Long, long ago I discovered that if the handlebar is relatively close to the saddle, I can better use it to pull against the pedals when steaming up a slope.
This was no experiment; I simply happened to have borrowed a too-small-for-me 24″-wheeled roadster with north-road handlebars which curve back towards the saddle; I suddenly realised I was relatively easily riding up a hill that had defeated me, until then. It lodged in my brain. Several years later I read advice on hill-climbing in a re-print Victorian cycling-advice pamphlet; it recommended a technique called ‘driving through the hips’, which resonated with me.
Let’s say you wanted to kick-in a door, not that you should make a habit of such things but; if you did and wanted hand-holds to pull against and give your leg more power, would you reach above your head, or look for something either side of the door, around hip level? I could refer to a situation where a gentleman may grasp something at hip level to enhance his thrust, but it would imply that this situation doesn’t apply equally to women.
What we’re talking about here is that well-known law of physics: “Each and every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”
The ‘action’ in this instance is you, pushing down on your pedal with your leg. The ‘reaction’ is your body being pushed in the opposite direction. With the conventional riding posture there is little to resist that reaction, unless you stand on the pedals. This certainly increases thrust but at the cost of an undesirable forward weight bias. This weight bias reduces rear wheel traction and affects steering control. Moreover, your ability to control your centre of gravity, which is largely done by gripping the saddle with your inner thighs, is much more difficult.
The Landseer’s design places your upper body weight in alignment with that reaction, producing the maximum possible resistance to it. Thus you are able to put considerably more power into the down-stroke on your pedal, without compromising traction or control.
Posted by drystonepaul
There was a brief test of technical climbing ability on a steep and loose section of path. I failed twice, but Geoff Apps proved that the Cleland position is perfect for the job. A perfect demonstration of the design, before he reclined in the heather and watched the rest of us fail.
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