You may have noticed how some people seem to bounce in the saddle on an indoor bike. But do you know why this happens and what you can do about it?
There are four quadrants to the pedal stroke, using the face of a clock as the guide:
- Over the top: 10:00–2:00
- Downstroke: 2:00–5:00
- Backstroke: 5:00–7:00
- Upstroke (recovery): 7:00–10:00
A novice rider usually has only one phase—straight down. He or she hasn’t perfected the sweeping back of the foot at the bottom or pushing the toe forward at the top. As a result, they push down furiously on the pedals and rely on the flywheel to take their foot around the rest of the way. When the right foot reaches the bottom of the crank arm, the leg can go no further, pushing the right hip off the saddle. The same happens on the left side. This continues over and over, at 90, 100, 110 times a minute per side (or whatever the upper limit is for that rider), creating the familiar bouncing.
That bouncing reverberates through the body of a novice rider, often causing the shoulders and head to bounce as well. This is what gives the “bobblehead” appearance.