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Push down with the heels on the pedals

TralfamadoreTralfamadore Posts: 17
edited September 2008 in Commuting chat
I was as surprised as Jonathan Sale was in the Guardian a few days ago (http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/ ... ss.cycling) to be told to push down with his heels on the pedals and not with the balls of his feet.

I used to cycle with my arch on the pedal until someone said that I shouldn't cycle as if I were riding a horse. I was supposed to push down with the balls of my feet.

Does the advice to Jonathan Sale mean that my heels should be on the pedal?

I cycle a Raleigh three speeder type bike with the handlebars in a raised position. I sometimes use it for commuting, but I mainly use it for 'rambling' type cycling i.e. long slow rides to view the countryside.

Posts

  • dondaredondare Posts: 2,113
    I was as surprised as Jonathan Sale was in the Guardian a few days ago http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/ ... ss.cycling to be told to push down with his heels on the pedals and not with the balls of his feet.

    I used to cycle with my arch on the pedal until someone said that I shouldn't cycle as if I were riding a horse. I was supposed to push down with the balls of my feet.

    Does the advice to Jonathan Sale mean that my heels should be on the pedal?

    I cycle a Raleigh three speeder type bike with the handlebars in a raised position. I sometimes use it for commuting, but I mainly use it for 'rambling' type cycling i.e. long slow rides to view the countryside.

    It dfepends whether you want to ride a bike efficiently or you want to improve your posture and protect your back. But bikes and bike pedals are not designed to be used with the heels.
    This post contains traces of nuts.
  • Erm, I wouldn't advise it!

    I think that Mr Sale's information came from an Alexander Technique type chap, more interested in posture than in efficient cycling.

    I would say that it's whatever you feel most comfortable doing, but there's a reason why SPDs hold your foot with the ball over the centre of the pedal.

    Unless you have serious knee problems, I'd say continue as you were!

    What's more, you shouldn't ride a horse with the stirrups under your arches either! :)
  • I think if I tried to ride as Jonathan suggests I'd probably fall backwards off the seat.
  • knight2k wrote:
    I think if I tried to ride as Jonathan suggests I'd probably fall backwards off the seat.

    A lot of bollocks in there!

    My elbows are usually bent as I heave at the handlebars but this is another bad habit to be eradicated: your arms should be like your handlebars, dead straight.

    What :shock: no they shouldn't - sounds bloody painful to me.
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  • NGaleNGale Posts: 1,866
    you know no matter how many times I have tried cycling using the balls of my feet on the peddles I have never been able to get it right, I continue to peddle using the the arches.
    One foot is gradually getting the idea, but the other stubournly refuses to move off the arches.

    I am convinced it is just something that happens and regardless of how much you try and train it you have a natural posture for you while on a bike.

    If I had SPDs on my bike I would fall off, simple as that. I am looking to get some toe clips this month to see if that will help, but who knows :shock:
    Officers don't run, it's undignified and panics the men
  • LittigatorLittigator Posts: 1,262
    Yeah absolutely, if you lock your elbows you are transferring all vibrations and bumps straight up to your shoulders and into your back...with slightly bent elbows you'll absorb all of this.

    I haven't read the article yet but it sounds horrendously misleading.
    Roadie FCN: 3

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  • It is a lot of rubbish.

    I see an osteopath regularly for shoulder and neck problems from car accident at the minute, I asked him if cycling would have a negative effect, and he said that as long as I used panniers it was fine.
  • NGaleNGale Posts: 1,866
    It is a lot of rubbish.

    I see an osteopath regularly for shoulder and neck problems from car accident at the minute, I asked him if cycling would have a negative effect, and he said that as long as I used panniers it was fine.

    I was actually encouraged to cycle by my chiropractor after she corrected my back as she said it would encourage my back to stay in good shape and balanced.

    I have to say since having my back corrected I enjoy cycling now, it dosen't hurt like it once used to.

    Again I was told to use panniers instead of a rucksack to keep the weight off the back as much as possible
    Officers don't run, it's undignified and panics the men
  • I think when he said push down with the heels, it means keep your feet flat through the pedal stroke, so keeping the back of the knee open and not pointing your feet down. Not pedal with your heels.
  • Oh for God's sake what claptrap.

    This guy (in the Grauniad) seems to be attempting to turn a bicycle into a recumbent. I bet he could equally determine that walking is bad for you and actually you should really do it lying down.

    A word of caution about chiropractors - (1) they call themselves "doctors" but they could equally refer to themselves as Chief Wizards of Chiropractic for all the recognistion the title has outside of the profession (2) their business model conveniently relies you always have to return to them for "correction". I've not met any chiropractors who advocate stretching and conditioning exercises that might aleviate or prevent future problems. Why would they? How this is distinct from "correcting" any other joint that happens to make a satisfying clicking noise is not clear.
    (3) the theory behind chiropractic treatment is bunkum. The inter relationship between, for example, your bowel movements and a satisfying click to your back appears to depend on structural diagrams of systems in the body that do not have any more or less basis in reality than "chi". I've no particular bias against chi, any more than any other early theories attempting to rationalise the observable.

    I just don't think that chiropractic is actually based on any observables, other than the observation that it is possible to extort £30 of people with a sore back for half an hour, most of which is taken up talking and all but about 10 seconds of the rest taken up with soft tissue work.

    But it does feel good, as does a sports massage.

    A word about osteopathy - have you ever met an osteopath who is able to difinitively tell you the difference between what they do and what a chiropractor does? As far as I can tell there was a disagreement about some leaflets depicting people with healthy backs AND internal organs and how for everyone was willing to extend the credible. It lead to a split, a bit like in rugby. Osteopaths are more union, choripractors are more league, I think.
  • Most cyclists in the world cycle with their heels - just go ride through any part of Asia and you'll see it everywhere - China, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, even Japan. I've always been curious about why - most likely explanation I think is very light soled shoes (or bare feet in Laos) with badly designed pedals makes it easier that way.

    LiT, I'm in a similar position to you - recovering from a road accident. But I go to a sports physio for advice (I find doctors don't always take a wider overview - I strugged to get my doctors to take seriously muscle problems associated with my accident - they were all osteopaths of one form or another and were only interested in what they could see on X-Rays - and my GP was only interested in giving painkillers). My sports physio has been very good at advising on everything from posture when walking, to bike positioning, to various little exercises for strengthening weak points. Not to mention the nice massages...
  • On the osteopathy front, I was actually recommended to one by my GP, he said 'Osteopath or physio - not a chiropractor' and when I asked why said that osteopathy focused more on muscular issues than chiropractor-y (chiropractice?? Chiropractrication??) so I went out and found the best one I could find, and it's made a real difference. What's more, he's now said that after 3 weekly sessions, I now have to wait for 4 weeks before seeing him again, then it should only be a few more sessions that I need until I'm sorted.

    And I was equally surprised - I was a sceptic too but this guy's really changed my mind.
  • In fairness, my experience of osteopaths is comparatively limited. I should also emphasise that chiropractors do no harm, other than to raise expectations and lighten wallets. As such, I've used them when someone else is paying.

    The osteopaths I've met are a little more conservative about the effects of their treatments, for example claiming that sorting someone's back out will help their back pain, as opposed to their lactose intolerance.

    I've encountered one chiropractor who was somewhat apologietic about the "chiropractic can aleviate your excess wind problem" part of the profession. I paid for his work, in a time of great need. I figured that because he was an ex-olympian, (hence fantastically good at the sport I was censored but enthusiastic about) he had a chance of empathising with my self-inflicted sporting pain and probably had the exact same pain half the time and might know how to aleviate it.

    But osteopaths still seem to require one to return at regular intervals to maintain whatever effects it is that they've had. This bothers me greatly.

    Basically, though, if you have back pain and stiffness, a bit of soft tissue work and some stretching and resultant joint popping is completely fantastic. To my mind, a decent physio does this to the same extent as a chiropractor and an osteopath and, providing that's what you are looking for, its all good.

    Not all physios are equal either mind you....
  • mswmsw Posts: 313
    chiropractor-y (chiropractice?? Chiropractrication??)

    chiromancy :D
    "We're not holding up traffic. We are traffic."
  • LittigatorLittigator Posts: 1,262
    I've always had a degree of back pain since being a hunched over teenager, I've tried two types of chiropracty, physio, yoga and pilates. Pilates has without doubt made the most difference for me helping stretch and strengthen the muscles and pop the joints and straighten my spine.

    I think it's quite a personal thing for most people but that's my winning formula anyway.

    ps that's very small group pilates i.e. no more than 4 to an instructor. Go to a big group class at your gym and you are wasting your time.
    Roadie FCN: 3

    Fixed FCN: 6
  • I'd second the recommendation for pilates. Its worked wonders for me. I think that back problems for a lot of cyclists (and others) have their roots in lack of core strength. Since I started pilates about 4 years ago (after suffering back problems on a bike tour) I've had no probs whatever, and I feel better and stronger on the bike.
  • GyatsoLa wrote:
    I'd second the recommendation for pilates. Its worked wonders for me. I think that back problems for a lot of cyclists (and others) have their roots in lack of core strength. Since I started pilates about 4 years ago (after suffering back problems on a bike tour) I've had no probs whatever, and I feel better and stronger on the bike.

    Third! I went once a week for 2 months and it did wonders for my back and core strength - to my mind this is absolutely key. I admit I've struggled to keep it up, but it solved a lot of my problems (ie back pain after 50 miles or so).
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  • NGaleNGale Posts: 1,866
    In fairness, my experience of osteopaths is comparatively limited. I should also emphasise that chiropractors do no harm, other than to raise expectations and lighten wallets. As such, I've used them when someone else is paying.

    The osteopaths I've met are a little more conservative about the effects of their treatments, for example claiming that sorting someone's back out will help their back pain, as opposed to their lactose intolerance.

    I've encountered one chiropractor who was somewhat apologietic about the "chiropractic can aleviate your excess wind problem" part of the profession. I paid for his work, in a time of great need. I figured that because he was an ex-olympian, (hence fantastically good at the sport I was censored but enthusiastic about) he had a chance of empathising with my self-inflicted sporting pain and probably had the exact same pain half the time and might know how to aleviate it.

    But osteopaths still seem to require one to return at regular intervals to maintain whatever effects it is that they've had. This bothers me greatly.

    Basically, though, if you have back pain and stiffness, a bit of soft tissue work and some stretching and resultant joint popping is completely fantastic. To my mind, a decent physio does this to the same extent as a chiropractor and an osteopath and, providing that's what you are looking for, its all good.

    Not all physios are equal either mind you....

    I was lucky in finding my chiropractor, she is under no illusions about the results she may or may not get. she is upfront from the start and says that she might not be able to help in any way shape or form.

    As I say I was lucky, she was able to help and she found I had a simple problem to resolve, a twisted pelvis (found through x-rays orginised with my GP) and she has been able to correct it and the resulting problems I had because of it.

    I now no longer have problems with my hamstrings, my left knee is stronger now than it has ever been and the shin splints I suffered from since I was a young teen have all but gone. I now have no pain in my back, for the first time in 21 years.

    All this stemed from being knocked off my bike as a 10 year old.

    I can honestly say my chiropractor has done me the world of good, but then I had a skeletal problem which could be resolved, not everyone has that luxury.

    I would always recommend someone seeing a chiropractor or osteopath if other avenues have come to nothing, but then I would also say walk away if you think it isn't value for money, you are afterall the customer
    Officers don't run, it's undignified and panics the men
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,554
    I was as surprised as Jonathan Sale was in the Guardian a few days ago (http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/ ... ss.cycling) to be told to push down with his heels on the pedals and not with the balls of his feet.

    I used to cycle with my arch on the pedal until someone said that I shouldn't cycle as if I were riding a horse. I was supposed to push down with the balls of my feet.

    Does the advice to Jonathan Sale mean that my heels should be on the pedal?

    I cycle a Raleigh three speeder type bike with the handlebars in a raised position. I sometimes use it for commuting, but I mainly use it for 'rambling' type cycling i.e. long slow rides to view the countryside.

    Didn't realize that Tralfamadore was in the UK. Are you still living with that good looking
    girl in a glass dome?

    Denis Noward
  • ceecee Posts: 4,553
    I have suffered with a bad back for about 10 years now... off and on....in various degrees of seriousness.

    I have spent literally thousands of pounds on chiromancers and osteoflippers.

    It all seemed to work at the time, but as always tyred says, always seemed to need to go back.

    The latest person I see is an Osteopath/Sports Therapy. He combines manipulation with core stability excercises, which seems to be doing the trick. I think that any of the core stability excersises listed above (pilates/yoga) are the things which have the long term effect, but the manipulation carried out by a chiro/osteo gives short term relief.

    And core stability can be as easy as using one of these stability balls as your office chair.....it forces me to continually work on my posture and core fitness.

    seems to be working anyway....only time will tell I suppose.
    Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I believe in the future of the human race.

    H.G. Wells.
  • dennisn wrote:
    I was as surprised as Jonathan Sale was in the Guardian a few days ago (http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/ ... ss.cycling) to be told to push down with his heels on the pedals and not with the balls of his feet.

    I used to cycle with my arch on the pedal until someone said that I shouldn't cycle as if I were riding a horse. I was supposed to push down with the balls of my feet.

    Does the advice to Jonathan Sale mean that my heels should be on the pedal?

    I cycle a Raleigh three speeder type bike with the handlebars in a raised position. I sometimes use it for commuting, but I mainly use it for 'rambling' type cycling i.e. long slow rides to view the countryside.

    Didn't realize that Tralfamadore was in the UK. Are you still living with that good looking
    girl in a glass dome?

    Denis Noward

    No, have inbreads living in ivory towers. Not as appealing.
  • chiropractor-y (chiropractice?? Chiropractrication??)
    Chiropracty.
  • Well that's what I thought too, but a chiropractor told me otherwise; insisted that on use of the term chirporactic.

    Mind you, considering my opinions on the theoretical basis of the treatment, I don't see why I should take his word for it.

    (But I emphasise - it feels good and can/has offered short, even longer term, relief of pain - just within reason).

    What do people feel about reiki?

    I once went to a chiropractor who "applied" some to me. I didn't return. I once went on a date with a girl who claimed it worked on horses. It was going well up to that point.
  • Well that's what I thought too, but a chiropractor told me otherwise; insisted that on use of the term chirporactic.

    'Chiropractic' sounds like an adjective to me, but it seems that many folk on t'interweb have been told to use that word. Then again, 'Chiropracty' makes it sound a bit like a science... ;)

    Edit: Or could it be that they've taken it from a romance language (e.g French): Ciropractique anyone?
  • I hereby entitle myself "Doctor of Style". You may simply refer to me as A-T (Ph.S.). I administer stylic at weekly clinics at £75 an hour. Stylic can improve both self-esteem and posture.

    (Most of my patients now wear lycra and HH base layers).
  • dondaredondare Posts: 2,113
    "I bet he could equally determine that walking is bad for you and actually you should really do it lying down."

    :D
    This post contains traces of nuts.
  • A chiropratic could have pemanently disabled me by cutting the sciatic nerves.

    they did some 'manipulation' without taking xrays, my surgeon said I'm lucky to be walking.

    mind you, a work accident undid all the good work my surgeon did, so I'm back to square one.
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
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