As I get older I realize that one of the best skills you can have is to be a good problem solver. Life likes to throw you problems and not only you do have to figure them out but some of your best opportunities can come from the solutions you come up with.

The first step to solving a problem, though, is to understand what the problem is in the first place. If you don’t understand the real problem you can have the right answer staring you in the face and you won’t recognize it.

This happens a lot with riding, where we are looking for answers to skill or pain problems but the cycling industry is confusing us about what we really need. In this new podcast I talk about why trackstands are the most overlooked skill in mountain biking, why flat pedals are better for your knees despite not having any “float” and my favorite riding shoes (and no, they aren’t 5.10’s).

You can stream or download this episode by clicking the link below.

Click Here to Download the MP3 File

You can also find the BikeJames Podcast on Itunes and Podbean. Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

Show Notes:


Trackstands: The most under-rated skill in mountain biking.

  • At its core this is the skill of balancing without any momentum.
  • The slower you are going the more you need your slow speed balance.
  • Skills like switchbacks, technical climbs and rock gardens all require this skill.
  • Allows you to use skill instead of momentum and luck.
  • Easy to improve/ One of the best uses of your “off trail” training time.
  • Make sure you work both feet forward.

Rider Q&A

Are flat pedals bad for your knees/ role of float in clipless pedals.

  • Your leg and foot don’t create energy in a straight line, they use a spiral motion where the foot “screws” into and off what it is on.
  • This movement is in relation to the ground/ what you foot is on.
  • When you strap the foot to the pedal and restrict its movement in relation to the pedal then your knees will blow up from this lack of rotation.
  • Putting float in clipless pedals allows a little rotation before you unclip, allowing the foot to rotate a little and taking stress of the knee.
  • On a flat pedal your feet aren’t restricted in relation to the pedal and so it can create that screwing motion into the pedal.
  • This is the more natural way for your foot to function and captures the rotational energy the foot and leg produces.
  • This is why people with knee problems often see improvement when switching to flats despite the lack of “float”.
  • Float is a solution to strapping your foot to the pedal, which is a product of the unstable forces going into the pedal. 
  • Your foot doesn’t need or want “float” as you find it in no other sport or situation. 
  • If you fix the problem of the unstable energy through a pedal like the Catalyst Pedal then you don’t need to strap your foot on the pedal in the first place.

Gear Review

SOM shoes

  • Small operation making shoes in Montrose CO.
  • Foot healthy shoes.
  • Light and breathable.
  • Dry quickly.
  • Just enough sticky rubber to do the job, especially on Catalyst Pedals.
  • Learn more and get a pair at 

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