I had posted before, asking for advice from the assembled experts about Nashbar's Soho pedals. They have an SPD cleat on one side, and a flat platform on the other -- so that you can ride clipless or platform, depending on which shoes you feel like wearing that day.
Got my new pedals on Friday and put them on the bike over the weekend. Then proceeded to have a great weekend visiting family -- except that I completely skipped riding. So on Monday, when the time came to ride the 5 miles to work, I hadn't had a chance to practice using the un-clips! The good news is, you get to hear about what it's like to ride 10 miles on the platform side of the Soho pedals.
Platform side: comfortable to use. My 215 lb weight was spread out over a big enough surface that I didn't feel pressure points under my feet. Before these pedals, I had been using toe clips and had gotten used to flipping the pedal over to get to the side I wanted. The Soho landed platform-side-up unpredictably, so I needed to look at my feet once in a while to get to the platform side. I did wind up putting my sneaker on top on the cleat once in a while -- I wouldn't want to ride any distance like that, but it didn't hurt to do for a few rotations while trying to flip the thing over. I expect that as the bearings break in and loosen up, I'll have an easier time getting the side of the pedal I want.
Then after I got home from work, I put on my fancy new shoes (actually Keen's Commuter Sandals) and went out to the towpath to practice using the un-clips. This was my first-ever time in clipless, so I can't separate out what is the pedal, what's the shoe, and what's just the whole clipless system. Overall, the experience was WOW! My toes weren't getting mashed into toe clips! There was no pressure on the top of my foot! The bottom of my foot wasn't getting any pressure points, either.
Clipping in was a little tricky, because of the aforementioned "which side is up?" problem. Once the cleat got to the top side, I didn't really need to point my toe into the cleat. I could just hit the cleat-side of my pedal with my midfoot and push down -- snap! my foot would slide in. (Got a little concerned when I clipped one foot in without meaning to an my way to the towpath, while I was still in traffic.)
Clipping out worked pretty much like I expected it to: just point the ankle all the way in and pop!
Had a fun five miles on the towpath, clipping in and out merrily, smiling a big dumb grin, and wondering why I ever had been nervous about going clipless. Then I went up the short, steep rise between the path and a heavily trafficked street, slowed WAAY down, and didn't have enough momentum left to get un-attached without falling over. Object lesson #1: there's only so much rotational momentum. If you're about to stall out anyway, you can't stop pedalling and unclip. Instead, you stop pedalling and fall over.
So right now, they're the best thing since sliced toast -- like sliced bread, but you might get burned.