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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, i recently bought a 2007 raleigh grand prix after riding a fixed gear around boston for the past year and I went out riding with a guy who has been riding for over 20 years and when we went out, he told me that I have to stay in the small front chainring and the 3rd to biggest cog in the rear. this didnt make sense to me because after a few seconds of pedaling my feet were going so fast that I was actually hopping in my saddle. Everytime I would try to shift to a harder gear he would tell me to go back down.

Can anyone tell me if I should take his advice or give me so tips on not hopping? Thanks
 

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Imho...

fmradio516 said:
Hello, i recently bought a 2007 raleigh grand prix after riding a fixed gear around boston for the past year and I went out riding with a guy who has been riding for over 20 years and when we went out, he told me that I have to stay in the small front chainring and the 3rd to biggest cog in the rear. this didnt make sense to me because after a few seconds of pedaling my feet were going so fast that I was actually hopping in my saddle. Everytime I would try to shift to a harder gear he would tell me to go back down.

Can anyone tell me if I should take his advice or give me so tips on not hopping? Thanks
...he's got his hat on a little too tight. There is a theory that when you start out in the spring, you ought to pick out one gear and develop a smooth pedaling style in that gear alone...up and down hills, on the flats, and so forth. That's an okay theory if (a) you pick the right gear and (b) the ups and downs are relatively mellow. Otherwise, you wind up with the effect you've already experienced. The main thing is to develop a smooth pedaling style, and that's hard to do if you're lugging (pushing too big a gear) or spinning out, as you were in your last ride. Ride in whatever gear you want, just work on developing what the French call souplesse on the bike...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
ok. that sounds a little bit better. is there a good way to make my pedalstrokes rounder? I feel like thats what is causing me to hop around.
 

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Who is he, the Pope?

Where's he get off telling you what gear you "have to" use? As SkiRacer said, it's good to learn to spin when you need to, but if you've been riding fixed for a year you probably know how to do that.

Just out of curiousity, do you know how fast you were going when you started bouncing? Assuming you were in a 39x21, at 20 mph you'd be spinning about 140 rpm, which is tough for most riders to maintain smoothly for more than a few seconds.

Use the gears you want, and try to maintain a decent cadence. Tell Mr. Cadence-Nazi to mind his own business.
 

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I think the hopping around...

fmradio516 said:
ok. that sounds a little bit better. is there a good way to make my pedalstrokes rounder? I feel like thats what is causing me to hop around.
...is more from spinning out in a really tiny gear. There's probably some threads on pedaling in circles (as opposed to squares) that other posters can point to but I think in essence it comes down to the following:

- Ironically, good gear selection. Think about your car. If it's a Subaru Outback, like mine, the engine is most efficient at around 3000 rpms. That's why I change gears. If I'm in second gear at 60 mph, likely the engine is overreving to the tune of 6000 rpm. On the other hand, if I'm in 4 gear and doing 15, the engine is definitely lugging. There are times when you want to load up with more resistance, other times when you want to spin high with light resistance, but in general if you shoot for "medium" resistance, and select gears accordingly, you'll have a better shot at pedaling in circles.

- Think specifically about pedaling in circles. A lot of people stomp up and down on the pedals; the best riders visualize the foot following a circular path.

- Pull up as well as push down. Everybody knows how to push on the downstroke, the best know how important it is, especially climbing, to pull up on the upstroke. Imagine that you're trying to scrape some mud off the sole of your shoe.

- Practice ankling. What this means, at least to me, is keeping your ankles loose so that the sole of your foot stays relatively flat throughout the pedal stroke. A lot of people poiint their toes down on the downstroke, push their heels down on the upstroke...or even the reverse. This is pedaling in squares, not circles, and it ain't real good for your musculature either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
hmm good tips guys. gotta go out and practice i guess. its gonna kill me if i wont ever be able to get it.
 

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fmradio516 said:
ok. that sounds a little bit better. is there a good way to make my pedalstrokes rounder? I feel like thats what is causing me to hop around.
The two methods I swear by:
  • Pedal downhill in a low gear (i.e., go downhill in the gear you would use to climb the hill). There will be pretty much zero resistance to turning the pedals, meaning you can get a really fast cadence going. When you start bouncing, back it off and then wind it up again.
  • Pedal with only one foot clipped in. You'll learn where the "dead spots" are in your pedal stroke really fast!

A little practice goes a long way. This is one of those things that you can't "try" to do; you just have to relax and do. i.e., don't overthink when you're practicing -- just relax and let your legs start spinning.
 

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One tip that has helped me pedal in circles said you should "visualize" that your feet are floating on the pedals. That may sound strange but it sort of makes sense:

- ride in a gear where you feel some resistance
- visualize/imagine/feel that your feet are floating on the pedals, going around in circles. In practice, I have a feeling that the pressure between my foot and pedal does not vary (much)
- when you want to spin faster, imagine that the circle that your foot is doing is getting smaller (this one sounded really weird to me but it seems to work).
 
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