The most efficient way to cycle is to use the full stroke of the pedal: all the way down, around the bottom and up. If you do not have your feet clipped into the petals you are not able to pull up – if you only push down there is a huge load going onto the knee joint and potentially the lower back if the core is not supporting the load as one pushes. When one pushes the movement of the legs and load on the body is not even, but more jolty which encourages a sway in the body to help with the pushdown.
This tends to lead to an unstable seat position – a rocking of the pelvis and bending of the lower back as the load increases when one is challenged with hills or increased speed
Often it’s a good idea to focus on purely the pulling up portion of the stroke which will generally mean that the rider is completing the full circle – one ever needs to talk about pushing down because this is how we learnt to ride a bike so it’s never really forgotten
Here is a good example of pedals and clips. They all have different suitability. The first set are SDI pedals for road biking, they have a large clip on the shoe for spreading the load of the pedal over a larger area on one’s foot. The second SPD for mountain bikes – they have a smaller clip on the shoe so that it is easier to walk and not so easy for mud to get stuck, but the bearing surface area is smaller, which is not a problem for mountain biking as there is a lot of movement on and off the bike, but if long rides on the road are done using there can be discomfort in the foot from the load-bearing in a small part of your foot. The next two sets have studs on them so no clips, just traction against the sole of the shoe – this is easier to unclip from and can work fine but you miss the direct pull-up part of the stroke, but safer if in fun parks or on obstacles. The last is the traditional cage-style – these are cheaper and most bikes come with them already, they work fine but need to be done up tight and then can be troublesome to unclip or get out of, sometimes you can get cages on one side and mountain bike SDI clips on the other. There are many other styles but these are the main ones and give you the idea of what you are looking for.
The next is to find suitable shoes that work on your bike as well as pushing your bike depending on the terrain you are looking at riding on.
Why do we need to get our shoes fitted properly to our bicycle?
When we run or walk our foot has a choice how it wants to hit the floor when we cycle our feet are connected to the pedal and so they no longer have a choice – if we are twisting on the seat of the bike or simply throwing the bike around as we ride there becomes no tolerance at the knee if the feet are rigid. The knee then pays the price as there is nowhere for the excess movement to go. If the shoe clips are not set straight to the way a leg moves then the ankle will be held in an unnatural position which will also cause pain in the knee. Best is to visit a decent bike shop which is set up to do these bike and shoe fits.
We can help to set your bike up at a base level but for a proper fit – I can strongly recommend Gary at GA Cycles in Southampton – Click here to find out more