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Using Flat Pedals with mostly my heal/back arch - Is my foot too far forward?

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Using Flat Pedals with mostly my heal/back arch - Is my foot too far forward?

Old 05-15-20, 09:23 AM
  #1  
33yearslate
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Using Flat Pedals with mostly my heal/back arch - Is my foot too far forward?

I'm a new rider - been riding every day for a little over a month now, weather permitting. I'm using an FX1 with disc brakes, and I'm finally starting to feel comfortable on the bike. I've raised the seat to the point where I can get my leg almost fully straight when at the bottom of my cycling motion. And I've also moved the seat a little further back than default and tilted it forward to make things a bit more comfortable.

But now, I realized something - when I position my feet on the pedal where the balls of my feet are still touching it, I get a lot less power on hills/get tired more easily than if I move my foot further forward and instead use the back part of my arch and my heal to make contact.

Basically, when I'm at my most comfortable, the balls of my feet are completely off the pedal by a relatively large margin - and I like it. It feels like the power is coming from my glutes and I can throw my body weight hard into the pedal to go faster when ascending. Most of the contact feels like it's happening in my heel. And I do not get sore this way. It's kind of like the same feeling as doing squats.

But if I eventually want to upgrade my bike and go to clipless pedals, is this going to be a problem? Every photo and video I've seen of riders seems to show people connecting with the pedal near the ball of the foot or slightly behind the ball. This is quite a bit further forward than what feels ideal to me.

Any tips on what I should do? Should I kill this habit now? Or should I just embrace what feels natural?
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Old 05-15-20, 10:01 AM
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J.C. Koto
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Sounds like you are mashing the pedals. Try pedaling faster and see if you can maintain that foot position.
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Old 05-15-20, 10:04 AM
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Here is an alternative pedal I like for mountain biking.
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Old 05-15-20, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by 33yearslate View Post
I'm a new rider - been riding every day for a little over a month now, weather permitting. I'm using an FX1 with disc brakes, and I'm finally starting to feel comfortable on the bike. I've raised the seat to the point where I can get my leg almost fully straight when at the bottom of my cycling motion. And I've also moved the seat a little further back than default and tilted it forward to make things a bit more comfortable.

But now, I realized something - when I position my feet on the pedal where the balls of my feet are still touching it, I get a lot less power on hills/get tired more easily than if I move my foot further forward and instead use the back part of my arch and my heal to make contact.

Basically, when I'm at my most comfortable, the balls of my feet are completely off the pedal by a relatively large margin - and I like it. It feels like the power is coming from my glutes and I can throw my body weight hard into the pedal to go faster when ascending. Most of the contact feels like it's happening in my heel. And I do not get sore this way. It's kind of like the same feeling as doing squats.

But if I eventually want to upgrade my bike and go to clipless pedals, is this going to be a problem? Every photo and video I've seen of riders seems to show people connecting with the pedal near the ball of the foot or slightly behind the ball. This is quite a bit further forward than what feels ideal to me.

Any tips on what I should do? Should I kill this habit now? Or should I just embrace what feels natural?
Embrace what feels natural, and you may never feel a need to go clipless but, if you do, you'll be able to adjust. I have very weird feet, and the main reason I ride platform all the time is because I want to be free to move them around as needed.
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Old 05-15-20, 10:54 AM
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33yearslate
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Originally Posted by J.C. Koto View Post
Sounds like you are mashing the pedals. Try pedaling faster and see if you can maintain that foot position.
It's true I definitely am. I'll give it a shot.

Edit: By the way, I just want to mention, relative to my weight and height, I some pretty large, powerful legs muscles. So I thought by mashing, I was putting them to good use.

Last edited by 33yearslate; 05-15-20 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 05-15-20, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by 33yearslate View Post
It's true I definitely am. I'll give it a shot.

Edit: By the way, I just want to mention, relative to my weight and height, I some pretty large, powerful legs muscles. So I thought by mashing, I was putting them to good use.
Not really. Cycling is mostly an aerobic activity.
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Old 05-15-20, 11:20 AM
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For me it's platform pedals and boots with a heel. For whatever reason my plantir faaciitis (sp?) pain goes totally away... so, hmmm, every situation is unique?
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Old 05-15-20, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Gconan View Post
Here is an alternative pedal I like for mountain biking.
This is exactly what came to my mind when I read the OP. On some of the MTB boards, some folks are embracing a more "foot forward" approach, even with clipless.

Go with what feels right.

Go with what feels good.
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Old 05-15-20, 04:16 PM
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33yearslate
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
This is exactly what came to my mind when I read the OP. On some of the MTB boards, some folks are embracing a more "foot forward" approach, even with clipless.

Go with what feels right.

Go with what feels good.
As someone who never rode clipless before, is it possible to do it the same way? Do the sjoes connect that far back?
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Old 05-15-20, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by 33yearslate View Post
As someone who never rode clipless before, is it possible to do it the same way? Do the sjoes connect that far back?
No, I am not aware of any that extend that far back. I just meant that they are moving the cleats as far back as they go.... or just using flats.
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Old 05-15-20, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
No, I am not aware of any that extend that far back. I just meant that they are moving the cleats as far back as they go.... or just using flats.
That's very interesting. I got my first pair of shoes for clipless around 2009. I have a road bike, but I prefer MTB shoes. I could place the cleat so that it was more forward, toward the ball of the foot. A couple of years ago, I got a new pair of shoes, still MTB, but the the farthest forward that I could place the cleats still felt too far back, more toward the middle of the foot. I wondered why that was. I guess manufacturers are meeting the trend. I've gotten use to it, but I think I prefer the first shoes. I'm sure it's different on a mountain bike, but on the road bike, I feel a bit like a clod, with less finesse. I'm trying to figure out a way to drill new holes for the cleats, but I don't know what they will screw into.
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Old 05-15-20, 06:12 PM
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It's OK to move your feet around for different types of riding. It's one of the advantages of flat pedals (as opposed to clipless). I ride gravel bikes on and off road w flat pedals and will shift my feet slightly forward or back depending on if I'm hammering on the flats, or climbing some steep incline, etc. It's not even really conscious at this point. And FWIW I've never had any issues with knee pain, etc with this setup and approach.
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Old 05-16-20, 05:10 PM
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I think I do the same actually.
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Old 05-16-20, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
No, I am not aware of any that extend that far back. I just meant that they are moving the cleats as far back as they go.... or just using flats.
But now, I realized something - when I position my feet on the pedal where the balls of my feet are still touching it, I get a lot less power on hills/get tired more easily than if I move my foot further forward and instead use the back part of my arch and my heal to make contact.
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Old 05-16-20, 10:30 PM
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To me this sounds as if your seat is low, and I mean way too low - like by a few inches. This will naturally cause pedaling by the heels as this allows for a better leg extension and so will feel more comfortable and generate more power (compared to pedaling with a more front position of the feet which will result in even more cramped legs). And, indeed, way too low of a seat does feel like doing squats, as you describe.Your quads will be loaded significantly more than other parts of the leg if your seat is too low (and if you'll pedal not with the heels they'll be loaded even more because this shorters the reach to the pedals). In fact, if your seat is positioned at the proper height you'll simply not be able to "power on hills" by pedaling with the heels at all because you'll not be able to generate any significant power at full leg extension, it should be barely possible to pedal at all with the heels.
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Old 05-17-20, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Oso Polar View Post
To me this sounds as if your seat is low, and I mean way too low - like by a few inches. This will naturally cause pedaling by the heels as this allows for a better leg extension and so will feel more comfortable and generate more power (compared to pedaling with a more front position of the feet which will result in even more cramped legs). And, indeed, way too low of a seat does feel like doing squats, as you describe.Your quads will be loaded significantly more than other parts of the leg if your seat is too low (and if you'll pedal not with the heels they'll be loaded even more because this shorters the reach to the pedals). In fact, if your seat is positioned at the proper height you'll simply not be able to "power on hills" by pedaling with the heels at all because you'll not be able to generate any significant power at full leg extension, it should be barely possible to pedal at all with the heels.
Interesting. You may be right. I will try to raise the seat further and see how that feels.
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Old 05-17-20, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by ELIOTASIA View Post
Lucky Patcher Kodi nox

No, I am not aware of any that extend that far back. I just meant that they are moving the cleats as far back as they go.... or just using flats.
Iím confused.... What are those random links for, and why are you repeating my post without quoting it?
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Old 05-17-20, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by 33yearslate View Post
Interesting. You may be right. I will try to raise the seat further and see how that feels.
Quick and easy way to get in the right ball park:

Sit on the seat while propping yourself up against a wall or railing.

Put the pedal in its lowest position

Put your heel on the pedal so it's at the six o clock position

When you do this on your seat your knee should be completely straight.

Adjust the saddle so your knee is straight. If your heel looses contact with the pedal the seat is too high, if you have a bend in your knee when your heel is on the pedal the seat is too low.

Once satisfied with the height use some electrical tape to wrap around the seat post. Or mount your rear light at the base of the seat post or scratch a mark into the seat post. Now you can use the visual aids to quickly get back the right seat height should you need to adjust the seat.
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Old 05-17-20, 02:25 PM
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Toe OVERLAP comes to my mind at an inconvenient time with heal on pedal.
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