“As simple as riding a bike”
What I have to say on this website may offend some people because the learning process starts with the admission that there’s something to learn. Most people don’t like to be told that they don’t really know how to do something they think they know how to do, and everybody thinks they know how to pedal a bike. So, before we go any further, forget what you think you know about riding a bike. We’re going to engineer a pedal stroke like like a performance engineer designs an engine (because that’s what it is), looking at muscle usage and impulse timing and the demands on the system. We are going to look at the human body as a machine with pivots and motors (muscles), we’re going to look at how it generates force and in what direction. We’re going to look at the interface between the human body and the bicycle and develop a sequence of muscle firings which then create a pedal stroke.
We’re going to reinvent the wheel
(and this time we’re going to get it right)
To design a good pedal stroke we’re going to start with the largest motor, look at how it generates force and in what direction, and apply it to the pedal stroke. We’ll then do the same for the second largest motor, then the third… Each motor (muscle group) used will have it’s pros and cons which we must look at.
Fitness vs. Technique
Most people see fitness as the single largest factor in determining performance on a bicycle. Power (at the rear wheel) = exerted force (at the pedal) X efficiency of energy transfer. In a full season of training you might see a 15% increase in fitness. In a month of pedal stroke work over the winter you could see more gains in pedaling efficiency, and still have all spring to bring your fitness levels up. With greater efficiency you get to use the power that you produce.
On being coachable
We’ve all heard the sayings about hard work and results, it’s been drummed into us almost since birth. This is the motor skill learning process – notice that the emphasis isn’t on effort, it’s on doing it correctly. This is the largest obstacle I face in coaching – getting riders to lower the effort level and learn how to pedal. To put it bluntly, your intelligence and understanding of how the program works have to be greater than your work ethic for my program to work.