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  1. #1
    Senior Member ctpres's Avatar
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    Mindless 360 degree pedaling help needed

    Having a problem getting full circle pedal down to a thoughtless process. As long as I can think about it - no problem. Any tips or hints appreciated.
    Retired 75 YO. Got my sub 5 ET century at 50 and sub 7 RT at 75. Just want to finish at 80. USNR, USAF, USCGA - riding 2014 Zenetto Steath ZR7.1 Carbon

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    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Thoughtful practice is the thing. You can also do FastPedal intervals, where you hold a cadence of 115 or so as continuously as possible for long periods, up to 45 minutes. I'm not sure how much that helps the particular thing you're talking about, but they do help with getting the neuromuscular coordination down. I do an interval once a week in the winter.

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    ncr
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctpres View Post
    Having a problem getting full circle pedal down to a thoughtless process. As long as I can think about it - no problem. Any tips or hints appreciated.
    Why are you using full circle when effective torque can only be applied between 1 and 5 o'c.

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    Administrator CbadRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncr View Post
    Why are you using full circle when effective torque can only be applied between 1 and 5 o'c.
    If you have clipless pedals you can generate force on the upstoke as well.
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    Junior Member Doug Huffman's Avatar
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    Learn round spin pedaling with a Moving Bottom Bracket - MBB - bike, like a Cruzbike.

    http://www.cruzbike.com/

    Clumsy pedal forces have to be taken up by the upper body, to the point that the builder suggests learning to ride with open hands, that can't grip.

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    One legged pedalling.

    Good for identifying where your pedal circle weaknesses are, and for building up a bit of leg strength and stamina.

    Unclip from one side, pedal 10, 20 or 50 strokes on the other (preferably on the flat), then change over.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CbadRider View Post
    If you have clipless pedals you can generate force on the upstoke as well.
    You can, but elite, national-class cyclists don't. Whether you want to spend a lot of time worrying about getting a few extra watts from the upstroke is up to you.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ctpres's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    You can, but elite, national-class cyclists don't. Whether you want to spend a lot of time worrying about getting a few extra watts from the upstroke is up to you.
    I have found two things that make for less stress on my old knees and feet - spinning and 360. Keeping cadence up helps my knees and 360 power stroke helps my feet. When I can keep them both going my speed and distance go up and fewer aches/pains during and after longer rides. Riding an old body requires new skills - for me anyhow.
    Retired 75 YO. Got my sub 5 ET century at 50 and sub 7 RT at 75. Just want to finish at 80. USNR, USAF, USCGA - riding 2014 Zenetto Steath ZR7.1 Carbon

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    Senior Member mr_pedro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    You can, but elite, national-class cyclists don't. Whether you want to spend a lot of time worrying about getting a few extra watts from the upstroke is up to you.
    What I remember reading about is that the elite cyclists could output more watts when asked to pull on the upstroke, but they were spending much more energy than they gained from it. What you should do is pull your leg up so it does not weigh on the pedal during the up stroke and you can kick back and forward as well.

    I am in the same situation as the OP, when I put my mind to it I can do the kicking, pulling and lifting but it is not done automatically. The one legged thing sound like a good way to practice it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ctpres View Post
    I have found two things that make for less stress on my old knees and feet - spinning and 360. Keeping cadence up helps my knees and 360 power stroke helps my feet. When I can keep them both going my speed and distance go up and fewer aches/pains during and after longer rides. Riding an old body requires new skills - for me anyhow.
    No question, spinning is easier on your knees. I'm not sure what you mean by 360 power stroke as most cyclists power stroke looks something like:

    Most of the power comes on the downstroke when the pedal is at 3 o'clock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_pedro View Post
    What I remember reading about is that the elite cyclists could output more watts when asked to pull on the upstroke, but they were spending much more energy than they gained from it.
    I think you are mis-remembering. Elite cyclists would gladly give up some efficiency for more power if it were possible. Power is far more important than efficiency when racing.

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    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    No question, spinning is easier on your knees. I'm not sure what you mean by 360 power stroke as most cyclists power stroke looks something like:

    Most of the power comes on the downstroke when the pedal is at 3 o'clock.
    Suppose we were to look at a graph of torque vs. crank angle for a rider who was being spun, i.e. their legs were doing nothing, just along for the ride. The only difference between the shapes of the above graph and my hypothetical graph would be the near absence of torque on the upstroke in the above graph.

    What one is really doing when one thinks they are "pedaling circles" is maintaining a constant torque on the bottom bracket.

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    Have you tried riding on a trainer?

    I can't claim to have 360 degree pedalling down to a mindless practice, but I was astonished the first time I got on a trainer to find out just how not-360 I was. You can't fool it - the second you stop applying force, it stops moving. You can really feel the difference between a smooth circle and a jerky downstroke-only motion.

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    Senior Member mr_pedro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    I think you are mis-remembering. Elite cyclists would gladly give up some efficiency for more power if it were possible. Power is far more important than efficiency when racing.
    Now I am confused. In post #7 you say that elite cyclists don't generate power on the up stroke and now you say they do?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    No question, spinning is easier on your knees. I'm not sure what you mean by 360 power stroke as most cyclists power stroke looks something like:

    Most of the power comes on the downstroke when the pedal is at 3 o'clock.
    And can you cite the study.

    As I recall, from the reading of studies on this, there are deficiencies in the methodology.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  16. #16
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    Suppose we were to look at a graph of torque vs. crank angle for a rider who was being spun, i.e. their legs were doing nothing, just along for the ride. The only difference between the shapes of the above graph and my hypothetical graph would be the near absence of torque on the upstroke in the above graph.

    What one is really doing when one thinks they are "pedaling circles" is maintaining a constant torque on the bottom bracket.
    Thinking about this a little further, my hypothetical graph would only show a similar pedal force curve at very low cadences. A leg is composed of three pieces with three joints. These leg segments accelerate at differing rates in different parts of the pedal stroke. It would be interesting to see a graph of pedal force vectors vs. crank angle with the passive pedaler's legs being rotated at a high cadence. This would be interesting because the difference between those force vectors and the actual observable force vectors of an active cyclist would be very different. It could be that much of the effort involved in pedaling is in simply overcoming the natural accelerations of our various leg parts. We know that heart rate increases with cadence even if output power is held steady.

    For instance, beginning riders are unable to pedal high cadences without bouncing in the saddle, while expert cyclists can pedal at cadences of well over 150 without bouncing. Expert cyclists do this by stopping the downward motion of the leg before it reaches bottom dead center. Were they not to do this, the force of the pedal decelerating their leg would propel their butt off the saddle. Therefore pedaling smoothly and pedaling circles is a much more complicated activity than one might think from looking at a graph of the crankarm torque of a single pedal.

  17. #17
    Senior Member ctpres's Avatar
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    Wouldn't a watt meter give somewhat of an answer. Maybe a couple of riders with meters could try some tests. 360 = more power? I don't know, but when I go to 360 my cadence/speed go up and that sounds like more power to me. But then I'm a EE not ME.
    Retired 75 YO. Got my sub 5 ET century at 50 and sub 7 RT at 75. Just want to finish at 80. USNR, USAF, USCGA - riding 2014 Zenetto Steath ZR7.1 Carbon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    For instance, beginning riders are unable to pedal high cadences without bouncing in the saddle, while expert cyclists can pedal at cadences of well over 150 without bouncing. Expert cyclists do this by stopping the downward motion of the leg before it reaches bottom dead center. Were they not to do this, the force of the pedal decelerating their leg would propel their butt off the saddle. Therefore pedaling smoothly and pedaling circles is a much more complicated activity than one might think from looking at a graph of the crankarm torque of a single pedal.
    Oh yeah, that thing about trying to coast on a fixed gear bike. Talk about lift your butt off the saddle then!!

    But maybe look at it from the viewpoint of not stopping the downward motion, but rather modifying the movement down into an arc.

    I also wonder about the merits of lifting up on the pedal (attached with cleats or straps) when climbing.
    Well, I don't wonder, because I do it and it feels beneficial...
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  19. #19
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Oh yeah, that thing about trying to coast on a fixed gear bike. Talk about lift your butt off the saddle then!!

    But maybe look at it from the viewpoint of not stopping the downward motion, but rather modifying the movement down into an arc.

    I also wonder about the merits of lifting up on the pedal (attached with cleats or straps) when climbing.
    Well, I don't wonder, because I do it and it feels beneficial...
    Lift your butt right into the ditch! Yes, you're right about that. One does try to modify the vector rather than reverse it. I pull up when I'm attacking on a steep hill, otherwise not. It's exhausting - the psoas or whatever is quite small compared with hams or quads. I do well to just unweight the pedal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    And can you cite the study.

    As I recall, from the reading of studies on this, there are deficiencies in the methodology.
    Physiological and biomechanical factors associated with elite endurance cycling performance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    I think you are mis-remembering. Elite cyclists would gladly give up some efficiency for more power if it were possible. Power is far more important than efficiency when racing.
    Quote Originally Posted by mr_pedro View Post
    Now I am confused. In post #7 you say that elite cyclists don't generate power on the up stroke and now you say they do?
    No. I'm saying that if it were true that cyclists could gain power by pulling up on the inactive leg then they would do this and live with the decreased efficiency. Since it has been found that elite cyclists don't generate significant power on the upstroke, I conclude that this technique is not particularly useful unless you are sprinting or going hard up a hill.

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    ncr
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    Suppose we were to look at a graph of torque vs. crank angle for a rider who was being spun, i.e. their legs were doing nothing, just along for the ride. The only difference between the shapes of the above graph and my hypothetical graph would be the near absence of torque on the upstroke in the above graph.

    What one is really doing when one thinks they are "pedaling circles" is maintaining a constant torque on the bottom bracket.

    No matter what changes riders believe they are making to their style, their pedaling graph will always appear like the one above because they are still using the basic natural pedaling stroke in which maximal torque can only be applied around 3 o'c. The perfect TT pedaling technique does exist and it completely changes the shape of the pedaling graph. It is a semi-circular technique which has no dead spot sector, it starts with the equivalent of 2 o'c torque at 11 o'c, increasing to continuous maximal torque as crank moves through 12, 1, 2 and 3 o'c, returning to normal torque between 3 and 5 o'c where it ends, as the other leg simultaneously takes over at 11. I am waiting on the new more accurate force/vector powermeter to confirm my claims with a very different pedaling graph. When pedaling circles each leg can only get 50% concentration from the brain, weakening power in the important downstroke. The semi-circular style guarantees total concentration to each leg. This special technique has been discussed on other forums and has led to many arguments with the experts claiming it's impossible to apply maximal torque to the cranks at 12 o'c, so no further discussion here as it would be a waste of time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    No. I'm saying that if it were true that cyclists could gain power by pulling up on the inactive leg then they would do this and live with the decreased efficiency. Since it has been found that elite cyclists don't generate significant power on the upstroke, I conclude that this technique is not particularly useful unless you are sprinting or going hard up a hill.
    And this is where the problem starts to occur in interpreting these results, because 99% of cyclists aren't elite cyclists who have been trained to use particular muscles on a particular fit of bike for a particular purpose, and who are the subject of these types of efficiency tests.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    And this is where the problem starts to occur in interpreting these results, because 99% of cyclists aren't elite cyclists who have been trained to use particular muscles on a particular fit of bike for a particular purpose, and who are the subject of these types of efficiency tests.
    So what? If beginner cyclists don't pull up and elites don't pull up, what is the point of spending a bunch of time training yourself to pull up on the upstroke?

    You're far better off focussing on putting out more power consistently, however you manage to do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ncr View Post
    The perfect TT pedaling technique does exist and it completely changes the shape of the pedaling graph.
    How do you define perfect? Do you have any evidence for your claims as there are no studies that I'm aware of that confirm your theory.

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