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I've noticed that when I pedal, my toe points downward after I go over the top. Over a period of time, and, particularly on hills, my calves tend to cramp up a little due to constantly being tight from the downward pointing tendancy of my foot (imagine standing tiptoe and your calf balls up.) I've tried fiddling with the seatpost, but I can't seem to find a comfortable position. Can someone tell me what I'm doing wrong and if there is some solution to fix this. I take all recommendations.
Much appreciated.
 

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I use to have the same problem

itsmichael said:
I've noticed that when I pedal, my toe points downward after I go over the top. Over a period of time, and, particularly on hills, my calves tend to cramp up a little due to constantly being tight from the downward pointing tendancy of my foot (imagine standing tiptoe and your calf balls up.) I've tried fiddling with the seatpost, but I can't seem to find a comfortable position. Can someone tell me what I'm doing wrong and if there is some solution to fix this. I take all recommendations.
Much appreciated.
My friends told me I need to ride with my feet being as flat as I could get them. That seemed to help out a lot. I'm still new at this myself and am still learning from all the great people on this web site. Maybe they could help you out!........Justin :D
 

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Some Quick Advice

mtnbikenc1979 said:
My friends told me I need to ride with my feet being as flat as I could get them. That seemed to help out a lot. I'm still new at this myself and am still learning from all the great people on this web site. Maybe they could help you out!........Justin :D
It is possible that your seat is simply too high. If you don't think it is, try this. To counter the natural downard angle of your toes, try pedaling as if you are doing so with your heels. By doing the polar opposite pedal stroke, hopefully it will become easier to adjust to the proper "as level as possible" stroke that we all strive for. Give it time. Hope this helps.
Ciao!
 

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this issue is called 'ankling'

I believe there is a little bit more to it than just saddle height, although that surely is important. The pedalling technique I am talking about, is called 'ankling'. A very good description + animation is found in this link:

http://www.cranklength.info/animation/ankling.htm

Hope this helps!
 

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You know, that just might be your physiology or the way it works best for you. Jacques Anquetil rode that way his whole career. In fact, when my dad taught me to ride, he stressed that I should point my toes downward, like Anquetil. "Point your toes! Point your toes!" ... I still ride that way.
 

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Same here. The cramps at the beginning of the season were absolutely debilitating. I drank alot more water, had longer warmups, and went easy in the base period. Moved my cleats back 2-3 mm and my seat is already in a good low position.
 

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re: animation ...

Ideally you should be on your (stationary) bike while viewing this site, then it will all fall into place. Seriously, it works when I click the link; besides that, I have no idea.
 

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It could just be your natural style of pedaling. I too pedal toes down and always have. I do ride with a pretty high saddle but if I go lower it bothers my knees. I have found this to be my natural pedaling style and have been riding like this for over thirty years. I usually will stand and stretch my calves on the bike frequently while on longer rides. I also will get some bad calf cramping, occasional, when I really hammer on the bike in a duathlon.
 

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i can't pedal toes down. i have a bad right knee, and whenever i begin pedalling with toes pointed a bit downward, not correctly ankling, i get a pretty good twinge in the knee. so i've got a built in reminder to maintain good form.
 

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Toe pointing is ok. Cramping calves aren't.

Sit with your crank arms parallel to the seat tube. Can you reach the bottom pedal with your heels without rocking your hips or leaning to that side? You should be able to.

You may also try moving your seat back a little which, for me, makes toe pointing feel less natural.
 

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Doesn't matter - so long as you're consistent

I've read that toes up or down don't make a difference so long as they remain that way throughout the pedal stroke.
 

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My 2 cents

All good replies, for me I noticed that I squish into the "seat" more when I lower my ankles.
Riding toe down feels more powerful and feels more correct when at speed & going DH, but when climbing and grinding heel down is much better...
 

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While your dad said "point your toes"

Most coaches would say "get your heels down." There is a certain amount of individual physiology in this, but keeping the heels down is the generally recommended approach. In practice, few can keep their heels down all the way around, but for most of us, attempting to do this improves the pedal stroke.
 
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