Riding Tip, Beginner Level: Foot Placement When Coasting

eBiking has brought many new riders into the two-wheeled world. Some are young people who are riding on the street for the first time. Some are older people who are enabled by their electric steed. In many cases, the eBike has enabled them to propel their bikes forward without all the skills needed to do it safely and in consideration of others, i.e. they never learned some of the basics of riding. This is one in a series of articles about the basics of cycling at a time when, at least where I live, many riders are in need of learning the basics.

Ahhh, the carefree experience of coasting. But is it really?

Where you place your feet when coasting is important. Done wrong, it can lead to accidents and injuries

Coasting along without pedaling is one of the greatest sensations you can have when riding. Coasting down a hill, with the wind at your back, as you coast down to take a break, and even after a kick from your electric motor, is a true sensation of simplicity and freedom. But it may not be as free as it seems. There is a right way and a wrong way to do it. And when done wrong it can lead to accidents and injury.

Where you place your feet/pedals when coasting is important. And pedal placement is different for different situations. When coasting through a curve, rotate the cranks so the outside (of the curve) pedal is down and the inside pedal is up. This lets you transfer your weight properly for cornering and gives you better clearance.

You may not ride a race bike, but your pedal position should be the same.

When coasting in a straight line, keep the pedals level, i.e. at 3 and 9 o’clock. This allows you to use your legs as a suspension so you can absorb bumps without being bounced around and move quickly to the right cornering position. In other words: when your pedals are at 6 and 12 they are mostly extended or bent, so you can’t absorb bumps nearly as much and you may have them the opposite way you need them for an unexpected curve or swerve.

When you coast to a stop, rotate one pedal down at the last second to allow you to get a foot to the ground and stop.

If you watch any pro bike video, you will see that this is how they all coast (there are a few other advanced techniques though), it is second nature to experienced cyclists. But beginners may have to consciously think it through for a while before it becomes a habit and just “feels right”.

Ummm…no. Just no.

Let me know what you think