For Blog Action Day, here are some tips for better bicycling. You'll feel virtuous every time you ride your bicycle instead of driving your car!
All cyclists should learn to pedal at a fast cadence, whether you are an experienced racer or a novice recreational rider. Muscle fatigue and damage are caused by excess pressure on the pedals, not by how fast you pedal. Pedaling at a faster cadence with less pressure allows you to pedal longer and harder. However, several researchers have expressed concern that pedaling very fast could decrease blood flow to muscles and thus decrease athletic performance. A study from Kansas State University shows that pedaling fast does not decrease a muscle's flow of blood or ability to extract oxygen from the blood. Once again athletes and coaches find new training and competing methods and years later, scientists tell them that they are correct.
After you have been riding regularly for a time, try to spin your pedals 80 times a minute. In the beginning, you will put so little pressure on your pedals that you will ride very slowly. However, after several weeks of pedaling at a cadence of 80, you will become more comfortable and be able to move fairly well at this pace. As you become stronger, you can maintain this high cadence while using higher gears and pressing on the pedals with more force, so you will be able to ride faster and longer. Journal reference
How to pedal: You should pedal with the ball of your foot, not your arch. The ankle is the fulcrum for the force you generate with your feet. The ball of your foot is further away from the ankle than your arch so you generate far more force with the ball of your foot.
As you straighten your knee, pedal at a 45 degree angle down and forward for the greatest force. Bicycle shoes have cleats that attach to the pedals to keep the ball of your foot over the pedal, where you generate the most force. Don't wear soft-soled shoes that allow the pedals to press against your feet, which can cause pain. Experienced riders know that you should not bend your foot up when you pedal up because it wastes energy and tires you earlier.
My most important tip: get a comfortable bike seat.
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