Wednesday, August 31, 2005

One-legged cycling drills

I learned to ride a bike when I was perhaps 7 or 8. So let's call it 40 years now that I've known how to ride a bike.

It took until today to learn how badly I suck at pedaling.

Lots of coaches recommend one-legged pedaling drills to improve efficiency. A few different people have recommended them to me - like Yurtie, and the trainer who did Kona that I rode with for a few miles out on the road who noticed how I was pedaling all stupid and pointy-toed. She unclipped one foot and demonstrated how smooth and easy it should be, then switched feet and demonstrated with the other foot. Never missing a beat, while going easily at about 16 mph.

I tried it on the road by myself when there were no cars around and nobody was watching. I was riding along and unclipped one foot and held it out to the side. Then I proceeded to lose all control and nearly fall down in the middle of the road.

I abandoned that idea until my next trainer ride, which I have cleverly been able to successfully postpone until today.

I started with five minutes warmup. Then I unclipped one foot and pedaled with the other by itself. Fortunately the bike trainer prevented me from falling over. But I was definitely "pedaling squares". It felt clumsy and awkward and as if I had never pedaled a bike in my life. Worst of all, it was *really* tiring. I lasted about one minute.

Then I tried it on the other leg. Not surprisingly, with similar results. Also very tiring.

I repeated the sequence once. That was enough.

A few weeks ago I saw one guy with a bum leg pedaling around easily on a bike with a pedal on one side and a little platform on the other side for his bad foot. I noted it, thought it was interesting, but I was not nearly as impressed by it as I am today, in retrospect.

I sure am glad I have two relatively good legs, so I can hide most of my inability to pedal in a circle. I won't make the mistake of doing that one-legged stuff again.

At least not where anybody can see it.


TriFeist said...

One legged drills will make you a better cyclist, that's why I avoid them. Seriously, I've heard they are reason enough to include on trainer ride per week in a workout plan. Note how many trainers rides I do.

Flatman said...

Ooof...I have done those a few times and they are HARD!!!

They must work if they hurt like that...

trifit said...

hmm, I'm going to try this over the weekend. (in a flat area, with no one around.)

Lynne said...

We do these drills in Spin class and I know how tough they are... I haven't thought about doing them outside though until now... My knee has heeled up from this summers graceful flip, so ...

Liz said...

Thanks for that link on the drills and pedaling. I'll have to work on that. Currently I ride like I did when I was 8.

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