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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 04-11-08, 10:41 PM   #1
wb647
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Clip in pedals for a short commute?

I recently aquired a new bike, and, of course, have the itch to outfit it. Is it worth buying clip-in pedals for a 1.5 mile commute? I plan on using my new bike for recreational cycling, as well as trips to the grocery store and Target.

I don't really know a whole lot about clip-in pedals; a buddy of mine recently bought Crank Brothers Mallets, which seemed pretty darn cool (he let me try them out). The other challange is finding shoes that are still walk-able and normal looking.

Thoughts?!?!
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Old 04-11-08, 10:53 PM   #2
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Once you go clipless, you'll have a hard time riding regular pedals. I happen to have the Mallets and I love them, they work well for me. All of my riding is city streets and the occasional path.
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Old 04-11-08, 10:57 PM   #3
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If you like to be clipped in when you ride, the length of the trip is immaterial. Mountain bike shoes are easier to walk in, and attach you to the pedals just like road shoes. Many look almost like regular walking shoes. Pedals can always be swapped to another bike, so it's worth it.
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Old 04-11-08, 11:07 PM   #4
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For the short commute and the shopping, the pedals are absolutely not worth the hassle. For longer recreational rides, it's a matter of preference. For intense riding such as racing, clipless pedals are a must.

I commuted in clipless pedals for several years, took them off a couple of years ago, and haven't missed them. I'm planning to buy some for my pleasure bike but I won't bother to put them on my commuter again. I just ride in street shoes.
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Old 04-12-08, 10:25 AM   #5
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If your commute involves a lot of stops, you'd better go with platform pedals.
It's always entertaining to see how a hardcore bicyclist loses seconds clipping at every stop.
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Old 04-12-08, 10:34 AM   #6
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If your commute involves a lot of stops, you'd better go with platform pedals.
It's always entertaining to see how a hardcore bicyclist loses seconds clipping at every stop.
Which is why clipless platforms like the Mallet (as mentioned in the opening & second posts) are so handy. Full-circle stroke power when you want it, unclipped pedaling when you need it. I can start pedaling right away even if both feet aren't yet clipped in.

Last edited by BarracksSi; 04-12-08 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 04-12-08, 11:03 AM   #7
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For a 1.5 mile commute, which is maybe 10 minutes, I wouldn't bother with clipless.
At all.
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Old 04-12-08, 02:09 PM   #8
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If your commute involves a lot of stops, you'd better go with platform pedals.
It's always entertaining to see how a hardcore bicyclist loses seconds clipping at every stop.

I don't ever see that. If I miss clipping in on the first try (VERY rare) I just mash through and clip on the way around the second time. And with the immediate, increased efficiency you far surpass someone on flats in a short time. It's like buying A-shares of mutual funds vs. C-shares. The C-shares seem cheap off the get go because they don't have a sales load, but the operating expenses are high and pretty soon the A-share value will outpace it.

Anyways, it depends on what you do for a commute and what else you do with your commuter bike. I like clipless lots, but if ALL you do is ride 1.5 miles twice a day then forgo it. If you use the same bike on weekends for rec riding or longer trips then it might be worth it. Do you ever head out to go somewhere from your job? If so it might be worth it. You see where I'm heading?

It's pretty easy to find shoes that are good looking and comfortable all day. Check out www.lakecycling.com

I have no affiliation, but think Lake is doing an awesome job with their shoe line.
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Old 04-12-08, 03:14 PM   #9
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Don't buy clip-ins for that commute. If you want clip-ins for your commuter bike get the ones with a platform on one side and a clipin on the other. Then you have a choice.
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Old 04-12-08, 03:18 PM   #10
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I'm totally sold on clipless and haven't used anything else for years. Having said that, if I were going 1.5 miles, there's no way I'd go clipless.
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Old 04-12-08, 03:34 PM   #11
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I use old style toe clips with the straps loosely adjusted on my commuter. On my road bike I use Crank bros. Candy Cs.
For commuting my old toe clips work well.

As for normal looking shoes my Shimano mt20 are pretty normal looking and walk fine.
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Old 04-12-08, 03:38 PM   #12
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I've gone from clipless, toe clips and platforms on various bikes to Power Grips. I really like the Power Grips over all the others. I should have gone to this years ago.
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Old 04-12-08, 03:49 PM   #13
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I always went clipless on my DF, but since I changed to a 'bent I've been using the platform pedals that came with it. But, I miss the clipless. I've just been looking for a set that would work well with the 'bent. With the different geometry I'm concerned about getting out of the clips quick enough without having to think about it.
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Old 04-12-08, 04:26 PM   #14
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I always have either full clipless or platform one side and clipless the other.
But for that commute there is nooooo way i'd use clipless. The hassle of having to wear special shoes is totally not worth it. If anything I would use platforms with powergrips. That's how I have my single speed setup and I love it because I can wear any shoes I want. I'll use it for anything from my 11 mile commute, short trips to starbucks, to 25 mile charity rides. Very versatile and they make a lot more sense than clipless for your situation.
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Old 04-12-08, 04:45 PM   #15
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Thanks for the input.

I had 'commuter clips' on my old bike (they look like cages w/o the straps), and now with my new bike, I really miss the feel of having some sort of retention. The amount of flex in the commuter clips was annoying, and full cages aren't that appealing to me. I don't mind having to wear special shoes, since I leave my work boots at work (no sense in lugging them back & forth!). The Crank Bros Mallets appealed to me since I could still ride with regular shoes if need be. As I mentioned, I plan on using this bike for commuting (albeit a short run), recreation (including pulling a child trailer), trips to Target & the grocery store. I managed to trash my old bike pretty good riding two winters on it, but I hope to salvage it and continue it as my winter beater so I don't muck up my new one, but if it doesn't work out, the Mallets would be good for riding w/ boots too, I suppose.
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Old 04-12-08, 05:09 PM   #16
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The amount of flex in the commuter clips was annoying, and full cages aren't that appealing to me. I don't mind having to wear special shoes, since I leave my work boots at work (no sense in lugging them back & forth!).
Trussssst me. Give the powergrips a try. I doubt you'll be disappointed. They are seriously the best of both worlds. They grab your foot real tight and they are a cinch to slip out of.
You don't leave a pair of shoes at Target or the grocery store do you?
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Old 04-12-08, 05:32 PM   #17
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No point in clipless for that distance. Heck, I doubt I would ride either. Sounds like a reasonable walk to me.
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Old 04-12-08, 05:38 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by charly17201 View Post
I always went clipless on my DF, but since I changed to a 'bent I've been using the platform pedals that came with it. But, I miss the clipless. I've just been looking for a set that would work well with the 'bent. With the different geometry I'm concerned about getting out of the clips quick enough without having to think about it.
It won't take long to get used to. I've got spd pedals with a full platform, so I have the choice of just bombing down to the shops in my thongs (flip-flops to non-Australians) or my work shoes if I want, but I find it more physically draining than if I clip in because you not only have to pedal, but hold your legs up on the pedals, which you don't get with DF bikes.

To the OP: I love clipless pedals, and if you're going to use your bike other purposes as well as the commute, I think you'll appreciate difference. Clipping in and out feels pretty natural once you've had a bit of practice. But people are all different. My wife tried out spds on my recommendation for about a year, but just didn't have the same confidence in getting her foot out as she does with more traditional clips, despite me setting them as loose as they could go. She's gone back to platform pedals with clips now.

Whatever pedal system you go for though, I can't recommend a shoe with a good stiff sole highly enough. I started commuting in canvas sneakers, and it really didn't do my feet any favours. A good solid platform to push against gets more power to the pedals and saves you from any fatigue injuries. Your work boots could be the very thing.
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Old 04-12-08, 05:39 PM   #19
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Heck, I doubt I would ride either. Sounds like a reasonable walk to me.
I often ride my bike for short trips like that because I'm too lazy to walk.
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Old 04-12-08, 05:47 PM   #20
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If you have to put on special shoes, you'll ride less. I used to wear clipless when I was younger, but I've learned how to pedal correctly and I don't need them anymore.
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Old 04-12-08, 08:34 PM   #21
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I often ride my bike for short trips like that because I'm too lazy to walk.

I am a hypocrite and do the same.
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Old 04-12-08, 08:53 PM   #22
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Don't buy clip-ins for that commute. If you want clip-ins for your commuter bike get the ones with a platform on one side and a clipin on the other. Then you have a choice.
I agree. I ride 6 mi. each way to work and part of that is through downtown where I am constantly stopping. It's a hassle being clipped in when stopping alot. I am using the Forte Campus pedals which are platform on one side and SPD compatible cleats on the other. Everywhere exept downtown I prefer to be clipped in because I seem to have a much more efficient pedal stoke. I would recommend the campus pedals. You can utilize the platform side for your 1.5 mi. commute and clip in if you ride furthur.
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Old 04-12-08, 09:16 PM   #23
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I often ride my bike for short trips like that because I'm too lazy to walk.
Bike commuting for me started out of thrift, and once I figured out I could get to work faster on a bike (more direct route w/ MUP's) than in a car, I was sold! I continue out of thift (about $3.30/gal here), stubbornness, and as far as walking- I agree- laziness.
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Old 04-12-08, 09:26 PM   #24
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I agree. I ride 6 mi. each way to work and part of that is through downtown where I am constantly stopping. It's a hassle being clipped in when stopping alot. I am using the Forte Campus pedals which are platform on one side and SPD compatible cleats on the other. Everywhere exept downtown I prefer to be clipped in because I seem to have a much more efficient pedal stoke. I would recommend the campus pedals. You can utilize the platform side for your 1.5 mi. commute and clip in if you ride furthur.
I'm really lucky- 1.5 mile commute, and I only have to stop once- if there's any vehicle coming, that is. Frequency of stopping isn't an issue.
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Old 04-12-08, 09:31 PM   #25
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Oh- and another thing- This is a great group of people that post here. I appreciate all of your opinions and insights, espically for a reative novice as myself (two years bike commuting, a solid 1.5 year full-time). I'm very impressed that there aren't a bunch of far-winged a-holes bashing opinions and thoughts. I've learned a lot from reading what all of you say (albeit too late for my last bike's winter survival!), and I look forward to more opionions, expierences, and views.
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