Instructions for Proper Pedaling

Pedaling with correct technique for more comfort

Hey! Pedaling…. heck with an eBike the idea is to not pedal right? 

Wrong, getting out and moving is what biking is all about.  Having an eMTB is an enabler to exercise more and get healthy.  So, we get to talk about pedaling on a bicycle. Why important? Correct pedaling will allow you to ride your bike with less energy, and most importantly, it will save you from injuring your knees. Unfortunately, there are many stories about how avid cyclists were forced to say goodbye to the bike for many years. I am sure this article will save you from fatal mistakes.

Circular pedaling

A lot of materials on this topic are scattered on the Internet. Often, they are so overwhelmed with dry theory and details unnecessary for an ordinary cyclist that your head is spinning. And legs should go around. Yes, you heard right. Circular pedaling is the key to success.

Circular pedal rotation with shoes clipped in
Circular pedal rotation with shoes clipped in

This means that the foot not only pushes the pedal forward, but also accompanies it throughout the rotation stage. Additional muscles are involved. To do this, you will need contact pedals and cycling shoes, which I recommend acquiring as soon as possible, or their long-standing counterpart – toe clips. 

When pedaling on a circular pedal, you must continuously apply pedal force. In the upper position, push the pedal forward, then down, then pull the pedal in its lower position. See how it looks in the picture:

Pedal rotation continuous application of force
Pedal rotation continuous application of force

Practice circular pedaling

You will not be able to perform circular pedaling right away. The habit of just pressing the pedal will come into play. Therefore, it makes sense to practice by pedaling with one foot first. Try to ride, feel that the effort is evenly distributed, there are no sudden jerks or dead spots. After that, connect the second leg, and watch the correct execution of the technique. It will soon become a matter of habit.

Correct cadence

An equally important aspect of the proper technique is pedaling cadence – in simple words, cadence, how much time you scroll pedal per minute. The optimal cadence, as world practice shows, is 60-90 rotations per minute. Beginners often try to “break” a high gear, the illusion is created that less effort is expended this way, but in reality, everything is different. In addition, knee joints are severely affected.

Therefore, be careful not to forget to shift into a gear that provides the correct rpm. I recommend that you read the article on ” gear shifting on a bicycle “. With practice, you will find your working cadence, you will even have your favorite gear ratio. At first, try to count the number of revolutions manually or you can purchase a special bike computer with the cadence counting function enabled.

Standing pedaling

The dancer’s technique, when we pedal while standing, allows us to transfer more force to the pedal, thus increasing our power and speed. But you should not abuse it, because much more energy is consumed this way. It is better to pedal at a high frequency while sitting in the saddle than to try to ride while standing. This is justified only in those cases when there is a sharp short rise that must be overcome, or it is required to catch up with a partner at a short distance.

If you are using this technique, then worry about upshifting ahead of time so as not to waste energy. Use your hands to pull the handlebars towards you to transfer more weight to the pedals. Otherwise, try to stay in the saddle as long as possible.

Energy saving

Calm, and only calm. Do not strain once more, be relaxed, control the pedaling process, make sure not to use extra muscles. Do not strain your face, neck, back, arms in vain. Think about this during the hard climb, and notice how your whole body is tense, but should be relaxed. Also watch for correct breathing, breathe evenly and calmly. Let your feet oil in a circle, and you will contemplate the beauty of nature, think about something good and pleasant, because a bicycle is so great.

Bicycle calm Perhaps we will end on this positive note. To summarize, the correct pedaling technique on a bicycle means:

  1. circular pedaling with the application of force throughout the entire rotation stage
  2. observance of the correct cadence (60-90 rpm)
  3. use standing pedaling as little as possible
  4. keeping calm – keeping energy.

David Humphries Author at Ride e MTB

Hi David Humphries here the guy doing all the pedaling behind the scenes with this blog. I’ve been in the MTB world for a while and recently started getting into eMTBs. You can check out more about me HERE and on my other passion project –