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Of the 3 contact points (saddle/handlebars/pedals) which holds you back the most?

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Of the 3 contact points (saddle/handlebars/pedals) which holds you back the most?

Old 12-08-22, 10:33 AM
  #26  
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My hands will become tense if I keep them in one position for too long. I find that modern compact handlebars make it easier to change from the drops to the ergo-levers, helping to improve comfort. I used aero-bars on a few bikes just to add a position that took the load off my hands for brief segments of the ride.
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Old 12-08-22, 02:50 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by masi61 View Post

Due to some neuropathy issues and post surgery Morton's neuroma issues I now am super protective of my feet. I spent more than half of this past cycling season "soft pedaling" on group rides. So much so that the other riders questioned my high cadence and they were feeling complelled to advise me to upshift into bigger gears more. I protested on several occasions and whined to my ride leader that I "couldn't" do it. Later this cycling season I have continued to refine my insoles, my cycling shoes and socks and also doing foot work in yoga classes in an effort to strengthen and make more flexible my feet. Call it a work in progress. I actually have to count down in my head cycles of 8 or 12 on my dominant then non-dominant feet while standing to climb out of the saddle. By doing this, I can manage the bone on bone sensation that I sometimes get when putting downforce from the ball of my foot onto the center of the pedal.
With modern dual-control levers and flat-on-top, curved-on-the bottom handlebar bends, it's pretty difficult to find a really unsuitable handlebar. We all have our preferences. but I say as long as you avoid the "ergo" bends of the '90s to early 2000s, there are no real duds out there. The thing too look for is some parallelism between the drops and the flats on top. My favorite is a slightly deeper square bend made by Pro. It may have been discontinued.

As for saddles, it's a straightforward task to find out what features work for you--nose length, center channel or slot or none, scoop or flat, curved or flat cross-section, side skirts or not. My must-haves are narrow-to-medium width, longer nose, scooped profile, flat cross-section, and side skirts. That points to Selle Italia Flite 1990 and Bontrager Serano. Until someone convinces me my junk would be more comfortable hanging in front of the nose, this is what I'll use until I hang up my wheels.

Now the feet are another story. I discovered I have Morton's neuroma about 25 years ago and hallux rigidus about 15. I got the Morton's under control with wider shoes and firmly supportive footbeds with metatarsal arch support. Initially, I used the buttons, but now I find aftermarket footbeds like those made by Giro, Shimano, and Specialized sufficient. Decades ago, finding sufficiently wide cycling shoes was practically impossible. My feet are on the plus side of average. Current shoes by Shimano, Bontrager, Pearl Izumi, and Bont all fit reasonably well. There are others, I'm sure. Bont will likely be my favorite until I hang up my wheels. They have a new insole line that I will probably try next spring. Hallux rigidus is an atrophying of the joints of the first metatarsal (the big toe). It was aggravated by the built-in varus wedge of Specialized shoes, which is why I don't use them anymore or recommend them. Your mileage may be different, Years ago I did a balance test for a company that wanted to sell me wedge insoles. I resisted at the price, and I've since learned that exercises to strengthen foot and ankle muscles, not wedges, are the way to go.

The pedal platform makes a difference, too. I rode on Speedplay exclusively for a few years, but never could get rid of the sensation of the small pedal underfoot, in spite of using stiff-soled shoes and Speedplay's claims about cleat width. A weekend on a rental bike with SPD-SLs convinced me that my feet and ankles would be happier with a triangular cleat and restricted float beneath them. I'm using Time pedals now, but I can't say they're any better than Look or Shimano.

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Old 12-09-22, 04:35 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Absolutely. The main reason I got latex tubes was for the comfort on our increasingly coarse, harsh chipseal roads. Lower rolling resistance is just a plus, and I'm not fast enough for it to matter much. But coupled with supple tires, it's much more comfortable. Reminds me, I need to rewrap the rims on my road bikes with Gorilla tape or tubeless tape. Last time I used latex tubes I didn't prep the rims properly. After a year the inadequate support resulted in the overlapping glued joints at the base of the latex tubes to bulge and leak.

If I ever switch from my older skinny tire road bikes to an all purpose, endurance or gravel type drop bar bike, I'll go with clearance for 700x32 or wider tires and tubeless.
Supple tubes and tires make a big difference. I've been using Vittoria Corsa 320 tpi tires and latex tubes on most of my bikes. I also fit a 700x25 or larger size and have 23mm wide rims on most bikes.

Tires can really transform a stiffer frame into something that's comfortable and faster.
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Old 12-09-22, 06:42 PM
  #29  
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Recently I’d say pedals, the balls and outer edges of my feet were getting sore on rides over 30 miles, with pedals and shoes I’ve used previously for years, with no issues. Swapped the pedals off my son’s mountain bike on to one of my rides, big improvement, switching all my bikes flat mtb pedals with the nubs, problem solved.
Tim
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Old 12-09-22, 09:20 PM
  #30  
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I'm all good recently but I did have to do some work to get there on all three points.

Handlebars: My hands were going numb but got a bike fit which put the stem closer and higher and now this is hardly ever a problem.
Pedals: My feet were also going numb but the bike fit plus new shoes solved that as well.
Saddle: I only had about an hour before I needed regular stand-up breaks on my old saddle but then I forked over the bucks for a 3D-printed saddle (Specialized Mirror) and now I am starting to forget what it feels like to be uncomfortable in the saddle .. it never happens anymore.

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Old 12-11-22, 03:06 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Your shoes are too tight/small. Your feet swell and create pressure which causes the pain.

I went through this and ended up ditching 2 pairs of cycling shoes and jumped up a full size. I also keep the forward most strap/closeure as loose as possible and cinch the middle and closest one to my ankle. On hot days it was even worse and could only do about 30 miles and would have to stop and remove shoes and socks. Now with bigger shoes, zero issue. Our feet grow larger as we age so we canít wear the same size as we did in our 30s and 40s.
+1
I once bought a pair of cycling shoes that turned out to be a bit too tight around my forefoot - although it wasn't obvious at first. They were fine for shorter rides, but caused very painful hotfoot after about 3 hours of riding. Once I moved to to a wider shoe the issue instantly disappeared and never returned. I've had similar experiences with ski boots too.
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Old 12-12-22, 10:00 AM
  #32  
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In some cases, an adjustment of one contact component affects (or is necessary for) another contact point. Example ó I couldnít seem to get my seat angle right on my road bikes. The seat was at what I feel like is a good height for me. But, even at Ďlevel,í it always felt as if it was angled either too far up at the nose, or too far down. Then I wondered about handlebar height, and my torso angle. I raised the handlebar at the stem about ⅛th inch, and rotated the bars up about another ⅛th inch. That ľ inch total was just enough to open my torso up so that I was more squarely on my sit bones.

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Old 12-19-22, 09:41 AM
  #33  
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Not getting too deep into the interactions between contact point problems, I'm pretty clear that for me, butt pain can take me out of a ride and keep me from getting back on! Handlebars really can't do that, and I find foot discomforts are usually addressed by a saddle adjustment and don't cause butt pain anyway. If my shoelaces are too tight I'll stop for an adjustment, but they can't cause anything as intense as perineal abrasion.
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Old 12-19-22, 04:10 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by masi61 View Post
When I was a young rider I would say it was the saddle. Because it took a lot of adjusting and experimentation to get it right for all day comfort.

But these days it has become the pedal/foot interface. I think I had issues here when young as well but back then my feet could seemingly tolerate the abuse. I mean the poorly fitted shoes, the improperly positioned cleats, the toeclips and straps, etc..

Due to some neuropathy issues and post surgery Morton's neuroma issues I now am super protective of my feet. I spent more than half of this past cycling season "soft pedaling" on group rides. So much so that the other riders questioned my high cadence and they were feeling complelled to advise me to upshift into bigger gears more. I protested on several occasions and whined to my ride leader that I "couldn't" do it. Later this cycling season I have continued to refine my insoles, my cycling shoes and socks and also doing foot work in yoga classes in an effort to strengthen and make more flexible my feet. Call it a work in progress. I actually have to count down in my head cycles of 8 or 12 on my dominant then non-dominant feet while standing to climb out of the saddle. By doing this, I can manage the bone on bone sensation that I sometimes get when putting downforce from the ball of my foot onto the center of the pedal.
Do you know there is another way to pedal? Have you researched or tried https://pedalinginnovations.com? This is by far the most important bicycling related changeI have made in my lifetime. I wish I had known about this 35+ yrs ago! Combine this with short cranks and it is a serious game changer.
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Old 12-20-22, 08:11 AM
  #35  
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Those pedals just look like a long platform with some retention features. Such things have been advertised by many global companies for at least 10 years. I also can't see anything new relative to MKS touring pedals, which seem to be a a cast aluminum version of the ancient steel touring pedals by Lyotard, numerous other French and Italian companies. There has nearly always been such a pedal on the market, with "nearly always" being relative to my experience on bikes.

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Old 12-20-22, 09:48 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
Those pedals just look like a long platform with some retention features. Such things have been advertised by many global companies for at least 10 years. I also can't see anything new relative to MKS touring pedals, which seem to be a a cast aluminum version of the ancient steel touring pedals by Lyotard, numerous other French and Italian companies. There has nearly always been such a pedal on the market, with "nearly always" being relative to my experience on bikes.
Did you actually read the website? They are long for a reason. Thereís a ton of information on how to position your foot to pedal correctly to not only alleviate pain but make it easier on your body and your lungs! Itís worth the five minutes it takes to read through why these pedals were designed this way
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Old 12-20-22, 10:32 AM
  #37  
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I get a good upper body workout by working on my farm the days I don't bike. The is no coast during the farm work.
I experienced a saddle sore on the last 2 days of the 6X200k brevet in 2012.
I experienced hand numbness for a week after a 1000k brevet in 2014 that cleared in 2 weeks.
I experienced loss of dexterity and strength in my hands for 3 months after the 6X200k brevet in 2016. I was off the saddle a lot to avoid a saddle sore which increased the pressure on my hands.
Even though I don't do such long brevets anymore I've changed my handlebar to one that has a flat top, and use gel padding under the bar tape just to be on the safe side.
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Old 12-20-22, 10:34 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by motochick View Post
Did you actually read the website? They are long for a reason. Thereís a ton of information on how to position your foot to pedal correctly to not only alleviate pain but make it easier on your body and your lungs! Itís worth the five minutes it takes to read through why these pedals were designed this way
These pedals and the their supposed advantages are actually a bit funny. What they do is eliminate the use of one's calf and tibialis muscles. The web site doesn't actually mention this, but intimates that it's a good thing. In normal pedaling with what are considered to be normal pedals and shoes, those muscles get quite a bit of use and create a smoother, stronger pedal stroke. Squatting with heavy weights in the gym is not the same as pedaling. In the gym I also do calf and tibialis raises, which I could not do were I to always keep my feet flat on the floor.

There's usually a reason that things are the way they are. One of my mottos is, "Most people are not fools." Though that motto has been under a bit of stress lately, it has usually served me well.

My longest ride so far has been only 18 hours of mountain riding. I didn't have any issues with my feet or lower legs during that ride, though everything did get a bit tired. I use clipless pedals and stiff soled shoes. I find that the texture of my cycling socks makes quite a difference, as it also would with the Catalyst pedals. PBP can be a 90 hour ride. Everyone uses clipless pedals, usually SPD, with stiff-soled cycling shoes.

I love to run up stairs on my toes. I live in an apartment with a second floor, so I get to do that a lot. Looking for the least physical way to do something is usually the wrong approach and will bite us on the butt as we age.
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Old 12-20-22, 05:42 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by motochick View Post
Did you actually read the website? They are long for a reason. There’s a ton of information on how to position your foot to pedal correctly to not only alleviate pain but make it easier on your body and your lungs! It’s worth the five minutes it takes to read through why these pedals were designed this way
I read some of it, I was glad they shared the rationale for their idea. That doesn't change that this product has strong resemblences to previous products dating back to the early days of 20th century cycling. Maybe some of their points are actually new, I don't know and I'm not a pedal historian. The designs do not look new to my eye.

I also didn't say there is no reason for their chosen design features.

Have you ever ridden a vintage Lyotard Rattrap, or a Lyotard Berthet (touring platform), or a more modern (than the Berthet) one-sided platform like the Campagnolo C-record? They all all offer different fit and feel. Some need clips and straps to help hold your foot and some need it less. Have you ever ridden with clips and straps, or have you only ever used clipless pedals?

How is your pedaling problem affected if you try toeclips and a matching set of straps? Is it different if you strap in tightly or loosely (loose strapping is what I prefer). When I have some time I'll come back and look at them again (you are right that I should do that), but I would challenge you to take a look at the racing pedal systems which came before clipless and see if that might affect your foot pain issues or other discomforts.

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Old 12-22-22, 10:15 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
How is your pedaling problem affected if you try toeclips and a matching set of straps? Is it different if you strap in tightly or loosely (loose strapping is what I prefer). When I have some time I'll come back and look at them again (you are right that I should do that), but I would challenge you to take a look at the racing pedal systems which came before clipless and see if that might affect your foot pain issues or other discomforts.
I have used many different types of pedals over the last 40 years but they all have the same negative effect, pedaling with the balls of your feet over the axle. If you pedal with your arch over the axle, you use the largest in your body to propel your bike instead of the smallest muscles in your legs. Your glutes can take a lot more lactic acid before fatiguing than your calves. I started using this system when BMX racing and it make such a huge difference that I tried it while MTBing. It too made a huge difference so I tried it while road riding. I was instantly a better and happier rider. Then I had my "racer-boy" husband try it and he also said it made a huge difference. We will never go back to pedaling on the balls of our feet again. YMMV
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Old 12-25-22, 11:26 PM
  #41  
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But don't you use your glutes, or can't you use your glutes equally well in a foot-rearward and a foot-centered position? It seems to me yuo might just add your calf and foot to the equation, or not have them so much in the equation. How does one or the other foot orientationd change the amount of power delivered by the glutes? I can see there being a change in how the power is coupled to the chainset end, or to the pedal peg.

I can see that if you shift your lactate production to the glutes rather than the calf/foot muscles, you might use a resource which has greater ability ability to produce lactate, perhaps your endurance will increase, but it seems to me there is usually a price to pay in athletics - you don't get something for nothing.

And, do you never pedal on your toes? For a short sprint or a burst in a climb?
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