Balls or instep.

I’m wondering which part of the foot people put on the pedal. The advice in the old days was to use the ball of the foot as it was better for tricks and more sensitive for fine control.
Some of the Muni FAQ’s say use the instep area i.e. the bit just in front of heel.
I’ve instinctively been using instep as it feels a lot more solid when riding on streets and dirt tracks, but since getting some DX pedals with their much better grip, i’m feeling that it may be possible to get into the habit of using the balls of my feet- are there any advantages to this?

yeah, so they all told me
i learnt to ride using charlie dancey’s lil’ book
he suggests that u learn using the instep and states that riding on the ball of your foot is for advanced riders only
i posed a simmilar question in this forum and the answer was overwhelmingly ‘balls’
we walk on them, ride a ‘normal’ bike on them and do most of our foot activities on or from the balls of our feet
i’ve been using them and it does make a difference
i’m glad i learnt on the instep tho
it feels a bit more stable and i can imagine that in that beginning period when u r trying to balance the machine, u dont want the additional flex of an anckle to confuse the matter
no doubt a whole bunch of riders will disagree with this
it’s just my experience
when u r ready, make the switch
it’s well worth it

For road riding place the balls of your feet on the pedals. It is less tiring and you have more control. It is also much better for hopping because you can employ your ankle flexure as well as the tire deformation.

For MUni-ing, just try to keep your feet on the pedals.

Balls of the feet for riding smoothly on roads and easy tracks.
Insteps for difficult ground and especially steep descents. It gives a more direct response to the unexpected.

If you ride with the balls of your feet and the wheel kicks back as you go over a steeper bit of slope than expected, it will fold your foot back painfully.

RE: Balls or instep.

> I’m wondering which part of the foot people put on the pedal.

The default position for your feet should always be the balls. This gives
you the maximum use of all leg muscles to drive the pedals.

But before you hit the “Reply” button, notice I said default. There are
occasions where you can move your feet forward on the pedals:

  • If you’re wearing smooth-soled shoes or boots with heels, you might as
    well keep the heel against the pedal (not good for riding fast or far)

  • Many of my friends prefer using the middle of the foot for climbing steep
    hills

  • Others prefer the middle of the foot for landing drops, or other
    situations where the feet may be exposed to big shocks.

  • If you have Achilles tendon problems, you might need to reduce the strain
    on this area by moving your foot forward.

  • If you have really short crank arms, you can do what Yuichiro Kato does,
    by putting his heels on the pedals, not bending his knees at all, and riding
    around like a penguin

But for almost everything else, especially riding fast or far, the balls
of the feet are the place to be.

Stay on top,
John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone
jfoss@unicycling.com
www.unicycling.com <http://www.unicycling.com>

“This unicycle is made all from lightweight materials. But it uses a lot of
them.” – Cliff Cordy, describing the very heavy new prototype unicycle he
brought on the Downieville Downhill

I might add that this ties in with shoes. John mentioned being able to slide forward to use the instep area as needed. This becomes safer and more stable if you use a healed boot. You can then move the foot forward and then lock in the foot with the heal up against the pedal.

There are many previous threads on shoes for further reference in needed.

Work the maze.

I went to the Cirkids camp in Vancouver, and there the coach told me that I should use the balls of my feet, because if your feet slip, the’ll probably go backwards, so you have more time to catch yourself. Also, if your on the pedals to lightly the pedal can turn, and with the balls of your feet, you’ll be able to catch yourself.

Re: Balls or instep.

On Wed, 19 Jun 2002 11:29:30 -0500, Mikefule
<Mikefule.6i710@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

>
>Balls of the feet for riding smoothly on roads and easy tracks.
>Insteps for difficult ground and especially steep descents. It gives a
>more direct response to the unexpected.
>
>If you ride with the balls of your feet and the wheel kicks back as you
>go over a steeper bit of slope than expected, it will fold your foot
>back painfully.

Also, if you have shoes with heels, put them against the pedal and you
can exert more forward force to the pedal in top position. That way,
you can make a rounder pedal stroke and have less of a dead position.
That’s obviously welcome in rough terrain.

Klaas Bil

I vote balls of the feet. I have found that if you are riding with the instep of your foot through a rooty section, and your toe catches a root and you fall on your face with your foot stuck underneath the root, it hurts like h-e- double hockey-stick. :astonished:

Balls seem to be the concensus, cheers everyone I’ll give it a go.

RE: Balls or instep.

> I might add that this ties in with shoes. John mentioned
> being able to slide forward to use the instep area as needed.
> This becomes safer and more stable if you use a healed boot.

Shoes are at least as important as pedals. I don’t recommend the boot
method, but it works if you only ride trails and prefer wearing boots. Then
that heel is there as a stopper when you need it, but most of the time (more
than 90%) you should still have the balls of your feet on the pedals.

I use turf shoes for all forms of riding. These are sneakers with little
knobbies all along the bottom. My most recent pair are Nike brand, and the
knobbies even go a little bit up the toe and heel. These are awesome for
anything wheel walking. Turf shoes are supposedly for playing
soccer/football on artificial turf, or for golf. I have a pair of Etonic
golf shoes that are also good.

Over the years, the cheapest pair of turf shoes for me have been MacGregor
brand from K-mart. But these are hard to find in my local stores.

NOTE: THESE SHOES ARE NOT FOR EVERYBODY. They don’t have much support, so
your feet may not like them. It helps to use a pedal with lots of support
for your feet. Bear-trap types are a bad example. My Wam-B1s are a good
example. Look for a picture here:
http://tinyurl.com/fqk #11 (not #14)

My feet are okay with these shoes, and if your feet are not bothered,
they’ll be great for you as well. The other drawback is that they are
low-tops, with no ankle support (I’ve never used ankle support), and also
they’re not the greatest for those rocky trails where you find yourself
suddenly running downhill. So try them at your own risk.

Stay on top,
John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone
jfoss@unicycling.com

“This unicycle is made all from lightweight materials. But it uses a lot of
them.” – Cliff Cordy, describing the very heavy new prototype unicycle he
brought on the Downieville Downhill