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Poll, how to pedal a bike?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway
View Poll Results: how do you pedal
toe down
14
40.00%
heel down
4
11.43%
a mix of both
17
48.57%
Voters: 35. You may not vote on this poll

Poll, how to pedal a bike?

Old 04-06-18, 04:41 PM
  #1  
Nick Bain
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Poll, how to pedal a bike?

I seem to always face this conundrum perhaps more so when I am undertrained or overtrained. Usually a non issue with platform pedals and street shoes. Comes more into play with "clipless" pedals.

Option 1 toe down.
option 2 heel down. ankling?
option 3 a mix of both.
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Old 04-06-18, 06:20 PM
  #2  
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Option 4, none of the above.
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Old 04-06-18, 06:49 PM
  #3  
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Old 04-06-18, 06:53 PM
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In smooth heptagons.
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Old 04-06-18, 06:55 PM
  #5  
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Pedal

One foot in front of the other,
...over and over, in a circle.
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Old 04-06-18, 07:52 PM
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Old 04-06-18, 09:04 PM
  #7  
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Old 04-06-18, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Dirt Farmer View Post
Thank you!
My favorite number from my favorite Christmas cartoon!

As for the original question - neither - not a "mix," just pretty much level the whole time. I may be wrong about that, but I just have no sense of my ankle flexing or any movement about it. Aside from when I fiddle around clipping in sometimes, or getting into straps or toe clips, I get the sense that if my ankle was perfectly rigid and I couldn't point my toes or heel down, it would be just fine.
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Old 04-07-18, 04:52 AM
  #9  
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There are excellent reasons for pedaling with heel down at certain times (during the ride, not during every pedal stroke).
There are excellent reasons not to ride with toe down at certain times (both during the ride, and during every pedal stroke).
There are no excellent reasons to select heel down or toe down as a generalization and apply it dogmatically.
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Old 04-07-18, 05:51 AM
  #10  
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Option 1 toward the top of the stroke, finishing with Option 2 toward the bottom.

The idea is to start your pedal stroke (pedal at top dead center) by kicking your foot forward (firing your quads) and driving down with the heal. This fires your glutes and has the benefit of preloading your calf for an explosive finish. Then immediately finish the stroke by firing that preloaded calf muscle, driving toe down. Done fluidly, its a similar ‘whip crack’ motion that baseball pitchers use to generate velocity.

But either way, you’re not supposed to end with extreme toes down like some riders do or keep pressing your heals down the whole stroke like a little kid might. Maybe the heal drive pushes your heal 10* below horizontal and you finish with toes maybe 30*-45* below horizontal, just to give a rough idea.

Last edited by RobotGuy; 04-07-18 at 06:01 AM.
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Old 04-07-18, 07:56 AM
  #11  
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I've been told that, like most cyclists, I have a "neutral" pedaling style, with the foot more or less level along the circle. However, there were champions who used to pedal toe down and others heel down, so it's a personal thing IMO. I also was told by experienced people that trying to change your style (like ankling) is dangerous and could cause ankle injury.
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Old 04-07-18, 09:59 AM
  #12  
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It's all about the terrain and conditions.
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Old 04-07-18, 10:13 AM
  #13  
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In circles, usually with a L/R split of 52/48.
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Old 04-07-18, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
In circles, usually with a L/R split of 52/48.
Are you being serious? Why the 52/48?

I have a constant 56/44, and have been wondering about it. When I do hard intervals it evens out to almost 50/50 though.
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Old 04-07-18, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by deepakvrao View Post
Are you being serious? Why the 52/48?

I have a constant 56/44, and have been wondering about it. When I do hard intervals it evens out to almost 50/50 though.
Arthritis in my SI joint, at least that’s my guess for the consistent power imbalance. In harder efforts, I guess I “push through it” as I can get 50/50 on shorter rides. I suspect I have a bit of a leg length discrepancy as well.

Short answer: not built very well at the factory.
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Old 04-07-18, 12:18 PM
  #16  
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I tend to prefer making counter clockwise circles with the left foot when looking at the bike and clockwise on the right side when looking at the bike.
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Old 04-07-18, 12:58 PM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by deepakvrao View Post
Are you being serious? Why the 52/48?

I have a constant 56/44, and have been wondering about it. When I do hard intervals it evens out to almost 50/50 though.
I understand it's pretty common for the left to be stronger and stable while the right is more agile.
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Old 04-07-18, 04:43 PM
  #18  
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Just another common flat-footed muck-scraping peddler here. Occasionally I'm a heel dipper when I need a little more power. I can't imagine how Jacques Anquetil managed that toe-down stance with consistent power. Confidence of youth, I reckon, to quote Bosie from Cold Mountain.
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Old 04-07-18, 05:39 PM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by 02Giant View Post
Option 4, none of the above.
Yup. Put feet on pedals, push down, go forward.
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Old 04-07-18, 06:07 PM
  #20  
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I forced myself to pedal heel down to take pressure off my toes (hot spots).

Merckx was a heel dropper. Anquetil pedaled toe down. Hinault was in the middle. Whatever works for you.
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