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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 05-15-12, 11:19 AM   #1
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Clipless pedal ideas for my wife - needs to be easy to unclip

Got my wife a shiny new bike last year for Mother's day so we could ride together and go on family bike rides with the kids. She professes to love the bike - it's a cannondale synapse WSD. After a bit, we also got some shoes & pedals (Shimano SPD-105) because the spin bikes she uses at the gym near her office also use those pedals.

She has degenerative arthritis or some such thin in her hip though, and has trouble unclipping (rotating her heel to the side is difficult), which has resulted an a couple of falls so I was wondering if anybody had any thoughts on clipless pedals that are easier to unclip. I'm not averse to suggesting mountain bike pedals but I have no experience with them. I've been using speedplays for about 15 years and have no trouble at all, but that's all I'm really familiar with anymore.

We're driving up to Napa Valley for Memorial day weekend and I've managed to convince her to take our bikes so we can do some biking. It would be nice to address the pedal situation before then. She's currently using toe clips & some stiff soled blue suede hiking shoes that she's not overly fond of.
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Old 05-15-12, 11:33 AM   #2
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I like Crank Bros. Candys, but if she has trouble rotating her foot to unclip, these may not work. Have you thought about using clips and straps or thick straps like Power Grips or Hold Fast? You just pull back instead of rotating.
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Old 05-15-12, 11:43 AM   #3
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Well, Shimano 105s seem to have a noticeable bit of resistance right at the unclip point, whereas my speedplays don't seem to have that - the angle on mine is so severe it might be equally hard to operate for her though. I put my pedals on her spin bike to try out and she seemed to think they were OK, but then she thinks her shimanos are ok on her spin bike too.

She currently has toe clips - not sure what you mean by clips and straps - do you mean those old school shoes with the big plastic cleat at the front for toe clips?
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Old 05-15-12, 11:43 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
Got my wife a shiny new bike last year for Mother's day so we could ride together and go on family bike rides with the kids. She professes to love the bike - it's a cannondale synapse WSD. After a bit, we also got some shoes & pedals (Shimano SPD-105) because the spin bikes she uses at the gym near her office also use those pedals.

She has degenerative arthritis or some such thin in her hip though, and has trouble unclipping (rotating her heel to the side is difficult), which has resulted an a couple of falls so I was wondering if anybody had any thoughts on clipless pedals that are easier to unclip.
I'm not averse to suggesting mountain bike pedals but I have no experience with them. I've been using speedplays for about 15 years and have no trouble at all, but that's all I'm really familiar with anymore.

We're driving up to Napa Valley for Memorial day weekend and I've managed to convince her to take our bikes so we can do some biking. It would be nice to address the pedal situation before then. She's currently using toe clips & some stiff soled blue suede hiking shoes that she's not overly fond of.
Show your wife you really do love her and have HER best interest at heart by installing a set of "Power Grip" pedals on her new bike. Skip any thoughts of clipless.

Power Grips are middle of the road enough to get some of the clipless benefits without locking her foot to the pedal.

http://www.amazon.com/Power-Grip-Spo...7103468&sr=8-5

http://www.amazon.com/Origin-8-Origi...d_sim_sbs_sg_6

http://www.amazon.com/Power-Grips-Hi...7103813&sr=8-2
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I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

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Old 05-15-12, 12:27 PM   #5
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I absolutely disagree with Nightshade about the evils of clipless, but there is really nothing wrong with clips and straps. If she's comfortable with toe clips I'd suggest just buying some rigid-soled shoes that work for her, and not bothering to install the cleats.

Last edited by chasm54; 05-15-12 at 12:44 PM. Reason: Clips, not lips!
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Old 05-15-12, 12:30 PM   #6
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I have SPDs on both of my bikes. Different pedals, though. The commuter/errands bike has more mountainy pedals, double sided ones, but I'm not sure which model number. I've accidentally unclipped more times than I can count. I think it's just that the pedals are old, and the springs are getting loose or something. I'm going to replace them before too long.

If you can't find an especially easy pedal, you have a tension adjustment, and can let it all the way out. Also, SPD makes a "multi-release" cleat, one that you can twist inward, outward, or just pull straight back and kind of up. I think you can come up with a winning combination.
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Old 05-15-12, 12:31 PM   #7
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I use these with no problems.

http://www.outsideoutfitters.com/ps-...toe-clips.aspx
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Old 05-15-12, 12:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
She has degenerative arthritis or some such thin in her hip though, and has trouble unclipping (rotating her heel to the side is difficult), which has resulted an a couple of falls so I was wondering if anybody had any thoughts on clipless pedals that are easier to unclip.
In her situation a clipless pedal may not be suitable..

Ergon's contour pedal is made so the foot seeks a good position on the pedal .

I've used a pair thru out the winter they are a nice platform pedal improvement.
http://www.ergon-bike.com/us/en/product/pc2
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Old 05-15-12, 12:55 PM   #9
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If you can hold off until the fall, when the 2013 stuff comes out, Shimano is introducing a "light action" SPD-SL pedal. Looks like in the low end 540 model. Supposed to be something like 43% easier to clip out of.


R540-LA pedal

Also aimed at beginner road riders is a new SPD-SL pedal, the R540-LA. The LA tag stands for Light Action – it's easier to clip in and out of than the standard R540, making it ideal for those who are scared of going clipless. In fact, Shimano reckon 75 percent less force is needed to clip in, and 43 percent less force to clip out. It's available in black or white, with a claimed weight of 330g/pair.
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Old 05-15-12, 02:18 PM   #10
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A little light spray lube where it counts and loosening of the 105's may be all that is necessary. That, and practice. Practice unclipping and also practice a graceful landing. That's where my wife had trouble - thinking there would be traction/stability on the bicycling shoe on hard asphalt.
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Old 05-15-12, 02:36 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
She has degenerative arthritis or some such thin in her hip though, and has trouble unclipping (rotating her heel to the side is difficult), which has resulted an a couple of falls so I was wondering if anybody had any thoughts on clipless pedals that are easier to unclip. I'm not averse to suggesting mountain bike pedals but I have no experience with them. I've been using speedplays for about 15 years and have no trouble at all, but that's all I'm really familiar with anymore.
Shimano makes two different cleats for their SPD-SL pedals. The SH10 "red" cleats don't allow any float and should, in theory, be easier to release. The SH11 "yellow" cleats allow 6 degrees of float before they release. If she's currently using the "yellow" cleats, switching to the "red" ones might make is easier for her to unclip. The only caveat is that positioning of the cleat on the shoe is much more important with fixed cleats.

I believe that Look Keo road pedals offer a similar system, where different types of cleats allow different amounts of float. You may also be able to find road pedals where the release angle is adjustable. I thought that one of the Speedplay pedals offered this feature and some of the older, discontinued Look "delta cleat" pedals offered this same feature.

I, personally, find that Shimano SPD mountain bike pedals are incredibly easy to use; I frequently recommend them to people who have never tried clipless before. The release tension is adjustable, so you can tailor the setting to your preferences. In addition, the optional SH-56 cleats release in multiple directions. With a light release tension and SH-56 cleats, a good yank of the foot in almost any direction will cause the pedal to release.

Edit: It's also possible to get many pedals to release by twisting the heel toward the bike, rather than away. The trick, of course, is not to jam your heel into the spokes in the process! Not recommended for people with larger feet...
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Old 05-15-12, 03:05 PM   #12
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She does have the yellow cleats and I'm not willing to strap her into red cleats for potential knee issues (that could be my own prejujudice speaking there). You're right about Look - same theory with the cleats. Speedplay zero cleats are micro adjustable, the rest just float free.

I'm tempted to try the MB style, or maybe even just get mountain shoes and let her continue with her current toe clips for a while.

laxpatrick - I was hoping that repeated use might loosen them up or maybe just being smarter about how she unclips (oops, did I say that out loud?) but it doesn't appear to have made much of a difference yet.

mprelaw - thanks for the heads up, I'll look into those in the fall if we haven't figured something out by then.
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Old 05-15-12, 03:33 PM   #13
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I use the ones that look like a lollipop - speedplay lightaction. They allow for float (easier on the knees) and I have them set up so they unclip really easy.

I can relate to the hip issue. I was born with a hip condition and wore a brace on my feet to rotate my legs in the hip socket. I am 47 and have degenerative arthritus in my hips and a torn labrum in my left hip along with a cyst that cause significant discomfort. I actually use my left leg to unclip typically and that is the hip I have the tear in. I do take Aleve regularly and occasional Vicodin for the pain. Tho I have noted, less pain as my weight has started to come off.

I also am dealing with lumbar spinal stenosis which is a narrowing of the spinal column and my nerves get pinched off when I stand for too long or walk too much and my legs and feet get painful and go numb as a result. Recommended exercise for that condition? RIDING A BIKE. Because positioning on a bike flexes the area and the hips opening it up more.
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Old 05-15-12, 03:38 PM   #14
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I absolutely disagree with Nightshade about the evils of clipless, but there is really nothing wrong with clips and straps. If she's comfortable with toe clips I'd suggest just buying some rigid-soled shoes that work for her, and not bothering to install the cleats.
Or go with clips, no straps.



EDIT: Oops... 10 Wheels beat me to it.

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Old 05-15-12, 03:43 PM   #15
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Assuming you've already loosened the tension adjustment? Just double checking...
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Old 05-15-12, 04:18 PM   #16
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I did indeed loosen the release as much as I could.

She already has toe clips! I don't need more toe clips.

Beach - I have light actions myself, they're great. I also have a set of X-2 pedals I told her I'd put on for her if she wants to try them out for the low, low investment of $39 for more cleats. By the way, I got some keeponkovers for my speed play cleats. They're awesome, check into 'em.
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Old 05-15-12, 04:51 PM   #17
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I will definitely check out the keeponkovers....I carry my current covers in my jersey pocket.

I have fallen once but that was my fault not the pedals. LOL And I did it in front of many people on Main St in HB....
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Old 05-15-12, 05:02 PM   #18
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As others have already mentioned, I would have look at the SPD cleats for your wife, the Multi Release version SH56 and perhaps pair them up with a single sided SPD pedal. Which would provide an option to clip in or ride with a normal walking/running shoe if she liked.

Yes, it may mean a new pair of shoes, however, it has the most release options that I know of for a clip in.
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Old 05-15-12, 05:51 PM   #19
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Or go with clips, no straps.



EDIT: Oops... 10 Wheels beat me to it.
I will not budge one inch in my opinion of clipless on the street.

That said, I will say that toe clips like those here are as good substitute for clipless as straps would be.
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I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

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Old 05-15-12, 07:48 PM   #20
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She does have the yellow cleats and I'm not willing to strap her into red cleats for potential knee issues (that could be my own prejujudice speaking there). You're right about Look - same theory with the cleats. Speedplay zero cleats are micro adjustable, the rest just float free.
I used to think I needed tons of float to keep my knees happy. Turns out all I needed to do was get the cleats positioned properly! The SPD pedals I use now have almost no float compared to the Look pedals I used to use...

Quote:
I'm tempted to try the MB style, or maybe even just get mountain shoes and let her continue with her current toe clips for a while.
If you're concerned about float, SPD mountain bike pedals don't offer a whole lot of it. In general, the more the pedals float the more you have to rotate your heel before they release.
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Old 05-15-12, 09:02 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
I will not budge one inch in my opinion of clipless on the street.
Yeah, I've noticed.

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Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
I used to think I needed tons of float to keep my knees happy. Turns out all I needed to do was get the cleats positioned properly! The SPD pedals I use now have almost no float compared to the Look pedals I used to use...

If you're concerned about float, SPD mountain bike pedals don't offer a whole lot of it. In general, the more the pedals float the more you have to rotate your heel before they release.
Good to know, thanks.
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Old 05-15-12, 09:05 PM   #22
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I'll second the mtb spd idea with multi direction cleats. A friend of ours took a couple spills on her road bike while trying to get out of her pedals. So, we substituted a pair of Shimano SPD's and she's happy as can be.
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Old 04-13-14, 01:00 PM   #23
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I looked through these suggestions because I am a woman with right hip arthritis for about 3 years. I have been riding clip-less for more than 10 years without a problem but when I got my new (wonderful) Trek Domane I also got new pedals. When I tried to clip out it took a significant effort and my hip killed. Thanks to the suggestion regarding the R540-LA (Light Action) pedals I can now bike without causing hip pain when I clip out. I highly recommend them!
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Old 04-13-14, 01:14 PM   #24
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I will not budge one inch in my opinion of clipless on the street.
It's like a jihad.
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Old 04-13-14, 02:21 PM   #25
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well, fastforward 2 years and a lot has changed. She had total hip replacement last August and that has largely fixed her hip rotation issues, and I swapped out her pedals for speedplay light actions a few months ago. Apparently there is a little bit of a break in time for speed plays, so we put the pedals on her spin bike for a while until she got comfortable.

Back to the graveyard with this thread.
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