Pedaling technique?

Discussion in 'Recumbent bicycles' started by Steve Christens, Dec 9, 2003.

  1. OK, here's a really stupid sounding question. How do you pedal? What is the proper technique?

    By which I mean, when you get to the bottom of the stroke, what should be the angle that your
    foot makes with your calf? When I watch racers it looks as if this angle is great than 90 degrees
    - or toe down. But I have heard that the key to climbing can be to "drop the heel" at the bottom
    of the stroke.

    Why? And why just when climbing? Or is it a good thing to do all the times. Just curious. If you
    drop your heel much of the time you would certainly have to move your seat closer.

    Steve Christensen Midland, MI
     
    Tags:


  2. Tom Blum

    Tom Blum Guest

    Search Google for "Spinning" there's lots been said about it on this venue. In general, you want to
    work towards higher crank RPM, applying force all the way around the circle (refered to as "pedaling
    in circles") and avoid Mashing ( slow RPM -all effort on the push). The foot angle thing may refer
    to "ankling" . this practice is somewhat less universally supported.

    I, myself, don't subscribe to looking Just like the racers as a goal. Maybe if I get anywhere close
    to as fast, it will happen, but there is a myriad of details buried in "the look".

    Miles of Smiles, tom "Steve Christensen" <Steve_member@newsguy.com> wrote in message
    news:br4qqd06ro@drn.newsguy.com...
    > OK, here's a really stupid sounding question. How do you pedal? What is
    the
    > proper technique?
    >
    > By which I mean, when you get to the bottom of the stroke, what should be
    the
    > angle that your foot makes with your calf? When I watch racers it looks
    as if
    > this angle is great than 90 degrees - or toe down. But I have heard that
    the
    > key to climbing can be to "drop the heel" at the bottom of the stroke.
    >
    > Why? And why just when climbing? Or is it a good thing to do all the
    times.
    > Just curious. If you drop your heel much of the time you would certainly
    have
    > to move your seat closer.
    >
    > Steve Christensen Midland, MI
     
  3. Steve Christensen <Steve_member@newsguy.com> wrote:
    : OK, here's a really stupid sounding question. How do you pedal? What is the proper technique?

    You can try, but you can't do that much to it. Might be worth trying still. Get a trike and do
    isolated leg exercises.

    : By which I mean, when you get to the bottom of the stroke, what should be the angle that your
    : foot makes with your calf? When I watch racers it looks as if this angle is great than 90 degrees
    : - or toe down. But I have heard that the key to climbing can be to "drop the heel" at the bottom
    : of the stroke.

    You can't drop the heel. You'd need to drop your cadence and really concentrate to do that.

    The angles pretty much depend on what the cadence is. If you go to very high cadence, you will have
    a higher angle and also you can't spin that effectively - more of the force will necessarily be on
    the down stroke.

    --
    Risto Varanka | http://www.helsinki.fi/~rvaranka/ risto.varanka@helsinki.fi
     
  4. Gary Mc

    Gary Mc Guest

    Steve,

    If it is a stupid question, I am in it with you.

    I habitually have my foot at a < 90 degree angle at the farthest point in my pedalling. But, my
    knees often give me a little trouble after climbing for a while. I can relieve them a bit by
    pointing my toes forward but this feels really awkward. I have tried moderate ankling and fixing my
    foot in at a 90 degree angle but nothing really feels comfortable if I do it too long. As you
    continue to study the problem, know that you have company out here in the west.

    Gary McCarty, Greenspeed GTO, Salt Lake City

    Steve Christensen <Steve_member@newsguy.com> wrote in message news:<br4qqd06ro@drn.newsguy.com>...
    > OK, here's a really stupid sounding question. How do you pedal? What is the proper technique?
    >
    > By which I mean, when you get to the bottom of the stroke, what should be the angle that your
    > foot makes with your calf? When I watch racers it looks as if this angle is great than 90 degrees
    > - or toe down. But I have heard that the key to climbing can be to "drop the heel" at the bottom
    > of the stroke.
    >
    > Why? And why just when climbing? Or is it a good thing to do all the times. Just curious. If you
    > drop your heel much of the time you would certainly have to move your seat closer.
    >
    > Steve Christensen Midland, MI
     
  5. I'm not what you would call an expert, but angles never really come into the equation for me. I have
    read a lot about people having knee problems and the most common cure is to take the degree of
    freedom provided by the ankle out of the question.

    I actually ride the pedal just forward of my arch, 'waaay back on the ball of my foot. It feels
    weird having my toes sticking out so far, but now I can concentrate on my pedalling.

    As to how to spin.... I frankly don't. I blew my budget tricking out my Burley Canto with touring
    gear and could not afford shoes/clipless pedals by the time I felt confident enough in my skill to
    use them. So I mash with my Tevas. My impression that true spinning requires some sort of system to
    let you pull on the pedals.

    As a way to train for spinning as well as reduce repetetive stress injuries to my po' lil legs, I
    play with my mashing technique. First, I was mashing like any beginner, straight forward. Then I
    began occassionally concentrating on actually pushing down, which changed my angle a little bit and
    changed the stress profile throguh my knees. Later, I played with a more scissors feel, using the
    friction of my shoes on the pedals to push pup while the other was pushing down.

    I began to realize that all of these techniques helped my endurance as well as reduce injury. Each
    different style changed the muscle groups used a little bit. This is a somewhat less effective way
    to shift muscle groups than the upwrong cyclists' trick of standing up to bring in the pinch
    hitters, so to speak... but it worked a little. I could save my forward mashing for the ascents,
    which is where I need my most powerful stroke.

    Lastly, I realized that my legs have been trained all of their lives to push on pedals. I also
    noticed that the knee naturally wants to fall with gravity and thus extend your leg into the pedal.
    Couple that with the fact that all of these alternates required that I push with both legs just to
    keep my feet from falling off (the Canto's BB is about the same height as the seat) and I know that
    I may be concentrating on the wrong thing.

    Lately, I've been concentrating on lifting the "off" leg and letting gravity and habit worry about
    pushing the "power" leg. I find that I am using much less energy that way and getting almost as
    much torque into the pedals. I am using a REALLY different muscle group and improving my endurance
    even more.

    With all of this playing around, I only mash forward on the steepest climbs.

    You may notice that I have pushed forward, pushed down, pushed up and lifted toward. I think that I
    may be training myself to use true spinning while improving my current riding capacity. What a deal.

    Now if Erie, PA would just find a way to create a job for a mechanical engineer, I could get my recum-
    butt employed and get me some of that clipless gear I can't wait to try out.

    I hope this gives you some sort of insight, if only into what NOT to do =:)

    Paul Podbielski

    "Steve Christensen" <Steve_member@newsguy.com> wrote in message news:br4qqd06ro@drn.newsguy.com...
    > OK, here's a really stupid sounding question. How do you pedal? What is
    the
    > proper technique?
    >
    > By which I mean, when you get to the bottom of the stroke, what should be
    the
    > angle that your foot makes with your calf? When I watch racers it looks
    as if
    > this angle is great than 90 degrees - or toe down. But I have heard that
    the
    > key to climbing can be to "drop the heel" at the bottom of the stroke.
    >
    > Why? And why just when climbing? Or is it a good thing to do all the
    times.
    > Just curious. If you drop your heel much of the time you would certainly
    have
    > to move your seat closer.
    >
    > Steve Christensen Midland, MI
     
  6. Paul Podbielski <PAULPOD@peoplepc.com> wrote:
    : As a way to train for spinning as well as reduce repetetive stress injuries to my po' lil legs, I
    : play with my mashing technique. First, I was mashing like any beginner, straight forward. Then I
    : began occassionally concentrating on actually pushing down, which changed my angle a little bit
    : and changed the stress profile throguh my knees. Later, I played with a more scissors feel, using
    : the friction of my shoes on the pedals to push pup while the other was pushing down.

    I hope you can get the clipless so you can really do this :)

    : Lastly, I realized that my legs have been trained all of their lives to push on pedals. I also
    : noticed that the knee naturally wants to fall with gravity and thus extend your leg into the
    : pedal. Couple that with the fact that all of these alternates required that I push with both legs
    : just to keep my feet from falling off (the Canto's BB is about the same height as the seat) and I
    : know that I may be concentrating on the wrong thing.

    When doing isolated leg exercises I noticed how the leg dramatically just falls very fast at one
    point of the pedal stroke. Gravity works at a different phase than on upright!

    --
    Risto Varanka | http://www.helsinki.fi/~rvaranka/ risto.varanka@helsinki.fi
     
  7. Mark Stonich

    Mark Stonich Guest

    risto.varanka@secure.from.spam.helsinki.fi wrote in message news:
    > When doing isolated leg exercises I noticed how the leg dramatically just falls very fast at one
    > point of the pedal stroke. Gravity works at a different phase than on upright!

    That's why BioPace feels smoother than round on a 'bent, but feels choppy on an upright.
     
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