How To Pedal Like A Pro | Road Bike Skills And Technique

How To Pedal Like A Pro | Road Bike Skills And Technique


Pedalling is something most of us do without even thinking about it. But if that’s you, then you’re missing a trick. Like most things in cycling, there’s a technique to doing it well. There’s a well-worn phrase, which is to pedal in circles. Essentially this means that you should think about using all 360 degrees of the pedal stroke, not just pressing down at the beginning of the stroke. The key is to eliminate dead spots in
the circle by peddling all the way through. In practice then, when you get to the bottom of the pedal stroke, you should pull your foot back and then up. The technique here feels like scraping
your foot back. You should feel this effort in your hamstrings at the back of your legs. When your pedal moves into the final ‘up’ phase of the stroke, the feeling is one of lifting your knees by recruiting your hip flexors. This action doesn’t add much in terms of
power to the pedal stroke, but it’s fundamental to making it a smooth action. fundamental to making a smooth action. A good was of becoming familiar with the phases of the pedal stroke is to slow the movement down. Ride up a hill and select a much larger gear than is comfortable. Pedal at around 40RPM with your hands resting lightly on the bars and your upper body still. When doing this, it should really clear when
you have a naturally strong surge in the pedal stroke and where the dead spots are
as you struggle to turn the pedals. Practicing with a slow cadence that you
can concentrate much more recruiting the right muscles to help with the full
pedal stroke than if you were pedaling at 90rpm. When you’re familiar with the feeling of
a full pedal stroke, it’s time to smooth things out. Mountain bikers know all about this, as when on
loose surfaces it’s key to prevent any surges in power in order to maintain
traction. Try to avoid stamping on the pedals. It can help to only think about the
second half of the pedal stroke. The principle is similar when riding out of
the saddle, except you won’t be able to perform a scraping action at the bottom
of the stroke. Lift your feet on the upstroke to unweight them, and if you’re really
putting out a lot of power pull up as well with your hamstrings and hip flexors. It also counters the effect of the downstroke which prevents you pulling too much on
the handle bars. It should be possible to transfer maximum
power out of the saddle without yanking on the bars. The reality is that few few pros pull up much on the pedals but it’s the action that everyone should
aim to do. Some power meters allow you to see real-time power outputs during a stroke, such as a Wattbike. This can really help with training for a full and smooth pedalling action. Make sure that your saddle is at the right height.
It is impossible to peddle smoothly if you’re seat is too high, and it’s much harder to recruit the right muscles if your seat is too low. Practice on a turbo or rollers by pedalling one-legged. Even riding rollers with two legs means you have to be super smooth, and it’s a
great way to learn, but doing it one-legged really works all the muscles needed
and if done enough can hard-wire into your brain the pattern of muscle recruitment. Try some slow-cadence drills that will teach you where the dead spots in the pedal stroke are, and what action helps to get you over it. Keep your upper body motionless and hands resting on the bars to make sure your legs are doing all the work.