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Old 07-14-11, 10:51 AM   #1
VarVintg
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What do your heels do???

Okay so I'm fairly new to this c/v riding craze and throughout the last few months I'm learning as I go, so thank you forum. Each bike is a bit different, hand placement, moving up or back in the saddle and such. Lately though I have been noticing my feet placement on the pedals, (no clips or cages). So this maybe a dumb question, but here it goes. What are your feet supposed to look like as you pedal? I mostly ride with my toes pointed slightly lower than my heels almost the entire ride, both up and down strokes. If I start to cramp up, (for lack of a better word) I'll pedal where i stretch out my calf muscles by dropping my heels on the way down from the top. Hope this makes sense. Is there a correct method to pedaling, or should I just be quiet and ride? I'll hang up and listen to your responses, ha ha.
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Old 07-14-11, 10:55 AM   #2
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I usually try to "ankle" , which involves sort of rotating your feet a bit as the crank goes round. Hard to describe but easier with toe clips and straps. You should have the ball of your foot directly over the spindle of the pedal for best efficiency. At least, that's how I learned it.
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Old 07-14-11, 10:57 AM   #3
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Lots of discussion about this.

I believe that dropping your wheels puts stress on your ankles. I keep my ankles locked as that is what feels natural to me.

I think Sheldon Brown talks about this a little bit on his site saying that this is how he got an injury back when "ankling" was the thing to do.
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Old 07-14-11, 11:11 AM   #4
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Yeah. Good point. I'm going off thirty five year old info here! I do it just a hint, however. It feels kind of natural to me as I pull up a bit on the up stroke.
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Old 07-14-11, 11:37 AM   #5
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get cages or clips they will help your form a lot by keeping your foot in the right place
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Old 07-14-11, 11:42 AM   #6
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I have to agree with frantik......after the last few days of riding and watching my feet go all over the place, I'm going to put my cages back on this evening. Should at least help keep my feet in a somewhat consistent position, plus having some power on the upstroke is bound to help, imo.
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Old 07-14-11, 11:45 AM   #7
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Old 07-14-11, 11:50 AM   #8
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get cages or clips they will help your form a lot by keeping your foot in the right place
I think the OP is talking about vertical movement rather than horizontal. I don't see how clips would help with ankle abduction/adduction.
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Old 07-14-11, 11:59 AM   #9
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So bright orange shoelaces are the ticket. Thanks
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Old 07-14-11, 12:03 PM   #10
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So bright orange shoelaces are the ticket. Thanks
They help to keep your feet lined up.
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Old 07-14-11, 12:05 PM   #11
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I think the OP is talking about vertical movement rather than horizontal. I don't see how clips would help with ankle abduction/adduction.
i dont know why but i feel like with cages i dont move my ankle as much either..
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Old 07-14-11, 12:11 PM   #12
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So bright orange shoelaces are the ticket. Thanks
On my way to the store right now to find a pair of reflective orange shoe laces!!!!
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Old 07-14-11, 12:17 PM   #13
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i dont know why but i feel like with cages i dont move my ankle as much either..
Interesting. Sorry, for a sec, I thought you might've misunderstood the OP's question. It could be that by keeping your foot in one optimal position, your ankle doesn't have to compensate. Just a guess.
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Old 07-14-11, 12:22 PM   #14
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They help to keep your feet lined up.



Seriously, straps, clips, clipless pedals to keep the ball of your feet roughly centered over the spindle is what you want to aim for. Having fairly stiff soles on your shoes if your regularly riding longer distances is helpful as well. Doing a twenty mile ride in a pair of flip-flops most likely will lead to foot pain
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Old 07-14-11, 12:23 PM   #15
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yeah i think when you have your foot in the right place it's much easier to transfer power from your legs directly to the pedals. plus the cages hold your feet in place so you can just hammer away and not think about your feet at all

on my mtb without cages i feel like i do move my ankles more, perhaps to keep contact with the pedals.. i never really thought about it much, except ive been meaning to put cages on my mtb haha

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Having fairly stiff soles on your shoes if your regularly riding longer distances is helpful as well. Doing a twenty mile ride in a pair of flip-flops most likely will lead to foot pain
yes a stiff soled shoe really helps. my regular "riding shoes" are actually a stiff-soled "hiking sandal" with a closed toe.. before that i was riding with some old worn out vans with a flexible sole and they sucked a lot

Last edited by frantik; 07-14-11 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 07-14-11, 12:34 PM   #16
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Rather than removing your clipless pedals and install cages straps and cleats to retain foot position through the pedal stroke, might you just consider getting "zero float" cleats and just adjust your clipless pedal cleats properly to an optimal position to start out with?

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Old 07-14-11, 12:50 PM   #17
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are you addressing me with that? my mtb just has platform pedals no cleats or anything
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Old 07-14-11, 01:17 PM   #18
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Old 07-14-11, 01:34 PM   #19
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I don't know about you, but magical things happen when I click mine together 3 times. (I wouldn't advise trying this when you are clipped-in however.)
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Old 07-14-11, 02:57 PM   #20
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Okay here is what I'm talking about. Dont have a problem with my feet moving around or off the pedals or anything like that, and I do have proper placement on the pedals. In this pic Eddy's left foot shows his toes way below his heel, yet his right foot is either parrallel to the ground, or the heel of his foot is just below his toes. I mostly ride with both of my feet the way his left foot is, pretty much locked in place, only not tipped down so much. Then when I need to stretch I rotate my ankles a bit like his right foot. Is that what you call "ankling" Just started this riding thing, and getting too old to get hurt!
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Old 07-14-11, 03:07 PM   #21
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I think some pro racers today seem to still do the ankling motion when they pedal. I seem to detect such with Contador when he pedals hard from the saddle, (specially when there is a upward grade to the road) when I was watching him in the TDF this last two weeks.
Regarding clipless pedals, they would be a possible solution if you don't want too much lateral foot motion in the pedals as they will limit your foot to pedal movement, depending on the cleat you buy, although you can still do ankling motions with them. as that movement is just coming from you ankle joints.

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Old 07-14-11, 03:20 PM   #22
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OP,

imo, you've got it figured out. if you can ride as long as you want without any repercussions (other than muscle soreness), you are doing it right. lots of people will tell you to "clip in" and put your feet in an unnatural position...and they will have sore knees because of it.

however, i will say if you want a extra security from foot slippage and a slight gain in efficiency, check out Power Grips. it will keep your foot in the same position, you can use your same pedals, and they aren't tricky to get out of in a hurry. i have them on all my bikes.
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Old 07-14-11, 03:30 PM   #23
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OP,

imo, you've got it figured out. if you can ride as long as you want without any repercussions (other than muscle soreness), you are doing it right. lots of people will tell you to "clip in" and put your feet in an unnatural position...and they will have sore knees because of it.

however, i will say if you want a extra security from foot slippage and a slight gain in efficiency, check out Power Grips. it will keep your foot in the same position, you can use your same pedals, and they aren't tricky to get out of in a hurry. i have them on all my bikes.
Your feet are only clipped in at an unnatural position if you set it up that way. No sore knees here--not even on the longest of rides.

But yes, Powergrips work really well if you can get over the aesthetics. It kind of sucks using them across different shoes if you like them tight.
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Old 07-14-11, 05:56 PM   #24
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Notice that Eddy's feet are at almost the same angle relative to his lower legs, so his ankles are relatively stable.
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Old 07-14-11, 06:03 PM   #25
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Um ... hopefully beat Duke a buncha times and win a national championship.
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