BMXA’s National Coaching Manager, Luke Madill breaks down his thoughts on the new rule change. Take notes!
COVER PIC: BMXA’s National Coaching Manager, Luke Madill and Talented Program Coach, Simon Anderson conducting a coaching clinic at Frankston BMX Club. (Pic courtesy of Ronald Fritz photography)
Hopefully everyone has had a little time to settle down with the new clip pedal ruling brought in by the UCI and have started to focus on making the most of the change.
If you haven’t used platform pedals in a while, I’ll be honest, the first few sessions are going to be frustrating.
It’s going to take a few weeks to become comfortable adapting to platform pedals and that’s ok. You have the rest of the year to adapt to them before the rule comes in January 1.
Below are some key points to get the most out of platform pedals.
Just like clip pedals, platform pedal selection is also critical for performance. Platform pedals come in different sizes, so you need to make sure your selection suits the size of your foot.
Pretty simple, smaller the foot means smaller the pedal, larger foot larger pedal.
The width is the key factor here. You do not want your foot hanging over the outside of your pedal, along with having a pedal too wide, which will hinder consistent foot placement.
Avoid the plastic skate park style pedals as they have limited grip and look for a pedal with longer grip pins, which will bite deeper into your shoe. Some grip pins can be removed, and longer ones replaced.
Platform pedals can range from $30 – $200 depending on the brand and material it’s made from.
Like clips, the style of shoe can play a big part in the performance and connection with your pedals.
A thin soft sole is ideal for grip and feel.
Try avoid thick gel or air soles like your typical joggers and look for Volleys, Vans and Five Ten as an example. Price range $40 – $140.
The thin soft sole allows the rider to feel exactly where the foot placement is and allows the foot to mould to the pedal.
The biggest issue riders have going back to platform pedals is their foot coming away from the pedal on the up stroke. This is where a rider will create a smoother pedal stroke and be more efficient with their pedalling technique once they adapt to platform pedals.
Foot placement is vital in having the rider’s toes positioned over the end of the pedal, allowing the ball of the foot to cover the mid-section of the pedal.
Having the toes over the end of the pedal will allow the riders to curl their toes around the pedal which helps grip the foot firmer to the pedal. This also helps to curl the foot around at the bottom of the pedal stroke.
Platform pedals should not affect pumping and manualing as there should always be downward pressure on your pedals.
Gate Starts and Jumping will be the biggest challenge when converting back to platform pedals.
Gate starts will see the riders back foot coming off the pedal, as this is from years of pulling up on their clip pedals. Frustration will set in for the riders at the beginning, they need to be patient and ease back into starts slowly, which will allow that smooth pedal stroke to come back into their start.
Jumping will cause frustration as it comes back to learning the natural way to jump and not a forced movement like the clips create with most riders learning to jump. Like the other skills, don’t rush back in a start with the smaller jumps.
Ease into your platform pedals. Go back to the basics of learning how to bunny hop and manual on flat ground. Practice your box starts to work on that smooth pedal efficiency.
Avoid downhill and overspeed sprint efforts until you’re confident with your platform pedals.
The Elite riders you follow and aspire to be are still adding platform pedals into their weekly training sessions, and I am sure your coaches still push you towards using your platform pedals each week.
I know it’s hard to see things clearly right now and not everyone will agree with this decision.
Change isn’t something we always enjoy, but I have personally witnessed how much this has helped the development of riders over the years and we only need to look at the riders coming out of the European countries to see the proof.
Try to forget about how this may affect your results and just have fun riding your bike like you did when you first started the sport.