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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

View Poll Results: Answer as many as fits your situation.
Choose all that apply. 1. Pedaling Technique, what's that? I just hop on and go. 14 17.95%
I am a masher. 9 11.54%
I have thought about pedaling technique, but have never tried one. 8 10.26%
I use my clipless or toe clips to "wipe" the bottom of my stroke, 43 55.13%
I use my clipless or toe clips to pull up on the opposite pedal. 40 51.28%
I use some other technique described below. 8 10.26%
My pedaling technique (if any) has changed as I got older. 10 12.82%
My pedaling technique (if any) has always been the same over the years. 16 20.51%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 78. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-14-07, 06:51 PM   #1
DnvrFox
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50+ Pedaling Technique

I haven't thought about pedaling technique for several years.

However, due to a left hip prone to acute bursitis, and lately somewhat sensitive, I did think about it on today's ride.

I find that if I use the opposite leg to pull up at the same time as I am pushing down with my push leg, it reduces the strain on my hip joint considerably, and, lo and behold, I go considerably faster.

I have gotten into the habit of mashing.

Is 50+ pedaling technique different than <50 technique?

So, what about you?

Do you think about pedaling technique, or is it something you have never considered or thought about? If you do use a technique, what is it? Or do you just hop on and go?

Choose as many responses as are appropriate.

Last edited by DnvrFox; 06-14-07 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 06-14-07, 07:28 PM   #2
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Circles. I started to vote for wipe and pull up, but though it includes those, the real emphasis is to think about turning full circles with the pedals. The technique follows without a lot of analysis.
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Old 06-14-07, 07:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesDawg
Circles. I started to vote for wipe and pull up, but though it includes those, the real emphasis is to think about turning full circles with the pedals. The technique follows without a lot of analysis.
Ditto - A fixed gear was my best trainer for developing a good technique. Spinning classes also helped.
BTW - I only 'pull-up' when climbing or sprinting.
Also equally important and it helps on a sunny day (WATCH-SHADOW) minimal head/shoulder movement is critical to a good steady stroke rythm(sp?). Training on rollers has helped me develope that aspect. exception again is sprinting/climbing out of seat.

THINK FULL CIRCLE!
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Old 06-14-07, 07:48 PM   #4
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I wouldn't know how to describe my pedaling "technique". I don't use clipless, I use mtb platforms with tractions pins (some call the freestyle) pedals. Definitely better than the "regular" road platforms I had, felt like I gained some efficiency with the mtb.platforms. I think I push down, then pull back after I'm at the bottom of the stroke, but never really gave much thought, or paid attention to it. If I was pedaling one-footed, I'd probably miss from 8:00 to 12:00 on the pedal stroke, but I'm not riding one footed, so by that time the pedal on the other side has taken over. Not as efficient as clipless, but works OK for me.
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Old 06-14-07, 07:52 PM   #5
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Yes, I should have put "circles" as a choice, because that is actually what I ended up doing. It just slipped my mind, but it is what i am doing now.

Last edited by DnvrFox; 06-14-07 at 09:01 PM.
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Old 06-14-07, 09:12 PM   #6
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I don't really think about it. I just make 'em go around.
I guess I have no technique.
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Old 06-14-07, 09:32 PM   #7
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I use the scrap gum off the bottome but when i am really putting out the power, I visualize myself floating in the pedals ever so slightly touching the bottom. No pushing down or pulling up just complete relaxation and spinning.
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Old 06-14-07, 09:40 PM   #8
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I was reading an article earlier today, now lost thanks to the miracle of modern forgetfullness (didn't bookmark the thing), but this codger was saying that few people actually apply much upwards pressure on the pedals, even when pedalling in circles - it's more a case that they are getting the foot out of the way of the rising pedal. Suits me.

Yes, my technique is different now to what it was before, but only because I'm finding out more now. I used to ride at a decent cadence and try to maintain it using the gears.

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Old 06-14-07, 10:22 PM   #9
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Where's the <50 poll? Just askin', ya' know. (or did I mean or maybe even )
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Old 06-14-07, 10:27 PM   #10
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I find that the "scrape and pull up" technique works especially well on my white bike.
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Old 06-14-07, 10:40 PM   #11
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I have a pretty smooth technique that has not changed over the years except for a slightly lower rpm. Other riders in the club I rode with always called me a good spinner. My upper body does not rock sideways, nor does my head move much. Wasting all that upper body energy doesn't make any sense to me since I need all the help I can get.

Of course, on a long and/or steep climb-all bets are off.
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Old 06-15-07, 04:56 AM   #12
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+1 on circles with clipless pedals. Sometimes I forget or get lazy or distracted, then when I tire I remember to make circles with my feet and the speed comes back up.
Can't do it while standing though, then I become a masher.
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Old 06-15-07, 05:25 AM   #13
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I, too, think circles, use clipless, and keep my cadence at about 90 - 95.
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Old 06-15-07, 06:04 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Baron
Ditto - A fixed gear was my best trainer for developing a good technique. Spinning classes also helped.
Another thing that helps me is to ride rollers (clipless pedals and think circles). You need to be really smooth on rollers and "mashing" won't get it.
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Old 06-15-07, 07:47 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveE
Where's the <50 poll? Just askin', ya' know. (or did I mean or maybe even )
And I am supposed to be responsile for the pedaling technique of the Turks in the roadie forum?

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Old 06-15-07, 08:53 AM   #16
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"wipe" is a good image for my money. But this topic reminds me of a similar issue I used to have with running. I had noticed some problems develolping with certain joints on the right side when doing very long runs (20 miles). Then I read an article about the synchrony of breathing cadence and stride cadence (from some high profile ironman triathlete). One contention of the article was that foot strike was harder on the body when combined with the start of an exhale. Their point was: if your rhythm of breathing and stride caused your exhale and foot strike to always be on the same side, you could be asking for skeletal mechanics problems. I developed breathing cadences that caused the exhale to alternate sides on foot strike and my problems disappeared immediately. I also noticed that such conscious attention to breathing cadences seemed to help my performance. It's probably less of an issue for skeletal problems with biking, BUT ..I think I still get some performance benefit by conciously matching my breathing cadence with my cycle stroke cadence in various patterns. Just something to play with on your next workout ride.
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Old 06-15-07, 08:56 AM   #17
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Yep, I just go round and round in circles....

Wait, that didn't sound right.
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Old 06-15-07, 09:02 AM   #18
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I said my technique changed as I got older, actually it changed when I went from clips to clipless. I try not to be a masher, but it requires concious thought to spin. I don't have cadence counter on the bike, but at the gym on a stationary bike I can get to 100 to 120 rpm, but tend to stay at ~80.

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Old 06-15-07, 09:08 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesDawg
Circles. I started to vote for wipe and pull up, but though it includes those, the real emphasis is to think about turning full circles with the pedals. The technique follows without a lot of analysis.
Yup, but I think of it as applying force along the tangent.
As discussed many times before, one-legged practice helps.
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Old 06-15-07, 10:17 AM   #20
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Can't say I give technique much thought, except intermittently. I do pull up on sprints/acceleration/uphills, or stand and mash on a steeper uphill.

I do not understand the "wipe" concept. This is the first time I've heard of it.

I do remember the old and now discredited "ankling" technique but do not use it. It never felt right even back in the day and I could not sustain it. Just as well as I gather it actually caused injuries.

I thought riding fixed would make me more aware of technique (that's the conventional wisdom) but at a good cruising speed the bike seems to do a lot of the work for me, just pushing my legs through the stroke with its own momentum. It's one of the thinks I've come to like about riding fixed. If anything, I think less about technique on my fixie...except for a recent ride that found me on a fairly steep, long downhill at 30+ MPH, spinning like mad wondering if my legs would stay attached!

(And some peckerwood in a pickup behind me had the nerve to honk at me too!)
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Old 06-15-07, 10:23 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by head_wind
Yup, but I think of it as applying force along the tangent.
As discussed many times before, one-legged practice helps.
You think more than I do.
I don't see that as a problem - for either of us.
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Old 06-15-07, 10:25 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcoppola
I do not understand the "wipe" concept. This is the first time I've heard of it.
The way it was explained to me is to think of wiping dog crap off your shoe as your foot goes across the bottom of the circle.
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Old 06-15-07, 10:35 AM   #23
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i have always been a masher, just more comfortable pushing harder gears then a high speed spin.

But now @ 55 and the peripheral neuropathy getting worse I am trying to revert to spinning more, puts less pressure on my feet
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Old 06-15-07, 10:40 AM   #24
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Circle with wiping motion, although I have not been able to master this 100% of the time. When I do get it right I can quickly tell by increased power and a more fluid motion. Hard to maintain when you are tired and I just have not been able to create the muscle memory to do this consistently without thinking about it.
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Old 06-15-07, 12:34 PM   #25
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In addition to the circling I find that I revert to pushing with the Knee/thigh muscle group. (this feels like standing up from a deep knee bend.)

When I remember to think about my stroke I bring in more of the Hip/thigh group (this feels like pushing the upper legs away from my chest as I lean forward)

Sorry if my explinations have been less then graceful but when I do this right there is more power or much less fatigue. Strangely it is easier to get a good pedal stroke going when I am warmed up and tired.
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