The Pedal Stroke- What To Do With Your Feet When Cycling

I came from a frenetic (I just wanted to use that word, regardless of accuracy) running background.  When I decided that the cycling world had gone long enough without my participation, I decided to get a coach and start bike racing.

It was a bit sobering to hear from Cycling Coach Bruce Hendler from that it would take upwards of five years for me to develop a supple (hate that word) pedaling stroke.  And until that happened, riders with smaller engines would be able to outdo me on the bike.

That ticked me off.  After all, I’d be knocking on sixty years old before I was pedaling in circles rather than mashing.  Plus, by that time my ankles will be ankylosed (put that one in your vocabulary pipe for smoking)…no longer capable of doing much more than hosting my socks.

One of my questions has been about the position of the foot during the pedal stroke.  Some people pedal ‘toe down’ and others pedal with their foot level.  Is one preferable to the other?

And the answer is…static foot position is for losers.  There should be sprightly foot movement when you’re spinning those pedals.  And you’re not going to get that with slow, repetitive pedaling.

Despite what you may tell yourself, pedaling can be accomplished by just about any old clod-hopper (of course, I’m referring to inefficient pedaling). To separate your pedaling technique from that of the guy who couldn’t master jumping jacks in PE class, you’ll need to do something extra.

I found this Youtube video touting a training program to add nimbleness to your cycling style.  I don’t know if the program is good, bad, or somewhere in between…but the video gave me something to think about (something other than my favorite subject, myself).

While I can imagine ‘freeball’ running in a stream bed, jumping from rock to rock, it’s hard for me to imagine such quick movements on a bike.  Even Contador’s famous ‘dancing on the pedals’ isn’t very fast in the world outside of cycling.

Sixty year old square dancers can match the tempo of his version of happy feet.  Those dancing the Polka wouldn’t even notice that he was in the room.

So give the video a ‘look-see’, and think about becoming a cycling stud from the knees down…and quit worrying about how you’re filling out those spandex shorts.

Graeme Street’s Cycloclub

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