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How to Convert MPH & RPM When Cycling

author image Alberto J. Medina
Alberto J. Medina is a small-business owner, personal trainer and professional writer. He holds a bachelor's degree in exercise and health promotion from Virginia Tech, and is an ACE-certified advanced health and fitness specialist as well as a health coach and group fitness instructor.
How to Convert MPH & RPM When Cycling
A device to measure speed and distance on the frame of a bicycle. Photo Credit: inurbanspace/iStock/Getty Images

The relationship between miles per hour (MPH) and revolutions per minute (RPM) is useful for learning how to pace when cycling. Many stationary bikes and outdoor bikes have technology that provides metrics. However, you may find it necessary and helpful to manually convert between MPH and RPM readings. By determining your bike's unique conversion factor, you will be able to move between MPH and RPM with one-step arithmetic.

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Step 1

Measure the radius of the wheel that receives power from the pedals. Radius is measured from the center of the wheel to its outside edge.

Step 2

Multiply the radius of the wheel by 6.28 to calculate the circumference of the wheel. This is the distance your bike covers in one revolution.

Step 3

Divide 1056 by the circumference of the wheel. The quotient is your bike's conversion factor for moving directly between MPH and RPM.

Step 4

Convert MPH into RPM by multiplying any MPH reading and the conversion factor. Inversely, MPH is the quotient of RPM divided by the conversion factor

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