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  1. #1
    Outgunned and outclassed
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    Pedaling Circles

    http://www.velonews.com/tech/report/...s/11504.0.html

    Broker separated out the gravitational and inertial components of a pedaling force diagram, so that one could really see exactly what was being produced and at what cost to the rider. Broker noted that most cycling coaches spend a great deal of effort trying to eliminate the downward forces at bottom dead center part of a pedal stroke. That effort, he explained, is essentially futile, since most of that downward force present there is non-muscular and takes virtually no energy. Offering an extreme example, Broker suggested that one could knock a rider out cold, clip him into the pedals, tape him down to the saddle and handlebars and crank up the pedals up to 90rpm. The result, he said, would show similar forces expended at the bottom of the pedal stroke.
    Now, its only one little paragraph taken from one lecture given by one man, but still pretty interesting. The research on pedaling efficiency seems to be varied and dynamic.
    Patience - Consistency - Motivation

    I literally put our 9.11 watts/kg for 12 hours.

  2. #2
    Aluminium Crusader :-)
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    I've been saying stuff like this ^ for years. I reckon "perfect circles" and similar techniques are some of the biggest myths going around. They've never made sense to me. We'll NEVER get any worthwhile force on the pedals between 11 o'clock and 1 o'clock, or 5 o'clock to 7 o'clock, and the whole pulling up this is being shown to be overemphasized.

    Here's a thread about similar stuff from a little while back:
    Do any of you guys really do this? Danno's posts (#81 and #82) are about the only worthwhile 'counters' to what I was trying to get across

    there's also some interesting stuff here:
    http://www.cyclingforums.com/t233514.html Check out the posts by 'coach to the stars', Ric Stern

    and here: http://www.topbike.com.au/pdfs/colso...ly_aug2002.pdf



    I'm gunna regret all this, but this is me quoting me quoting someone else:

    Cycling News contributor:

    "The idea of losing power due to a presumably inefficient pedal stroke is not supported either. Research comparing the abilities of state-class and national-class cyclists (Coyle, 1991) showed that the national-class cyclists had what is often incorrectly referred to as and "inefficient" pedal stroke. In a 40k TT test, the national-class cyclists put more of their power into their downstroke, while the slower, less powerful cyclists distributed more of their power in all directions of the pedal stroke. Yep, the more powerful cyclists mashed (at least more than the other cyclists) their way to 40k times that were 10% faster. One way to potentially change the efficiency of your stroke is by manipulating cadence. This is where it gets interesting, because if you pedaled with the intent on being as efficient as possible, you would ride around at a cadence that is much slower than the typically freely chosen cadence of most cyclists (~90rpm). As cadence increases, so does the oxygen demand for a given power output. I personally don't know any top cyclists who pedal all day at 60rpm, so one has to wonder why having an efficient pedal stroke is a desirable goal at all.

    While many cyclists, and coaches, will talk about having an "efficient stroke", that concept is really not supported when the variables of cycling efficiency are directly studied. There still might be some good reasons for you to work on your pedal stroke (e.g.: limiting the work done by the rest of your body), and I've yet to find a better way than by using a good old set of rollers"

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/fitness/?...4-11#Pedalling
    Last edited by 531Aussie; 01-24-07 at 09:59 PM.

  3. #3
    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
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    Sometimes when sprinting really hard, I have a tendency to pull up really hard on the pedals....you'd think a few times of popping out my cleats I'd learn. Almost wiped out at 33 mph once....foot hit the pavement.
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

  4. #4
    Aluminium Crusader :-)
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    well, sprinting is very different, especially jumping from a slow speed

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    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    I'm stuck on trying to think of who we can "knock a rider out cold, clip him into the pedals, tape him down to the saddle and handlebars and crank up the pedals up to 90rpm"

    I have a few ideas.

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    Long-time Curmudgeon DrPete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EventServices
    I'm stuck on trying to think of who we can "knock a rider out cold, clip him into the pedals, tape him down to the saddle and handlebars and crank up the pedals up to 90rpm"

    I have a few ideas.
    COUGHR600DuraAce!!!

    Sorry, guys, can't seem to shake this cold.
    "Unless he was racing there was no way he could match my speed."

  7. #7
    base training heretic Squint's Avatar
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    Let me try to compile a complete list of cycling myths:

    pedaling in circles
    base
    weight lifting
    vibration dampening
    light wheels
    tubulars
    cadence

    I'm sure I left something out.

  8. #8
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    Let me try to compile a complete list of cycling myths:

    pedaling in circles
    base
    weight lifting
    vibration dampening
    light wheels
    tubulars
    cadence
    There is questioning dogma and there is non-conformity for non-conformity's sake.
    Patience - Consistency - Motivation

    I literally put our 9.11 watts/kg for 12 hours.

  9. #9
    Gios my baby hiromian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squint
    Let me try to compile a complete list of cycling myths:

    pedaling in circles
    base
    weight lifting
    vibration dampening
    light wheels
    tubulars
    cadence

    I'm sure I left something out.
    Going fast.
    "Aiyah...Oh no"

  10. #10
    Aut Vincere Aut Mori Snuffleupagus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squint
    Let me try to compile a complete list of cycling myths:

    pedaling in circles
    base
    weight lifting
    vibration dampening
    light wheels
    tubulars
    cadence

    I'm sure I left something out.
    You're going to hell

  11. #11
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Not exactly scientific, but when I'm trying to hold a wattage out put doing steady states, my perceived effort and HR will drop for a given wattage output if I remind myself to scrape the dog poop off. So while the importance of pedaling circles may be overstated, I still thinkthere's something to it.

    May be mental, but what's wrong with the plecebo effect if it works?

  12. #12
    Banned. El Diablo Rojo's Avatar
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    There are 'perfect' circles and then there are perfect circles. It would be next to impossible to pedal a perfect circle however if you ever watched pro's warm up and listen to the sound their trainers make, it's not wup wup wup of a guy just mashing down on the down stroke. The sound is more or less smooth and constant. To me that is what a circular pedal stroke means.

  13. #13
    Aut Vincere Aut Mori Snuffleupagus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
    May be mental, but what's wrong with the plecebo effect if it works?
    Lots of wheels and framesets are made of placebo too

  14. #14
    Aluminium Crusader :-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squint
    Let me try to compile a complete list of cycling myths:

    pedaling in circles
    base
    weight lifting
    vibration dampening
    light wheels
    tubulars
    cadence
    .
    up until I've felt so alone
    I'm so happy

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Diablo Rojo
    There are 'perfect' circles and then there are perfect circles. It would be next to impossible to pedal a perfect circle ...
    In all the thousands of miles I've ridden, I've never been able to pedal anything other than a circle. I've tried to do otherwise, but the cranks were always too strong for me to distort them. Now what are we really talking about?

  16. #16
    Blast from the Past Voodoo76's Avatar
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    This is always an interesting debate.

    The old school feel of pedaling in circles has produced a few fast riders. At the same time I don't think there is any doubt that when you go fast you are pushing hard on the pedals, research has shown this time and time again. There isn't any real contradiction here, during a lot of athletic movements what you feel is often not precisely what you are doing (try teaching or learning the feel of swinging a golf club).

    Kinesthetic sense can be misleading.

  17. #17
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    Anyone who has ever ridden the Kilo knows that it's possible to pedal in squares, usually at the 900m mark.

  18. #18
    Now Racer Ex Vinokurtov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squint
    Let me try to compile a complete list of cycling myths:

    pedaling in circles
    base
    weight lifting
    vibration dampening
    light wheels
    tubulars
    cadence

    I'm sure I left something out.
    Physics?
    "I may not be as strong as I think I am, but I know many tricks, and I have resolution" - Santiago

  19. #19
    base training heretic Squint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinokurtov
    Physics?
    Hey, did you know that the Earth revolves around the sun?

  20. #20
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    Well darn it thats it then. I am going back to platform pedals.

  21. #21
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfmckenna
    Well darn it thats it then. I am going back to platform pedals.

    Alanbikehouston was right!

  22. #22
    Long-time Curmudgeon DrPete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinokurtov
    Physics?
    Finally someone exposing that crap for what it is. I'm adding the Germ Theory to the list.
    "Unless he was racing there was no way he could match my speed."

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by EventServices
    Anyone who has ever ridden the Kilo knows that it's possible to pedal in squares, usually at the 900m mark.
    yeup, one of the most painful experiences of my life.

  24. #24
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    I've been riding powercranks since mid October, since these are designed to force users to pedal circles I might be able to share my experience which I think is meaningful even though sample size is admittedly n=1.

    When first riding these my assumption was that I would be able to ride much faster once adapted due to training myself, no being required to apply force all around the stroke, i.e the classic circle. I must say that at first I could probably only ride around 1 min continuously at first due to extreme hip flexor and neuromuscular fatigue. Now that I am adapted to them and have done some LT work on normal cranks I find that the main benefit to powercranks is that they have taught me to get my opposing leg out of the way for my downstroke leg. They essentially lead to smooth mashing if that makes sense.

    I can't say if it's Powercranks or my more committed training but I am doing hour sweet spot intervals at the same wattage that I could muster for 15 minutes last year, I suspect both.

  25. #25
    Slow'n'Aero DrWJODonnell's Avatar
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    Ok, I go with germ theory...

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