I have a confession. Sometimes I am NOT the smartest man in the world. As you can tell by the name of this blog, I have cycled 10000 miles. In fact, sometime next week, I will hit 110000! For most of those miles, I used the same kind of pedals kids use on tricycles. Yep, just a rectangle for my feet to rest on.
My “real” cycler friends kept telling me “Dude! You will be SO much happier with clipless pedals!” (By the way, they are called clipless (even though you clip into the pedal) because when they came out they were different from another type of pedal known as a toe-clip.) They kept telling me how much more efficient they were, how much they helped with hills, and that they would increase my average speed!
I was reluctant for a few reasons:
1) I saw people simply fall over while using these if they didn’t get the correct foot out of the pedal
2) I thought they were too expensive (Not only would I have to buy the pedals, but the shoes as well!
3) I didn’t want to have to either be stuck in bike shoes or have to change the pedals if I wanted to simply go to the store half a mile away.
However, with the decision to ride the Seattle to Portland in one day, I decided it was time to break down and buy them!
The first selling point for me was it was a “combination pedal” (my term not theirs). One side allowed you to clip in. the other is a flat platform that allowed me to ride in regular shoes! Score!
The next selling point was the price. I might be a cheap SOB, but $85 wasn’t, bad! I had budgeted $200 for shoes and pedals, and even with sales tax I got out under that amount.
Finally, the shoes that go with these pedal sealed the deal. The pair I got allows you to walk if need be pretty darn easily. The part that clips into the pedal is sunk below the tread, so I can even walk around the house without getting in trouble.
I’ve already put close to 3000 miles on these without any trouble at all! My average speed on the rollers went from 13 to 15 MPH, plus I could ride longer. I won’t say I floated up hills (gravity is still a law as we know) but if I use my last Chilly Hilly for an example, it is MUCH easier.
I practiced clipping in and out quite a few times in the back yard leaning against the porch, but otherwise I went for it and it was easy. The pedals allow you to adjust how hard the clips hold with a simple turn of a screw.
The flat part of the pedals has worked perfectly for quick errands around the house. I’ve used walking shoes, sandals and running shoes without any problems at all. I wouldn’t use the flat part of the pedals for long rides, but then that is what the clips are for.
All in all, I have found these to be the perfect introduction to clipless pedals. In fact, I haven’t seen any reason in the last year to upgrade at all. My rides have improved because of them, and I attribute my finishing 206 miles in a day to using them!
By the way, I have turlted (fallen over because I couldn’t get the correct foot out of the pedal in time) but then again, I have crashed many a times in my past before the clipless pedals. You just start planning ahead when you stop.