Updated: Jun 1, 2021
Going faster doesn’t necessarily mean pedaling harder. Believe it or not, but you could be pedaling your bike using the wrong techniques. We’d all like to think pedaling in circles is a seamless and effortless task, but there’s actually more to it than you think. Creating the perfect pedal stroke can save you both on time and energy during your bike rides. Follow these 3 simple tips to help master the perfect pedal stroke and change the way you ride now and forever.
Saddle position plays a big role in perfecting a clean pedal stroke. A saddle angled too far forward might influence a rider to pedal with too much force from their toes while a saddle angled too far back might leave the pedal strokes unbalanced. Another factor to filter in is saddle height. For example, A saddle set too high does not give enough room for proper circle rotations. On the flip side, a saddle set too low offers too much force for pedal strokes.
So how might you go about setting the perfect saddle?
A saddle measurement is the distance between the bottom bracket and the center of the saddle on your bike. A helpful way to find the right height is to sit straight up on the saddle of the bike and straighten one leg downward. Have your foot land on the farthest part of the pedal axle. Ideally, your leg should be completely straight resting on the pedal. Measure the distance from this position to get the most accurate results.
Once you’ve found the perfect saddle height, practice riding with a straight back to avoid angling your riding position too far forward or backward. You should feel seamless rotations with nearly a full circle stroke every time.
Knee alignment highly affects pedal strokes. Knees that are off-centered or that shake during pedal rotations may cause not only injury, but also fatigue and soreness. The proper form to practice is one with straight leg movements. Keeping your leg muscles tight and structured is another way to train your legs to practice straight circle rotations.
Proper knee alignment will help increase speed and productivity on the bike, especially when it comes to training. This plays into many factors in creating the perfect pedal stroke as the movement initially starts with the upper legs and knees.
Follow-through on the Downstroke
The last, and maybe most important aspect of the perfect pedal stroke is the followthrough on the downstroke. The perfect follow-through creates a full circle rotation with applied force and pressure from the legs and feet. This is important as it is the last and final part in cresting a perfect pedal stroke. The foot should start at the top of the circle and end with a downstroke movement following through the entire circle rotation of the axel.
Correcting a follow-through stroke can take time, and implementing new techniques into your training sessions can be a great way to jumpstart progress. A helpful tip for practicing strong follow-through movements is to try and remember to fully extend both your knees and heels when pedaling. Extending the knees and heels helps to reassure the follow-through on the downstroke is strong and consistent every time.