Pedaling Efficiency: Vectors and Motion

author : KevinKonczak
comments : 0

While most do not think about the actual vector breakdown involved in the cycling stroke and where the power is applied in detail, when you finally do think about it, things become clearer.

Pedaling…forward, down, back, up…which is it? Circles, ovals, heels up or heels down? With so much advice out there, it is quite possibly one of the most basic movements our legs make, yet so difficult to master to perfection we as cyclists can encounter. This is due to the number of angles of the ankles, thigh, lower leg, and muscles as well as changes of forces involved throughout a pedal stroke. Let us not confuse fast cyclists with efficient or economical cyclists. The ideal cyclist will have both the motor as well as the economy (a low energy cost), and those elements are key for becoming a top notch cyclist or time trialist.

After doing some online research on pedaling efficiency, I ran across an article by Dr. Michele Ferrari which seemed to make some of the best sense I’ve read to date.

I have always tried to trace the perfect circle (except for those few years when Shimano Bio-Pace rings existed,) with my stroke all the way around the imaginary clock we call a crank. [.....]

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date: July 4, 2006