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Bicycling: Tips and Techniques

How to Pedal on a Bicycle

You have just started making a pedal stroke with your left foot. As the left foot pushes down and hits bottom, the natural inclination is to transfer power to the right foot and start the right-foot stroke. Think again. Your work with your left foot has just begun; you are actually not finished with that first stroke.

As your left foot "bottoms out" on its stroke, act as if you are scraping some sticky chewing gum off the bottom of your shoe. This adds power to the bottom and back of the stroke and gets the foot ready to pull on the pedal. As the left foot is scraping its way back, transfer power to the right foot. Now, as the right foot is completing its downstroke, pull up with the left foot. Your left foot should be pulling as your right foot is pushing.

But hold on! You are still not done with the left-foot revolution. As your left foot comes to the top of its revolution, act as if you are stepping over that awful chewing gum you were just scraping off. This will squeeze a last bit of energy from your left-foot revolution and get it ready to power through the next revolution.

As you concentrate on getting one foot to do a proper revolution, you'll feel like you're pedaling with just one foot. But as you get used to the power transfer and make the transition effortless, you will be able to get both feet moving in a smooth circle. Push-scrape-pull-step-push-scrape-pull-step until the square boxes you used to make are nothing but a memory.

Try This: Pedal with just one foot and try to get the push-scrape-pull-step motionperfected, so that you are delivering a smooth circle full of power. Do this a hundred times. Now do it with the other leg. Once you feel comfortable doing this with both legs individually, start using them both.

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