Adjusting foot position while riding

Is there an optimal time to shift a foot on the pedal while riding?

I did a cursory search but didn’t notice any discussion of my particular issue: I find that once I mount I’m pretty stuck with whatever foot position I have because it’s very difficult to shift my feet around to a more proper position.

My newest uni has pinned pedals, which I am not used to. With my other unis I’ve always been able to lighten the pressure on the pedal a bit, and without lifting the foot off the pedal I can get the balls of my feet properly placed if they didn’t land that way during the mount. With these pinned pedals I darn near have to lift my foot off the pedal in order to change position. It’s scary! (for this nooob anyway).

So the question is, is there an optimal pedal orientation at which foot movement is best carried out? Sometimes I think it works best at the bottom of the stroke, other times it seems to work better at the top. Does it matter?

I’m practicing, I’m practicing moving my feet without losing control of the uni, and I’m practicing getting the feet properly placed during the mount so adjustments aren’t necessary, still I’d like to learn if this is a common issue, or if it’s just me. Thanks for any input!

Yeah, there is. When your riding flat or uphill, your back foot is usually free to lift a tiny bit and shift on the pedal. Downhill it’s opposite, you can unweight your front foot and shift it on the pedal. At first you need to be really quick, it gest easier w/ practice. You can also try and tip your foot (lift your arch up and keep the outside of your foot on the outside of the pedal) and pivot your foot into a better position.

I have a set of pedals with long pins and it’s really hard to shift positions all the time unless I can completly lift my foot off the pedal, a bit sketchy for me. If I get on the pedal wrong sometimes I just try and go with it, and am getting better at it with practice.

Generally, on the upstroke, when the foot is unweighted. And sort of “walk” your foot into position by twisting it a bit at a time, always keeping contact with the pedal.

Foot Shifting and One Footed Pedaling

Foot shifting kind of directied me into one footed pedaling! I was riding only MUni at the time with huge spikes on the pedals. I started lifting my feet off the pedals in order to get a better position. At first it was just quick pressure releases tht built up to slow calculated foot position changes that wee lasting almost half a pedal revolution. One footed riding increases your MUni skill by so much. Hell most of my UPDs are from a foot falling off the pedal after a jump or jolt. Now I just calmly do a one footed pedal or two and put that fallen foot back on!

In addition - with time your initial foot placement gets much better freemounting.


I’d be more inclined to say that one foot pedaling will lead to easier foot shifting.

After you learn how to ride one footed you’ll find shifting the foot on the pedal to be easier. So if idiorythmic is having problems shifting the foot around while riding I’d suggest learning to ride one footed and the foot shifting will come along as a side-effect.

Practice and learn the one footing on a 20" or 24". It’s easier to learn on the smaller wheels. The foot shifting skill side-effect will carry over to the bigger wheels (even the Coker) even if you can’t effectively one foot pedal a Coker.

One footed riding teaches you how to ride with minimal to no pedal pressure on the up part of the pedal stroke. It also teaches you how to adapt to the lessening of control you have when taking the backpedaling force off of the upstroke. That all translates to having an easier time adjusting your foot on the pedals during regular riding.

you could grind down your pins slightly

I’m sure the better riders are correct

Basically, if you can ride one footed, this problem will go away.

I haven’t learned that yet, so what I do, is twist and move the foot around when it is around the top of the stroke. Only the down pedal is powering the uni, and there is a bit of time to adjust your foot on the other pedal.

I find on the upstroke helps and dont do it whilst riding fast because the after effects arnt good…When i do it i just lift it slightly and move it accross slightly and if it moves whilst riding down steps etc i just move it damn fast accross so i dont fall…

Thanks, everyone, good ideas all! I’m particularly interested in the one footed ideas brought up by Unicorn and John Childs, I’ll add the one footed riding to my list of things to work on.

Helpful thread

I have recently ordered new pedals with the metal pins.

I never gave any thought to how I shift my feet on my plastic pedals till now.

Usually I wiggle and twist the foot that is on the up stroke. I continue that motion little by little till the one foot is in the right position.

Learning to pedal with one foot is a good suggestion. Guess I’ll start practicing on my 20" then work my way to 29".

I love watching people ride one footed. I haven’t the guts to try it myself but suddenly realized while reading your post that I might be on my way. If I need to adjust a foot, I tend to do it just as it comes up from the down stroke. Sometimes it is quick, but other times my foot stays just above the pedal as if the pedal were following it all the way up to the top where they magically meet again.

So I guess maybe adjusting my feet might lead to some day riding one footed as a side-effect. :slight_smile:

Generally as you ride more, your feet will find a way and your brain doesn’t have to get involved.

My brain is kind of slow and thick but my feet finally figured out how to shift position on an ultimate wheel with very aggressive pins. Go feet!

The less my brain has to do, the happier I am, since my favorite activity is spacing out.

One footed Pedaling and Foot Position Shifts.

I agree with John says that one footed pedaling will make foot position shifting much easier.

However there is no way that you can just go into riding one footed. Once I got confident enough to actually take my foot off the pedal for just a little bit in order to shift its position I started practicing taking it off the pedal for longer and longer periods. After I got comfortable doing a whole 3/4 turn with my foot off the pedal it still took some time to actually go into completely one footed pedaling. The trick is to learn how to actually coast for that half revolution when your one foot is coming up with the pedal.
One footed pedaling adds a lot to your balancing arsenal and it is probably going to lead me into wheel walking. The problem is that I learn all of these skills but then never do them again so I don’t become a master at them. They are very useful for impressing people and building up balancing skills but they are not very pracical while doing MUni or Trials.


For me, adjusting my feet on the pedals is EXTREEMLY difficult. Likne anton005, sometimes I try to do my best w/o attempting to shift it (esp. when I’m a ways from a pole or something since I still can’t freemount :()

One way I do it is I pause or hesitate w/ my cranks horizontal (w/ my front or back foot) and try to tilt my foot and try to twist my foot to a more ideal position (usually moving back and/or in). I haven’t ridden a lot of hills, so I haven’t noticed much of a difference up or downhill, but what anton005 says on this makes sense.

The other is while at a moderate speed, I take my foot off for an instant when that foot is sometime between 3 and 6 o’clock, but as close to 12 o’clock as I can. I’ve ridden w/ one foot for one or two revolutions several times, but all unintentionally and never got my foot back on.

I rode a friends Qu-Ax trials for a bit that has 145 cranks w/ a fair amount of Q-factor (more than more than I think anything I’ve tried) and it was easier to adjust my feet and mount than anything I’ve ridden (including my 20 w/ 102/114/127/152 cotterless cranks, my 24" DX w/ 152mm stock & 170 Qu-Ax cranks, and a 07 KH w/ I think 137’s. The cotterles have virtually no qf, the KH a bit, and my Qu-Ax cranks have the most.)

When I’ve done a lot of practicing moving my feet I’ve noticed an improvement in my riding of rough terrain. This and what I’ve read leads me to believe riding w/ one foot would help w/ Muni and rolling trials.