Ever sat behind someone who pedals so smoothly, they look totally at one with the bike come flat, hill or corner. No rocking and rolling.
Many of you local riders would have sat behind the owner of the bum in this photo/video, big Stu,(Yam Yam to others). He has a really smooth and fluent riding style.
What do I mean by that? To start with he appears to be applying an even pressure on both pedals for whole 360 degrees of a revolution. There is no perceivable increase in effort as his big quads muscles kick in on the down stroke. He appears to be able to maintain the same pressure over the top and along the bottom.
Is he gripping the handle bar to help him control his power delivery and stop his body from swaying.? Not at all, if you were to look at his hands and you will see his fingers resting casually on the top of the bar, probably in the centre.
But he is a big bloke so we should see movement in his body? No it does not move, no swaying or dipping of the head. He just keeps ‘tapping’ out the same smooth rhythm.
How does he do that?
He uses this time of the year to build the core strength required to this. So often neglected by cyclists, even completive ones. Then he will spend time using drills on the bike to ensure he relaxes body and can control his legs from his core.
So what, does it matter how smooth you are? Just a couple of thoughts here: the more muscles you can engage in your pedal stroke the more efficient it will be and the workload is then shared between muscles. When you are riding smoothly your wheel goes in a straight line, whereas when you are gripping, swaying, even rocking and rolling then the front wheel will be moving (weaving) across the straightest line, not much but over a 3 hour Fondo, you would be surprised how much difference that will make. That difference is more effort you have to make.
There is a time when you do need to grip that handle bar and use it to leverage your power but I will leave that to another day.