Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
215 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been told to continue pedaling even when going down hill. However, on some steeper hills, I could be in my hardest gear trying to pedal but getting no resistance. When I get no resistance, my bike begins to wobble and I begin to lose balance. Is the fix in technique or should I just not pedal when it gets to this point?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,095 Posts
yah need an 11!!!!

at a certain point, you reach terminal velocity, and your pedaling is opposed by increased wind resistance, and you have to work really really hard to get any faster, and this is generally speaking not worth it to do.
it is generally good form to continue pedaling some instead of coasting, regardless of whether you're actually applying force. it's just considered safer, so that you're in position, balanced, ready to roll, rather than coasting completely passively. although when I'm up to about 40, I am tucking (or sitting up if i'm uncomfortable with the road surface or unfamiliar turns or sketchy company or whatever) and not pedaling at all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,859 Posts
Pedaling on downhills.

psuambassador said:
I've been told to continue pedaling even when going down hill. However, on some steeper hills, I could be in my hardest gear trying to pedal but getting no resistance. When I get no resistance, my bike begins to wobble and I begin to lose balance. Is the fix in technique or should I just not pedal when it gets to this point?
A few comments:

Whether you should continue pedaling downhill or not really depends on the situation. If you are just out riding by yourself for your own enjoyment, there's no reason not to coast and just enjoy the ride down hill. On the other hand, if you are in a pack or a paceline, especially if you are on the front, then you do need to keep pedaling to keep your position with relation to the rest of the riders.

Next, there seems to be a contradiction - you're pedaling in your hardest gear, and yet there is no resistance. This sounds like your leg speed is limited, i.e. your legs can't keep up with the gear. Depending on what speed/cadence this occurs, you may want to work on your spin, to be able to continue producing power at higher cadences. There will be a limit, however - at higher cadences (120+ rpm) there are diminishing returns, so there may be no point in trying to continue pedaling.

At very high speeds, you can often go faster by coasting than by trying to pedal. Power to overcome wind resistance increases to the 3rd power with speed. The extra power from pedaling will add only a small percent to the total power used, so pedaling will only increase speed a small amount. On the other hand, pulling into a tight aerodynamic tuck can create a large decrease in air drag, and increase speed dramatically. As downhill speed increases, there comes a point where pulling into a tighter tuck than you could achieve while pedaling will actually make you go faster than if you continued pedaling. Usually this cross-over occurs between 35-40 mph.
 

·
gastarbeiter
Joined
·
1,513 Posts
you pedal to keep your legs from cooling down.

as the others have noted, leg speed has it merits (no real need for an 11 imo).

another thing is to work on your descending technique. i ride once a year with a former pro (a training partner of a friend). he always drops us on the descents - without peddaling. his technique and position is amazing - never touches the brakes, at least from what i can see :)


psuambassador said:
I've been told to continue pedaling even when going down hill. However, on some steeper hills, I could be in my hardest gear trying to pedal but getting no resistance. When I get no resistance, my bike begins to wobble and I begin to lose balance. Is the fix in technique or should I just not pedal when it gets to this point?
 

·
Squirrel Hunter
Joined
·
3,806 Posts
Leader of the Pack

Mark McM said:
A...if you are in a pack or a paceline, especially if you are on the front, then you do need to keep pedaling to keep your position with relation to the rest of the riders...
If you are leading a paceline then please pedal downhill as long as you have not run out of gears. Otherwise everyone behind you will be stacking up on the brakes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
342 Posts
It really makes no sense to pedal down hill on a steep grade. Adjust your technique for the conditions involved. Even if you are leading a pack, don't pedal unless you are seriously slowing everyone down... there is nothing more annoying than riders who over pedal and then have to slam on the brakes berfore a corner. Think about the situation, conditions, and then decide if pedaling on the descent is necessary.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,474 Posts
it is generally good form to continue pedaling some instead of coasting, regardless of whether you're actually applying force
.

Whoever told the OP to continue pedaling downhill, may have been thinking more of this. Many experienced riders turn the pedals over slowly against no resistance on the straighter sections of a descent to help relax the muscles. As said above, no force is applied.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top