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  1. #1
    Senior Member dannyq's Avatar
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    "Pretend that your trying to scrape mud off your shoes"

    I read/hear that alot when trying to maintain a perfect circle when pedaling. Is "try to keep your feet pointed down?" the same thing?

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    No, it's not the same thing. With the scraping mud off the bottom of your shoe, your feet are more level, more parallel with the ground. After all, you don't scrape mud with your toes pointed down, right?

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    Senior Member barba's Avatar
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    The pointing your foot down thing probably refers to "ankling". It is a technique of some dispute. From Sheldon Brown: http://sheldonbrown.com/gloss_an-z.html#ankling

  4. #4
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Pedal the way that works for you. Pro riders have a huge variety of pedalling styles. They don't all have the same foot position or motion.

  5. #5
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    If your feet are on the pedals, then you will be pedaling in circles. Danged-near perfect circles, unless something is way wrong with your crankset.

  6. #6
    Tom (ex)Builder twahl's Avatar
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    I tend to ankle for a while every so often. It takes a concious effort on my part, but I find that if I do it I'm less subject to having my calves cramp on longer rides.
    Tom

    "It hurts so good..."

  7. #7
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    think of muscling your feet thru the entire circle, not just down on the pedals.

    Pulling back, pulling up, pulling over, not just pushing down.

    I visualize my feet are attached to an archimedes' screw.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  8. #8
    Sprockette wabbit's Avatar
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    when i go up hills i pedal with my toes pointing down...i remember noticing how pantani did that and found it works great for me. I visualize a duck paddling...ever notice the way they swim? The rest of the time i use the bekologist method...lol
    You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That's great...if you want to attract vermin.

  9. #9
    Senior Member rodrigaj's Avatar
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  10. #10
    Enjoying the Ride Bob Loblaw's Avatar
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    Just like everything else, there are a ton of opinions out there, but the one that I've heard and happen to believe is that in pedaling, you should attempt to pedal 'heel first'. In other words, lead with your heel. Try this, and I think you'll notice that you'll be using more of your quad muscles. Leading with your toe tends to isolate a lot of the work to your calfs. You want to be sure you're using those big quads to do as much work as possible.

  11. #11
    your god hates me Bob Ross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Loblaw View Post
    Just like everything else, there are a ton of opinions out there, but the one that I've heard and happen to believe is that in pedaling, you should attempt to pedal 'heel first'. In other words, lead with your heel. Try this, and I think you'll notice that you'll be using more of your quad muscles. Leading with your toe tends to isolate a lot of the work to your calfs. You want to be sure you're using those big quads to do as much work as possible.

    +1

    A friend of mine used to ride with his toe pointed down. He went for a bike fitting with Mike Sherry (a disciple of Craig Upton & the WobbleNaught Fit System) and Mike pointed out something about toe-down pedalling that is either one of those forehead-slapping "Doh! Wow, that's amazing!" moments, or else a cheap parlor trick...although my friend insists lowering his heel has improved his power:

    Mike asked him to put his crank at the 12 o'clock position with his foot in the heel-up position, and then relax his leg. Every time he relaxed, the crank would rotate backwards.

    Then Mike asked him to put his crank at the 12 o'clock position with his foot in a level (parallel to the ground) position, and then relax his leg. Every time he relaxed, the crank would rotate forwards.

    Free energy!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Loblaw View Post
    Just like everything else, there are a ton of opinions out there, but the one that I've heard and happen to believe is that in pedaling, you should attempt to pedal 'heel first'. In other words, lead with your heel. Try this, and I think you'll notice that you'll be using more of your quad muscles. Leading with your toe tends to isolate a lot of the work to your calfs. You want to be sure you're using those big quads to do as much work as possible.
    Could you explain "lead with your heel"?

    Are you talking about positioning your foot a certain way or just "visualizing" that you are pushing from the heel, even though the pedal is connected to the ball of the foot?

    As far as "scraping the mud", I find that when my cadence gets high enough that I start to bounce in the saddle a little, it's a good time to practice circles. Smooths right out.

  13. #13
    Bike Junkie aadhils's Avatar
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    The best way to learn is to ride a fixed gear. You don't have to make an effort to learn it then, the fixed gear automatically teaches you...

  14. #14
    Enjoying the Ride Bob Loblaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WesMorrison View Post
    Could you explain "lead with your heel"?

    Are you talking about positioning your foot a certain way or just "visualizing" that you are pushing from the heel, even though the pedal is connected to the ball of the foot?

    As far as "scraping the mud", I find that when my cadence gets high enough that I start to bounce in the saddle a little, it's a good time to practice circles. Smooths right out.
    Sure, you're basically just concentrating on pushing your heel down first in the down stroke. Try to get your heel 'below' your toes in the forward part of the stroke. You likely won't be able to, but it will flatten your foot out more and you'll end up using more of your quads. Try it, and you'll quickly feel the difference in your legs. Keep with it, and you'll get used to it. It relates closely to the mud scraping analogy. Envision you have mud on your shoe, and you're standing in front of a horizontal bar that you're going to use to scrape the mud off with. You'd touch your heel down onto the bar first, then as you push down and draw your foot back, you're slowly lifting your heel and pointing your toes downward. Make sense? It's tough to describe!

  15. #15
    Radfahrer Rincewind8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
    Mike pointed out something about toe-down pedalling that is either one of those forehead-slapping "Doh! Wow, that's amazing!" moments, or else a cheap parlor trick...although my friend insists lowering his heel has improved his power:

    Free energy!
    I vote for cheap parlor trick. There is no free energy!!!
    TH 1.81 (133kg*62)

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Loblaw View Post
    Sure, you're basically just concentrating on pushing your heel down first in the down stroke. Try to get your heel 'below' your toes in the forward part of the stroke. You likely won't be able to, but it will flatten your foot out more and you'll end up using more of your quads. Try it, and you'll quickly feel the difference in your legs. Keep with it, and you'll get used to it. It relates closely to the mud scraping analogy. Envision you have mud on your shoe, and you're standing in front of a horizontal bar that you're going to use to scrape the mud off with. You'd touch your heel down onto the bar first, then as you push down and draw your foot back, you're slowly lifting your heel and pointing your toes downward. Make sense? It's tough to describe!
    So it is basically a form of ankling.

  17. #17
    Enjoying the Ride Bob Loblaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WesMorrison View Post
    So it is basically a form of ankling.

    Not that extreme. Rodrigaj posted a good link:

    http://www.bikesplit.com/bsa4.htm

    Look at the second picture. For most cyclists, you cannot achieve that type of stroke without conscious effort to keep your heel down. Stages 2 + 3 will typically land your heel in a much higher position if you're not trying to do this. It seems that pedaling through your toes and using mostly your calf muscles happens instinctively. Some may pedal as the picture shows naturally, I do not.

    I'd suggest having a friend watch you pedal after a 5-10 min warm up. Alternatively, if you have a trainer or stationary bike, you could video tape yourself.

    Of course, keep in mind that this is all 'fine-tuning' and optimization. I'm also an advocate of the 'just ride it' policy where applicable...

  18. #18
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WesMorrison View Post
    So it is basically a form of ankling.

    More like the opposite of ankling.

  19. #19
    Mmmmm potatoes idcruiserman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aadhils View Post
    The best way to learn is to ride a fixed gear. You don't have to make an effort to learn it then, the fixed gear automatically teaches you...
    I've found it's the opposite. Fixed gear makes my pedaling lazy.
    Idaho

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
    If your feet are on the pedals, then you will be pedaling in circles. Danged-near perfect circles, unless something is way wrong with your crankset.
    "pedaling in circles" is a misnomer for "applying constant, continuous, smooth force throughout the entire circle of motion". Sure your feet are moving in circles, but are they applying energy to propel you forward without interuption?

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