How Relaxed Is Too Relaxed And Should I Drop My Heels On The Bike?


Hi folks,

Chez Ollie

From The Big Lebowski - Too Tense!

I am a great believer in ‘following the Tao,’ but this is a work of art. You have to make things happen, but not in a forceful way. How do you know when you need a little force or effort and when to just leave things alone to work themselves out? It’s a fine line between these two polar opposites, so I guess you just have to feel your way along ‘The Razor’s Edge‘ (didn’t like that book in my 20s, but loved it in my late 40s – there is a message there!). The other day I was out on a bike ride, with some pickups on hills. I found that these short climbs were perfect for exploring optimization of my degree of ankle looseness versus tension during the spin. Some people, even pretty good cyclists, ride up on their toes, with their ankles locked (I see this a lot), but it comes with considerable tension in your hips and elsewhere.


The Big Lebowski, too relaxed, FitOldDog's advice, movies,

The Big Lebowski - Too Relaxed.

You can relax your legs and let your heels drop almost to the ground, while your heels fly high at the top of the stroke. But then the spin becomes sloppy with a lot of wasted energy. What is best, I wonder? As I explored this conundrum I found an elusive place that felt like the perfect combination of looseness and tension of my ankles, at which point my legs felt like rubber bands spinning freely around. A kind of springy, motorized feeling.

Saying, “Drop your heels” is fine, but how much relaxation is too much or not enough?

Anyone out there have the answer?

-k @FitOldDog



  1. Let your heels decide what they want to do.

  2. Hi Rory, that can be a good idea or a recipe for disaster. I tried that, but because of a prior motor cycle accident my right ankle was essentially locked, resulting in severe knee problems when running, and when biking but less severe. It was through exploration of the issue that I am now back in Ironman training. This is the problem of improper biomechanics that leads to eventual, and often (in my opinion), unnecessary breakdown. But you pays your money and you makes your choice. -k

  3. I remember enjoying the film “The Razor’s Edge” but don’t remember what it was about.

  4. It’s about life’s journey, growing up and all that stuff. -k

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.