MORE ON PEDALING IN CYCLING
An improvement in the quality of cycling exhibited and experienced by an athlete comes partially by simply obtaining a better picture of what cycling is. Riding is not something you do to a bike, it is something you do with a bike. A combination of a rider and a bike creates an elegant system for human movement, and in a sense, the marriage of a cyclist to bicycle created the first cyborg, the original man/machine combination. Sorry to disappoint you, Mr. Terminator
and Professor K. Warwick
For such a seemingly simple device, the art (or science) of riding a bicycle can be stunningly complex. Perhaps that explains the paradox that no matter how many studies of cycling technique
we have from a mechanical or psychological viewpoint, the question of pedaling technique itself as a human movement remains unresolved. If you study the technical literature of cycling you'll find an enormous amount of information on one cycle of the pedaling stroke, but virtually nothing on the whole picture of pedaling as an interaction between the athlete and the bicycle as a means of improving overall cycling performance.
The bicycle is quite simply a marvel of human engineering. But no matter how fast a bike looks or feels, its average land speed without a human aboard remains resolutely stuck at zero miles per hour. As for a human without a bike, figure about eight, maybe ten miles per hour, unless it's a sprint. So, when we talk about cycling technique, what we're really talking about is systems engineering - devising the optimum means for a human to interact with a bicycle for the most efficient forward progress.
In the Pose Method, a discussion of proper pedaling technique starts with an understanding that it's an integral system of interaction of the athlete/machine with the external environment. The primary focus here is on gravity
and body weight. As Leonardo da Vinci said a long time ago: "Motion is created by the destruction of balance...", so we need to learn proper balance
in order to create proper forward motion. Starting with basics like the simple ability to balance on the pedals can dramatically improve your overall performance.
Even if you're a seasoned rider, it will not hurt to check your basic skills and perceptions. Have you ever seen the extreme cyclists operate their bikes? They OWN their machines and the road. Why? They can do whatever they want with their bikes. Sometimes the most basic skills like balance are the most important to master in order to increase your perception in any sport. Too often, triathletes and cyclists do not include any basic skill training
in their workout regimen.
So, learn to skillfully operate your bike and become a true owner of your bike, not because you paid for it, but because you can utilize your bike's full potential when you need it and how you need it.
Tomorrow, on Video Wednesdays
, practice your balance
with the Pose Cycling Balance Drill.
Article by Dr. Nicholas Romanov
Composed by L. Romanov