Toe Pointing Works

This may be old news to the experienced riders, but the advice was new to my kids:

We just got back from the Ozark Mtns.

I can state absolutely that pointing of the toes at the bottom of the pedalstroke (“ankling”) made the difference between success and failure when climbing steep hills.

ah ha!

thanx 4 the tip i will definalty try that out!
i’m off to find a nice steep hill…:stuck_out_tongue:

Toe Pointing

I thought that toe pointing was easier to do with the ball of your foot over the pedal. I dont think I use toe-pointing as such, but I feel more free to move my feet when the balls are used. With the arch over the pedal like you do on the coker, there is not as much freedom to move, and it would be harder to use toe pointing. Memphis Mud, when you do “ankling” where are your feet positioned on the pedals?

On a vaugely related note, you can reduce wheel wobble/cut a straighter path (like when riding a rail or line of paint) by concentrating on pointing the toe forward on the downstroke. Sure helps on the Coker.

When ‘pointing’ up hill, a natural compliment is a firm link to the sadle vis-a-vie (I don’t know what it meens, either) the ‘link’ arm.


Oh, yes. If the hill is quite steep, you’ll stand and walk right off the unicycle if you don’t grab the seat handle and pull up. (which has the effect of pressing your feet down on the pedals). Thanks Kriss. One-handed balance comes with a little practice.

I change foot position depending upon which uni, so the answer is: Coker - arches, MUni - just forward of arches but not all the way up to the balls of the feet.

Pointing the toe converts downward pressure to backward pressure momentarily. Enough to keep the pedalstroke moving. Left, right, left, right…point, point, point, point…

Stopping a Coker from high speed with the pedals on the balls of my feet feels like I’m going to bust my ankles right off. And I’m in less control. On that beast, Its the arches. Force is sent straight up the leg.

my Coker-riding expression-- :astonished:
my MUni-riding expression-- :sunglasses:

When you say “pointing your toe forward”, do you mean streight out in front of you, keeping the bottom of you foot parallel to the ground?


Jason, If he means the same as I do then you just rotate your ankle slightly so that the toe points downwards a bit. It is great on a coker because it reduces the amount you have tom move your legs (although with my new 102s that shoudnt be a problem :D)

Ankling is the term that comes from bicycling, and it works just as well for us—if not better. The main purpose of ankling is to extend the usefulness of the leg’s structure. By pointing your foot down at the bottom of the stroke and up as it rounds the top, you are bringing more muscles into play, and running your knee through a smaller range of motion.

It also positions your feet to put more power into the stroke at the top and bottom, which is where it’s probably more beneficial for unicyclists than bicyclists.

Ankling works best if you have the balls of your feet over the pedal axle. Most people ride that way, but there are exceptions. I know several top MUni riders who prefer the arches for hard climbs. Also, if you feel your achilles tendons are in danger from your toes being pulled up too high, using the arches can make you feel more confortable.

Other than that though, I think if you look at the feet of the people winning races and doing Freestyle at a big competion, you’ll see 99-100% of them with balls on the pedals.

Re: Toe Pointing Works

On Wed, 11 Jun 2003 06:54:56 -0500, Memphis Mud
<> wrote:

>I can state absolutely that pointing of the toes at the bottom of the
>pedalstroke (“ankling”) made the difference between success and failure
>when climbing steep hills.

My shoes have an evelated heel (just a cm or so). For Muni, I tend to
ride all the time with my heels agains the pedal, so my feet are quite
far forward. The calf muscles are underused that way, I know, but it
feels more stable and powerful (the latter in the sense of max power,
maybe not sustained power). Near the top of the stroke I can push
forward quite hard.

Conversely, if I ride on the road (mostly distance at highish speeds)
I use the balls of my feet, and have the seat accordingly higher -
well even more than accordingly. Then, ankling reduces the amount of
mass of your legs that is thrown up and down, and therefore permits
higher cadence.

Consciously imposing the ankle movement might be difficult. The
easiest way for me to go ankling is to place the balls of the feet on
the pedals, and then just try and minimise (or at least reduce) the
amount of knee movement. That way, ankling comes naturally.

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