The 2014 Winter Olympics have thankfully led to uber-cool, modern linguistics to get translated for us ‘older folk’. No longer have we an excuse to get confused with ‘sick’ and ‘sick’. We’ve ‘got with the programme’. To cap that progress, Triathlete Europe have spoken. We’re all singing from the same song-sheet and the ‘pull’ of the pedal stroke is NOT the way to go.
Happy with that. With every single road and tri F.I.S.T. bike fit I’ve done, I’ve engaged in a pedal biomechanics lesson whilst establishing the optimum saddle height. With every road/tri bike fit bar one, the cyclist hadn’t considered anything other than the ‘push-pull’/’pulling a circle’ technique they’d read about/heard someone mention, etc. For some, they hadn’t considered anything at all!
So, having it shown – again – (CycleFit published some research last year, which they presented at the London Bike Show just this last weekend https://twitter.com/CyclefitUK/status/434338208164630528/photo/1) – that the upward force of a ‘pulled pedal stroke’ is unproductive in much other than perhaps invoking hamstring grief, is overdue movement towards desirable habit-changes within the cycling world.
But … habit change to ‘what’ exactly?
The author of the Triathlete Europe article suggests Greg LeMond’s strategy of “scrapping mud off your shoe” still works, as does “pushing the knee toward the handlebars”. For me, the words chosen might work for some, but plenty more – whose imagination is too literal for these visualisations – will end up driving the pedal stroke with either the mud-scrapping-foot or the pushing-forwards-knee, with an over-emphasis on the hamstrings or even the hip flexors as the undesired result.
We all want the same biomechancial result –
an efficient, non-injurous pedalling action, leading to maximum power to the pedal for minimum effort
but the same words will NOT lead to the same action from one person to another. Always at play are these two factors:
- One cyclist’s ‘sick’, slick subtlety is another rider’s over-zealous, knee-punishing horror show.
- What you think you’re doing, and what you’re actually doing, are often two completely different things.
There are always several paths to the ultimate destination, and there’s no right or wrong per se, but there is right or wrong for you. Blessed with proprioception (the body’s awareness of itself when in motion), you can be coached into great pedalling form, form that you can ‘feel’ at the time and then hone until it’s your habit whilst either on the turbo or, even better, out on the road.
Book in so you too can ‘hurry hard’ and be that ‘sick pedaller’ 🙂