This last weekend I had a 2 day Skills & Fitness Clinic and had a couple guys come who’ve been following my programs for at least a year. It is kind of interesting to get someone in to see me who answers my “what kind of program have you been following” question with “yours”. I’ve been curious to see how good my programs translate over the internet and these were good opportunities to see for myself.

I’d have to say that the best thing I’ve seen is that all of them had continued to educate themselves about good training. They had all read stuff from one or more of the guys I talk about on my blog as influences of mine: Mike Boyle, Alwyn Cosgrove, Gray Cook, Dan John among others. I was glad to see I had sparked an interest in them to learn more about this stuff and not just take my word for it.

I was also glad to see that they had all benefited from a change of direction relative to their old training plans. It is easy for me to forget because I run in “functional training” circles but there are still a lot of people who train like bodybuilders in the gym and/ or don’t do any mobility work. It cracks me up to hear it but more riders tell me how the foam roller has changed their lives than anything else I’ve put out there. Mobility and quality of movement must come first or it doesn’t matter how much weight you lift or how many miles you ride.

However, there was one major thing that popped up with all of them – their idea of how they looked doing some of the basic exercises was different than how I demonstrated the exercises in the videos. The deadlift was the major culprit, which is not really a surprise considering that I’ve had few people come into my facility who really knew how to do that exercise well.

While their form and understanding of what they were trying to do was better than the average gym rat they had still managed to drive the movement with quads instead of really getting the hips into it. And this is in spite of spending the last several years following one of my programs and reading my blog.

The moral of the story is twofold – first, seek out and get the advice of great coaches when it comes to your form and execution. Someone with a background in the Functional Movement Screen would be a good start although that isn’t a must. Just to throw this out there, I’m available for private consults if you ever find yourself in the Fruita/ Grand Junction area. Investing some time and money in getting someone to show you the right way to execute exercises is an invaluable investment that will pay off for years to come.

Second, even if you can’t get to a good coach then at least film yourself doing the exercises. Go back and check what you see on screen with what you think you’re doing. What you will find is that the objective feedback from the video will tell a much different story than your subjective assessment of your form. Again, just throwing this out but I’m also available for distance consulting where you can send me video of your form and I can provide you the feedback you need.

The overall point is this – while the internet is a great tool and it has allowed me to deliver the best programs possible to riders all over the world, it is an inherently limited tool. Just watching a video or looking at some pictures of an exercise isn’t enough as you have to check your form against it somehow. Don’t assume that you are actually doing it right until you’ve either had an expert check your form or you’ve scrutinized your form on film.

-James Wilson-

26 thoughts on “Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

  1. Henk says:

    Hi,

    I also bought the flat equipment last Wednesday. I only have 4 years of clipless riding experience. I’m not a speed guy, never keep track of time, so no idea if I’m faster or slower. I’m looing for comfort, in XC riding. So far 3 major observations:
    1. My feet are also getting numb, starting in the middle. No idea if this is a thing “i have to get through” or if it’s an issue that I need to fix.
    2. No idea how to do bunny hops, need to practice this.
    3. Still strugling with the toe/heel position(s).

    So for only did 3 rides. 2 of them on the road, simply to get used to this new technology

  2. Henk says:

    Hi,

    I also bought the flat equipment last Wednesday. I only have 4 years of clipless riding experience. I’m not a speed guy, never keep track of time, so no idea if I’m faster or slower. I’m looing for comfort, in XC riding. So far 3 major observations:
    1. My feet are also getting numb, starting in the middle. No idea if this is a thing “i have to get through” or if it’s an issue that I need to fix.
    2. No idea how to do bunny hops, need to practice this.
    3. Still strugling with the toe/heel position(s).

    So for only did 3 rides. 2 of them on the road, simply to get used to this new technology

    • bikejames says:

      Thanks for the feedback, here is some advice for you….

      Remember that you feet have to get stronger and used to supporting themselves on your pedals instead of a stiff soled shoe. It is kind of like what happens if you go from heavily padded running shoes to minimalist shoes for running – your feet will go through a transition period as they re-learn how to work properly.

      Don’t worry about bunny hopping yet, it will come once you get used to keeping your feet planted. What you have really found is that you didn’t know how to bunny hop in the first place and now you have the chance to.

      Don’t think so much about foot position, just let it happen naturally. Your foot will find the right spot if you just relax and let it.

      Lastly, unless you never rode bikes as a kid this isn’t “new technology”. I think that most of us don’t appreciate that we already know how to ride flat pedals, we did it as kids and never had any problems. It wasn’t until you became an adult and someone told you that you didn’t know how to pedal that things got complicated. All you are doing is re-discovering something you have forgotten, not learning something new.

      Hope this helps, keep at it and you’ll get through the learning curve and be a better rider for it.

      • Henk says:

        Went for another ride, yesterday, this time I replace the insole ‘s with my tailor made insole from my running shoes. And did not tighten my shoelaces too much. No numb… No I can focus on keeping the feet planted, without pain 😉 that will be my next focus.
        Other thing i noticed is that, I planted my feet in the “old” clipless position, every now and then. Saturday I will test in a 100Km marathon. To be continued

  3. Hans says:

    Okay because someone else wrote I figured I should step up as well and share my experience. If you read not a line more read the following points:
    Flats help me identify weaknesses in my riding technique
    Flats help me realize the importance of adopting a more mid foot pedal position
    Flat pedals helped me realize the right position for standing pedaling
    Flat pedals helped me optimize my pedal stroke by focusing on where the power can be laid down.

    After reading some of your articles I also took the deep dive over the winter and spent all my trainer time on platform pedals – Shimano Saints.
    My first test was to conduct an FTP 2*8 minute test on my computrainer. The results: no losses due to not being clipped in. So for most of the winter – I do not ride the trainer too much – I spent on platform pedals.
    During this period the first thing I noticed is that I adopted a more mid foot pedal position – something that is also controversial. However if you think watching a kid run is the real deal, then watch a kid ride a bike without clips and you will see mid foot position is naturally adopted. Since I have very large feet -size 15 – I find this mid foot position to be advantageous (n=1). I currently use a Steve Hogg method that puts the spindle 18 mm in front of my metatarsal mid point.
    Once I hit the trails it became obvious that I was a rider with limited skill and lots of bad habits that were eclipsed by the use of clipless pedals. These all became so apparent when not clipped in. However what did happen is I learned to climb a lot better as not being clipped in as it forced me to have adopt a position that generated power to the pedals.
    When I transferred back to clipless pedals I could see the benefits of riding the flats. I am glad I made the change if for nothing else as a training exercise to improve my cycling.
    I am a road rider that had the very first generation look clipless back in 1986/7 and I have been riding clipless ever since.

    Good luck in your quest for pedaling optimization. I hope this helps.

  4. Jonathan says:

    I remember the date very clearly, Septermber 25th, 2012.
    The day I decided to try Flats for the first time. This after going through James’s website and checking out many of the videos and so on.

    Before this, I had been on clips for 18 years, and yes back in 96 when I started riding mountain bikes, even until today, beginners get pressured to switch to clipless ASAP.

    Today, thanks to James, I have a very clear picture of where Clipless pedals and flat pedals each have their own place. I continue to use both, but in a way that both system enhance my own riding.

    Training: If you are just doing training riders, or fun rides, etc… My recommendation, and I would assume James’s would agree, is that you gotta ride with flats.
    Flats don’t let you cheat, don’t let you get away with bad habits, and your foot is free to move in a natural way.
    So for my every day ride, I use flats always.

    Racing: This is where, I believe, really, the HOT debate is between flats and clips. And this is where James gets scolded at by other clipless pedal supporters. But that’s just because those clipless supporters really are “lazy”.
    James has always made the point that there is nothing, that you can ride with clipless that you can’t with flats. There is nothing you can’t do on flats that you can do on clipless.
    While this is true, in a very phylosophical way, it is very hard to convince those clipless supporters that this is really true in a more personal and direct application.

    The reality is that, if you don’t work your core, if you don’t do strength training, if you don’t become more flexible, it will be almost impossible that you can do with flat pedals, what you do with clipless pedals.

    The reason is that with clipless pedals, you can cheat. Hence why above I said clipless pedal supporters are for the most part “lazy”.

    A while ago there was an example discussed by James. It talked about going uphill on a slippery loose dirty uphill. The possibility of your rear tire slipping under such circumstances is there. The argument said that, under such circumstances if you rear wheel slips and you are riding on clipless, your foot can’t slide off the pedal, since it is mechanically attached to the pedal. However with flat pedals, since your foot is not attached onto the pedal, under such circumstance, if your rear tire all of a sudden slips, your foot will come off the pedal.

    James argued back that this wasn’t true, since “if” you have a strong enough core, you are able to balance on the bike and use your core strength to keep your foot on the pedal even when the rear wheel might slip.

    I agree with James, I think he is correct. However, the only issue with this and with clipless supporters is that, not every rider has a super strong core, not every rider does strength workouts…..
    And this is where clipless supporters point out are people who aren’t strong enough to do this with flat pedals, and then go on to say that clipless pedals are “thus” better than flat pedals.

    Which is a lie, you just need to be stronger and more flexible to use flat pedals in every way that clipless pedals can be used without working out so much.
    Plus at the end of the day, you are just doing something good for your body, for your self, when you have to workout and work on your strength and flexibility. So I would argue that Flat pedals make you become a healthier and stronger rider, which translates into becoming a BETTER rider.

    Persanally, I only exclusively use clipless pedals for racing, the reason is because when you are racing, the only thing that matters is you VS the clock. so, since clipless pedals are allowed in racing, and you have the strength and fexibility that flat pedals have given you from training with them, when you use clipless you get an extra boost because since ur technique is good, you can also cheat with clipless and just not think about anything at all that has to do with your feet. no matter how rough the track is, no matter when you have to sneak in a pedal stroke, you just don’t have to think at all, you just do it and you get the extra benefit that you know your feet are artificially attached to the pedals so you can be sloppy and just not care, so that you can get a better time.
    Racing is about getting the fastest time, not about good technique. And clipless allows you to not care so much for technique.

    So to me, that’s the only place that clipless have value in them. They are easier to use when it comes down to not caring about anything except getting a quicker time no matter what.

    my .02 cents from my last 3 years experience with using flats!
    Flats ROCK!!!

  5. Hans says:

    Okay because someone else wrote I figured I should step up as well and share my experience. If you read not a line more read the following points:
    Flats help me identify weaknesses in my riding technique
    Flats help me realize the importance of adopting a more mid foot pedal position
    Flat pedals helped me realize the right position for standing pedaling
    Flat pedals helped me optimize my pedal stroke by focusing on where the power can be laid down.

    After reading some of your articles I also took the deep dive over the winter and spent all my trainer time on platform pedals – Shimano Saints.
    My first test was to conduct an FTP 2*8 minute test on my computrainer. The results: no losses due to not being clipped in. So for most of the winter – I do not ride the trainer too much – I spent on platform pedals.
    During this period the first thing I noticed is that I adopted a more mid foot pedal position – something that is also controversial. However if you think watching a kid run is the real deal, then watch a kid ride a bike without clips and you will see mid foot position is naturally adopted. Since I have very large feet -size 15 – I find this mid foot position to be advantageous (n=1). I currently use a Steve Hogg method that puts the spindle 18 mm in front of my metatarsal mid point.
    Once I hit the trails it became obvious that I was a rider with limited skill and lots of bad habits that were eclipsed by the use of clipless pedals. These all became so apparent when not clipped in. However what did happen is I learned to climb a lot better as not being clipped in as it forced me to have adopt a position that generated power to the pedals.
    When I transferred back to clipless pedals I could see the benefits of riding the flats. I am glad I made the change if for nothing else as a training exercise to improve my cycling.
    I am a road rider that had the very first generation look clipless back in 1986/7 and I have been riding clipless ever since.

    Good luck in your quest for pedaling optimization. I hope this helps.

  6. Jonathan says:

    I remember the date very clearly, Septermber 25th, 2012.
    The day I decided to try Flats for the first time. This after going through James’s website and checking out many of the videos and so on.

    Before this, I had been on clips for 18 years, and yes back in 96 when I started riding mountain bikes, even until today, beginners get pressured to switch to clipless ASAP.

    Today, thanks to James, I have a very clear picture of where Clipless pedals and flat pedals each have their own place. I continue to use both, but in a way that both system enhance my own riding.

    Training: If you are just doing training riders, or fun rides, etc… My recommendation, and I would assume James’s would agree, is that you gotta ride with flats.
    Flats don’t let you cheat, don’t let you get away with bad habits, and your foot is free to move in a natural way.
    So for my every day ride, I use flats always.

    Racing: This is where, I believe, really, the HOT debate is between flats and clips. And this is where James gets scolded at by other clipless pedal supporters. But that’s just because those clipless supporters really are “lazy”.
    James has always made the point that there is nothing, that you can ride with clipless that you can’t with flats. There is nothing you can’t do on flats that you can do on clipless.
    While this is true, in a very phylosophical way, it is very hard to convince those clipless supporters that this is really true in a more personal and direct application.

    The reality is that, if you don’t work your core, if you don’t do strength training, if you don’t become more flexible, it will be almost impossible that you can do with flat pedals, what you do with clipless pedals.

    The reason is that with clipless pedals, you can cheat. Hence why above I said clipless pedal supporters are for the most part “lazy”.

    A while ago there was an example discussed by James. It talked about going uphill on a slippery loose dirty uphill. The possibility of your rear tire slipping under such circumstances is there. The argument said that, under such circumstances if you rear wheel slips and you are riding on clipless, your foot can’t slide off the pedal, since it is mechanically attached to the pedal. However with flat pedals, since your foot is not attached onto the pedal, under such circumstance, if your rear tire all of a sudden slips, your foot will come off the pedal.

    James argued back that this wasn’t true, since “if” you have a strong enough core, you are able to balance on the bike and use your core strength to keep your foot on the pedal even when the rear wheel might slip.

    I agree with James, I think he is correct. However, the only issue with this and with clipless supporters is that, not every rider has a super strong core, not every rider does strength workouts…..
    And this is where clipless supporters point out are people who aren’t strong enough to do this with flat pedals, and then go on to say that clipless pedals are “thus” better than flat pedals.

    Which is a lie, you just need to be stronger and more flexible to use flat pedals in every way that clipless pedals can be used without working out so much.
    Plus at the end of the day, you are just doing something good for your body, for your self, when you have to workout and work on your strength and flexibility. So I would argue that Flat pedals make you become a healthier and stronger rider, which translates into becoming a BETTER rider.

    Persanally, I only exclusively use clipless pedals for racing, the reason is because when you are racing, the only thing that matters is you VS the clock. so, since clipless pedals are allowed in racing, and you have the strength and fexibility that flat pedals have given you from training with them, when you use clipless you get an extra boost because since ur technique is good, you can also cheat with clipless and just not think about anything at all that has to do with your feet. no matter how rough the track is, no matter when you have to sneak in a pedal stroke, you just don’t have to think at all, you just do it and you get the extra benefit that you know your feet are artificially attached to the pedals so you can be sloppy and just not care, so that you can get a better time.
    Racing is about getting the fastest time, not about good technique. And clipless allows you to not care so much for technique.

    So to me, that’s the only place that clipless have value in them. They are easier to use when it comes down to not caring about anything except getting a quicker time no matter what.

    my .02 cents from my last 3 years experience with using flats!
    Flats ROCK!!!

    • bikejames says:

      Thanks for the feedback and I’m glad to see that there are riders who have been paying attention and get what I’m trying to say. I’d have to agree with your .02…flats do rock!

  7. Annie says:

    I listened to your podcast today with Ryan Leech and I have a question for you regarding flat pedals. I have been seriously riding and racing mountain bikes for a few years. I could be faster in the race if I wasn’t so timid in cornering. I take corners and downhills kind of slowly which puts me at the back of the pack even though my climbing and riding on straight trails is decent. I am starting to really have some focused skills sessions with cornering. Do you think that using flat pedals while I am learning proper cornering technique will help? I am clipped in with Shimano spd’s and my foot has a great deal of movement with them. I know it’s about my whole body and where it is in relation to the bike and I’m working on that. Ii am just curious is flat pedals will do more for technique than just smooth out your pedal stroke? Mine is pretty smooth with the SPDs ..

  8. Annie says:

    I listened to your podcast today with Ryan Leech and I have a question for you regarding flat pedals. I have been seriously riding and racing mountain bikes for a few years. I could be faster in the race if I wasn’t so timid in cornering. I take corners and downhills kind of slowly which puts me at the back of the pack even though my climbing and riding on straight trails is decent. I am starting to really have some focused skills sessions with cornering. Do you think that using flat pedals while I am learning proper cornering technique will help? I am clipped in with Shimano spd’s and my foot has a great deal of movement with them. I know it’s about my whole body and where it is in relation to the bike and I’m working on that. Ii am just curious is flat pedals will do more for technique than just smooth out your pedal stroke? Mine is pretty smooth with the SPDs ..

  9. Mike Kleppe says:

    So I’ve been riding flats for almost a year now. I’m having two problems. First, I find my foot rolling over the pedal…not a lot, but usually during a climb when it’s not needed. Second, when I am going up and over technical sections/rocks my foot is hitting the rock during the downstroke while I’m standing causing me to essentially stop. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

  10. Mike Kleppe says:

    So I’ve been riding flats for almost a year now. I’m having two problems. First, I find my foot rolling over the pedal…not a lot, but usually during a climb when it’s not needed. Second, when I am going up and over technical sections/rocks my foot is hitting the rock during the downstroke while I’m standing causing me to essentially stop. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

    • bikejames says:

      These are both common problems. To help with your foot rolling over the pedal try a mid-foot pedaling position. Pushing through the ball of the foot isn’t the optimal position for your foot anyways and it results in that “over the top” pedaling style that can have your feet come off during climbs.

      To help with the rock strikes, get away from a low tension, high rpm pedaling style and use high torque/ low rpm pedaling to help you. This will allow you you better time your pedal strokes since you can lay down one or two strokes and get some good momentum so you can glide through the areas that could catch your pedals. Instead of trying to pedal through rock gardens you have to learn how to know when to pedal, when to glide and what kind of tension you need on the pedals to do that.

      Hope this helps, with some practice you’ll develop a flat pedaling style.

  11. Rob says:

    As a new single track mtb rider last year, I started out with clipless, based on the recommendations of bike shop staff and the assumption that clipless was superior to flats (more pedalling effciency, feet don’t fly off/shins don’t get scraped on the pedals, etc.).

    While I enjoyed the security of being fixed into the pedals on rocky or rooty flat/downhill sections, and being able to pedal as hard as I wished on steep climbs, there were some very glaring drawbacks:
    1) Sketchy technical climbs: On challenging, steep climbs where I potentially had to stand on my pedals, unclipping at a moment’s notice when getting haulted by a root or dirt looseness proved to be significantly more difficult than normal (i.e. seated and having more than half a second to unclip). Unclipping while seating versus unclipping at a split second’s notice as you’re standing on your pedals on an off-camber, heavily rooted steep climb (where you may also have to also unclip the correct foot if too off-camber) are two entirely different animals. On one very loose and steep off-camber, abrupt climb, I was unable to unclip and drove my head square into a tree as I fell downslope. Fortunately I was okay, but I had to replace my helmet — scary stuff. Someone with experience may be able to instantaneously unclip the correct foot (while standing and off-balance no less) in those situations, but as a newbie, it’s really quite tricky.
    2) Joint discomfort: I did notice the emergence of hip and knee aching that I hadn’t experienced before due to my feet being locked in. The float in the pedals helped somewhat, but evidently not enough. Perhaps an avoidable situation if you experiment with cleat placement and overall bike fit, but a trial-and-error hassle to overcome nonetheless, with no guarantee of the pain actually getting fixed.
    3)Placing limitations on challenging yourself: Being reluctant to rely on my ability to unclip at a split second’s notice, I started to take a very conservative approach to what trails I would attempt or what obstacles/features I would try.
    4)Balance-sensitive/low momentum trail sections: As you’re learning, sometimes it’s necessary to momentarily tap your foot down as your momentum almost comes to a standstill (narrow tree passages, navigating through heavy roots/rocks, etc.). Being clipped in is really impractical for this, when you may need to just get a foot on the ground for a half second to maintain balance. I started getting into the habit of getting a hand on a tree to balance myself so I could avoid the hassle of unclipping and reclipping again, which is probably ill-advised.

    After a few dozen rides with clipless, I switched to 5.10 freeriders and Kona Wah-Wah’s, a thin-profile, well-pinned flat pedal with a lot of surface area. Immediately I noticed several things:
    1) My feet were staying on the pedals, even over rough terrain.
    2) My knee/hip pain went away.
    3) The nervousness and reluctance associated with attempting challenging trails completely went away. I started completing trails I thought were once impossible for me. I’d attempt hard, technical climbs that I’d previously walk up or bail on with clipless.
    4) On the rare occasion where my foot has come off the pedal, I never seem to bash my shin. My foot is popping off laterally or upwardly, never being driven downward into the ground, where shin/calf damage could likely ensue. On the rare occasion where my foot does come off, it’s typically toward the end of the ride, where I’m exhausted and getting sloppier overall in technique. It’s only happened on technical climbing toward the end of the ride though, so I can anticipate it and focus on it.
    5) Going from clipless to flats didn’t seem to really impact my speed or power very much at all. Pushing through the midfoot with flats has felt more natural than pushing through with the ball of my foot.
    6) It has kept my technique more honest — dipping my heels more on descents, getting heavier on my feet, etc. I was overlooking these elements while I had clipless.

    So I’d advise any new mtb rider to start with proper flats and shoes. You’ll be less anxious, and attempt way more trail sections and obstacles than you would with clipless. You’ll have more fun and improve faster – I certainly did.

  12. Rob says:

    As a new single track mtb rider last year, I started out with clipless, based on the recommendations of bike shop staff and the assumption that clipless was superior to flats (more pedalling effciency, feet don’t fly off/shins don’t get scraped on the pedals, etc.).

    While I enjoyed the security of being fixed into the pedals on rocky or rooty flat/downhill sections, and being able to pedal as hard as I wished on steep climbs, there were some very glaring drawbacks:
    1) Sketchy technical climbs: On challenging, steep climbs where I potentially had to stand on my pedals, unclipping at a moment’s notice when getting haulted by a root or dirt looseness proved to be significantly more difficult than normal (i.e. seated and having more than half a second to unclip). Unclipping while seating versus unclipping at a split second’s notice as you’re standing on your pedals on an off-camber, heavily rooted steep climb (where you may also have to also unclip the correct foot if too off-camber) are two entirely different animals. On one very loose and steep off-camber, abrupt climb, I was unable to unclip and drove my head square into a tree as I fell downslope. Fortunately I was okay, but I had to replace my helmet — scary stuff. Someone with experience may be able to instantaneously unclip the correct foot (while standing and off-balance no less) in those situations, but as a newbie, it’s really quite tricky.
    2) Joint discomfort: I did notice the emergence of hip and knee aching that I hadn’t experienced before due to my feet being locked in. The float in the pedals helped somewhat, but evidently not enough. Perhaps an avoidable situation if you experiment with cleat placement and overall bike fit, but a trial-and-error hassle to overcome nonetheless, with no guarantee of the pain actually getting fixed.
    3)Placing limitations on challenging yourself: Being reluctant to rely on my ability to unclip at a split second’s notice, I started to take a very conservative approach to what trails I would attempt or what obstacles/features I would try.
    4)Balance-sensitive/low momentum trail sections: As you’re learning, sometimes it’s necessary to momentarily tap your foot down as your momentum almost comes to a standstill (narrow tree passages, navigating through heavy roots/rocks, etc.). Being clipped in is really impractical for this, when you may need to just get a foot on the ground for a half second to maintain balance. I started getting into the habit of getting a hand on a tree to balance myself so I could avoid the hassle of unclipping and reclipping again, which is probably ill-advised.

    After a few dozen rides with clipless, I switched to 5.10 freeriders and Kona Wah-Wah’s, a thin-profile, well-pinned flat pedal with a lot of surface area. Immediately I noticed several things:
    1) My feet were staying on the pedals, even over rough terrain.
    2) My knee/hip pain went away.
    3) The nervousness and reluctance associated with attempting challenging trails completely went away. I started completing trails I thought were once impossible for me. I’d attempt hard, technical climbs that I’d previously walk up or bail on with clipless.
    4) On the rare occasion where my foot has come off the pedal, I never seem to bash my shin. My foot is popping off laterally or upwardly, never being driven downward into the ground, where shin/calf damage could likely ensue. On the rare occasion where my foot does come off, it’s typically toward the end of the ride, where I’m exhausted and getting sloppier overall in technique. It’s only happened on technical climbing toward the end of the ride though, so I can anticipate it and focus on it.
    5) Going from clipless to flats didn’t seem to really impact my speed or power very much at all. Pushing through the midfoot with flats has felt more natural than pushing through with the ball of my foot.
    6) It has kept my technique more honest — dipping my heels more on descents, getting heavier on my feet, etc. I was overlooking these elements while I had clipless.

    So I’d advise any new mtb rider to start with proper flats and shoes. You’ll be less anxious, and attempt way more trail sections and obstacles than you would with clipless. You’ll have more fun and improve faster – I certainly did.

  13. Jason says:

    I’ve learned to bunny hop and pedal smoothly with good power transfer and even some upstroke with my 5-10’s and a pair of flat pedals. But more importantly, flats are just more FUN…I feel like i’m 10 years old again, flying around on my bike. Such a joy and freedom to it! Hell, most of us are doing this for fun…or should be, anyway. Ditch the clipless and the Strava and just go ride for the pure joy of it.

  14. Jason says:

    I’ve learned to bunny hop and pedal smoothly with good power transfer and even some upstroke with my 5-10’s and a pair of flat pedals. But more importantly, flats are just more FUN…I feel like i’m 10 years old again, flying around on my bike. Such a joy and freedom to it! Hell, most of us are doing this for fun…or should be, anyway. Ditch the clipless and the Strava and just go ride for the pure joy of it.

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