Pedalling technique is a vital element of cycling. It can affect how your bike handles, your power output, your risk of injury and ultimately your speed. So, when was the last time you really thought about how you pedal?
Pedalling technique is difficult to gauge as you can’t see what you’re doing. Most cyclists simply think the cranks are fixed so your feet just go round right? Wrong. The Wattbike Polar View shows exactly how you’re applying force during the whole pedal stroke.
During a fundraising event for Action Medical Research, we recorded the Polar Views of Wattbike ambassador Joanna Rowsell, TV presenter and journalist Rebecca Charlton, Editor of Cycling Plus Rob Spedding and TV presenter OJ Borg.
See how you compare
This is a snapshot of Joanna's pedalling technique. She has perfect balance between left and right leg, the angle of peak force is almost identical and there is a big gap in the middle to show Joanna is scraping her feet through at the bottom of the pedal stroke. This is a very efficient pedalling technique with very little wasted effort ensuring Joanna is getting the most out of every pedal revolution.
When you compare Joanna’s Polar View with those of her opponents TV presenter and journalist Rebecca Charlton, Editor of Cycling Plus Rob Spedding and TV presenter OJ Borg, you will immediately notice how much more each pinches in the middle and the difference between the force delivered by the left and right legs.
Rebecca is not scraping through at the bottom of her pedal stroke which results in a Polar View shape that looks like a figure of 8. Rebecca also favours her right hand side.
Rob does have a gap in the centre showing he is scraping his feet through at the bottom of the pedal stroke, but when compared to Joanna’s, there is still room for improvement. There is a 13 degree difference in Rob’s angle of peak force (the point in the pedal stroke where he delivers the most power) suggesting an imbalance.
OJ is very well balanced with both left and right leg delivering power at almost the same point and force evenly distributed between his left and right leg. Similar to Rob, he does scrape through at the bottom of the pedal stroke but there is room for improvement here too.
Of the four riders, Joanna is the most balanced and has the most efficient pedalling technique wasting very little effort.
Improve your technique
If this sneak peak into the technique of some key figures in the cycling industry has left you feeling more like a figure 8 than a sausage, it’s time to work on your own Polar View. Remember, good pedalling technique will allow you to deliver more power for less effort. It’s free speed!
Our Sport Scientist Eddie Fletcher has spent many years assessing the technique of many of the world’s top cyclists. This has given him a unique insight in to how best to get the most out of every pedal revolution. Watch this video to get a better understanding of the Polar View and then try some of Eddie’s specific pedalling technique sessions.