Initially, a correct pedalling action can be achieved through training and concentration, then becoming a natural motion.
Given the repetitive nature of the action, incorrect angles can lead to symptoms of varying severity due to functional overload of the musculoskeletal system.
Technique apart, there are three important parameters that need to be taken into consideration when aiming for “perfect pedalling efficiency”: saddle height, saddle fore-aft adjustment, and cleat position.
Saddle height and fore-aft adjustment determine the distance of the seat from the pedals. The correct sitting position will enable you to direct the forces in the right direction and maintain maximum extension of the knee angle, which, according to anthropometric characteristics, can vary between 138° and 148° on a road bike, differing slightly for other cycling disciplines.
Saddle fore-aft adjustment
As explained above, the fore-aft adjustment of the saddle, together with height, contribute to the optimisation of the range of the knee angle. The fore-aft adjustment of the saddle also allows you to give direction to the pushing action, which in turn enables you to exploit the entire pushing arc in the best possible way.
Since all saddles in the world come in different shapes and sizes, the simplest and surest way of positioning a saddle lies in identifying the BRP, or Biomechanical Reference Point, which is the point at which the saddle is 70 mm wide.
The foot is the part of the human body that transfers all the force exerted by the lower limb onto the pedal and consequently the wheels.
This transfer of energy from the foot to the pedal is mediated by your footwear and ultimately by the cleat that attaches to the pedal. To keep the foot in balance and exert maximum power, the metatarsal line of the foot must be in alignment with the axis of the pedal. Misalignment of the foot on the pedal can lead to pedal revolution issues and generate torsional movements in the joints of the bone segments which make up the foot.
There are tools on the market (such as the idmatch cleat fit) which, by measuring the foot properly, can measure the metatarsal distance from the inside of the shoe to the outside of the sole to facilitate cleat positioning.