Bike pedaling is a skill. It’s something you practice and practice until eventually you’re able to pedal efficiently and effectively.
So where to start? Well, there are two broad categories of bike pedals: flat and clipless.
Flat pedals are the typical pedals you see on most bikes. They don’t require any special shoes and they’re probably what you learned to bike on.
Clipless pedals clip the pedal cleats in with your shoes (think of ski bindings). As I’m sure you’ve notice, the name “clipless pedals” is ridiculously deceiving but the name comes from back in the day when cyclist used toe-clips. When these new pedals were invented, they did away with toe clips and offered a way for cyclist to attach their shoes directly with their pedals. In other words, they went “clipless”.
If you’re training for a triathlon or plan on doing any long distance endurance biking, clipless pedals will make you bike faster. They provide with you the ability to lift up as well as push down to help propel your bike forwards. Most importantly, they’re really fun to use because you feel connected to the bike.
Please note there is a learning curve when you first try on clipless pedals. I can 100% guarantee that you will bail on your bike at some point when you forget you’re latched in. It happens to everyone. I started learning on the bike trainer to help me become more familiar with the motion of clipping in and out of my pedals. I found that when I finally hit the road, I was much more comfortable than I had suspected and I’ve only bailed once (fingers crossed).
Once you’re clipped in, practice your upwards stroke to make you a stronger biker. I like to practice one-legged pedaling so that I get used to the upwards motion.
Try one leg pedaling for 1 minute and then switch sides. Repeat this three times for a total of six minutes. Try to stay in medium or hard gears to provide some resistance and really work those hip muscles.
If you want to learn more, check out some training videos online and read this helpful article on the perfect pedal stroke.
Happy pedaling friends!