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Old 03-29-14, 08:13 PM   #76
Giant Doofus 
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
You're description raises another question: are you seated at the stop with one foot down? That position will give you the fastest, most powerful, most stable start. I know some people dismount forward and stand flat-footed, but while that technique has merits, it's not the max launch.

Regarding the northroads bars, they are going to hurt your effort. Because they sweep back, they inhibit getting forward, outfront, and driving the pedals from a low position, as well as reducing your hand leverage while sprinting out of the saddle. So, in the narrow context of going harder and faster from a stop, they're a poor choice, and you'd almost certainly be better served by adding bar ends to your existing flat bar. Oh, whole new bike I see...still, nothing equipped with northroads is optimized to get you out of the gate rapidly.

In any case, and no matter what you ride, you can also improve your getaway speed by training your sprint. Work at it, push yourself, and you'll get faster, I'm sure!
I think I'll go ahead and try the power grips. To answer your question: Yes, I'm starting with my left foot on the peddle at about 11 o'clock and my right foot on the pavement. Also, I can see that the upright position and swept back bars are not going to help with this particular problem, but I'm going with them for other reasons (easier to ride in dresses, keeping my wrists at a comfortable angle, etc.). Thanks for taking the time to help me think about these things. Your advice has been really helpful.

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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
That's going to be a large part of your problem for improving your acceleration. Acceleration is about putting power to the pedals. With platforms, you can only put power to the front side of the pedal stroke. On the back side of the pedal stroke, you can only let the pedal return to the top of the stroke so that you can push down on the pedal again.

With clipless, you can pull the pedal up to get it back around to where you are pushing down again. There's not a huge amount of power developed during the backstroke but there is some. How much power you get depends on how hard and fast you can pull the pedal back up. It's worth learning how to use clipless or, at the very least, toeclips. Toeclips have some other issues but they are at least better than platforms.
Yeah, I'm starting to rethink this. As I mentioned to chaadster, I'm considering trying out the powergrips. Not to start a controversy, but I've read Grant Peterson on the issue of foot retention and, as I recall, he argues that you aren't really pulling up with the back foot. You are simply not pressing down with it. The result is that your feet aren't working at cross purposes with each other. Either way, I'm thinking of trying it out at least so that my left foot won't slip when I'm trying to power down on it to get going from a stand still.
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Old 03-29-14, 08:53 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by Giant Doofus View Post
I think I'll go ahead and try the power grips. To answer your question: Yes, I'm starting with my left foot on the peddle at about 11 o'clock and my right foot on the pavement. Also, I can see that the upright position and swept back bars are not going to help with this particular problem, but I'm going with them for other reasons (easier to ride in dresses, keeping my wrists at a comfortable angle, etc.). Thanks for taking the time to help me think about these things. Your advice has been really helpful.



Yeah, I'm starting to rethink this. As I mentioned to chaadster, I'm considering trying out the powergrips. Not to start a controversy, but I've read Grant Peterson on the issue of foot retention and, as I recall, he argues that you aren't really pulling up with the back foot. You are simply not pressing down with it. The result is that your feet aren't working at cross purposes with each other. Either way, I'm thinking of trying it out at least so that my left foot won't slip when I'm trying to power down on it to get going from a stand still.
You're welcome, and I can certainly understand the merits of setting up a bike for something other than stoplight sprints! It sounds like you've got a nice-- well, what I call a "ute"--- in the works with some well-thought touches that'll make riding an all 'round better experience.

Just to riterate what's already been said upthread: train, practise, and develop your sprint, at least by doing it, if not in conjunction with specific training regimens both on the bike and in the gym, which help you build strength and power.
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Old 03-30-14, 07:21 AM   #78
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Given the type of bike, I think the most practical way to get through an intersection quickly will be:
- start in quite a low gear, something you'd climb hills in
- push off, stand on the pedals for a few strokes to get off the line
- then sit and quickly spin the revs up to pretty high, like 100 rpm or so
- quickly change up one gear, revs up, change up, revs, etc.

Basic idea is using leg speed, high rpm and lower gear, instead of using leg power, low rpm, and higher gear. Like accelerating a manual shift car, you start in a low gear, keep the motor at a high rpm, and flick through the gears. OP will probably be through the intersection by the second gear change.

Reason? This is a city-type bike with upright position, high and swept back bars, platform pedals, step through frame. It isn't designed for the rider to apply big power like on a sprint. You can't get the right body position, pull down hard on the bars, or push and pull hard on the pedals. I also think the OP is a nicely dressed lady in skirts and street shoes, not in tights and cleated bike shoes. Finally, I think the OP should be able to get across the intersection quickly now, without first spending months in the weight room building thighs like steel thunder. So track start technique might be of limited relevance and a fixed gear bike would be a bad choice.

Practicing fast gear changing will be helpful. I can't recall if the bike has IGH or derailleur, but anyway it has indexed shifting so you can bang through the shifts quickly.

Last edited by jyl; 03-30-14 at 07:30 AM.
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Old 03-30-14, 09:39 AM   #79
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Originally Posted by Giant Doofus View Post
Yeah, I'm starting to rethink this. As I mentioned to chaadster, I'm considering trying out the powergrips. Not to start a controversy, but I've read Grant Peterson on the issue of foot retention and, as I recall, he argues that you aren't really pulling up with the back foot. You are simply not pressing down with it. The result is that your feet aren't working at cross purposes with each other. Either way, I'm thinking of trying it out at least so that my left foot won't slip when I'm trying to power down on it to get going from a stand still.
Take what Grant Petersen says with a grain of salt. Out of the saddle in a maximum effort, you are definitely pulling up with your foot on the backstroke. Even he admits it here

Quote:
When you climb a super steep short hill, you actually can pull up on the upward-moving pedal for a few strokes, and doing so helps you turn over the other pedal
He even mentions "vicious sprints" which is basically what you want to do if you are trying to improve your acceleration across an intersection. Maybe not "vicious" but you want to sprint.
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Old 03-30-14, 11:39 AM   #80
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
Given the type of bike, I think the most practical way to get through an intersection quickly will be:
- start in quite a low gear, something you'd climb hills in
- push off, stand on the pedals for a few strokes to get off the line
- then sit and quickly spin the revs up to pretty high, like 100 rpm or so
- quickly change up one gear, revs up, change up, revs, etc.

Basic idea is using leg speed, high rpm and lower gear, instead of using leg power, low rpm, and higher gear. Like accelerating a manual shift car, you start in a low gear, keep the motor at a high rpm, and flick through the gears. OP will probably be through the intersection by the second gear change.

Reason? This is a city-type bike with upright position, high and swept back bars, platform pedals, step through frame. It isn't designed for the rider to apply big power like on a sprint. You can't get the right body position, pull down hard on the bars, or push and pull hard on the pedals. I also think the OP is a nicely dressed lady in skirts and street shoes, not in tights and cleated bike shoes. Finally, I think the OP should be able to get across the intersection quickly now, without first spending months in the weight room building thighs like steel thunder. So track start technique might be of limited relevance and a fixed gear bike would be a bad choice.

Practicing fast gear changing will be helpful. I can't recall if the bike has IGH or derailleur, but anyway it has indexed shifting so you can bang through the shifts quickly.
Good advice. Thanks. My current bike is a hybrid with flat bars and derailleur gearing. New bike is steel step-through with swept back bars and IGH (class dutch bike, but a little lighter). I think you are right that these techniques are probably going to work best. I'm still going to try the interval training though. I put a lot of miles on, so even though I'm riding in a dress and street shoes, my legs are pretty strong and surprisingly muscular. I might be able to add a little power to the mix, especially on one particularly busy and wide road crossing that I have in mind.
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Old 03-30-14, 11:45 AM   #81
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Ever heard the Music Joke, Question: "How do I get to Carnegie Hall ? Answer: ... Practice, Practice, Practice ..
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