Drops: Staying on flat pedals


I am learning to ride flats after 13 years of clip-in pedals. Things are going pretty well except I often totally lose contact with the pedals on sizable drop offs. I am trying to keep the front pedal pointed at 2PM and the rear pedal pointed down, but I still lose contact. Any advice? What am I doing wrong?


I took off super low. Now I’m slowly extending onto the landing. North Vancouver 2004.

Hi John.

Sounds like you’re stiffening your legs. The key to riding flats is letting your feet move with the bike — or moving the bike with your feet.

On a drop you want to take off very low on your bike (with legs bent) then, as you fly through the air, slowly extend your legs. This both lowers your landing gear and keeps your feet pressing on your pedals.

Bunny hops are great practice.

Let me know how it goes.

— Lee

9 replies
  1. leelikesbikes says:

    Hi. That’s actually a Demo 9. Sweet bike. The BigHit is excellent as well — I ran one in 2002 and 2003.

  2. AsiKati says:

    Lee – thanks for the GREAT book and all this info in the blogs.
    Coming off of clipless, I am slowly getting the hang of flat pedals on drops, and my feet stick to the pedals for the duration of the drop (5.10 shoes and good pedals). But sometimes I get kicked off the pedals during the landing itself. Example: On a familiar 2.5 foot drop to flat landing today, one leg was kicked off the flat pedal during the landing, and resulted in a nice spill. Takeoff felt good and the landing felt balanced. I have done that drop numerous times with clipless with no problems.
    Any suggestions? Thanks!!

  3. leelikesbikes says:

    You are too tense on landing, and that’s making your pedal deflect off your shoe.

    Relax and absorb the impact.

  4. AsiKati says:

    Lee, thanks for the answer! I’m slowly getting the hang of this!! In looking at all flat pedals out there, there seem to be quite a few concave pedals (e.g. Easton Flatboys) and pedals with totally straight bodies with no concavity (e.g. Twenty6, or Sunline) that get their concavity via arrangement of the pins. Any idea how important the concavity is in a flat pedal in order to stay in the pedals when things get rough/droppy?

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