Has anyone managed to change their pedalling technique?


Puzzle game developer
I didn't think much about pedalling technique until I started riding my singlespeed bike. Its gear ratio (52/19) was chosen for a good cruising speed on the flat, but that means it is overgeared for modest hills (~5%) and really hard work on steeper ones (8+%). The problem is getting each crank through the deadspot at the top of its stroke. On fixed, the chain would be driving the cranks round at those deadspots but singlespeed doesn't work like that - the bike would quickly freewheel to a stop if I didn't force the cranks round.

Then I discovered that it a LOT easier to get through the deadspots if I drop my heels just as the crank gets up there. That enables me to use leg strength to push the pedal through the problem zone rather than feeling that I have to virtually stand on the pedal to do it.


Yeah the reason I started looking at it was a calf cramp/mild pulled muscle after a climb and descent. And I use flats so have the option of trying lots of pedal positions quite quickly.
Yes I've thought about it quite a lot too.

When I'm not being a farmer, I'm a yoga teacher. Of some 20+ years standing, so I have a reasonable functional knowledge of muscles tendons, connectivity, and functional biomechanics.

To the point where I'm sometimes perhaps hyper aware of these matters.
Whether thats a good or bad thing idk..

Personally I like the greater option of variability, that riding flats gives me.

I might not win races on speed

(but then I don't enter races)

I prefer to be able to ride reasonably efficiently, and comfortably, in a way that doesn't compromise my comfort, or damage any bits of me in the long term. .

I think that having the chance of changing foot position, degree of ankle flexion, and shifting position on saddle helps me keep going, during long days in the saddle.

But it's a very individual thing :bicycle:


But recently I've started moving my foot further backwards on the pedals to get them flatter, with a slightly lower saddle, which should use more glutes and less calves. While it feels not as effective at the moment I'll maybe try to do a Strava comparison as it could just be my calves/ankles not doing as much work that makes me think I can't possibly be going as quick. It does feel like less work.
So I tried a very unscientific experiment over 2 mile loop, once with my usual ball over pedal, toe point style, and second with a very extreme mid-foot position (i.e. the pedal spindle under the middle of my foot) and thus more of an enforced heel drop style. On flat road there was no difference in speed, despite me thinking that the mid-foot position didn't feel as fast - it feels like a much more coarse, less sensitive movement, whereas the ball/toe style feels like dancing on the pedals and I can feel it all through my lower leg. I would have to try the mid-foot position over a longer distance to see whether it would hold up over a whole day, but it definitely feels like the bigger muscles are more involved which can only be a good thing.

The big difference was going up a short hill in the same gear I used for the flats (38/13) - the mid-foot position was slightly quicker (17+mph on average compare to 16.5mph or less for the ball/toe position), but i felt like I could pedal mid-foot much further without feeling it, whereas with ball/toe there was much more force going through my knees, such that if the hill had been longer I would have had to change gear to ease off the pressure. So mid-foot feels stronger under load.

One thing I would say against mid-foot was that it didn't feel as comfortable at high cadences, but there's probably a sweet spot between the two positions.

That's about as interesting as my Sunday mornings get. :smile:
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Bill Gates

West Sussex
My pedal position as per my avatar is taken from a 50 mile TT. My cadence would have been around 90/95 on the flat. If you keep your cadence high in training then the pedaling technique should take care of itself.
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