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  1. #1
    vol
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    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?)

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    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.

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    vol
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    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?

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    Any other tips?
    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.

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

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    Thanks. (Never thought I need to read books to know how to ride the bike )
    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.

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    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.

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    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

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    Senior Member SpeshulEd's Avatar
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    Pedal in circles...all the way around.

    Hey guys, lets go play bikes!

    Strava

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Always ride to the leeward side , wind to your back.

  11. #11
    vol
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpeshulEd View Post
    Pedal in circles...all the way around.
    Thanks for the video (nice British accent)! Thanks for the other tips, too!

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    Hi,

    Nice video about effective (= power) pedalling.

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

    rgds, sreten.

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    vol
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    Quote Originally Posted by sreten View Post
    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?

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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    What I mean is "less exhausting", not wasting body energy: going a
    given distance using the least strength. Doesn't it relate to efficiency?
    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.
    Last edited by sreten; 08-21-13 at 01:27 PM.

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

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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    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...

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    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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