On of the best ways to improve your recumbent bike experience is to improve the way you pedal. Most people spend their time on the bike and don’t spend much time thinking about how they pedal. It seems simple, pedal harder, go faster. In reality, the best way to go faster is probably to pedal smarter rather than harder. If you are not using the whole pedal stroke to provide power, you are not being as efficient as you could be.
MAKE A CONNECTION
Power is transferred to your bike through the pedals. The better the connection, the more power is transferred. That’s why I recommend using clipped shoes and pedals. Clipping a shoe into your pedals not only gives you a safe secure base for pedaling, it also gives you more power. When I switched to clips, I felt like I had another gear. Most people report having 15 -20% more power when clipped into pedals. That kind of power can be used to go faster or farther with less effort than riding on traditional pedals.
LINE IT UP
Without clips it is easy to have your feet improperly aligned with the pedal. In order to have the right connection, the middle of the pedal needs to be directly under the ball of your foot. Improper alignment is not only inefficient, it can also make your feet and knees sore. Clipping in makes sure that your foot always gets the most out of each stroke while keeping your comfortable.
CIRCLES NOT LINES
Pedaling without being clipped into the pedal forces you to pedal left, right, left, right, pushing each pedal away from you. Clipping in lets you use the whole pedal stroke, not just the half where you are pushing the pedal. Using both the push and pull part of the pedal stroke gives you more power and spreads the work to different leg muscles. The best pedal stroke applies power in a circle rather than in straight lines. In other words, you should be pulling one pedal down and back while pushing the other pedal up and over the top of your stroke. A good way to feel this action is to unclip one foot and rest it on the boom tube while pedaling with one foot. This will help you develop a strong pedal stroke. Practice one leg at a time and then when you put it together you will be surprised at your increase in power.