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  1. #1
    Senior Member Caferacernoc's Avatar
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    Riding without clips or straps on your feet?

    Anyone here not into the fancy pedal/shoe thing? I have clips and straps on my main bike and was planning to go clipless this year but then this article made me think:

    http://www.rivbike.com/article/clothing/the_shoes_ruse

    Anyone here a "pedaling free" convert?
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  2. #2
    Si se Puede!!!....Ahuevo! gr23932's Avatar
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    Interesting.
    Ese dicho que me han dicho que t˙ has dicho que yo he dicho, ese dicho no lo he dicho, porque si lo hubiera dicho, ese dicho estarÝa bien dicho por haberlo dicho yo.

  3. #3
    rhm
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    multimodal commuter rhm's Avatar
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    I gave up cycling specific shoes (SPD's) when I got my first folding bike about three years ago. Part of the folding bike thing is that the pedals fold; and nobody makes folding pedals for any type of cleated, click-in shoes. It took a little getting used to. Now I haven't used the SPD's for almost a year, and haven't missed them.

    Three issues come to mind: 1, keeping your feet securely on the pedals, 2, using more leg muscles, and 3, bunny hops. Well for 1, keeping your feet on the pedals, fancy pedals helpful if you have long crank arms; but it's easy to keep your feet on the pedals with short crank arms. For 2, though I wish I did, the fact is I don't use more leg muscles when pedaling with clips/clipless, so that's not an issue either. But 3, I do miss the ability to do bunny hops. Oh, well.

  4. #4
    Super Course fan redneckwes's Avatar
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    On long rides, I much prefer to have toe-clips and straps, any aggressive pedal stroke can cause my feet to slip off without some kind of retention.

    To each their own I suppose.
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  5. #5
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    My road bikes (most of them) and fixed gear bikes have old school toe clips and straps while my mtb and winter bikes have BMX half step pedals. I learnt to bunny hop long before clip-less pedals were invented.

    I like the fact that I can be well attached to my bike without going clipless, the straps offer some lateral stability, and that I can move my foot around as I ride as it does help a great deal when you are laying down epic mileage.

    I also switch bikes from day to day and the change in riding positions is probably beneficial to preventing repetitive stress injuries and am sure it allows me to ride nearly every day with few complaints.

    On pedalling - it is also true that experienced riders put almost no downward force on the rising non loaded pedal and only push with one leg at a time because it is more efficient.

  6. #6
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    One thing I did recently was to get myself a pair of
    Avocet touring shoes. I can ride with clips n' straps but not have to
    worry about fully clipping in.
    I used them when I commuted back in the early 80's, easily walk in them
    and grooves for pedals work well.
    I got mine on ebay for less than $50. (thanks CdM!)

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    On pedalling - it is also true that experienced riders put almost no downward force on the rising non loaded pedal and only push with one leg at a time because it is more efficient.
    Well, and also because it's physically impossible to push with both legs at once.

  8. #8
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Rivendell expresses a lot of strong opinions on a lot of things, some of which make fairly good sense to me, some of which don't. As for the claim in this article that nearly everyone says you can power through 360 degrees of a pedal stroke with the use of clipless pedals, I've never actually heard that myself. They go on to say that all you stand to gain with clipless is putting less downward force on the pedal, which means you're fighting the other leg less. But then they say you actually can pull up on the pedal while using clipless during very steep climbs, and that this is indeed an advantage. Well, considering that very steep climbs, to me, are where you want all the advantage you can get, I'd say that's significant in itself.

    All in all, I'd say the article is really just one person's opinion, written in a way that pretty much ridicules anyone who prefers clipless pedals. This, of course, plays right to the notion that retro-grouchy is almost always best, a Rivendell mainstay. I think this particular article is mostly BS-

  9. #9
    Villainous huerro's Avatar
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    For casual riding, I'm sure there's no need for retention, but on longer/harder rides I like to be clipped or strapped in.

    On my commuter I use power grips which I consider to be the best of both worlds. You can use any shoe, they are easy to get into and out of and you feel a good connection to the pedal.

    I won't say the article is BS, but my experience with shoes has been very different. I've never been comfortable for more than about 5 miles in flimsy-soled shoes. I don't need cycling shoes, but anything
    less than good running shoes ends up hurting fairly quickly. This is across a wide variety of pedals.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by well biked View Post
    But then they say you actually can pull up on the pedal while using clipless during very steep climbs, and that this is indeed an advantage. Well, considering that very steep climbs, to me, are where you want all the advantage you can get, I'd say that's significant in itself.
    I think not just very steep climbs, but long stretches at relatively tame gradients like 3-6% or so, where you're carrying some speed. When clipped in, you can relieve pressure on your quads by shifting some effort to the pedal that's pulling up. I find this really helps reduce lactic acid burn and allows me to maintain my momentum. I think the Riv. article, while making some valid points, misses that one - though I'm not sure maintaining climbing speed is an issue they're interested in addressing.

  11. #11
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    I've always used toe clips and straps without any complaints.

    I tried a pair of clipless pedals some years ago and didn't really feel they solved any problems over clips and straps. I'm about to put a pair of flat, 2-sided Lyotard pedals on one of my bikes, just to be able to hop on and run errands in whatever shoes I'm wearing.

    On a long ride I'll go with the clips and straps.

    I actually like most of what Rivendell has to say; honest anti-hype!

  12. #12
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    I've never had clips or clipless - always BMX platform pedals on all of my bikes.

  13. #13
    Prodigal road guy MajorA's Avatar
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    Three observations:

    1. I ride straight pedals on my in-town singlespeed, which for the most part is an errand bike, but which I take for the occasional lunchtime workout. I tend to agree with this guys observations.

    2. While I'm not sure that being attached to the pedal increases efficiency or power, it does let you get lazy; I find that my foot occasionally slips off of a pedal if I start daydreaming and not paying the attention which I should. It's like trail running versus track running; on the trail, you need to pay attention to balance, cadence, and footfall all the dang time.

    3. There IS a benefit to a rigid shoe, at least in my case. I had to give up distance running because of a condition called hallux rigidus, which is essentially a thousand dollar Latin term for arthritic big toe joints. One of the things which I need, all the time, is a rigid shoe. Rigid cycling shoes dispense with the need for carbon fiber splints, which I wear otherwise. I don't know whether a lifetime of rigid shoes helps prevent hallux rigidus, but there you go.

  14. #14
    SNARKY MEMBER CardiacKid's Avatar
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    Grant tends to play a little fast and loose with statistics and scientific studies, sometimes, when he gets on a roll. The studies don't say that being clipped in is bad, they just say that we don't pull up when pedaling. There are studies that say we pedal more efficiently clipped in. The extra efficiency is at the bottom of the stroke, where we pull thru, like scraping something off the bottom of your shoe. On the other hand, I have nothing against using flat pedals. I put a pair of Walmart pedals on my bike when it is in the trainer. Members of this forum don't generally race, so we do what we want. Personally, I feel safer with my clipless pedals than with cages. Post this in the Road Forum and watch the stuff hit the fan.

  15. #15
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Picchio Special View Post
    I think not just very steep climbs, but long stretches at relatively tame gradients like 3-6% or so, where you're carrying some speed. When clipped in, you can relieve pressure on your quads by shifting some effort to the pedal that's pulling up. I find this really helps reduce lactic acid burn and allows me to maintain my momentum. I think the Riv. article, while making some valid points, misses that one - though I'm not sure maintaining climbing speed is an issue they're interested in addressing.

    Oh I agree. I was just restating an advantage even Rivendell conceded (very steep climbs). Personally, I find advantages with clipless on most any terrain-

  16. #16
    Senior Member fender1's Avatar
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    It is all personal preference. I ride both ways and do not feel the need to tell others what is best for them. While I like and use a number of things that Rivendell supplies, the "David vs. Goliath " Schtick is starting to wear thin IMHO.

  17. #17
    NFL Owner monogodo's Avatar
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    I'd like the author to explain why my wife felt pain in her feet when wearing sneakers and pedaling with platform pedals, but didn't feel pain when she switched to a cycling shoe with cleats and eggbeaters.

    I've also seen people riding with non-cycling shoes on platform pedals, and their feet do flex down, so his claim that the foot tenses up and stays stiff on its own is BS.

    He may be fine "pedaling free", but I'm perfectly happy with my clipless pedals and cycling shoes.
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  18. #18
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    Ya pays your money and ya makes your choice. I personally prefer flat non-retentive pedals. Grant's an interesting person and has some valid viewpoints. I agree with some and disagree with others although not many. For my longer, 25-40 miles, rides I use my 1958/70 Raleigh Trent Sports with flat rubber block pedals and Performance, $39.95 on sale, semi-rigid soled sport type shoes. I'm not a fast rider and usually spin up the hills. I've found that "riding free" suits me just fine. I have a set of LOOK 396 clipless pedals on the Univega Super Strada but I don't ride it much. I prefer the Raleigh Trent Sports, light roadster or R20 foliding bike for the majority of my riding. PG.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    I feel like clipless is for people who take their bicycle riding much more seriously than I do. I've never taken it seriously, I just enjoy it. I've got power grips on all of my bikes, but I'm going back to clips on the Peugeot. I'm tempted to go with rubber blocks on the one I'm building now. I don't think I've ever seen rubber blocks on a Campy record crank.

  20. #20
    Senior Member mparker326's Avatar
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    I love the big giant "gents" platforms on my Raleigh Sports. I occasionally look down at my feet and my natural riding position on this bike has my right foot slanted toward the outer portion of the pedal and my left foot is straight. When I need to quickly take off (I know that "quick" and a "Raliegh Sports" aren't synonomous), I tend to pedal with my arches.

    Not being strapped/clipped in works for me.

  21. #21
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    Although I rarely rode for most of my adult life, when I did, I always used clips & straps. My wife bought me some SPD pedals & shoes for Christmas and I love them. For me, they are much more comfortable than toe clips (these are very casual shoes with a stiff but walkable sole) and Shimano M520 pedals).

    As I then had an extra pair of pedals w/ toe clips attached, I put them on my wife's bike (she fought it but I told her I would remove them after 1 ride if she didn't like them). She loved them. That first ride, her average speed increased by 2 mph and she said she felt she was exerting less effort. Not scientific but they seem to make a difference.

  22. #22
    Senior Member SweetLou's Avatar
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    This article was mentioned in the commuter forum a couple of months back. For me, clipless is the only way to go. This is for a couple of reasons. I do pull up on the pedals, not often, just to give my quads a break. This really seems to help with fatigue.

    The most important reason is because I spin and don't mash. I can't spin with flat platforms. I have arthritis in my left knee, well actually both but the left gives me the most problems. When I ride my one bike that doesn't have clipless system, the next day my knee will be in a lot of pain. If I ride only a short distance, say a mile or so, I am fine. Anything over that and I will be hurting the next day.

    I like the idea of using any shoe, but in my case, it really isn't possible. I was thinking about getting some Powergrips. This might help.

  23. #23
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    My foot has slipped off the pedal in wet conditions a couple of times, once causing me to lose control and wipe out in the middle of a busy street. So I ride with clips now for safety. I also really like being able to draw my foot upwards at a stop and have the pedal go with it. I, for one, don't really care about the supposed speed benefits.

    The safety downside is that if I do go down, I'm going with my bike, and it'd be difficult to maneuver away from it. My dad's been in accidents where he and his bike were on the street and he literally rolled over towards the parking lane to avoid getting hit while his bike got caught under a car. But for the type of accident I seem to be prone to, clips make sense.

  24. #24
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    I love clips and straps, but I really only run them on bikes which I ride purely for fun, and so where I wear cycling specific clothing. I definitely notice the difference in performance in certain places, and I like feeling anchored on the pedals (though I don't tighten them down hard). On the bikes I ride for utility or commuting purposes, however, I would never have clips, cos I need to wear whatever shoes I'm wearing, which might not be sneakers, but work shoes, or boots. I've considered powergrips, but never got there. I tried Look clipless, and I hate them.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by well biked View Post
    All in all, I'd say the article is really just one person's opinion, written in a way that pretty much ridicules anyone who prefers clipless pedals. This, of course, plays right to the notion that retro-grouchy is almost always best, a Rivendell mainstay. I think this particular article is mostly BS-
    +1, I ride SPD clipless on the road, MUP, and mountain biking. True I use MTB, softer shoes for all riding, but I did not find that article addressed the two reasons I use clipless. 1, They keep your feet positioned correctly for maximum efficiency. Maybe others have no problem positioning their feet on flats, but I tend to move my foot off the ball of the foot and toward the center of the foot, like I did when I was young. That's less efficient. 2, Now that I use clipless on my MTB, I won't go back. Riding downhill while standing is real dangerous if your feet are not clipped in. I've had my feet slip off too many times when I used flats and I was lucky, I never broke a leg. I'll continue to feed the myth.
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