I'm not a doctor but…
Cycling injury, recovery and health issues.
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Its not a very descriptive title but I didn't know if its just because I'm new to cycling or if I need to adjust my saddle upwards. Basically when I cycle I feel like I have the saddle too low and I'm peddling on my toes!
It doesnt feel like I'm really stretching my legs but if is low down and put my foot to the bottom of the crank, my Lewis fairly extended. Is this because ispinning at a faster speed?
While I'm here, if I spin too fast, I start bobbing on the saddle! Any tips?
I don't understand what your saying in the first 2 paragraphs
I got told to pedal with the foot flat at the bottom. To do this I have to over exaggerate the heel down, it feels to me like my heels are below my toes, but in fact its flat or not even flat yet.
In regards to bobbing on the saddle, change to a harder gear. I find that when spinning fast on normal pedals I will bob, I really need cleats to keep it in control.
That makes sense. When I say cycling on my toes, I mean my heel is pointing up so I'm pushing with my toes pointing down.
I'll have to find some guides to good pedaling technique!
I have cleats and SPDSL pedals.
If your toes are down, I don't see how the saddle can be too low. Just the opposite in fact.
Are you rocking on the saddle? Do you get saddle sore?
If you think the saddle height is wrong, take a baseline measurement from the centre of the crank to the top of the saddle along the seat tube. Then adjust the height by 5mm increments each ride until you find the optimum position.
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I'm wondering if my cleats are too far forward on the shoe and this makes it feel like I'm pushing with only the front of the foot instead of my whole leg (I think is is what I'm getting at).
Yes, it is a distinct possibility - I was going to mention that.
The cleat position should align the pedal axle with the joint of the big toe. By default I always start the cleats all the way back. Saddle height must be adjusted accordingly - if you move the cleats back then you will need to lower the saddle.
I took a look at y shoes and the axle was well behind the toe joint. I've moved them forward (maximum cleat forward position) and it sits almost in line now.
Also my leg is a little more stretched out but still with some bend in the leg with pedal at the bottom position. I'll give it a little test ride later.
Thanks for your help!
I just purchased some sidi's and the sole is flatter than my current shimano's infact the shimano's heel height is approx 10-12 mm higher when new cleats are fitted in the same position on both shoes and cleats helf flat on a flat surface.
Last edited by ratter on Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Would be keen to hear from others that have changed shoe brands as I'm far from an expert, but my bike fitted told me I would need to lower my seat because of the different shoes, you may have to run your higher
I've moved my cleats forward to maximum now so we'll see if it feels better.
It could of course be because I'm not very flexible right now so it doesn't feel like I'm using my muscles to their full capacity.
Can't help but wonder why you moved the cleats all the way forward in response to the suggestion you move them all the way back?
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My bad, I did actually mean back. I was referring to the shoe moving forward.
I feel like something is missing here.
Although i don't ride in cleated shoes, - i ride with a cage - i believe the principles are the same.
When pedalling, the ball of your foot should be on the pedal.
You hold your foot horizontal to the ground when you pedal so that means making sure that you keep your heel down.
To get the right seat height is when your knee is slightly bent ie, Your leg should not be fully stretched when you are riding. Something you wrote suggested that you thought you should be riding with a stretched out leg.
When spinning, it means the pedals go round as fast they can without losing control ie you are still pushing. You should not increase your gear to make it harder to pedal. Doing this leads to injuries if you are riding a lot. You should always ride with the easiest gear to keep pushing your pedals round.
Yes that's when you should change up a gear. And then you should change back as soon as you can when conditions change.
You should not feel as if your muscles are working as hard as they can. That's more like what they do in the gym but that's not what you should do when riding a bike. It can lead to injuries. cycling is a cardiac sport essentially. If you want to build muscle, ride uphills.
Just to clarify, I meant stretched as in leg slightly bent. What I was describing before was more akin to how you would ride a BMX while seated but not quite to that extreme.
My gut feeling is that my muscles are still adjusting to the needs of cycling so they feel like they're snapping back instead of maintaining a full range of motion.
I'm sure I won't know what the hell I was banging on about in a few months!
I think your seat height is too high for many of the reasons others suggest. And if your pelvis is rocking, then I'd suggest it is quite a bit too high. I think that is more likely than the location of your cleats although you would normally want to line them up with the ball of your foot.
One thing you could do is to get someone to ride behind you and watch your hips. It's usually quite obvious if someone's pelvis is rocking. It should be pretty much stable as rocking is bad.
I'd suggest as a new rider that you drop your seat height for a while and as you get more skills and strength, move it up a little bit at a time. Less is more
It is hard to know what is right, especially if you have only 1 bike.
The first time I used clip-ins it did feel a bit like that, recently I moved from spd-sl to spd because the cleats go a bit further back, it just feels more natural for me to put power down closer to the middle of the foot than the ball of the toes. I still have a bike with spd-sl and when I jump on it I notice that is demands a more toe-centric pedalling style and the seat is higher accordingly.
My heels are naturally low, it's just how I pedal. If you watch the pro's you will see alot of variation.
I would suggest putting the cleats in the most rearward position, fitting your saddle fore aft and seat at a generally good height ( not too high, pronounced slight bend on extension ). Then put it up 2mm every 3 rides. You will reach a point where you start losing power or your hips rock. Then you can lower it a bit and start playing with your cleat position.
Failing that, get a good bike fit, I mean, by a dedicated/reputable bike fitter, not some shop that has the latest video technique.
+1. If cleats are under the ball of your foot, you are using energy for foot stabilisation. Steve Hogg makes the case for moving towards the midfoot. I prefer to be well over the axle - moreso with mtb/cx than road - so it's not fixed for life. As for high-cadence pedalling, it's just something to work on - drills to increase cadence until you are about to start bobbing and then back off. Practice ...
Thanks for all your advice guys!
I'll be practicing on some flats and seeing how I get on.
Do you think it's worth investing in a computer with a cadence sensor to learn good form?
Yeah, a computer is good, but for the same money I'd probably join a club. Just having a look at your local club it seems pretty race oriented, but the good thing about clubs (especially outside metro areas) is that you hear about skills sessions, good local rides, the rules etc. And you get insurance even with a non-competitive silver licence, while meeting like-minded individuals. The velodrome is a bonus - something else to try. So I'd be having a chat to one of the committee, or at least a lbs to find out more. They are usually very happy to take a new member under a wing.
Our coach reckons as cadence increases, you keep the toes pointed down more.
I agree with this. When the ankle is flexing and extending, energy is not being transmitted as efficiently to the pedal. i.e. dropping the heel as you push down on the pedal, reduces the force per unit time (power) delivered to the pedal. Keeping the ankle stiff results in more of the force generated by the gluts and quads being transmitted to the pedals.
Faster cadences just don't allow enough time to ankle. It is better the ankle is stiffer.
Further, as cadence increases, it becomes more important for the hamstings to pull the pedals back, and the hip flexors to pull the pedals up.
These two movements are facilitated by keeping the ankle stiff (toes pointed down).
i've had a small issue of slight numbness in my left big toe. last night i read this thread and had alook at my cleat/shoe/axle setup for the first time and noticed the left foot was sitting too far forwards(arch slightly over the axle) i adjusted it and after todays ride, all was well. so thanks for the indirect help OP and all contributors.
That sounds like a good idea. I'll give them a call and see what happens.
Went for a ride today and it felt a lot better but I'm aware of two things (now I'm cycling more).
My hips sag (more psoas exercise?) and my legs are actually slightly stiff, hence why I get the sensation of not fully extending my legs.
I'm trying to be more aware of my posture and this has led to my arms being a bit more relaxed and my hands feel lighter on the hoods but I can only do this in short bursts as my posture goes to crap soon afterwards.
Again I think that a regular stretching regime and more cycling will help to improve my leg movement and posture.
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