Thanks to Metrika we are able to evaluate every moment of pedalling. In order to correctly analyse the cyclist’s pedaling, we divide it into four phases: two active phases (phase I of thrust-supporting front and phase III of rear traction) and two transit phases (phase II and phase IV) called upper and lower dead points. The angle analysis allows us to determine whether the pedal stroke is correct and therefore whether the cyclist’s position is correct.
The measurement of this angle and how it varies over time informs us of the load variation on the front of the bicycle. Generally speaking, the more the angle is closed the greater the loads, especially in the cervical area.
The analysis of these two angles shows us how we are positioned and whether we are able to take on aerodynamic positions without feeling pain along the spine. A pain in the neck, arms or wrist muscles are signs that our position is not correct: so either we are too short or excessively long.
A fundamental value is attributed to the position of the heel in the shoe. The correct position of the heel prevents energy loss and knee and ankle problems and also Achilles tendon or calf muscles. Incorrect position of the heel results in a pedalling called “tip” (metatarsus backwards from the pedal pivot) or “plant” (metatarsus advanced from the pedal pivot).
The analysis of the lower limbs allows us to define how to optimize the pedalling without causing pain and is directly involved in the positioning of the heels. We have to take into consideration whether the knee causes the leg to spread out towards the outside (varo) or vice versa towards the inside (valgos). Considering the same situation: if the heel is diverted inwards (varo) or outwards (valgos) the position of the heel will be adjusted taking into account the different situations.
We can define this phase as a cognitive moment. The future cyclist is examined to see if there are any particular problems that may affect the use of the bicycle.
The origins of Metrika
During the last twenty years, several research groups have focused on optimizing the skeletal muscle behaviour of athletes during movement, both in search of maximum athletic performance and in order to minimize the percentage of injury caused by incorrect posture.
Physiology and biomechanics applied to the research for athletic improvements are not the result of the work of a single specialist, but the joint work of several people, where each collaborates in the identification of mechanisms that intervene in the practice of specific activity and in the adaptations that occur in the human body. In a sport such as cycling, in which the body carries out its activity thanks to a decisive mechanical means, the study of biomechanics becomes essential in addition to physiological studies. This matter was taken into account only a few years ago by cyclists and has the purpose of analyzing how the body can transmit its energy to the mechanical medium and overcome resistance to achieve maximum efficiency.
The Metrika project originated from the plurilateral research of two companies, Boeris (bicycle manufacturer) and Velosapiens (software manufacturer).
During the development of the first experimental phase, a cyclo-ergometer was developed, which through the use of hydraulic pistons, allows geometric variations which optimise the bikes layout.
In a second phase of research carried out on a number of professional athletes, various evaluation tests have been added that allow to associate the data provided by the analysis of television images of the Metrika software, the values obtained from tests with electromyograph and soles inserted in the shoes of the athlete and equipped with special load indicators, evaluate the foot support during the thrust.
Through the reading and comparison of this data, today with Metrika, it is possible to establish with a more than good approximation the correct position of the athlete on the bicycle. The preliminary phase is important, but postural analysis is no less important as it is essential for assessing the deviation from the ideal position.