General Cycling Discussion - Why the ball of the foot?
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Wouldn't a larger platform over which the whole foot is centered make cycling easier and more efficient?
I haven't found a single example online yet, so before I go ahead and try to make some myself, can anyone either show me where to buy or explain why this wouldn't work? I'm fairly sure it would be much easier to power forward if pressure was exerted over the foot's standing center of gravity point. Moving the crank backwards, there would be less flexion also. I realise at the forward most position, the leg will have to stretch further, but as far as I can see this is the only drawback apart perhaps from the need for a higher and longer frame.
Do you walk flat footed?
Center the ball of the foot over the pedal. You can add power to your pedalling by extending your foot through the power portion of your pedal stroke. Now your thigh muscles have extra help from your calf muscles.
Pedalling with your arch on the pedal leads to parrot feet! :D
pivot points - where you push off from/balance on - someone correct me if I'm wrong - IMHO cycling, while not necessarily using the same amount of energy, is most efficient when the leg/foot action matches that of a sprinter (running) That is, circular motion of the foot/leg, push off via ball of foot and quick leg turn over - or in cycling terms power through out the circle, high cadence and pedal axle under ball of foot.
04-20-06, 08:22 AM
I can do >600lbs of weight on a calf raise - I want that power available to my stroke whenever I need it.
04-20-06, 09:54 AM
The middle of you foot provides stability, when standing. The ball of you foot provides power, when walking or running.
I guess this makes sense if you want a lot of power. However it turns out that recumbant riders often do just what I mentioned:
Also, I was thinking of long mountain bike rides. On a long slow climb is not stability more important than power?
if you copy what the pro racers are doing, you are doing the very best.
this has been researched for many years to earn the pro teams more money,
by winning races. and the ball of the foot is the power point.
it is personal preference, mechanics, and the type of racing. it is still
the ball of the foot though. stiff shoe soles distribute load evenly over
the entire foot (more or less)
why try to re-invent something that is so basic ? you cannot improve it. if you could,
it would have been done already. shims which tilt the foot outward at the cleat
are the only exception, and may work...or induce hip problems.
I'm in PAIN just thinking about it!!!
If I tried to ride flat footed like that, my achilles tendon problems would flare up again, my knees would kill me, my IT band would be in screaming agony, my hips would ache, and my lower back would never be the same again!!
Think Engineering ... your body is a machine ... you've got to think of your foot as a lever.
04-20-06, 04:06 PM
Also the lower-leg muscles, the calves and shin muscles, only exert force by pivoting the foot at the ankles. The further back you go on the foot, the less power is exerted by those muscles. If you pedal with your heels, zero force from the calves would go into the pedal-stroke.
Also think about when you have to exert a lot of force with your legs, like pushing a car or wrestling someone, where is your weight resting and pushing off from?
Simple test on the bike, put the pedal at the very bottom of the stroke and lean up against a wall to hold yourself still. Put the ball of your foot on the pedal and push. Notice your calf tightening up and pushing down on the pedal. Notice that the force pushes up on your body? During the dynamic motions of a pedal storke, the weight of yoru body counteracts the push on the pedal and drives it down and around.
Now put your heel on the pedal at the very bottom of the stroke. Tighten and push with your calves, what happens? All that force that used to push your body upwards now just goes into thin air by flapping your toes up and down, not pushing on the pedals at all.
04-20-06, 05:15 PM
Doesnt it depend on your riding position? Upright positions, your middle is fine. For a more racing position, your ball is better. Or am I wrong?
04-21-06, 03:52 PM
What happends when you have shorter legs with large feet? For example I have a 31 inch inseam with size 11 feet. Yes, yes I have big feet. Anyhow, in my experience the legs are pushed farther back from the pedal and are at an poor angle for power when seated. Using the arch gives me more power, but in order to use clips I have to use the ball.
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