We cannot speed it up on the cheap by throwing out this or that half-baked hypothesis. The latter is all I am doing. So I beg your indulgence. Because there is ostensibly not much difference between motion of the legs in pedaling and in walking, we might indeed guess that they have similar effects on the brain when performed at a similar high intensity or tempo. That's all I am proposing. The only thing that is missing now is years of expensive, careful, persistent research to explore the details.

  • Now I've twice cycled at 80-90RPM for 45 min straight, pushing through the foot dystonia. After 20-30 minutes the cramping relaxes somewhat, the last 10 minutes my foot is totally relaxed. The day after the first time, I hiked, and didn't have my usual dystonia on the flat portion. Definitely continuing this, I'm hopeful!

  • That is great news! You're doing better than me. The most I've ridden so far on indoor bike at around 80 RPMs is 30 min. When I was on my outdoor bike the other day I noticed that I start riding on my toes on that right foot using the pedal to straighten them out. Something I guess I do unconsciously. But the foot never starts hurting as badly as it used to.

  • I'm so glad it's helping!

  • Nan, It seems you are the only female among the bikers in the NBC video. You have white hair, glasses, and a dark tee-shirt, yes?

  • That would be me.

  • Great! It's always nice to put a face to a name. Even when the face is small and hard to see.

  • You might also like to watch the video I made for WPC. Type nanlittle1 on U tube and it's the first video with a photo of my husband and me.

  • Neat video, Nan. Here it is:

  • I'm so glad you like it. It won second place at the World Parkinson's Congress. I was astonished.

  • Nan, thank you for the encouraging review. Regarding the recumbent elliptical: I do100-114 RPM's for 45-60 minutes per day. Lumbar issues preclude use of stationary bike. It would be informative to do a comparative study to ascertain if results are comparable.

  • Nan, thank you for all the good information. It is all very encouraging. Three more songs for the playlist. Oingo Boingo, On the Outside and Only a Lad and Billy Idol, Dancing with Myself.

  • Wow did not take you for a Danny Elfman fan. I like his movie music too.

  • That's what comes of raising kids in the eighties and nineties. My son was a big fan. Now to get back to my Disco... hahaha. actually the only one I found that works really well on the bike is Staying Alive. That song has a fast beat! About 106 rpm.

  • I am willing to let it slide just this once. 🤐

  • If you want to put a face to my name, visit my website:

  • We have a pretty catchy National Anthem in Gelderland, you might like to exercise to.

  • I managed two 15 min sessions at 80 rpm's yesterday and one 15 min session today after walking 2 miles earlier today. May try another 15 or 20 minutes before bed. It will take a few weeks to get up to 45 minutes. I use a recumbent bike for this workout. No way my upright bike with the arm levers will go 80 rpm's.

  • It is supposed to be done a motorized cycle. So you are forced to keep pedaling . This aparantley makes the brain build new pathways or something.

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