Trek Women
November 24, 2008

Best foot forward...

Pedal power Did you know that in an hour-long fitness ride, you’ll turn over your pedals an average of 5,400 times? I’m not a bike componentry whiz so I won’t even try to go there about upgrading your crankset. Although, I will say that I highly recommend buying a pair of clipless pedals and cycling shoes if you’re riding longer distances or take spin classes regularly.

BUT, you don’t need gear to put your best foot forward. Simply think about your pedaling technique. Here’s what I tell my spinners…


Pedal as if you’re drawing smooth circles with your feet – at the bottom of the circle, imagine that you are scraping mud or whatever off the bottom of your shoe.


Don’t point your toes down – also a sign that your seat might be too high if you’re over-extending to get around. Focus on keeping your feet flat with the balls of your feet over the center of the pedals.


Start your circle by putting the force on pushing forward with your leg (like kicking out) instead of straight down and then pull the pedal upwards. Just mashing down can lead to knee injuries and leg cramps. Also by using the push and the pull, you engage more leg muscle like your hamstrings.


It may take some practice; but I guarantee you’ll feel pedal perfection!


P.S. If you’re using cycling shoes, check that your cleats are properly aligned on your shoe. Cleats should be positioned under or just behind the ball of the foot. They should also be aligned so that your knees don’t turn in or out. Some pedal systems (like the Speedplays I use on my Trek 5000 road bike) allow more float or rotation to get the right knee position; while others like SPDs lock you in.


A few months back, I was feeling a little stress on my right knee during spin class and I couldn’t figure out why. Then it finally dawned on me that I had recently replaced that cleat. I tweaked the alignment and no more knee stress. So, I learned that my cleat set-up varies slightly for each foot.



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