For the past two years I have been transitioning from being a runner to being a runner and cyclist. My transition has been slowed by the fact I have found it difficult to stay motivated while riding alone. So you can imagine my excitement when my new neighbor, Jeremy, cycled into his driveway at the end of a ride.
We made plans to do a ride together. Having confessed my novice status, we set out on bike ride together. I had no idea how experienced a rider he was other than his wife called him the “bike whisperer.”
About 1 mile into our ride Jeremy asked if I was “clipless.” Having never heard that term, I assumed he was asking me something about whether or not my feet were clipped to the pedals.
Understanding the meaning of suffixes, knowing that the suffix “less” means without, I responded, “No, I am clipped in.”
Jeremy then told me that for some reason in the cycling world clipless actually means you do have clips. He then provided a cycling etymology of how clipless became to mean the opposite of what one would imagine it to mean.
“Has anyone ever talked to you about pedaling? About how you should pedal in a circle instead of going up and down?”
“No,” I said. “How should I be pedaling?”
“When you pedal it is much more efficient to focus on pedaling in a circle instead of just going pushing up and down.”
Okay, I thought. But to me, the novice, my pedaling looked just like his pedaling. I was about to ask how it is different?
Before I could formulate a question, Jeremy said, “When you pedal, imagine you have gum on the bottom of your shoe and as you are walking each time you take a step you slide the sole of your shoe along the ground as you continue to walk. That is what your pedaling should feel like.”
I instantly understood. I still needed a ton of practice, but I now had an expert secret.
As we rode on he said, “That is enough to learn for one day. Let’s enjoy the ride.”
What a great lesson: The objective was chunked well. There was an easy preview question. The key ideas were presented and modeled with an expert secret and time to practice.