This is a matter of personal preference. The single treadle is very easy to do. I can even spin when relaxing in my recliner. It is very easy to start especially after you learn to spin. If you want you can put two feet on the treadle. In accessories, there is a wider single treadle option. The double treadle is very easy to start by just wiggling the treadles, and you can also spin slower if you are making a designer yarn. The double treadle also makes you use better posture, and you are exercising both legs. You can always use the double as a single treadle. Children seem to learn the double easier if they are riding a bicycle because they do not need to watch their feet and can concentrate on drafting.
Message: 8 Notes from Tien Chiu
Date: Tue, 09 Mar 2004 21:30:58 -0000
Subject: Re: double vs. single treadle
What are the advantages of a double-treadle vs. single-treadle wheel, or vice versa?
First, let's start by saying that Alden Amos is every bit as opinionated as he is knowledgeable. Not everyone agrees with him, including some very experienced spinners.
I started with a single-treadle wheel and eventually moved to a double-treadle version, and was much happier with the double-treadle wheel. This was because:
- There are no "dead spots" on a DT wheel. On a ST wheel, when the pedal is all the way up or all the way down, there's a fairly big "dead spot" where you can't get the wheel turning without using your hands. On a DT wheel, that dead spot is effectively nonexistent, so I can get the wheel going in either direction just by using my feet.
- The wheel turned more smoothly. DT wheels are continuously driven (one pedal goes up as the other one goes down); ST wheels are only driven on the pedal down stroke, and have to continue around on momentum. Most of the time, this isn't an issue, but when you're doing something energy-intensive, like spinning on a 30:1 ratio, the difference is noticeable.
- Less of a strain on any given leg. I treadle pretty fast to keep up with my drafting, and I found it was easier to distribute the effort over both legs. The one-up-one-down treadle of the DT makes for better body mechanics than putting both feet on an ST--the body is better balanced. My wheel (Ashford Traditional) also didn't have a treadle big enough to accommodate both feet on a single treadle. As far as overdeveloping the muscle, with that light a load, you won't bulk up at all--you might get slightly better muscle tone in one leg, but you won't have to worry about your legs looking unbalanced, or being massively stronger in one leg than the other. Most of the power in the legs comes from the quads (front of the high), with the hamstrings (back of the thigh) close behind. Spinning is mostly calf muscle, with a little bit of hamstring thrown in. Calves are much smaller muscles, and their power is dwarfed by the quads/hams. So, even if it weren't such gentle exercise, it wouldn't affect your leg strength a great deal. but it really is very light exercise, so I think the most you'd get out of it is a little bit of toning, if you saw anything at all. Back when I was spinning on a wheel, it made no difference whatsoever to my muscle tone, as far as I could tell. At that point, I was doing a little weightlifting and occasional cycling (hadn't gotten into the AIDS Ride yet)--your mileage may vary, but if you're in reasonable shape it probably won't make a difference.
Do take Alden Amos with a grain of salt. I respect his knowledge, but wish he would present a more balanced case w/r/t controversial issues, or--controversial might be too strong a word--issues on which there is no consensus. I don't recommend him to novice spinners for that reason; if you don't know any better, it's easy to get knocked for a loop by his definite pronouncements. Mind you, he *does* know a heck of a lot about spinning...no doubt about that! Just don't take his word as gospel! :-)
March 11, 2004