Feels like I'm cycling on my toes

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Re: Feels like I'm cycling on my toes

Postby Meditator » Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:13 pm

I can't even imagine what sagging hips could be.

I really am somewhat stunned by all this angst about what you are doing. (i've seen others do this too). When i took up triathlon about 10 years ago, i never had any issues whatsoever and i didn't have a clue what i was doing. I didn't know anything about bike fit, or how to pedal. All i knew was to keep the wheels spinning and how to change gears. And i never learnt any more than that until i started touring. I never had any problems on my psychadelic rebel racer except the day some sporty guys made fun of my bike as I pedalled around centennial park.

I wonder does have spd shoes make life so much more difficult? Or is it the psychology of the rider? Or is it something else?
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by BNA » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:01 am

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Re: Feels like I'm cycling on my toes

Postby stinhambo » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:01 am

Meditator wrote:I can't even imagine what sagging hips could be.


For me it's where the muscles don't hold the hips up so I end up leaning forward between my legs instead of on my sit bones.

Meditator wrote:I really am somewhat stunned by all this angst about what you are doing. (i've seen others do this too). When i took up triathlon about 10 years ago, i never had any issues whatsoever and i didn't have a clue what i was doing. I didn't know anything about bike fit, or how to pedal. All i knew was to keep the wheels spinning and how to change gears. And i never learnt any more than that until i started touring. I never had any problems on my psychadelic rebel racer except the day some sporty guys made fun of my bike as I pedalled around centennial park.

I wonder does have spd shoes make life so much more difficult? Or is it the psychology of the rider? Or is it something else?


It's because I'm new to cycling and probably want some reassurance that these things take time to iron out. Usually they can be ignored but others (like me) like to ask a million questions! Perhaps I do overthink it but I want to enjoy cycling and this is what helps me to understand it better.
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Re: Feels like I'm cycling on my toes

Postby stinhambo » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:01 am

Wow I just realised you are based on Cairns too! Where abouts?
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Re: Feels like I'm cycling on my toes

Postby Nikolai » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:53 am

Meet Jacques Anquetil

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A guy famously known for his strange pedalling technique (among other strange things he did).

Point being, if your bike fit is good (including cleat positioning), how you pedal should worry you no more than how you walk, write etc. It's individual. And, while we are at it, pulling up on the upstroke is a bad idea because,

a) it's unnatural
b) it gets on the way of another leg on the downstroke (which is partially a consequence of a) )
--> roadcyclingzone.com - Practical Cycling Blog
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Re: Feels like I'm cycling on my toes

Postby stinhambo » Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:07 pm

Thanks Nikolai :)
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Re: Feels like I'm cycling on my toes

Postby Meditator » Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:41 pm

I live an hours drive north of cairns. I don't ride while i'm at home, only on tour. The road is too dangerous.
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Re: Feels like I'm cycling on my toes

Postby stinhambo » Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:54 pm

Meditator wrote:I live an hours drive north of cairns. I don't ride while i'm at home, only on tour. The road is too dangerous.


Port Douglas or the Daintree? On tour? Are you a muso?
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Re: Feels like I'm cycling on my toes

Postby Downhill » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:44 am

stinhambo wrote: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.


Hi Stinhambo,

Having light hands is good. However, it means that the back muscles have to take up the load instead. It takes a while for the muscles to develop, but the more you ride, the easier it will get.

Also, the downwards force on the pedals partly counteracts the weight carried by the hands, arms and back muscles. Initially, spinning at a reasonably high cadence results in less force on the pedals because of the need to use lower gears. As your leg muscles develop, you will be able to exert more force on the pedals. This means you'll be able maintain the same cadence but in a higher gear (i.e., you'll get faster!). The increased reactive force will ease more of the load on the hands.

It might even get to the point where you'll need to pull up on the 'bars to compensate for the increased lift. Pulling up on the bars uses more energy. At that point you might need move your seat forwards to get more weight over the pedals.

Moving the seat forwards affects your reach because you'll be closer to the 'bars. It also affects your seat height because of the angle of the seat post. Seat height and seat set back are related. If you change one, you will also need to change the other.

You mentioned that you end up leaning forwards instead of being on your sit bones. That implies that you might be tilting your hips forward. If so, it could be that you're trying to reach too far forwards. This is usually caused by having the seat too far back or having the bars too far forward.

As you can see there are a lot of factors that affect performance and comfort. Trying to change too many thing at once is a recipe for disaster. I suggest starting by adjusting your cleat position until it feels about right.

Then adjust your seat height so that you can place your heel on the pedal at the bottom of the pedal stroke, with your leg fully extended. Do this in your socks & knicks. Make sure that the seat is roughly horizontal, and that you are comfortably seated with your sit bones fully supported by the fleshy part of the saddle. Once you've got it about right, measure the distance from the center of the bottom bracket to the center of the top of the saddle. Record the measurement. You will need it for the next step.

An alternative is to measure the distance from your crotch to the floor, then multiple it 1.09 (i.e. 109%). The measurement should be taken in stocking feet, with your feet roughly 200 mm apart, and your heels, hips and shoulders against a wall. Push a thickish book firmly up to your crotch to imitate a saddle. Take the vertical measurement from the top of the "saddle" to the floor. Then multiply it by 1.09. Both methods are reasonable approximations.

Next step: Have someone hold the bike for you. Place your sit bones on the fleshy part of the saddle and both feet on the pedals (you don't have to be clipped in for this bit). Place both hands on the hoods. Lean forward until your forearms are horizontal. Adjust the position of your seat forwards or backwards until your upper arms are vertical. Then measure the distance from the center of the saddle to the center of the head tube. Record it.

Remember, if you change the fore / aft position of the saddle by any more than a few millimetres, you might need to recheck the seat height as well.

When you're done, mark the height of the saddle on the seat tube for future reference (a correction pen is good for this). Also mark the fore/aft position on the seat rails. This will make it easy to duplicate the positions if you need to. It also provides a baseline reference for any subsequent adjustments.

Lastly, go for a few rides. You will need to clock up a few k's before reassessing the set up. It can take a while for the body to readjust to the new positions.

Enjoy!
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Re: Feels like I'm cycling on my toes

Postby stinhambo » Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:14 am

Downhill wrote:
Hi Stinhambo,

Enjoy!


Wow! I'm printing this out for future reference! I'll let you know how I get on. Weather has been miserable the last few days (final monsoon hurrah of the wet season).
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Re: Feels like I'm cycling on my toes

Postby grasshopper » Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:50 am

stinhambo wrote:My hips sag ... posture goes to crap soon afterwards ... stretching regime

Have a look at Steve Hogg's site for seat height. Stretching sounds good. Posture might be position but is often helped by core strength, or just plain old getting used to new uses of muscles. You can't do it all in a week. :) ^ Enjoy is good advice.
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Re: Feels like I'm cycling on my toes

Postby Meditator » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:49 pm

Port Douglas or the Daintree? On tour? Are you a muso?


cycling tour!

Oak Beach.
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