Coker Foot Position

I just got back from my lunchtime Coker ride. I tried putting the ball of my foot on the pedal rather than the usual way i’ve done, more in the center like for MUni and trials. It felt better, like I could apply more power.
I wondered what foot position you seasoned distance riders used?

Ball of the foot for normal riding. Not because it gives more power, but because it’s a more comfortable and efficient way of getting the power to the pedal. If you’ve been used to riding on your insteps, then you may need to raise the saddle half an inch or so.

For steep ascents/descents, and riding on rough ground, I tend to shift my feet so that I’m riding on the insteps. This gives a more stable platform, reduces the risk of folding the ankles backwards (Hyperextension? Hyperflexion? I know it hurts, anyway!), and provides a more direct control.

Nice Coker :sunglasses:

Same position- ball of foot over the pedal axle, knees as close to frame/pointed inwards a much as possible, slightly bent in lowest position.

when I’m doing trials, I ride with my arch on the pedal for more support. but for distance riding and the occasional MUni, I ride with the ball of my foot on the pedal for more power and control.

You should really switch out those pedals for platform pedals.

You will notice an incredible difference in control and comfort.

Yeah, I lost those pedals back in May i think. I now have some pinned powdercoated red BMX pedals on it.

I. want. your. coker. :angry:

Interesting… I’ve been told by a few non-unicyclists that I ride with my knees pointed in and have noticed it on videos of myself. I’ve been working on putting my feet a little further out on the pedals and allowing my knees to get away from the frame a little more.

Why is it that you want to keep your knees close to the frame?

If you keep your knees close to the frame, could the angle of the knee flexing be hard on your knees? Should a rider allow his knees to go where they naturally go and assume this is how his body is made to operate?


On the whole, yes, but in an informed sort of way.

I guess a lot of non cyclists who try a unicycle put their insteps onthe pedals, and maybe pedal with their knees pointing slightly outwards - probably because they set the seat too low.

If we assume that anyone keen enough to ask the question is a “serious” unicyclist, interested in improving performance and skill, then hopefully they will be self-aware enough to ride in a non-injurious way. (Apart from leaping backwards down stairs, and that.)

It keeps the unicycle and unicyclist steadier at speed- less side to side wobble. I often get scuff marks from the tyre on my thighs from riding with my legs so close to the frame/tyre. And I think it also gives more efficient power transfer. But I agree with your last statement, it should be all within a degree of comfort- if it hurts your knees to do so then it is probably not the right position for the you.

I used to ride with my knees in close to the frame, for the reasons as GizmoDuck, until I ended up with really bad knee pain after doing a lot of long distances on the coker.

I went to the physio and he reckoned I had a muscle imbalance in my thighs that was causing pressure on my knee (in a bad way). He gave me exercises to correct it, and started riding with my knees a little further out, and I’ve had no problems since. I do have more of a speed wobble now though!

Beware of forcing your knees into a position they don’t naturally want to be in. Having said that, if it doesn’t hurt then riding with your knees close together does make the uni much more stable.


I ride with the ball of my foot on the pedal.

As well as offering the most effecient use of energy, it also allows for much more control.

How so? When I am riding very fast and technical stuff, it allows me to ride with my heel slightly higher than my toes. This allows me to push back more on the pedal instead of just down (and then pulling the pedal back if your heal was on it)

, I can use the pedals to not only pedal smoother circles, but to spring forward at and over an obstacle in the pedal stroke. Or perhaps to the side, by rolling my feet slightly and still applying firm pressure. or taking the weight of off one foot to save yourself of just because of the terrain (not sure if that makes sense)

Simply put, you are able to be more graceful at a high speed, and you fall less when you are gracefull (although the UPD’s are always less expected)

I never thought about the knees being in towards the frame until I read this, and it’s exactly what I do. It’s just (for me) the natural way they go, and with so much control in my feet, my legs are just always in the right spot ready to go.

I’m going for a Coker ride, see ya!

I ride with the balls of my feet on the pedals 99% of the time. Especially for racing or road riding.

I can see using the middle of the foot for serious hopping, and I’ve also used it for grinding up long hills. But when you move your feet forward on the pedals, you lose some of your range of motion and calf power.

Stick with the balls.

Thanks for all the input. This is very instructive for me and I’m sure many others:) . I’m planning on doing increasingly more milage on my Coker.

Drink bottle

I have a Hunter frame and have been at a loss as to where to put my drink bottle, not my feet. Thanks for the idea. What sort of “thing is that”? A bar end or something special?

Re: Drink bottle

It’s from UDC LINK

I have a thin water bottle. I dont think a round one would fit with the brake lever on there.

On today’s lunchtime ride I tried again using the balls of my feet, even further forward this time. What a difference. I can’t believe I’ve been riding on my insteps so long. I even hit a new top speed - 16.3MPH, 1 MPH better than my fastest. (150’s by the way) Thanks again for the help!

Yesterday I went out for a quick 5 mile ride. I thought i try again for a top speed. I was on a slight downhill that ends up going back uphill. I started spinning and reached top speed well before the uphill part. It all happened very fast. The uni came very very close to getting away from me (me falling backwards). With a mighty effort I spun just a little faster and got control only to almost lose it falling forwards. I was never so thankful to be back down to 10mph. When I checked my max speed - 18.2 mph. I won’t be trying that again. My hats off to you 20mph+er’s.

I agree.

I mount and take off with pedals under insteps for power and control. Once I settle in for some long distancing, I’ll shift to the balls of my feet.

The only thing I’d add to MikeFule’s statement is that I shift back to insteps when I know I’ve got to hit the breaks. I’ve learned to plan ahead while Cokering. I might get my feet into position 50-100 meters before I need the power/control…

It sounds like a lot of shifting around, but its not. I only shift to the balls of my feet when its smooth distance riding ahead. Then they generally stay there a while.

Every picture that has been taken of my my knees are pointing inward as well. I have tried to get my knees more forward(wider) but it just doesn’t feel right.

I have also gotten into the habit recently of using the arches of my feet rather than the balls. Mostly because the shoes I was wearing are so thin, my feet hurt after every ride. I just bought a new pair, and they are thick soled, but don’t grip the pedal as well. So I find that after a while my feet are back at the arch. I am going to scrub any “New” oils that may be on the sole of the shoe off and see if that helps. The foot pain is resolved though.

I was experiencing some knee pain, when I was using torque and strength rather than spinning and relaxing my quads to get me up hills, but after a 31 mile ride yesterday, no knee pain.

Now if I could just keep my crotch from being rubbed raw!