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  1. #1
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    Ball of flat of the foot?

    I am not convinced that pedaling with the balls of your feet are more efficient than with the flat of the foot. Maybe with quill or clipless pedals but not with flat platform pedals. Anybody here agree with me?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Not me. I don't think you can use your calf muscles efficiently with the shorter lever arm you get pedaling with the flat of your foot.

    Speedo

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    I don't think the calf muscles are all that important in cycling. It's not like running or jumping.
    Last edited by yamcha; 11-03-07 at 09:10 PM.

  4. #4
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    Back in the days when I use to race, I had this conversation once. Most people would say ball of the foot will use more muscle fibers to generate the same movement, generating less fatigue through time. Others will say that more fibers being use will consume more O2 and generate more fatigue through time. After about 2 months conducting timed interval training and heart rate monitor analysis (same bike, same diet, same circuit, just different pedal position) ball of the foot was more efficient for me. It might not be an universal rule though: my bike geometry, muscle conditioning and overall psychological effect of one style may not be the same for eveybody. I suggest a semi-scientifc, controled test for about 100 days.

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    14r's advice is good. My pedal is centered just behind the ball of my foot. It works better for me, and this setting has been adopted by many long distance racers,

    Juan

  6. #6
    All ur bike r belong Enki james_swift's Avatar
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    After years of tinkering with clipless pedals, my magic formula is the center of the big toe joint 9mm in front of the pedal spindle axis.

  7. #7
    Senior Member stevegor's Avatar
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    Ball of foot for me.......but haven't you been aghast at the guys who waddle down the road peddalling with their heels and their foot sticking way out the front? How do they do that?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yamcha View Post
    I don't think the calf muscles are all that important in cycling. It's not like running or jumping.
    Think again.

    Speedo

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    Seems that a lot of professional cyclists have well developed calf muscles. I wonder what causes that???
    PCG

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by pismocycleguy View Post
    Seems that a lot of professional cyclists have well developed calf muscles. I wonder what causes that???
    PCG
    I know that. This is my point, If I am not using clipless or quill pedals but platforms pedals then maybe the ball of the foot isn't the best. I don't know if platform pedals were even originally made for the ball of the feet.

  11. #11
    No Rocket Surgeon eubi's Avatar
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    Ball of the foot for me.

    I see lots of people pedalling on their arch, though.

    They are going to develop "parrot feet"!
    Fewer Cars, more handlebars!

  12. #12
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    One observation...
    I have never seen anyone with a smooth spin pedaling with their arches on the pedals.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    You know, it occurred to to me that the OP could answer performance related questions such as the one in this thread, and the one in the Low gear or stand up thread, for himself. All it would take is a cycling ergometer that measured power and heartrate. Such ergometers, such as those of the Lifecycle brand, are commonly found in gyms and health clubs.

    In both questions the heart of the question is efficiency: the amount of useful work done relative to the amount of energy required to perform it. An ergometer measures the useful work performed directly, and heartrate is an indicator of the energy required to perform it. So, the experiment to evaluate foot position might go as follows:

    1) Warm up for ten minutes or so

    2) Start using foot position A, set the resistance and control cadence to achieve a steady power output of 150 Watts. (The subject should pick a power level that they can sustain comfortably for the duration of the experiment.)

    3) Start recording heart rate every minute

    4) Ride for 30 minutes using foot postion A.

    Save the recorded heart rate and power level set point.

    5) On another day perform the same experiment, using the same power level set point, and making the same heart rate recordings using foot position B.

    6) Repeat A and B sessions on several days across several weeks

    The foot position that results in the lower average heart rate is the more efficient one.

    Speedo

  14. #14
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Testing or even wondering about this is kind of pointless unless you suspect there is some performance advantage to it. I don't think anyone has suggested that, so why bother thinking about it.

    Have any of you seen a single performance oriented rider riding in the fashion suggested? Probably not.

    Have you seen a bumbling awkward looking slow rider riding in the fashion suggested? Probably so.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Testing or even wondering about this is kind of pointless unless you suspect there is some performance advantage to it. I don't think anyone has suggested that, so why bother thinking about it.
    The OP suggested that there was an advantage to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Have any of you seen a single performance oriented rider riding in the fashion suggested? Probably not.

    Have you seen a bumbling awkward looking slow rider riding in the fashion suggested? Probably so.
    Sure, I agree with you. Lots of people in the thread agree with you, but the OP has persisted in probing the question. I suggested a way that he could objectively measure the effect for himself.

    Speedo

  16. #16
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedo View Post
    The OP suggested that there was an advantage to it.



    Sure, I agree with you. Lots of people in the thread agree with you, but the OP has persisted in probing the question. I suggested a way that he could objectively measure the effect for himself.

    Speedo
    Actually the way I read his post he didn't imply there was an advantage, but only that there wasn't a disadvantage. That is probably putting to fine of a point on it though

    I didn't mean to criticize your proposal. If the user really wants to know it would be a good way to test how it worked for himself. It would probably have little relevence to anyone else though. If one rider who is used to pedaling a particular way did the test I could imagine the test being skewed in favor of the way he is used to pedaling, especially if he happens to have poor form which seems likely in this case.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    If one rider who is used to pedaling a particular way did the test I could imagine the test being skewed in favor of the way he is used to pedaling, especially if he happens to have poor form which seems likely in this case.
    While I agree that the result might be skewed in favor of the way a person usually pedals. I would be shocked (and disappointed!) to find that that was enough to overwhelm good form.

    Reading through the thread again I see that 14R already proposed much the same test, way up near the top.

    Speedo

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedo View Post
    While I agree that the result might be skewed in favor of the way a person usually pedals. I would be shocked (and disappointed!) to find that that was enough to overwhelm good form.

    Reading through the thread again I see that 14R already proposed much the same test, way up near the top.

    Speedo
    Actually 14R proposed doing it for a few months at a time, which would probably eliminate the bias of being used to pedaling a particular way.

    Although I'm not so sure about step 2 of your proposal. What is most efficient when generating a constant power input to the pedals might not necessarily be the most efficient in terms of the total energy delivered to the pedals. Furthermore, the most efficient technique might depend on the power curve. For example, using the heal would almost certainly be more efficient for delivering the maximum power for a fixed amount of energy (one big push). Does anyone know how to resolve this question? That's what fouled us up in the thread on rotating mass.
    Last edited by makeinu; 11-07-07 at 12:37 PM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Never underestimate the power of bad form You can't assume good form in either foot position. The rider could have other things wrong with their form that could negate any chance at a useful finding in any test.

    To my way of thinking a rider who normally pedals with his arches over the pedals would be producing suspect data in a test. I do not know if that is the case with the OP or not, but it seems likely.

    While I really don't think the testing is worth doing, it would be interesting if the OP followed through with it and reported back with his findings.

    There are facets of bicycling (BMX, trials, etc.) where foot retention is generally not used and I don't see those guys pedaling in this fashion. The only folks I see doing that are people I don't consider to be bicyclists based on other aspects of their riding form and performance. I've got to assume there is a reason for that.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    There are facets of bicycling (BMX, trials, etc.) where foot retention is generally not used and I don't see those guys pedaling in this fashion. The only folks I see doing that are people I don't consider to be bicyclists based on other aspects of their riding form and performance. I've got to assume there is a reason for that.
    No you don't. You can conduct objective tests and no assume anything...or at least chose not to assume anything until you see the results of objective tests.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by makeinu View Post
    What is most efficient when generating a constant power input to the pedals might not necessarily be the most efficient in terms of the total energy delivered to the pedals.
    On the Lifecycles in my gym the power measurement seems to be averaged. That's actually a good thing because trying to maintain a constant power output over a pedal cycle would be kind of challenging. As an averaged measurement it is a good indicator of the total energy delivered to the pedals.
    Last edited by Speedo; 11-07-07 at 03:57 PM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    While I really don't think the testing is worth doing, it would be interesting if the OP followed through with it and reported back with his findings.
    I think the OP should hire a team of coaches and sports medicine experts. He could have them work on his form and put him through a battery of controlled ergometer and wind tunnel tests.

    Speedo

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedo View Post
    In the Lifecycles in my gym the power measurement seems to be averaged. That's actually a good thing because trying to maintain a constant power output over a pedal cycle would be kind of challenging. As an averaged measurement it is a good indicator of the total energy delivered to the pedals.
    Good point.

  24. #24
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    Ok, I tested it out and I say that the flat of the foot feels more natural and comfortable on platform pedals.

  25. #25
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by makeinu View Post
    No you don't. You can conduct objective tests and no assume anything...or at least chose not to assume anything until you see the results of objective tests.
    But why would I bother to do that when I see no reason to suspect that there is any possible benefit to riding in a manner that seems (by my observation at least) to be only used by people who can't ride well at all?

    If the OP wants to ride that way that is fine with me, but I see not the slightest reason to suspect that there might be a benefit to it.

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