1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Clipless - pedal in a circle advice?

    I'm finding that when using clipless, I'm still pedaling just downward and don't feel I'm getting the full potential of my pedals. Any exercises, techniques, hints on how to pedal in a circle? how to pedal smoother? how to pedal uphill with clipless?

  2. #2
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    Here is a trick I was taught several years ago.

    On the road, or smooth trail, clip in your right foot, and unclip your left. Move your left out of the way and spin with just the right foot. This will force you to apply pressure all the way around. Do that for a while and switch legs.

    Keep switching back and forth for a while. It should become second nature pretty soon.

  3. #3
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    Also, as you get to the downstroke, you should be acting like you are scraping mud off the bottom of you shoe. Basically putting force throughout the pedal stroke. I second the 1 legged pedaling. It helps if you have a trainer and can do it indoors too.

  4. #4
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    I'll third the one leg exercise....

    and also add that time is another factor. When I originally switched over to clipless I felt the same way. But over time I've discovered that I learned it naturally. You don't even know you are doing it. My first hint that I had "learned" was in tunning up a bike for a fiend that rides platforms. Tune the bike in the stand and then go test ride to confirm your work right. Took the bike out (was working perfectly by the way ), came to a little grade on the road and my feet kept lifting off the pedals as they came around to the upstroke. Why? I wasn't clipped in!!! My legs had learned/become used to being able to pull the pedal through the stroke. Muscle memory was trying, but the resistance wasn't there!

    I'm sure it would have taken less time to "learn" had I used the one leg routine though. Another thing that helps is learning to "spin" the pedals. Don't mash em! To learn to spin you need to get on the bike and start out on the road. Concentrate on pedaling in circles. Gear choice is key here. Chose a gear that allows you to spin the pedals without mashing, and that you can spin without bouncing in the saddle, but allows you to maintain and even speed, we're talking leg speed here, (also called cadance). Get your legs moving at a comfortable cadance and then switch gears to maintain that cadance as the terrain changes. Yes the speed of the bike will vary, but your leg speed should not. This will teach you to spin. And is the most efficient way to make miles. Eventually you'll even learn that it is preferable to stay seated and spin while climbing under most conditions. There will always be those stand and hammer climbs, but most can be done more efficiently by spinning. And before you know it you'll be using as much of the pedal rotation as possible, both push and pull.

    Combine spinning with the one leg exercise and you'll be using as much of the pedal stroke as possible in no time. You won't even have to think about it, it'll all be muscle memory from then on. But it'll SUCK if you try to ride platforms after that!

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  5. #5
    local trails rider
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    One exercise I have read about goes something like this:
    - find a piece of road where you do not have to work hard to keep moving.
    - when pedaling, imagine/visualize/feel that your feet are floating on the pedals (going in circles, not changing the pressure between foot and pedal at all)
    - imagine/visualize/feel that the circle that your feet are doing is getting smaller (this should lead to faster pedaling)

  6. #6
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    I don't know if this is a possibility for you but if you know someone with a single speed or if you belong to a gym that has a spin class you could ride either one of those. They both don't have a fly wheel so you can't coast. I found that my "spinning" technique improved over the winter while I was stuck indoors on the hamster wheel (spin class).

  7. #7
    Haro Sonix LT VL120
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    It is better to spin than to mash gears. The best speed is between 80-90rpm which gives you enough resistance to loft the wheel by just pedaling. it also is more efficient than mashing and is less strain on your knees. When youpedal just think of maintaining resistance the whole way around. The one leg excesize works great as others mentioned. To find a prm just count how many times your right knee comes up within fifteen seconds and multiply by four.

    David

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