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Old 01-04-10, 05:27 PM   #1
wunderkind
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Tips for using toe strap pedals?

I've always used platform pedals. However my new bike that I just got came with toe strap pedals. I am having a crap time getting one of my foot in it. Any tips? I think these pedals may help in climbing some inclines on my commute. But there are some parts which requires me to get off one foot (lights, crossings etc). So it can be a bit frustrating.
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Old 01-04-10, 05:41 PM   #2
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I keep my straps just loose enough to slip my shoes in and out. I found they helped out a lot with foot fatigue, my feet kept slipping all over the pedals. Get on your bike, put your feet in the straps and have someone cinch them on your feet. If you can have an LBS help with this, all the better.
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Old 01-04-10, 06:13 PM   #3
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When I used straps and clips, I just rode with them and figured it out with time and practice.

Some pedals are better than others, like MKS GR9, because they have a big tab on the back to help flip the pedal up.
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Old 01-04-10, 06:15 PM   #4
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Try it without the straps on one pedal.


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Old 01-04-10, 06:16 PM   #5
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+1 to what Brian said about keeping them loose enough to use easily. You don't need to cinch them down much unless you're really beating hard on the bike, and even then, I don't like how I don't get as much "float" as I do with clipless pedals. They also can be found in different sizes, so if you've got big feet, you might have an easier time with larger cages.

While we're talking about toe straps, make sure you have the strap routed correctly through the buckle. I've gotten on some spin bikes this winter that had the strap routed snugly and neatly through the buckle, just like it was a small version of a belt for holding up your pants. The problem, though, was that it was damn near impossible to adjust with one hand, and certainly impossible to do it in less than three seconds. I always change them so that the strap crosses through the grippy tip of the buckle and hangs free, as seen in the top picture here. Tightening them only needs a tug on the strap, and loosening requires just a flick of the buckle.
http://boulderfixedgear.blogspot.com...ap-lacing.html
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Old 01-04-10, 06:24 PM   #6
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Here how I got used to mine. First off, adjust your stronger leg strap to a good fit (the leg you use to push down on the pedal to get rolling). Then adjust the pedal strap on your weaker leg so it is loose. Insert your stronger leg into pedal strap while standing on your weaker leg and as to prepare to mount and start rolling. Kick down on your stronger leg and take your weaker leg to crank the pedal several turn but with the weaker feet out of the strap. It does not matter if you are smashing the strap or have the pedal upside down. Chances are that pedal will be upside down from the balance of the strap tipping it fwd. Now just get your balance and slow rolling motion started. Once traffic cleared and you are rolling, push down on your feet that'S already have your feet inside the strap and keep that pedal down at the 6 o'clock position. Now take the point of your weaker feet and slighty push the edge of the pedal which will make it horizontal if it is not. Now smoothly slide that feet into the loose strap.

Sound hard but once you get used to it, you can do this with just half a revolution of the crank. Good luck with your pratice.
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Old 01-04-10, 06:28 PM   #7
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Here how I got used to mine. First off, adjust your stronger leg strap to a good fit (the leg you use to push down on the pedal to get rolling). Then adjust the pedal strap on your weaker leg so it is loose. Insert your stronger leg into pedal strap while standing on your weaker leg and as to prepare to mount and start rolling. Kick down on your stronger leg and take your weaker leg to crank the pedal several turn but with the weaker feet out of the strap. It does not matter if you are smashing the strap or have the pedal upside down. Chances are that pedal will be upside down from the balance of the strap tipping it fwd. Now just get your balance and slow rolling motion started. Once traffic cleared and you are rolling, push down on your feet that'S already have your feet inside the strap and keep that pedal down at the 6 o'clock position. Now take the point of your weaker feet and slighty push the edge of the pedal which will make it horizontal if it is not. Now smoothly slide that feet into the loose strap.

Sound hard but once you get used to it, you can do this with just half a revolution of the crank. Good luck with your pratice.
agree w/this though I would pick whichever foot it's easier for you to got off onto at a traffic light and keep that one loose. for me, there are a lot of curbs and so it's easier for me to put down my right foot. so i keep the left strap looser.
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Old 01-04-10, 06:29 PM   #8
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You can losen them a bit or buy larger ones (if necessary) like BarracksSi and Brian T. said. You can also look to change pedals and try them out on another set.

I personally use PowerGrips and have them on both my bikes. If you don't change shoes to often you don't have to adjust them once you put them on.
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Old 01-04-10, 07:30 PM   #9
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agree w/this though I would pick whichever foot it's easier for you to got off onto at a traffic light and keep that one loose. for me, there are a lot of curbs and so it's easier for me to put down my right foot. so i keep the left strap looser.
Thanks for mentioning that. I never realized that's been happening to me also. It just so turns out my stronger feet to start pedaling is my left feet and the loose strap is on my right feet. Yep, as you advice, I also stand on side walk with right feet such that I can stay seated. I sort of took that for granted

Oh yes OP, one more suggestion to try. Try different tennis shoes or whatever shoe you pedal with. Some shoes have a wider area at the ball area of your foot which make it more or less harder to learn.
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Old 01-04-10, 07:55 PM   #10
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If you just ride around with them for awhile, then you won't even think about it. It takes a range of times to over come looking down to get in or forgetting to get out but eventually you are just an old hat at it and never even think about it. They are called toe clips if you didn't know. I think it took me all of 2 or 3 months and I was totally with out thought of the pedal or toe clip, it was just starting and stopping as if I was using flats. I think one would benefit from going though this. Mind you I was/am a life long bike rider. Times will vary.
The one thing I will warn you of. Once you get used to it, it is easy at first to forget about them altogether and you don't pull out and fall over. Good luck on that, but it will pass in time as well.
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Old 01-04-10, 08:12 PM   #11
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It was a lot easier for me when I replaced my metal toe clips with plastic ones. The metal ones break easier anyway, every time they bend the metal fatigues.
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Old 01-04-10, 08:35 PM   #12
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Keep them loose, you'll get used to it. I usually have either the toe clip pedals or the SPDs on my bike, and I can get into and out of either one about as fast.
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Old 01-04-10, 09:09 PM   #13
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Try it without the straps on one pedal.


This is how I roll.

I had toe clips with straps on my 84 Nishiki and never got used to the straps. I got rid of them and I've been rolling toe clips/no straps ever since.
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Old 01-04-10, 10:01 PM   #14
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Mini-clips, designed for use without straps, are more durable than toe clips used without straps. My light and delicate wife broke a plastic toe clip (no strap) - no problem with mini-clips.
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Old 01-04-10, 11:02 PM   #15
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It is my understanding that loose toe straps don't do much to improve pedaling efficiency. They are supposed to be tightened and worn with stiff soled cycling shoes. If you want to get in and off the pedals easily, clipless pedals are more effective and will improve pedaling efficiency. If you want to wear whatever shoes you want, lose the toe clips and straps-- I use real rubber block pedals and wear whatever shoes I want, even my nice soft leather shoes/boots.
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Old 01-04-10, 11:17 PM   #16
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thanks for all the great suggestions. I think I will practise around the neighbourhood before riding this new bike to work. It's winter anyways.
One of my frustration is the left pedal seems to always spin downwards making it difficult to place my foot into the cage. No such issue with the right cage. Is there something to adjust?
At the moment, I keep the straps fairly loose and after I read one of the comment about tightening it, I think the way I loop my straps, that would not be possible.
Any ideas on what is the right way to loop the straps? Mine' just a regular metal Wellgo cages.
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Old 01-04-10, 11:32 PM   #17
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The best way to learn how to use clips or clipless pedals is to find a pole, and practice getting in and out of the clips while hanging on to the pole.
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Old 01-05-10, 12:37 AM   #18
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Don't tuck the tag end of the strap in, leave it loose so that you can adjust it while riding, much easier done with a freewheeled bike than a fixed gear.
Also, twist the strap where it runs through the pedal to help keep it in place.
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Old 01-05-10, 05:37 AM   #19
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One of my frustration is the left pedal seems to always spin downwards making it difficult to place my foot into the cage. No such issue with the right cage. Is there something to adjust?
One thing to "adjust" would be to learn to use your toe to, literally, flip the cage onto your shoe. You should be able to take a downward-turned pedal, put your foot on it, point your toe down to catch the edge, and flip the pedal over.

A lot of toeclip-equipped pedals also have a small tab on the underside to make this kind of flip easier.
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Old 01-07-10, 08:04 AM   #20
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Take them off and just ride.
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Old 01-07-10, 08:13 AM   #21
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I keep my straps just loose enough to slip my shoes in and out.
+1 That's what I do too.
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Old 01-07-10, 10:32 AM   #22
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try power grips... they're easy to slide in/out of... and fit as tight as regular straps. i love em.
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Old 01-07-10, 10:44 AM   #23
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so, you have two feet, right? That's good cause it's one hell of a lot easier that way. One foot (your choice which one) stays in the pedal pretty much all the time. I almost never remove my right foot from the toe clip when riding, even at stop signs and the like, it just hangs out in place. Because it's not going anywhere, I can tighten the strap down more than the left foot. This keeps in it place better, and allows me to pedal in more of the circle.

For the left foot (or it could be right) you have to treat it a bit differently. For starters, you are going to have to enter this toe clip while moving, which takes a bit of practice. I suggest starting with the arch of your foot on the bottom of the pedal (opposite the toe clip) and moving it backwards in a scraping motion. This usually flips the pedal upright, allowing you to slide your foot in. Remember, Practice makes perfect.

Once your left foot is in, you can reach down, and pull the strap to cinch it down. However, this means you might have to loosen it before coming to a stop, which is a pain. Try and find a happy medium, where your foot is held in place, but can still be easily removed.
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Old 01-07-10, 10:45 AM   #24
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It'll just take time to get used to. There's a motion to putting your foot in that you have to get used to, but after a while it becomes second nature. Even when ride a rental bike with platforms, I tend to subconsciously flip the pedal over. One problem I have is one pair of shoes has too blunt of a toe, so I can't ride with those shoes. Also, it's more challenging in cold weather when the pedal doesn't rotate as freely.
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Old 01-07-10, 11:09 AM   #25
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While we're talking about toe straps, make sure you have the strap routed correctly through the buckle. I've gotten on some spin bikes this winter that had the strap routed snugly and neatly through the buckle, just like it was a small version of a belt for holding up your pants. The problem, though, was that it was damn near impossible to adjust with one hand, and certainly impossible to do it in less than three seconds. I always change them so that the strap crosses through the grippy tip of the buckle and hangs free, as seen in the top picture here. Tightening them only needs a tug on the strap, and loosening requires just a flick of the buckle.
http://boulderfixedgear.blogspot.com...ap-lacing.html
It is easier to tighten the straps if you pass them between the knurled roller and the release lever. It then points upwards and you dont have as far to reach to pull up to tighten. To loosen you just flick outwards.
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