Pedaling Skills

Learn How to Pedal Like a Pro this Winter: A Clarification

In last week's RBR Newsletter, I wrote an article on learning how to pedal more efficiently this winter. After going through the comments, I felt that there needed to be some clarification. The two main categories of comments were (a) “Is the math right?” (referring to the text description of the graphics included) and (b) “I was told [by someone] to never pull up when pedaling” or "pulling up is ineffectual." 

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Learn to Pedal Like a Pro this Winter

Ever wonder why the pros are so fast? One of the many reasons – genetics aside – is that they pedal differently than you and me. But we can all learn the same techniques, and the winter, or off-season, is the perfect time to improve your stroke so that you're ready to put your improved form to work in the new season. You can practice the drills listed below either on an indoor trainer or on a low-traffic road outdoors, so why not invest some of the slow season in gaining a few "free watts?"

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Gear Up for Spinning

I ride with a couple of buddies who seem to easily drop everyone on the hills. It's not like they're wispy little guys doing it with a crazy power-to-weight ratio. What's the secret to getting up the hills faster like them? Coach Rick Schultz Replies: My reply may sound a little trite, but it works: Spin to win. The ideal cadence for climbing is range of about 90-105 rpm, regardless of whether you're cruising or going hard.

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High Cadences, Used Appropriately, Can Save Your Legs

I think I was recently reading that the best cyclists have a cadence of 110 rpm. This seems very fast (at least for me). I am probably in the 70-90 range. Do most riders do better at higher rpm? Is there benefit to sometimes powering up hills at lower rpm? I asked a question earlier in the year about maintaining cycling shape while doing bouts of backpacking. The advice I received was very good. The first ride after getting back is slow and heavy but after that it comes back quickly. Thanks.

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What Makes an Efficient Pedal Stroke

Editor's Note: Premium Member Ric Hollis wrote in recently noting that in his years of road riding, his pedal stroke has changed, and asking for some feedback on the subject. He wrote: “I've noticed over the 14 years that I've been riding a road bike that I've changed the alignment of my legs from splayed out to in toward the top tube and my feet from heels up to heels down. Please take some time to explain the advantages of certain leg alignments and foot positions.” I asked Coach Rick Schultz, a fit expert, to comment.

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How to Deal with a Thrown Chain

You’re riding hard in the big chainring toward a steep climb. You push to keep your momentum going as long as possible, but finally you’re forced to shift to the small ring. Oops! The chain overshoots and falls onto the frame. You’re dead in the water, wildly turning the cranks with no resistance. Later, the opposite happens. You’re spinning in the small chainring and need a bigger gear. But your shift to the big ring sends the chain over the top. Now it’s flopping around the crankarm.

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Cleat Placement on Cycling Shoes, Part 1

This is the time of year we ramp up our mileage to get ready for the big rides to come later in the season. It’s also a common time to buy new equipment for the season, such as new shoes or new clipless pedal systems. If our cleats aren’t positioned correctly on the shoes, it can cause inefficient pedaling, pain or, worse, even knee injuries.

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Cleat Placement on Cycling Shoes, Part 2

In Part 1 of this 2-part series, we covered finding an efficient, safe, neutral cleat position using a four-step process, and explained some different cleat positions for different types of riders/riding. We’ll finish up with a look at cleat positioning for recumbents, cleat angle adjustment, ankle clearance, marking your cleat position, and a few additional bonus tips.

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