Why Do Roadies Move The Bike Side To Side When Climbing?
Sometimes the hills get very steep and you need even more power than sitting allows. Here, the danger of losing energy to the bottom of the down stroke is greater. But with some generous body English, you can make the bike work for you.
If you’ve ever been on a ski machine or elliptical trainer in a gym, then you’ve actually used a technique that helps with a standing climb. As the ski machine makes its oval-shaped revolutions, you weight and unweight your feet, keeping your body over the weighted foot. If you pay close attention, you’ll find that your hips and shoulders move side to side just a bit to give the downstroking leg more power.
Now imagine that same motion on a bike. That side-to-side motion has to be more pronounced to obtain a full revolution of the pedal. Unfortunately, this means that your body has to move side-to-side in great energy-wasting motions. So don’t move your body—move your bike.
As you begin the downward stroke, lean the bike away from the foot delivering the stroke. Keep your body in a straight line over the weighted foot. Lean forward on the handlebars to deliver even more power, but keep your elbows loose. As the weighted foot finishes its stroke, transfer your weight to the other foot. Use the bike as a lever to help pull your weight over to the other foot. The bike should now be leaning toward the unweighted foot and your body should be in a straight line above the weighted foot.
Pay very close attention to your pedaling technique. Really think about moving the foot back as if you’re scraping your shoe. Then pull up on the pedal and step forward until that foot is ready to deliver another stroke.
Practice: Pedal with just one foot and try to get the push-scrape-pull-step motion down so that you’re delivering a smooth circle full of power. Do this a hundred times. Now do it with the other leg. Once you feel comfortable doing this with each leg individually, start using them both to climb that hill.Posted 3 years agodeadkennySubscriber
I’m no roadie, but it’s something I’ve always automatically done if I climb out of seat, almost ever since I’ve learnt to ride as a kid really. Just much easier and less stress on the legs.
I don’t tend to climb out of seat off road much though. It’s not always the better option with longer and technical climbs. Some do and speed up for a section quick but are burnt out quicker if not stupidly fit. That and I don’t ride to climb.Posted 3 years ago
Does it confer some added advantage? Or is it just to look like you’re making an effort?
Personally I try and remain as still as possible when climbing. I think it means I’m making less wasted movements and conserving energy. Am I missing something?
I tried a Contador impression and nearly fell off.Posted 3 years agoedhornbySubscriber
if you’re struggling to keep the gear turning over then you should stay in the saddle and keep changing down as it’s more efficient
if you are in bottom gear and need a bit of extra power to keep going then you get out of the saddle – but it takes you into the red zone so it’s not something you should be doing for too long. the elbows out and big bike swinging style isn’t the best way to do it either, keep the arms pretty straight and a pull on the opposite bar to the downstroking pedal – keep the bike pointing straight at all times otherwise you just waste the energy squirming all over the road
given that most people have a 34-27 or similar bottom gear and are not racing then you very rarely need it and should stay seated – some people get out of the saddle to give their back a bit of a change of position to stop getting stiff which is also fine
remember that bikes are good fun 🙂 so don’t get too hung up on the details 😀Posted 3 years agomattsccmMember
“if you’re struggling to keep the gear turning over then you should stay in the saddle and keep changing down as it’s more efficient “Posted 3 years ago
Not always. If you don’t have a lower gear what else do you do? Twiddling isn’t faster either. Spinning a big gear fairly fast in faster up a hill than twiddling an little one.
Rocking and rolling is some peoples natural style. I am not to bad but it knocks my power and speed if I try and stay too still. Suspect on long hills its not a good idea but in the UK we have very few of those.
As for pro riders they perform better than us mortals so I reckon the know better..
I ride my SS. But I don’t throw it around all over the place! I stand up, I gurn and the pedals turn over.
With the longer climbs, I swear some people just do it for show. These are hills I can climb, at the same pace as them, but seated. Who do these guys think they are? Coming along and doing their “snake riding a bike” impressions. Making me look like a seated fuddy-duddy.
Why do some people insist of having a capital letter on every word in thread titles?
It’s one of the accepted conventions when writing a title isn’t it?
Anyway, I’ll try the side to side thing this weekend. I still think it’s one of those last resort things where you’ve got into the last gear available, stood up and then still need a bit more power.
Maybe someone with a power meter can test it out 🙂Posted 3 years agoimnotverygoodSubscriber
I saw David Millar riding in a crit in a Edinburgh. Going up a steep cobbled street his body was so still you could’ve balanced a pint on his helmet. The bike was moving all over the place as it bounced over the road and he pulled it against the pedal stroke.Posted 3 years agoD0NKSubscriber
From what I’ve read and experience…
To climb efficiently sit almost motionless and spin the cranks – which is fine if gradient, fitness and gears allow (standing up on long climbs to use different muscles when your legs start to burn)
If you’re knackered, run out of gears or just want to go faster stand up and use your whole body to lever more effort through the pedals. SS thrutching teaches you how to eke every ounce of effort from your entire body and apply it through the cranks.
Once you get offroad there’s a lot more factors involved, but sitting and spinning is still the more efficient method.Posted 3 years agophiiiiilSubscriber
Ace. I just assumed people did it because it feels cool, like you’re trying really hard, but was actually more inefficient than just standing up with the bike straight; I didn’t know it was actually beneficial.
I shall wobble my bike side to side more from now on.Posted 3 years agoklumpyMember
Why Do Roadies Move The Bike Side To Side (When Climbing)?
I’ve seen world class BMXers and downhillers do it too, even though descending or on the … “flat”, for want of a better term.
I tried a Contador impression and nearly fell off.
Maybe you inadvertently did an impression of Contador nearly falling off.Posted 3 years ago
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