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 vol 08-17-13 08:09 PM

How to pedal the bike efficiently

This may be a laughable discovery for many, but it's new for me. I recently found that if I apply force to the pedal all the way until it is at the lowest point, it's more efficient and less tiring than if I release too early, before the pedal has reached the lowest point (the latter is what I usually did in the past). By the same token, start applying pedal force a bit later, when the pedal has passed the highest point by some angle, instead of starting pedaling hard when it's at the highest point, it also helps with efficiency. Perhaps such detailed observations are addressed when learning professional cycling? (Did I make myself clear?)

 Machka 08-17-13 08:50 PM

Now, instead of easing up at the lowest point, keep applying pressure through the bottom and pull up a little bit at the "back" of the pedal stroke.

In other words, sort of like the motion you'd use to scrape a lot of mud off the bottom of your shoe.

These observations are addressed in any number of cycling books.

 vol 08-17-13 09:21 PM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Machka (Post 15972252) Now, instead of easing up at the lowest point, keep applying pressure through the bottom and pull up a little bit at the "back" of the pedal stroke. In other words, sort of like the motion you'd use to scrape a lot of mud off the bottom of your shoe. These observations are addressed in any number of cycling books.
Yes, I was going to say that--keep applying pedaling force after the lowest point--but I was afraid I couldn't make what I say clear ;). Thank you so much for the affirmation! It produces great inertia, like just letting the wheels glide along for a while after releasing the force.

Any other tips? :rolleyes:

 Machka 08-17-13 09:44 PM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by vol (Post 15972329) Any other tips? :rolleyes:
Yes ... get books.

Smart Cycling by Dr Arnie Baker
Bicycling Medicine by Dr Arnie Baker
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_sa...Aarnie%20baker

The Cyclist's Training Bible by Joe Friel
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_sa...cycle+training

Just to name a few choices.

 vol 08-17-13 09:53 PM

Thanks. (Never thought I need to read books to know how to ride the bike :D)

 Machka 08-18-13 12:54 AM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by vol (Post 15972400) Thanks. (Never thought I need to read books to know how to ride the bike :D)
If you just want to ride around the block or something, you probably don't need to do any further research, but if you want to train and improve etc. that's where books come in. When I started to cycle "seriously" I read everything my library had on bicycles and cycling. Since then I've acquired a small library of books on cycling.

 sreten 08-20-13 11:25 AM

Hi,

Strictly speaking advanced pedalling techniques allow you to generate a little
more power when you might want to, but there is no real evidence over a
long ride there is anything more efficient than letting your legs do what
ever they decide to do naturally. It is more than likely than any form of
exaggerated pedalling technique is less efficient, but still has more power.

For a top cyclist power to weight is more important than efficiency.

rgds, sreten.

 ThermionicScott 08-20-13 11:56 AM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by vol (Post 15972132) This may be a laughable discovery for many, but it's new for me. I recently found that if I apply force to the pedal all the way until it is at the lowest point, it's more efficient and less tiring than if I release too early, before the pedal has reached the lowest point (the latter is what I usually did in the past). By the same token, start applying pedal force a bit later, when the pedal has passed the highest point by some angle, instead of starting pedaling hard when it's at the highest point, it also helps with efficiency. Perhaps such detailed observations are addressed when learning professional cycling? (Did I make myself clear?)
One other big thing is to unweight your other foot when pedaling -- when your legs are both pushing down on the pedals (even a little), it wastes energy and slows you down.

 SpeshulEd 08-20-13 02:59 PM

Pedal in circles...all the way around.

 fietsbob 08-20-13 05:01 PM

Always ride to the leeward side , wind to your back.

 vol 08-21-13 11:45 AM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by SpeshulEd (Post 15981807) Pedal in circles...all the way around.
Thanks for the video (nice British accent)! Thanks for the other tips, too!

 sreten 08-21-13 12:21 PM

Hi,

Nice video about effective (= power) pedalling.

But its not the same as efficiency (body fuel per mile).

rgds, sreten.

 vol 08-21-13 12:32 PM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by sreten (Post 15984887) Hi, Nice video about effective (= power) pedalling. But its not the same as efficiency (body fuel per mile). rgds, sreten.
What I mean is "less exhausting", not wasting body energy: going a given distance using the least strength. Doesn't it relate to efficiency? :rolleyes:

 sreten 08-21-13 12:56 PM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by vol (Post 15984925) What I mean is "less exhausting", not wasting body energy: going a given distance using the least strength. Doesn't it relate to efficiency? :rolleyes:
Hi,

Yes it does. But effective pedalling technique, which most posts here are
referring to, allows you to go faster, but is more exhausting per mile.

The most efficient way of riding a bike is going slowly, but it is not very tiring.
As you get faster drag takes its toll and you become much less efficient as
well as requiring more strength to maintain the required power output.

Say you can ride 50 miles with normal pedaling and at the end you are spent.
Say you try riding 15 miles and no matter how fast you pedal you still have
something left in the tank. For the latter effective pedaling will allow you to
go faster, burn more energy and be more tired at the end of the 15 miles.

FWIW the efficiency probably peaks at around the same effort as a decent
walking pace, just pedalling as comes naturally, letting your legs decide.

Of course most of us want to go faster than that, easily can, and do.
In terms of power output, our efficiency curves are quite flat, but
unfortunately power output versus speed is anything but depending.

Uphill at low speed, speed is directly related to power output, and being
able to blast up a short hill if you have the power is not particularly
more tiring than grinding up it, as you get up the hill a lot faster.

On the flat at speed it is very different. Speed is related to the cube of
power output once aero starts to dominate and efficiency drops a lot.

rgds, sreten.

Also FWIW I can pedal very smooth circles compared to when I
started, having made no effort whatsoever to try to, it comes
with simply doing it, somewhat slower than trying to do it.

 vol 08-23-13 09:19 PM

Here is another video explaining pedaling technique. As the author answered someone, turns out it's only for clipped pedals.

 PlanoFuji 08-24-13 09:09 AM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by vol (Post 15993572) Here is another video explaining pedaling technique. As the author answered someone, turns out it's only for clipped pedals.
Those same techniques were developed for straps and clips but also work with clipless and can even work with a well designed platform. All evidence (there are studies) indicate that even pro's do not pedal like that in anything but sprints and such. For most of the ride they pedal the same way the rest of us do, they just do so much faster...

 fietsbob 08-24-13 09:40 AM

Less performance than comfort for the knees in the long run, I have found the goldilock's porridge ,

the ratio just right to not have to push hard or spin too fast. works for Me and has for many Decades ..

Now using my Brompton , with a 3 speed hub and a mountain drive crank to double the range.

I just adjust my pace slightly to suit the gear that is approximately right .. and Pootle On..

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