Friday, January 21, 2011

Coup de Torchon Cycling

Coup de Torchon is simply french for The Dish Towel Technique as put forward by Ian Jackson of BreathPlay. The idea is that instead of pushing down into the bottom bracket we pull the pedals away from one another as if we're trying to keep the dish towel taught and straight.

Or, as you see in the photo above or in the video, if you imagine you're holding a dish towel between your hands, your hands represent the pedals.Then, to keep the towel straight you must push each pedal away from the other with equal and opposite force.

I discovered this technique in another podcast by Terry Bicycles owner Georgina Terry.

Ian posits that even as we contrive to push down on the down stroke and pull up on the up stroke or "wipe mud from the bottom of our cleats" we are still engaging in essentially centripetal pedaling rather than centrifugal pedaling. Coup de Torchon is about pulling around the circle rather than pushing into the circle we all hope to pedal. I'm certainly no physicist, but I am intrigued by the visualization.

I've tried it--not yet for long rides (tomorrow will be first longer test)--and I like it. I can tell I am recruiting some new muscles and my stroke is smooooothing out.

Let me know what you think.

Keep it smoooooth,


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