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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 01-02-01, 02:28 PM   #1
RainmanP
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I come before you, get again, asking advice.
I have never used anything but plain old platform pedals. Since most of my riding is an urban/suburban commute, I am a little hesitant to attach my feet to the pedals for fear I may get hung up in an emergency situation. I would appreciate input on this issue. Is it easy enough, with practice, to disengage, that I should go ahead and try something? I have shoes that came with the hardware to use clipless (SPD?) pedals. Obviously, going this route would require new pedals.
Cambronne, you mentioned in a previous post that you still use clips to allow the flexibility of using different shoes. With clips/straps on regular pedals, does one have the option of just using the other side of the pedals in situations where attachment does not seem like a good idea?
I am completely ignorant in this area so would appreciate any and all ideas/comments.
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Old 01-02-01, 04:25 PM   #2
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spd

I have a set of shimano clipless pedals, no you cannot use the backside of the pedals.Un-less you buy some of the cheaper brands that are terribly heavy. ON the spd the only safe way i have found is to use the multi release cleats, but they seem to be harder to find. Really the only way i would use the clipless systems is for extended rides that i would not be getting on and off much. I hardly have ever used mine, i really dont feel safe with them in traffic. Now someone is going to say im just not use to them, but i was a roadie for years, and used cleats and straps. The spd or any clipless system is much harded to disingage in an emergency than clips add straps. any way that is only my openion but if you ride on the road much i would stay with my clips and straps. I DO.!!!!!!!!
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Old 01-02-01, 04:48 PM   #3
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I love my SPD's

I have been using SPD clipless pedals to commute in for ages now and I wouldn't use anything else. I love them.

Chris
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Old 01-02-01, 05:21 PM   #4
Joe Gardner
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Love em

I personally cant ride a bike without my SPD's ... I do admit that it took a few hours and a few falls to figure out how they work, but now I find it much easier to clip in and out of SPD's then getting my foot into a strap system.

As for SPD on one side, and platform on the other, I believe that you can purchase a platform type pedal that clips into one side of the SPD, then you could easily put your toe clips on one side, and leave the other for your SPD equipped shoes.
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Old 01-02-01, 05:38 PM   #5
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One last lick about SPDs

My LBS was very good when I got mine. They also gave me little tips on getting in and out of them without falling etc. Not surprisingly, I get all my stuff off them now.

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Old 01-02-01, 05:49 PM   #6
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My LBS also helped me setup my first set of clipless, i was riding home from school, and stoped by the shop 10min before closing, the owner was kind enough to spend an extra hour with me helping me find the right shoes, and then installing the cleats and pedals for me. As he setup my bike, i pulled in the bikes from the outside street rack, and vacumed up the shop, He once offered me a job, but i couldnt take it. Sadly, this LBS is closed now, they were such a great shop.
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Old 01-02-01, 06:23 PM   #7
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shoes

But you cant ride with your clod hoppers on or any other shoe other than a spd compatible shoe, looks funny when you go in k-mart.!!!!!!!
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Old 01-02-01, 06:43 PM   #8
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"naked" or clipped?

I've been riding "seriously" longer than I care to admit, have had national caliber coaching, and worked as a mechanic for more than a few years.
I use "platform" pedals, no clips or straps, road pedals with toe clips and straps and Look clip/step-ins.
I prefer the Look overall for the power transfer and they are definately easier to get out of than toe straps in emergencies, particulary if you have your straps tight enough to do any good. Of course the Looks aren't worth beans for walking.
If you work on technique you can get good power out af any system.
I would never buy any SPD type system, as a lot of people I know have trouble getting in and out of them, no matter what the circumstances. I do know people who have the Time A.T.A.C. system- very few problems and they're easier to get used to. I have tried both and when I get around to getting a "Mtn." (walking friendly) system it's Time hands down.

[Edited by pat5319 on Jan 2nd at 07:48 PM]
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Old 01-02-01, 09:13 PM   #9
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Raymond, in the past 6 months I've gone through this whole learning process. My first step was to add "Powerstraps" to my platforms. Then I got a new bike. I chose to put SPD M-323 pedals on it because one side has the clip, the other doesn't, so you can ride in anything. I originally got mine either from Nashbar or REI. I haven't seen them on line recently except at the Terry Precision Cycling site. I've been quite happy with them. I did not have much trouble learning to use them. At first you ride with them set with low tension to make them easier to get into & release quickly. When I'm in traffic I often ride with only my left foot clipped in so I only have to think about one foot. Even I can usually manage that! If you can't find a clip/no clip pedal, I think Performance still makes the Winwood Pedal insert, that converts a SPD clip to a platform. Be bold, the worst it can do is make you feel foolish.
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Old 01-04-01, 07:45 AM   #10
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The Doc says Naked pedals for most city commuters

I had dinner with an orthopedic surgeon a couple of nights ago. He told me that he does a lot of work on bicyclists. Of course, this encouraged me to find out why. He said that next to accidents involving automobiles, having some kind of accident while using clip-in or other foot restraining pedal caused the most damage and the worst kind of damage.

Do to riding with a lot of traffic with lots of stops, and in winter having the need for immediate ice-balancing, I use “naked pedals” for commuting.

If your commute is mostly long stretches of non-stop pedaling, or if you have the luxury of commuting without auto traffic, then clip-in or other fixture type pedal might be appropriate. As for me, I chose not to put the orthopedic surgeon’s kid through college.
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Old 01-04-01, 09:46 AM   #11
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straps

I dont use completly naked pedals, but i leave my right strap loose. I found no problems with this so far, and my road to off road ratio is about 10/1. The sports industry produces a lot of redundant products they need to sell someone, so they convince most of us this is best. You would not believe how hard it was to find a good mt. bike without energy robbing expensive to maintain shocks on it, or agood external frame backpack. Most of the people noe do not realise that the new`er technoligy is not allways the best it`s just preDominate sadly to the grate loss of some fine equiptment.!!!!!!!
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Old 01-05-01, 10:27 PM   #12
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Use SPD-compatibles or platforms with straps

Hey Rainman,

I commute with platform pedals, with straps pulled just tight enough that I can get my feet out quickly if I need to. I just wear the shoes that I'm going to wear at work.
(One advantage of this is you don't have to keep a different set of shoes at work.) Using any pedal attachment isn't really much benefit unless you plan to make your commute a workout, and will really be pushing/pulling your pedals.

If you do go for some kind of pedal attachment system, I'd vote for an SPD-compatible, that allows some float, and leave them set for easy clip-out. Choose shoes have the SPD cleat recessed deeply enough that you can walk or stand safely.
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Old 01-06-01, 10:49 AM   #13
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cleat

spd is also the only one that makes a multi release cleat, you can think your way out. If you ajust them loose enough.!
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Old 01-09-01, 12:55 PM   #14
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SPD user here. So far no problems in the three years (~8,000 miles) I've been using them while commuting. I commute on a touring bike or a tandem two or three times a week, with the ride being between 12 and 30 miles OW and the route being suburban-small urban on the San Francisco peninsula. I have the tension set very low on the pedals and so far there has not been an emergency stop where I haven't been able to snap out safely (much to the relief of my stoker). In the first week of having clipless I did have one stop light 0-mph fall over, but that happened my first week with clips and straps as well.

For shoes, my wife (the aforementioned stoker) and I have Shimano models M033, M035, and M036. They are the general-purpose designs, with plenty of sole and heel for off-bike walking. In one of our commute scenarios I would take the train after leaving my wife and the tandem at her office, and have a one-mile walk to my work from the train station. The shoes are comfortable in such a situation, don't wear down, and the cleat is recessed enough to protect itself and most floor surfaces.
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Old 01-16-01, 02:44 AM   #15
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I'm a daily commuter and I recently switched from 'naked' to Speedplay frogs. This is a list of things I found out according to my personal experience :

1. Special Shoe needed : If you're buying only for commuting, first buy the pedal, then the shoe - make sure that you choose from the compatible shoes list on the speedplay site, and, also take the cleat with you to the sho shop and make sure it will be recessed - you wouldn't want to enter a shop and scratch their wood floors .....
Also, today there are 'normal' style shoes with SPD fitting - which don't look and feel wierd when walking.

2. Speedplay advantage (always according to me!) they are very easy to get in and out of - my commute requires ALOT of mounting, dismounting that even clipped pedals were not adequate - Speedplays are very comfortable in that matter.

3. Disadvantage - expensive, especially the cleats.

4. Advantage - Nobody wants to steal a bike with those weird looking small pedals.

5. Main advantage - the reason I switched to speedplays was severe knee pain, and several bangs and briuses I used to get slipping my feet off naked pedals - it has now got much better.

6. Advantage : it is amazing how much more energy you use when using naked pedals - you can utilise only the 'downstroke', more energy needed to keep you feet securly pressed on the pedals.... it is only when switching to clipless that you'll realise this.

hope this helps

claude

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Old 08-17-07, 08:29 AM   #16
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I am also a daily comunter. I ride MKS Custom Neuvo pedals with toe clips and leather straps. I also have a set of clipless pedals. I really like the toe clips and don't feel comfortable out of them. They are easy to get into and out of once you get the handle of it and you don't have to worry about slipping off your pedals when you are excellerating (or decellerating if you commute via fixed gear). Oh, and toe clips are also cheap, so you can give it a go and if you don't like it you are only out 20-30 bucks.
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Old 08-17-07, 09:12 AM   #17
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You'll find a huge mix of opinions here - which given the riding experience here is a good thing. It means that there are a lot of options that "work". It definitely makes it harder for the new rider though.

Personally:

platform (plain) pedals - I could never ride with these. Maybe if I had a cruiser whose only purpose was to go down the street to the coffee shop, but not for any serious distance or speed.

platform with toe straps - I did this years ago, and while it was better than plain pedals, it made my feet go numb

spd pedals - were a huge revelation for me. No more foot numbness and allowed me to start spinning correctly and stop mashing

"campus pedals" - these are the kind with an spd clip on one side, and a traditional pedal on the other. These have never appealed to me, but are a favorite of many in here that ride with both bike and regular shoes.

crankbrothers eggbeaters - for me, a definite improvement over spd. This is the only thing I would use for the commute. They're easier to get in AND out of than spds. This is a huge advantage in stop and go traffic. Hotspots aren't a problem for short rides. My only gripe is that they use bushings instead of bearings. I wish they'd change this. Using a crankbrothers pedal with a platform (ex: candy) gives you a little more platform, but negates the four-sided entry advantage of the eggbeater.

"road pedals" - are something I've never tried. If I were a distance rider or racer I would definitely go this route for the larger platform since you wouldn't need to unclip as much, or be walking around in the shoes as much. In fact, my new, used, road bike came with a set of look pedals on it. I'd use them if I had road shoes.


My recommendation is to use a mountain bike shoe so you can walk in them, with a compatible pedal. Whether you choose SPD, crank brothers, Time, Speedplay or something else, is more a matter of preference. All have their fans. SPD mainly because it's the most common and the cheapest to purchase. Watch out though, a cheap SPD pedal does NOT work as well as a mid-level one. The other three brands each have their own advantages.
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Old 08-17-07, 09:20 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by mike View Post
I had dinner with an orthopedic surgeon a couple of nights ago. He told me that he does a lot of work on bicyclists. Of course, this encouraged me to find out why. He said that next to accidents involving automobiles, having some kind of accident while using clip-in or other foot restraining pedal caused the most damage and the worst kind of damage.
This is the same kind of goofy and misleading reasoning as saying, "99% of mass murderers wear shoes; therefore, be wary of people wearing shoes." Not questioning the accuracy of what your orthopedic surgeon says, but does he have any idea what percentage of the bicyclists in his area, clipless or otherwise, are seeking the attention of an orthopedic surgeon? Answer: obviously no.

To OP, I use SPD clipless for a city commute and love 'em. However, you do have to spend some time making sure you've got a good fit and comfortable release. Initially I had a problem with cleats that would just not clip in, but I didn't leave the LBS until it was resolved (the fix involved a different set of cleats, I think), and it's been great ever since.
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Old 08-17-07, 09:34 AM   #19
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Wow. This thread is 6 and a half years old.

I ride with clipless. SPD and Look. Looks are by far my favorite.

My next bike is looking like it may be a FG with clips ....maybe.
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Old 08-17-07, 09:36 AM   #20
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I have SPD and have no problem at all.
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Old 08-17-07, 09:36 AM   #21
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Crankbrother Eggbeaters are what I use for a commuting pedal. Very easy to disengage; the cleat is brass so it self lubricates against the stainless steel of the pedal. I used BMX pedals for a while when I commuting very short distances at University of Washington, but that was only because I didn't want to change shoes for a 1.5 mile commute.

I will never go back to clips. They are the worse of both worlds. If you aren't wearing a cycling shoe made for clips (with the slot in the sole), then they are no more efficient for power transfer than bare pedals, they go on pedals which are too small for my feet, and they are harder to get in and out of than clipless pedals.

I've tried them all, and if your commute is very short and you walk a lot at your destination and don't want to change shoes, then use the bear trap BMX pedals. If your commute is longer, get eggbeaters and mountain biking shoes (I don't recommend knockoff SPD pedals as I've had trouble disengaging with them before; they require regular lubing of the cleat) and change shoes at your destination if you have to. They are much more efficient than regular shoes. Safer because your foot will never slip off the pedal at an inopportune moment, and easier to both engage and disengage than clips.
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Old 08-17-07, 09:37 AM   #22
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Wow. This thread is 6 and a half years old.

I ride with clipless. SPD and Look. Looks are by far my favorite.

My next bike is looking like it may be a FG with clips ....maybe.
woops... See what happens when a thread gets bumped?
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Old 08-17-07, 10:10 AM   #23
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With clips/straps on regular pedals, does one have the option of just using the other side of the pedals in situations where attachment does not seem like a good idea?
In general, yes. Occasionally, though, when you're using the other side of the pedal, the clip may scrape the ground if you pedalling through a turn. Or, if you use large clips and have a low bottom bracket, there may be more scraping.

At any rate, I find that with clips it's easy enough to pull the foot out in time in just about any emergency situation. Of course you have to have the straps fairly loose, but I think that's a good idea anyway.
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Old 08-17-07, 11:10 AM   #24
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I ride clips and straps be it my fixed gear or my geared commuter....wish it were easier to find old school cycling shoes is my only complaint from going this route.
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Old 08-17-07, 11:41 AM   #25
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I've never liked the idea of clips, I now run a double sided pedal - SPD/platform, and will probably get some dedicated SPD compatible pedals soon to move these over to my lesser used MTB. I've not yet been in a situation where I've not unclipped or been able to in a hurry when in traffic/on the road - I've had close calls where I've just forgotten I'm clipped in, none of these were emergency issues.

I love having the SPD clipless system on my roadie, and I don't think I've still got a properly efficient pedal technique - still working on that - but man they're great. I feel lost without them when I ride my MTB now. I bought some Diadora Bike Patrol shoes on sale, which look like fairly normal black runners - though I am not impressed with them too much, they've not been noticeably abused, but they look like crap already (the plastic vinyl covering is peeling away, etc.) - but that's the shoe, not the pedal technology.
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