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Drop your heels!

Old 03-16-23, 03:55 PM
  #101  
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
Back on topic, this is not rocket surgery; itís like pedaling a bicycle, oh yeah it is pedaling a bicycle. It doesnít need to be over thought.
That is not my experience, though there are a lot of people saying similar things on these forums.

I am not saying that the way I described above is the only way. I cycled simply by pushing the pedals for about 18 years.

I find that the new method of pushing forwards,with my femur on my saddle and then trebuchet-ing backwards with my glutes
propels me as fast as I have ever been in my life, now at nearly 58, and gives me a good glute exercise, thus protecting
my knees and hip joints (I find it is weak knees that leads to old person knee pain). I wish I had known sooner, but other
than "heel down," "scrape the mud off your feet" and some important advice by Carbonfibreboy, there was very little
information that I could find.
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Old 03-16-23, 04:25 PM
  #102  
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So any actual data? You feel faster great. If it works for you fine, but there are tons of studies out there that all the various pedal thoughts don’t make an actual difference.

if we had someway to define your before and after pedal styles, then time and speed data over the same fixed course, with power,heart rate, and perceived effort over multiple efforts, then we’d at least have a study of one. Do the same thing with hundreds of cyclists, and hundreds of repeats, then we might be on to something.

However, all the data I’ve seen trying to look at pedaling style, it just doesn’t make a difference.
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Old 03-16-23, 04:31 PM
  #103  
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As for my own anecdotal evidence, I’ve raced on and off for 40 years, and worked with a number of professional coaches, including guys who have coached elite pro tour level athletes, done a number of training camps, and it’s just never been an issue about you heel angle or pedaling like a midevil siege weapon.

Some fast pedal drills and one legged drills in the early season is about as sophisticated as work on pedal dynamic has been in my experience.

And I was faster in my 50’s than my 20’s not by coming up with a pedaling gimmick, but by doing a lot of structured interval work, and racing against faster people.
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Old 03-16-23, 05:26 PM
  #104  
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
So any actual data? You feel faster great. If it works for you fine, but there are tons of studies out there that all the various pedal thoughts donít make an actual difference.
if we had someway to define your before and after pedal styles, then time and speed data over the same fixed course, with power,heart rate, and perceived effort over multiple efforts, then weíd at least have a study of one. Do the same thing with hundreds of cyclists, and hundreds of repeats, then we might be on to something.
However, all the data Iíve seen trying to look at pedaling style, it just doesnít make a difference.
I will reload Strava into my phone to see how I am doing compared to about 10 years ago but I hope some younger people try it.
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Old 03-16-23, 06:49 PM
  #105  
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Originally Posted by timtak
I will reload Strava into my phone to see how I am doing compared to about 10 years ago but I hope some younger people try it.
Youíre missing the point. You may well be faster than you were 10 years ago. And you may believe itís because youíve captured a Monty Pythonesque force. Without controlled results, itís impossible to draw any conclusion.

You night as weíll be chanting a mantra as you pedal( which is fine if it works for you).

All that said, the people who have actually tried to study this with decent study protocols have t come up with data to support it.
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Old 03-16-23, 08:47 PM
  #106  
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
Youíre missing the point. You may well be faster than you were 10 years ago. And you may believe itís because youíve captured a Monty Pythonesque force. Without controlled results, itís impossible to draw any conclusion.
You night as weíll be chanting a mantra as you pedal( which is fine if it works for you).
All that said, the people who have actually tried to study this with decent study protocols have t come up with data to support it.
I would be interested in data regarding improvements in speed of one cyclist but you would not. Perhaps others will.

I do chant a mantra, but not to improve my speed.

Tim
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Old 03-16-23, 10:54 PM
  #107  
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I won't drop my heals, or flats, for anyone. I stay on the level except climbing out of the saddle. Then who knows and who cares.
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Old 03-17-23, 12:55 PM
  #108  
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Originally Posted by timtak
I will reload Strava into my phone to see how I am doing compared to about 10 years ago but I hope some younger people try it.
Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
Youíre missing the point. You may well be faster than you were 10 years ago. And you may believe itís because youíve captured a Monty Pythonesque force. Without controlled results, itís impossible to draw any conclusion.

You night as weíll be chanting a mantra as you pedal( which is fine if it works for you).
My Strava files indicate that I'm faster than I was 10 years ago. It's almost certainly because I switched from Assos to Castelli.
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Old 03-21-23, 11:04 PM
  #109  
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Unfortunately it seems that the free version of Strava does not allow me to compare my times any more in the free version and I don't think I want to pay. For the time being I can only say that subjectively I am going like a rocket, using my 53 11 gears as in days of yore.

I have a 360 camera so I think I will make a video explaining the old-school Frenchy technique while riding.

For the time being here is a diagram for those that may be interested, I wish I had found more instruction many years ago myself.

Put your femur on the back of your saddle, by standing on your pedals and clamping your thighs together like you want to pee, and then sit on your saddle with the top of your thighs.
Rotate your hips so that you can stomp forwards, raising your knees very slightly perhaps as you do so (1 in diagram below)
Stomp forwards. Since your femur is resting on your saddle you will not be able to stomp down quite to the 6 O'clock position.(2 in diagram). Your heels may not actually drop, but it will feel that way since you will feel you are pushing the pedal forwards rather than down.
Adjust the lever position so that the end of your forward stomp corresponds to about the 4:30 to 5 position
Use your glutes to pull upwards to catapult (or trebuchet) yourself forwards for the last part of the cycle ( 3 in diagram below) using the rear of the saddle as a lever.
Rock your femur on the lever of the saddle to turn yourself into a rocket.
Channel Eddy Merx (who is Belgian)


French-y Pedalling, femur supported by saddle

If you are a solo cyclist, whatever you do, avoid riding like the pros of today because they ride in groups (making cycling a group activity, which it always was but more so) using radio controlled pace lines, taking turns at sprinting at the front and then using the slip stream while on the hoods behind. If you are not riding in a group, either adjust your bike to turn it more into a time trial bike and pedal like the pros except in a more aero position, or go old school and Frenchy as described above and pictured below.

Merckx_1967 by Chris Protopapas, on Flickr

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Old 03-22-23, 12:08 AM
  #110  
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This thread is destined to be a classic.
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Old 03-22-23, 07:15 AM
  #111  
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So some actual data. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/docume...d315ae96e1b905

Conclusion of that study, and a summary of the literature it cites is that a wide range of pedaling dynamics will produce close to optimal power, with the only exception being over doing ankling will decrease your power output.
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Old 03-25-23, 11:29 AM
  #112  
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Originally Posted by timtak
I would be interested in data regarding improvements in speed of one cyclist but you would not. Perhaps others will.

I do chant a mantra, but not to improve my speed.

Tim
No, he's saying there are too many confounding variables for your data to be of any use. I'm faster than I was 10 years ago, but I'm also riding more than twice as much and paying more attention to my training. I also adjusted my saddle up about 3mm. So, which variable is responsible for the improvement?
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Old 03-25-23, 06:52 PM
  #113  
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Originally Posted by ryan_rides
This is something I struggle with. Not sure why but I have to actively think about dropping my heels throughout my pedal strokes. I usually donít do it. I have a bike fit. My bike is comfortable to me. I just know that youíre supposed to drop your heels and recently a rider last Saturday told me that I should drop my heels while riding. Is there a way to train myself to change my pedal strokes so that it becomes natural?
Originally Posted by noodle soup
Utter nonsense.
still the best post in this thread.
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Old 03-26-23, 09:20 PM
  #114  
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
So some actual data. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/docume...d315ae96e1b905

Conclusion of that study, and a summary of the literature it cites is that a wide range of pedaling dynamics will produce close to optimal power, with the only exception being over doing ankling will decrease your power output.
That study is about sprint cycling.

It seems to me that sprint cycling is close to what the professional races have turned into: a sprint relay. The peloton and even pace lines create a situation in which even the person in pole position has reduced drag, and those following are dragged along. This means that with radios and cooperation, if the person in pole position gets down low with horizontal forearms on an "aero-road" he can provide drafting to team mates for 6 minutes (or perhaps two times 3? or three times 2?) an hour with the rest of his team following in his wake on the hoods.

Sprint cycling has always, afaik, been done by getting down low and forwards and push pushing with ones thighs (and pulling on the drops with ones upper body) in true sprints, and in the modern sprint-relay peloton.

I have never ridden in a group so data regarding that type of cycling is not much use to me.

As the study shows, ankling is a bad idea in a sprint.

Get forwards on your drops and push backwards! Use your upper body to pull too.

Originally Posted by genejockey
No, he's saying there are too many confounding variables for your data to be of any use. I'm faster than I was 10 years ago, but I'm also riding more than twice as much and paying more attention to my training. I also adjusted my saddle up about 3mm. So, which variable is responsible for the improvement?
About the only people that have any "data" are the professional riders. And they ride in a way that is very different to most solo amateurs riders, so while I was interested in how hard they blow up their tires, I am often more interested in the subjective experience of people posting suggestions e.g. on how to pedal, to this forum, or single data points such as my Strava might have been able to provide.

I see a forum as a place where people can exchange their suggestions and help and advice, hopefully.

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Old 03-27-23, 04:01 PM
  #115  
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So one year and 114 posts and no one has come up,with any data to show how you pedal much matters. From that absence of data, the combined expereince of most of the posters here, and the observation that different styles seem to work well for different professional cyclists, the answer appears to be pedal the way you feel comfortable with.

With power meters that can measure torque and angular velocity at multiple points of the pedal stroke, the tools are there to determine whether how you pedal makes a difference. If it did we would certainly have some data to support it. Yet pretty much every idea about a magic way to pedal ( for example that you can produce power on the upstroke) has been debunked.


If you care about your pedal stroke, do some high cadence drills, one legged drills, and best of all rider on rollers.

There’s no need to overthink this.
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Old 03-27-23, 04:06 PM
  #116  
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
Thereís no need to overthink this.
Some brain chemicals seem to dictate otherwise in some cases.
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Old 03-27-23, 06:16 PM
  #117  
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Originally Posted by timtak
Sprint cycling has always, afaik, been done by getting down low and forwards and push pushing with ones thighs (and pulling on the drops with ones upper body) in true sprints, and in the modern sprint-relay peloton...

Get forwards on your drops and push backwards! Use your upper body to pull too.
No, sprinters don't pull up on the drops. They rock the bike from side to side.

"Push backwards"? I don't see how any sprinter is pushing backwards. They are pushing down on their pedals, with their centers of mass over the pedals. They are not pulling with their upper bodies.

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Old 03-27-23, 06:24 PM
  #118  
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As terrymorse said: you don't pull up on (both sides of) the handlebars (simultaneously).

The way Cavendish puts it at about 3:00, you alternate pulling up on the two sides of the handlebars to rock the bike and, quote, "bring the bike to your feet."

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Old 03-27-23, 06:54 PM
  #119  
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
With power meters that can measure torque and angular velocity at multiple points of the pedal stroke, the tools are there to determine whether how you pedal makes a difference. If it did we would certainly have some data to support it. Yet pretty much every idea about a magic way to pedal ( for example that you can produce power on the upstroke) has been debunked.
Yes. I have read that debunking. And I was persuaded and stomped for about 20 years.
However, what I am finding now is that using my glutes in the way described (placing the top of ones femur on the saddle and then pulling upwards with ones glutes to create an upside down trebuchet catapult) that I am using my glutes in the last part of the down-swing not on the up-swing.

The advantage is that I am using two muscle groups. I am sure that in a sprint or relay sprint, this method is still slower because my quads are faster but using two muscle groups but (as described by CarbonFibreBoy) it may have advantages on long periods of high power such as climbs, and I think breakaways. I am always in a breakaway since I ride alone.

I think a power meter alone would find it difficult to measure this. One would need sensors on the muscles themselves to sense which ones are firing.

Originally Posted by terrymorse
No, sprinters don't pull up on the drops. They rock the bike from side to side. "Push backwards"? I don't see how any sprinter is pushing backwards. They are pushing down on their pedals, with their centers of mass over the pedals. They are not pulling with their upper bodies. Slow motion sprint finish
You may be right but, it seems to me that good sprinters, or at least my favourite Cavendish is bringing their centre of mass further forward than the pedals.

It is difficult to tell whether they are using their upper bodies or not but since I use my upper body in that position on climbs, and as you say he rocks the bike from side to side, (claiming he does for another mundane reason) but I think he is using his upper body muscles to pull upwards on the drops as he pushes, so that he can push more than would be possible using gravity as the thing he is pushing against alone. Please see Cavendish at 0:53 in Green here.


I think that this is why Cavendish is so fast. The little man (well, he is my height) worked out how to use his whole body. It was a secret until you read it here! (Or maybe, as you say, it is my mistake).

Sorry, no, not a secret! Others opine similarly here
Sprinting and Upper Body Strength...

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Old 03-27-23, 09:55 PM
  #120  
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
As terrymorse said: you don't pull up on (both sides of) the handlebars (simultaneously).

The way Cavendish puts it at about 3:00, you alternate pulling up on the two sides of the handlebars to rock the bike and, quote, "bring the bike to your feet."

How To Sprint Like Mark Cavendish – Cav's Top 5 Sprinting Tips

Great video. Thanks.

I did not mean to suggest that one pulls on both sides of the bars simultaneously but as you say, alternately.

But in the video Cavendish only mentions "bringing the bike to the feet" as if that is the only reason for the side to side rock. He does not mention that he is pulling on the bars. I agree with Trakhak that Cavendish is pulling.

I am guessing again that Trakhak probably pulls on the bars too. Do you?

I only do it on climbs but I just had a go today. It would take practice.

I had a go today on my way home. If you pull on the bars (alternately [of course]) then you rock. I rocked.

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Old 03-28-23, 05:45 AM
  #121  
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Cavs was fast because it produced good power in relation to his size, had a very aerodynamic position, and was a great tactician.

His power numbers were not spectacular compared to other top level sprinters
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Old 03-28-23, 06:02 AM
  #122  
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@merlinextraligh

You may be right but, I still think that Cavendish uses his upper body to pull as well as push with his legs, more than most sprinters.

Try getting out of your saddle in the drops and pull as you push on your pedals. I think you will find you rock from side to side.

Cavendish may rock for (many) other reasons but my conspiracy-ish theory is that he is not admitting the extent to which the rock is a result of his being a puller.

Tim
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Old 03-28-23, 07:47 AM
  #123  
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Originally Posted by timtak
Unfortunately it seems that the free version of Strava does not allow me to compare my times any more in the free version and I don't think I want to pay. For the time being I can only say that subjectively I am going like a rocket, using my 53 11 gears as in days of yore.

I have a 360 camera so I think I will make a video explaining the old-school Frenchy technique while riding.

For the time being here is a diagram for those that may be interested, I wish I had found more instruction many years ago myself.

Put your femur on the back of your saddle, by standing on your pedals and clamping your thighs together like you want to pee, and then sit on your saddle with the top of your thighs.
Rotate your hips so that you can stomp forwards, raising your knees very slightly perhaps as you do so (1 in diagram below)
Stomp forwards. Since your femur is resting on your saddle you will not be able to stomp down quite to the 6 O'clock position.(2 in diagram). Your heels may not actually drop, but it will feel that way since you will feel you are pushing the pedal forwards rather than down.
Adjust the lever position so that the end of your forward stomp corresponds to about the 4:30 to 5 position
Use your glutes to pull upwards to catapult (or trebuchet) yourself forwards for the last part of the cycle ( 3 in diagram below) using the rear of the saddle as a lever.
Rock your femur on the lever of the saddle to turn yourself into a rocket.
Channel Eddy Merx (who is Belgian)


French-y Pedalling, femur supported by saddle

If you are a solo cyclist, whatever you do, avoid riding like the pros of today because they ride in groups (making cycling a group activity, which it always was but more so) using radio controlled pace lines, taking turns at sprinting at the front and then using the slip stream while on the hoods behind. If you are not riding in a group, either adjust your bike to turn it more into a time trial bike and pedal like the pros except in a more aero position, or go old school and Frenchy as described above and pictured below.

Merckx_1967 by Chris Protopapas, on Flickr
Is it just me, or is this difficult to understand?
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Old 03-28-23, 09:07 AM
  #124  
tomato coupe
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Is it just me, or is this difficult to understand?
I’m trying to understand why the diagram shows the seat moving up and down.
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Old 03-28-23, 09:22 AM
  #125  
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe
Iím trying to understand why the diagram shows the seat moving up and down.
And moving fore-aft too. I honestly have no idea what the diagram is attempting to demonstrate and Timtak's explanation does not help me at all.
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