"Riding a bicycle will be a lot easier for you if you know how to pedal," says Gabe Mirkin, M.D.. Huh? Isn't pedaling the same thing as riding a bicycle? Not quite. Sure, even an incorrect pedaling method will get you moving but it won't be smooth or efficient until you make your pedaling smooth and efficient. With the right stroke, you can churn out the same amount of power at a heart rate as many as five beats per minute lower. For starters, Dr. Mirkin suggests you pedal with the ball of your foot, not your arch. "The ankle is the fulcrum for the force you generate with your feet," he explains. Since the ball of the foot is further from the ankle than the arch, you'll generate more force with this approach.
However, since this is the Internet, I'll reduce the whole process down to an easily digestible list of five numbered items--courtesy of Todd Carver, biomechanist at Colorado's Boulder Center for Sports Medicine: