riding/ pedalling technique

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,865
1,451
129
...
#1
Are there any good books anyone could recommend about the correct method for pedaling and riding.

On my morning run up and back Arakawa I noticed that I could move where I "pushed" from. It seemed like I could push from different parts of my leg. noticeably away from my knees... Maybe I was imagining things :confused:, but I figured there must be a book or too out there about technique...

Might be worth a read.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#2
yes there are many different techniques for pedaling, Pro's are able to keep an almost constant power level throughout the whole rotation of the pedal.

If you are only putting power into driving the bike forward when you push down on the pedal then you are only utilising about 65% of the available power.
 
Apr 10, 2011
6
0
0
Meyuns, Palau
#3
I try and focus on not pushing down on the pedals but rather applying pressure at 90 degrees to the crank arm wherever that may be in the cycle and always remaining smooth. It feels like I am trying to pedal a slightly larger circle than I need to. I think its something that needs to be trained/practiced in low gears for a few weeks before it becomes natural. Good luck with it, it will be worth the effort in the long term IMO:bike:
 
Jan 14, 2007
2,516
213
83
Noda
japanichiban.com
#4
90 degrees is too late in my opinion.
There are many conflicting theories.
Best to learn a few and switch from one to the other to allow different muscle groups to come into play.
As you get fitter and your balance improves you'll become more aware of what is actually the best method for yourself.
Riding hills, standing, sitting all require different techniques.

One theory is to ride like your scraping sh!te from the sole of your shoe.
Some say to pedal like a square....

One Japanese ex Olympian told me not to use power in the opposite foot as it detracts from the down pedal power.
Didnt make much sense to me, but he was a champion hill climber and I'm more of a sprinter.

Most of it you can find on the net...

Other things to consider first.
Crank length,
Sadle height.
Knees in out or straight.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#5
Just get a tire and a fixed gear. Couple hundred km later and you'll have naturally developed an efficient pedaling stroke. Then change to rollers and do another thousand hours or so varying rpm until you can spin up to 150-175rpm easily without bouncing. Pro riders will spin up to 200rpm and higher, btw. Change to your roadbike and you'll be amazed what you've been missing all this time.
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
1,718
1,364
133
Niigata
#6
One Japanese ex Olympian told me not to use power in the opposite foot as it detracts from the down pedal power.

I guess you're talking about Fujita san right? Interesting to hear that as I've heard pretty much the same from his old rival Murayama san too. Certainly riding with him it's all about power into the down stroke. "Imagine stretching out to scrape your toes down a wall" is what I've also heard recently.

I'm all for pedaling perfect circles and pedaling efficiency but when it comes down to the wire, maybe it's just about how much force you can push down into the road...

Andy

www.jyonnobitime.com/time
 

Sikochi

Maximum Pace
Sep 13, 2010
1,181
76
68
Kochi
#7
One Japanese ex Olympian told me not to use power in the opposite foot as it detracts from the down pedal power.

I guess you're talking about Fujita san right? Interesting to hear that as I've heard pretty much the same from his old rival Murayama san too. Certainly riding with him it's all about power into the down stroke. "Imagine stretching out to scrape your toes down a wall" is what I've also heard recently.

I'm all for pedaling perfect circles and pedaling efficiency but when it comes down to the wire, maybe it's just about how much force you can push down into the road...

Andy

www.jyonnobitime.com/time
This is what I`ve heard as well. Luckily, turns out that this is how I pedal as well. I think there was some research done - can`t find link - and they found that the most successful endurance cyclists were pedalling this way - all down stroke. I think the arguement is there is a difference between a smooth stroke and power generation.

This data was from an analysis of 14 trained cyclists.
proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fanonymous.coward.free.fr%2Frbr%2Fkautz.png&hash=95704323807edbaa70560b729f817928


proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fi43.tinypic.com%2F2dqvnh1.jpg&hash=ba61eab9dcf0e4e0be8a9691dc1a38c5
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#8
This all totally jives with common mechanical sense and general riding experience -

1) You will generate the maximum torque using your largest power source at an optimum leverage point.

2) Pedaling also involves momentum - so once you've imparted the force vector, you can have a brief rest until the next pulse. Pedaling is primary a pulse generator.

3) The opposite leg should not be fighting you . This is the largest offset you actually have - in that if you are are not pedaling through your stroke, in fact , you are using power from your opposite leg's downstroke to LIFT your other leg! Just by getting rid of that you will automatically increase power to the crank system without any additional effort other than learning to pedal through your stroke and lift your leg!

Think I'm wrong? Lay on your back and 'pedal' see how many strokes you can do against nothing but gravity! The same thing is occurring when you ride your bike. Just you don't realize it cause your opposing leg is doing double time effort of powering the bike AND pushing your lazy next door neighbor back up the stairs!

I tell you - get a friggin tire and drag it down the road a few hundred km - you will learn very fast what muscle is doing the work and how to time your pedal-through to achieve minimum opposing resistance and max torque.

If you can't afford a free tire from the garbage bin, then I guess the next best thing would be a computerized stroke monitor, power meter, dynamic fluid trainer, personal trainer and countless hours reviewing 'expert' studies on biomechanics, neurology and kinesiology followed by a few hundred hours of frame by frame observation of all the great riders.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#10
I kinda think of it more like a Stirling Engine. But yeah the idea that the power stroke is longer than the compression stroke makes sense - even biomechanically. Incidentally (another topic) this is why again we are seeing introduction of elliptical chainrings into the market. To further take advantage of the non-linear torque curve that the leg provides. However - at high RPM I believe this becomes negligible due to the flywheel effect and general 'laziness' of a pedal stroke in general. Our muscles would rather rest than work - so as we add more power, we are naturally contradicting what the body wants to do (rest).

(for some reason, reading some of the above reminded me of an atkinson cycle engine--common in hybrids)
 
Dec 31, 2009
906
87
48
Matsumoto
#11
The TCC book on pedaling

Who needs a book? I think we can keep you busy for miles! I like to pedal in circles on the flat and ovals pushing forward dragging back when climbing. When I want to rest while climbing I will sometimes only pull up for a few yards. I fit a gentleman to his bike and I noticed his right leg was giant and his left leg was tiny. This guy is a seasoned athlete 20+ years on a road bike. I asked him to pedal with his left leg only. It took him about four revolutions to smooth it out, proving he only pedals mostly with his right leg. I then asked him to pedal with his right leg. Smooth, totally. Blew both of our minds! I recommended when he starts his solo rides to pedal left legged just to "wake up" the left leg. So while there are many pedaling techniques make sure you’re using both legs first.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#12
James told me about that guy - totally amazing! I wondered if he had any injury? Cause since I destroyed my left leg some years ago its about 25% - 30% lower power than my right. People are one side or other dominant - and if no one forces you to (or yourself) to build up equally - you will always favor one side or other.

Again -

1) Get FITTED PROPERLY! Chuck knows his S*T he's doing what is handed down from more than 3 generations of cycling pretty much to the rule - I know, been there!

2) Get on a FIXED GEAR! Maybe you all think I'm crazy - but anyone who wants to bet me at least half the privateer and pro clubs in Italy will be on mulettos starting next month... there's a reason! SLOW DOWN and FOCUS and REBOOT. This is also why TRACK is so important to a 360 cyclist. You simply can't cheat the pedal stroke on a track. And - BRAKES SHOULD NEVER BE USED!!! This destroys the whole concept of developing full pedal stroke and muscle support. If you have issue to stop suddenly then gear down until you can!

Who needs a book? I think we can keep you busy for miles! I like to pedal in circles on the flat and ovals pushing forward dragging back when climbing. When I want to rest while climbing I will sometimes only pull up for a few yards. I fit a gentleman to his bike and I noticed his right leg was giant and his left leg was tiny. This guy is a seasoned athlete 20+ years on a road bike. I asked him to pedal with his left leg only. It took him about four revolutions to smooth it out, proving he only pedals mostly with his right leg. I then asked him to pedal with his right leg. Smooth, totally. Blew both of our minds! I recommended when he starts his solo rides to pedal left legged just to "wake up" the left leg. So while there are many pedaling techniques make sure you’re using both legs first.
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,865
1,451
129
...
#13
Thanks for the advice guys,

I tried thinking about my pedaling, in particular trying to make more a of a circular movement with my leg. It seemed to result in my putting a lot more force on my knees and I got tired pretty quick as it seemed to load up the smaller knee muscle(???) ! :eek: I did take inroads into my habit of bouncing though when pedaling got fast.

I also took note that maybe I was not pushing as hard with my left leg as my right, and also was careful to make sure I was lifting the upward leg, not really with force (until i was out of the saddle) but just to make sure I wasn't weighting the upward pedal.

Overall I felt a bit smoother but was definitely slower than usual. Dropping from my usual 27km/hr to 25km/hr. I guess this will take time to work out what is best for me.

Anyway thanks again and I look forward to more advice!:)
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#14
Just my rough guess - but I bet you are holding the leg in tension during the stroke. Tense your hamstring muscle and tell me if you feel twinge around knee - if so, this is indeed what you are doing. This means a few things already:

1) Your fit on the bike is a bit wonky - seat could be too low and too forward.

2) While you are pulling up - you could be pedaling 'heel up' as well. Heel should be flat.

Approach this exercise under constant load is the best - like indoor trainer or outdoor with a tire hiki. Then pedal very slowly and learn your pedaling muscles. Concentrate on pedaling WITHOUT your quads (no pushing) and just focus effort to your gluts and then hamstrings until you can isolate the muscle groups one by one.

Then practice kicking your foot forward. This is a bit like a foot ball kick - you actually lead with your heel - NOT YOUR TOE! Why? Cause the power needs to come from your core muscle group - NOT YOUR LEG (at least in your mind it has to work that way). The Leg muscles will fire anyway - but we want to train your body to start pedaling more coordinated rather than reactive.

There are dozens of pedaling exercises like this and once you practice for a couple hundred km you will finally get the feel for it. Important thing is to START SLOW under CONSTANT PRESSURE. If you can't pedal perfectly at 20RPM - there is no way you will be able to at 120RPM.

This is why you see Keirin riders out on longrides doing slow, even, pedaling drills for hours at a time. And for much of that they will be dragging a tire to increase and stabilize the load. Plus it gives an audible feedback to the pedaling stroke itself - if you are not dead smooth the sound will not be even - and you can easily tell left from right side dominance , etc. The tire hiki is the best analog stroke trainer there is. And it's totally FREE!

Thanks for the advice guys,

I tried thinking about my pedaling, in particular trying to make more a of a circular movement with my leg. It seemed to result in my putting a lot more force on my knees and I got tired pretty quick as it seemed to load up the smaller knee muscle(???) ! :eek: I did take inroads into my habit of bouncing though when pedaling got fast.

I also took note that maybe I was not pushing as hard with my left leg as my right, and also was careful to make sure I was lifting the upward leg, not really with force (until i was out of the saddle) but just to make sure I wasn't weighting the upward pedal.

Overall I felt a bit smoother but was definitely slower than usual. Dropping from my usual 27km/hr to 25km/hr. I guess this will take time to work out what is best for me.

Anyway thanks again and I look forward to more advice!:)
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,865
1,451
129
...
#15
I did notice there was a different sound out of my wheezing groupset depending on how I pedaled! :D

Anyway all good info thanks for sharing. I am on a mountain bike now that is too small for me and I know my seat is a little low and tyres a little flat. But it is still fun to ride and rewarding feeling my endurance and strength grow.:rolleyes:

Once I get my new bike I will be in good shape to work on the fine details!:bike:

Cheers
 
Sep 2, 2009
5
0
0
#16
People are one side or other dominant - and if no one forces you to (or yourself) to build up equally - you will always favor one side or other.
Right, I was about to make a post about this, but I think I will tack it on here.

Last night, on my new Turbo Trainer, I felt like the bike was leaning over to the left. I thought something was afoot with the unit, so I had a good look at it, measured things and concluded that it was fine.

On the way to work this morning, I paid close attention to how I was sitting on the bike, and it seems that I am actually leaning the bike slightly over to the right as I ride (which would explain why the perfectly straight position of the bike in my trainer felt like it was leaning to the left).

Is this happening with anybody else?
 
May 22, 2007
3,619
1,455
143
Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#17
it seems that I am actually leaning the bike slightly over to the right as I ride
Owen, this is because you are bent. With a combination of prayer and fasting, and possibly some sessions on the rack, we can straighten you out.

(Everyone else: I'm sorry for sullying a relatively serious threat with more cheap personal abuse. But for Owen I can't resist.)