Randwick Botany Cycling Club

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The Pedalling action

The Pedalling action

This area is of the utmost importance and all coaches should endeavour to produce the maximal pedalling efficiency in their cyclists.

The main application of force to the pedals is in the downward thrust or ‘push phase’ and needs little learning. The technique of drawing across the bottom of the revolution arc and upwards to the start of the downward thrust is to be learned and continually re­learned. The action involves a lowering of the heel as the downward thrust of the pedals takes place and a lifting of the heel as the pedal begins the upward movement of its revolution, and is termed ankling.

The ankling enables the application of constant pressure upon the pedals throughout the revolution eliminating the dead spots at the upper and lower points.

This pedalling action will spread the load over the muscles and promote a smooth efficient style with the cyclist being able to pedal faster and for longer.

Placing the cyclist on a fixed gear and observing the chain for any whipping or jerking is a means of detecting an inefficient ankling action.

The cyclist who moves too far forward when off the seat, cramps all movements and reduces the effectiveness of the application of force to the pedals, both in terms of the maximum leg force and the increased force resulting from the involvement of the arms and body.

Once the cyclist has developed bad style habits it is difficult to alleviate them, thus a maximum performance potential may never be achieved.

 Pedaling action
Low pedalling rate Medium pedalling rate   High pedalling rate
(60 – 90 rpm)  (90 – 110 rpm) (110 – 150 rpm)
On climbs, mountains, time trials etc.  Typical is lifting of the toe at top dead centreand the dropping of the toe at bottom dead centre. For racing in the bunch etc.  The foot remains virtually horizontal during the upper sector, or the toe drops slightly. Sprints, track events.  The speed of the foot itself takes it past top dead centre.  At all points the toe is more or less pointed downwards..

Often younger riders are seen pushing larger gears and moving all over their cycle, when they should be encouraged to spin a slightly smaller gear maintaining the round pedalling action.

Cyclists will vary in the position of their heel whilst pedalling. Some will employ a high heel action, others low. It is wrong to attempt to change the basic heel height of the rider.

The coach should develop ankling and round pedalling within the constraints of the cyclist’s basic action

All cyclists, regardless of age or event should concentrate on smooth and efficient pedalling technique.

 The cyclist who pedals with a high heel action has probably become used to that action because he may be inflexible in his ankle movement, have a defect in his foot at the point where this pushes on the pedals, or have inadequate muscle development in the foot itself.

Ankling is reduced if the rider pedals with his toes, consequently employing a high heel action.

The foot muscles are subjected to less stress if the sole of the foot is used rather than the toes.

 Road cyclists often use a low heel action resulting from their cleat being positioned well past the ball of the foot. Low heel technique is especially important in hill climbing, sitting back on the saddle.

CYCLING – Level 1 Coaching Manual cycling skills

This Article has been extracted from the Australian Cycling Level 1 coaching Manual. and is the recommended technique of Randwick Botany Cycling Club’s former Junior Development Officer, Peter Zala

Updated: December 13, 2013 — 1:17 pm
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