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  1. #1
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    Coasting foot position

    Hello everyone, you must pardon my ignorance on this one but I’m curious and this will most likely help me.
    Firstly, when I say coasting, I mean any travelling on my bike without pedalling.

    So, most of the time at the moment when I coast, I find myself with my right foot fully extended close to the ground and my left leg as far up as it will go, while on the pedal. This position comes most naturally to me. However, I have seen, mostly by MTB riders, coasting with both feet level, halfway between the top and bottom of a pedal stroke. Granted, most of the time they do this is because the terrain is so rough to pedal on.

    So, I ask, which is the correct style for me? I have tried both, the first is more relaxing (requires less effort), the second MTB style keep me on my toes and makes it easier to take some weight off the saddle quickly in a pinch when I see a bump coming up. Both have merits.

    Thanks guys

    Edit: Should of said what type of ridign I do. Mostly on road and footpaths on entry level MTB. Quality of the roads are not great, lots of patched potholes.
    Last edited by damnable; 10-16-06 at 08:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    I coast in the same pedal position you dscribe. However, I am trying to break the habit. I recently installed a cadence sensor on the seat tube on the non-drive side. Holding my foot high causes the crank arm to stop on the sensor. This wreaks havoc. I've seen average cadence go to 4 figures at times!
    Just Peddlin' Around

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    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    I think that coasting with the feet horizontal is better technique. You don't sit as heavily in the saddle, which is gentler on your bottom (it's called a saddle, not a seat, because it's not intended to carry your entire weight) and makes it easier to quickly respond to bumps and rough terrain by hovering over the saddle with knees bent. This is better appreciated on a bike without suspension, but you can rest assured that MTB riders aren't just doing this to take rough terrain more easily - it is easier to effectively maneuver the bike, particulary to suddenly apply force to the pedals or brace against sudden braking if it is necessary to do. Coasting with the cranks horizontal is a more "active" state than coasting with the cranks vertical, and a more prepared state. It's a good habit to cultivate.

    Sheldon Brown also says that you should coast left foot forward. I don't really understand the reason he gives, but I guess I'll take his word for it. http://sheldonbrown.com/gloss_g.html#goofy

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    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    Horizontal, I can put 90% of my weight on the pedals, and take the weight off the seat and handle bars.
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

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    works for truffles pigmode's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by damnable
    So, most of the time at the moment when I coast, I find myself with my right foot fully extended

    That's dangerous--think of the consequences if you foot hit an object on the ground and your leg was driven back into the pedal, which then forced your leg forward while having your foot lock onto the ground. FWIW, I see this all the time with ninja style motorcycles and it tends reveal a level of discomfort on two wheels.

  6. #6
    Dr.Deltron
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    Quote Originally Posted by damnable
    So, most of the time at the moment when I coast, I find myself with my right foot fully extended...
    Good for left hand corners!

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    Quote Originally Posted by pigmode
    That's dangerous--think of the consequences if you foot hit an object on the ground and your leg was driven back into the pedal, which then forced your leg forward while having your foot lock onto the ground. FWIW, I see this all the time with ninja style motorcycles and it tends reveal a level of discomfort on two wheels.
    Hmm not so sure about this, although I should have said 'leg' not 'foot' fully extended, well at least as extended while still on the peddle, so with a little knee bend. I think if this was to happen with an obstacle large enough I would avoid such a close call by a large distance or would have already hit it with the front wheel and where my leg was going would be the least of my worries.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grolby

    Sheldon Brown also says that you should coast left foot forward. I don't really understand the reason he gives, but I guess I'll take his word for it. http://sheldonbrown.com/gloss_g.html#goofy
    Not really sure what Sheldon Brown is saying here either. Isn't the idea that you put an even amount of weight on each pedal so the idea is they don't move, nullifying any idea about putting pressure on any part of the bike in the opposite direction. Wouldn't it be a personal preference with regards to your preferred leg to push off from as to the leg in front?

  9. #9
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I vote for the pedals in the horizontal, avoids unitended pedal strike. However when on the road I have put the cornering side pedal in the upward postion just as a precaution when going into an high speed tight turn. Wrecked more than once before I figured that one out (age 10 or so )

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    Senior Member gear's Avatar
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    horizontal (one forward one back but even in height) is a more wind resistant position

  11. #11
    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    both down

    shameless POWERCRANK plug
    Recommended reading for all cyclists - Cyclecraft - Effective Cycling
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    Quote Originally Posted by markhr
    both down

    Don't have clipless

  13. #13
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Jeez, and its only October.

    Just coasting along (i.e. not cornering, not absorbing potholes, not in a tuck trying to fly down a descent, but just coastin along) can it possibly matter?

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    Senior Member Sci-Fi's Avatar
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    Personally, I think it's up to the rider and the riding conditions. I "usually" coast with my right foot slightly higher...in case I need to get on it (going) for some reason. On longer rides, I may stretch my legs by alternating the full down position. On bad roads, I can see why a horizontal pedal position is recommended, plus you can get your feet to the ground (if needed) without the pedals becoming an obstruction. But like people mentioned before, we are talking about "coasting" and there are advantages and comfort/safety issues with any foot or pedal position.

  15. #15
    Senior Member edp773's Avatar
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    I coast with left foot forward in the horizontal position. The left foot is forward because it is my most powerful leg. My left foot is usually more at the ten o'clock position, which is close enough to level for my riding experiences.

    The other big advantage of coasting with pedals (feet) horizontal is that you are ready to start pedaling quicker. This means that you are ready to react quicker.

    The other reasons are already stated: more pedal clearance and easier to stand.
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    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by damnable
    Don't have clipless
    toe clips 'n' straps are fine or anything similar - powergrips, etc.
    shameless POWERCRANK plug
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    Don't run red lights, wear a helmet, use hand signals, get some cycle lights(front and rear) and, FFS, don't run red lights!

  17. #17
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    Coasting is for the weak.
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