4 reasons to ride flat pedals on your trainer

If you’re not injured, and it isn’t snowing in your neighborhood, I hope you’re out ripping (go NorCal!). But if you, like me, are tied to the trainer, this is a great time to experiment.

1. Really learn how to pedal. To spin high rpms smoothly and powerfully, you must learn to engage the entire pedal stroke. You won’t actually be pulling your pedals up the upstroke, but you do want your muscles to actively follow the circle.

It’s a funny feeling to explain, but when you’re truly engaged, your feet will stay in perfect contact with the pedals, and your entire engine — lower torso, hips and legs — will feel evenly and fully engaged. Braaap!

2. Watch where your feet end up. After a few thousand revolutions, your feet will settle wherever they want to on the pedals. None of our bodies are perfectly symmetrical, so most of our feet will end up uneven. My right foot ends up farther forward and pointed slightly outward. See where you feet want to be, and try setting your cleats to achieve the same position.

3. Build the rpms. Counting for a minute here and there helps pass the time. My cruising rpm is 80-100 rpm. I can maintain 120 rpm for a while, and my top speed is currently about 150.

150 rpm is decent, but, as Olympic medal-winning BMX coach Greg Romero says, “until you reach 180 rpm, you should still be accelerating.” Pro BMXer Jason Richardson has been clocked at 225 rpm — we all have work to do.

4. Torture yourself a bit less. If you ride the trainer long enough, you’ll end up feeling like a rat in a cage (despite all your rage). Flats feel more free than clips, and regular shoes make it easier to sneak into the kitchen to re-energize. Don’t even wonder how long it takes to burn a pint of Ben & Jerry’s …

Wherever you are and whatever your condition, go get some!

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