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Old 11-04-11, 11:26 PM   #1
Slaninar
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To go clipless for in town commuting

Hi all,

Been reading on SPD (clipless) on the forum, heard praise from a coleague who uses it, but still not 100% certain.

My commute varies from 4 km one way through the city (traffic light every 400 m and a separate bike lane with stupid pedestrians and women pushing babies along it without looking), to 11 km one way of open road.

Commute is all flat. No hills. Is it smart to go clipless in such conditions, will I gain anything, or just risk not jumping off the bike fast enough?
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Old 11-04-11, 11:34 PM   #2
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I personally would not go clipless in this type of riding environment...but that's just me. Seems like too much of a hassle to keep clipping in and out...and not enough room or freedom to "stretch out" to take advantage of the clipless pedals' advantages anyway.

Last edited by vuduchyld5; 11-04-11 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 11-04-11, 11:34 PM   #3
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There's already and active thread on going clipless as I'm sure there've been other recent ones. Just FYI.

I recently moved to a full SPD setup and I found that it's changed the way I pedal dramatically. Not only does it make climbing and sprinting better but it also makes the flats feel better. Whether hills or flats, I always feel like I'm putting significantly more power down without using much more energy than I normally might have.

As for fast exits, you'll want to learn to clip out fast. Clipping out isn't hard. Clipping back in quickly takes more practice but both come naturally with time and practice, much like anything else in life.

If you're going for more speed and are interested in putting more power down more efficiently then I say go for it. They seem meant to be on a ride bike or MTB. Anything else would just be funny (IE, like a trike or a cruiser).
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Old 11-04-11, 11:54 PM   #4
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Clipping in and out is not difficult at all, and is much more efficient.
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Old 11-04-11, 11:55 PM   #5
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I'm clipless for my ride to/from the office. The ride includes a little rural highway, city, bike lane and bike path. I've not had a problem getting in, or out of the pedals. Although I was very concerned at the beginning I got used to them so fast/seamlessly that it's really just not been an issue.
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Old 11-04-11, 11:58 PM   #6
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I've been commuting in clipless pedals for over 5 years now.
But my trip in the afternoons is over 17 miles one way with
hills, I feel that clipless really helps me. In your case I wouldn't
bother. But if you really want to try it, get the dual sided one -
clipless on one side and platform on the other. This way if you
decide that it's not for you(some folks find this to be the case)
you can still use the pedals and shoes(just take out the cleats).
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Old 11-04-11, 11:58 PM   #7
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Two opposing answers. A yes and a no.

Here's the mule:
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Old 11-05-11, 12:04 AM   #8
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This is my background, I ride 4km to school in busy traffic conditions on the pavement, it's dangerous as some cars come in and out of the drive way and I go pretty fast so yea.

I ride toe-clips and I find them more efficient but I know if I ever do get into an accident I'll probably fly over the bars and because ur legs are clipped in, your pretty much go no where but straight into the ground. I have thought of going back to basics, flat pedals except buying good ones. So to your question is if you want too, I doubt it's that of scary situation it's the occasional time where you can't react fast enough to unclip just like toe clips. Flat pedals are the safest for sure.
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Old 11-05-11, 01:34 AM   #9
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I don't own a car and thus commute everywhere by bike. I experience traffic, stop signs, crazy people, potholes, ice AND I hate not riding clipless during this adventure. Whenever I ride platform pedals it feels awkward and like my feet are a teenage boy stumbling around with his girlfriend. The difference in power and connection with the bike is really uncanny. Once you're used to it(at least in my experience), I can clip in or out without thinking. It's second nature...a good analogy would be...like riding a bike. Once you know how to do it, you don't even have to think about it.
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Old 11-05-11, 01:44 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurocyclist View Post
I don't own a car and thus commute everywhere by bike. I experience traffic, stop signs, crazy people, potholes, ice AND I hate not riding clipless during this adventure. Whenever I ride platform pedals it feels awkward and like my feet are a teenage boy stumbling around with his girlfriend. The difference in power and connection with the bike is really uncanny. Once you're used to it(at least in my experience), I can clip in or out without thinking. It's second nature...a good analogy would be...like riding a bike. Once you know how to do it, you don't even have to think about it.
I also don't own a car (if I ever buy one it will be a 1990 red, or gray Honda Civic hedgeback with a LOUD stereo ). Anything within 30 km radius is done by the bike. I use motorcycle for fun, but commute and most of the transport is done by the mule. Have been hit by a car 3 times in the past almost 30 years of cycling and each time I jumped off the bike and broke the fall well (got away without anything broken, rolling over hoods and pavement). That's what worries me the most - is it doable with SPDs? Do they let you fly off the bike in an emergency, or you fly with the bike? How ankle/knee safe are they?
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Old 11-05-11, 02:25 AM   #11
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I do 5 miles each way for my commute, and went to SPD pedals about 2 months in. I definitely will not go back to just platforms, and I hated toe-clips.

The one thing I'd avoid is combo platform/SPD pedals. The only crash I've had since moving to clipless was from coming down on the non-clip side of my hybrid pedals when trying to quickly launch from a stop sign and having my foot slip off the pedal leading to me eating asphalt. More embarrassing than painful, but still unpleasant. As is, since moving to clipless, I always use them, even on short trips. I haven't used the platform side once since buying the pedals.
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Old 11-05-11, 06:31 AM   #12
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For me it is the convenience factor of not having to change shoes once I arrive at work that makes the difference, I just can't justify carrying an extra pair of shoes for a 25 minute ride.

I commute 5 miles each way on a Surly Cross Check and I have Shimano M324 single sided pedals. When they were initially installed I only rode clipless, but over the last 3 years or so, I have begun to ride on the flat side. Now I ride on the platform side almost exclusively. I still use the clipless side, but only if I am just going for a bike ride where I won't have to carry an extra pair of shoes.
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Old 11-05-11, 07:21 AM   #13
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I commute now on platforms, but used to use SPD. After you get used to SPDs it becomes very second-nature to get in and out of the pedals, therefore I would say that the choice is a matter of preference, not safety. I ride half way to work and then hop on the bus and then walk across the downtown area, so for me it's more convenient to just wear my work shoes instead of changing shoes for the downtown walking part of the trip. But if there were any serious hills to climb, I would probably go back to my SPDs
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Old 11-05-11, 07:25 AM   #14
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For me it is the convenience factor of not having to change shoes once I arrive at work that makes the difference, I just can't justify carrying an extra pair of shoes for a 25 minute ride.
For me and probably a lot of others, this isn't any advantage because I wear dress shoes in the office and would have to change whatever shoes I ride in regardless of whether I'm using clipless or tennis shoes.
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Old 11-05-11, 08:11 AM   #15
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I own four bikes, all with SPD.

I own zero cars.

So every time I leave the house, I'm in clipless. Every day, every errand, every commute, every pleasure ride. I go to the bank, the post office, the grocery store, I pay bills, visit City Hall, and go to work daily in clipless. It did raise an eyebrow at the courthouse metal detector when I was on Jury Duty, but they got used to it during the trial.

No problem at all.

In the city, the advantages of clipless aren't "efficiency" or any of the other mumbo jumbo. It's keeping my feet on the pedals without my having to think about it so that I can focus my attention on traffic and road conditions. Times two in the rain and snow.

All the stop-and-go gives me huge amounts of practice clipping in. It's really apparent on club rides when I'm clipped-in, through the intersection, and have upshifted several times while the rest of the group wobbles around looking at their feet in the middle of the intersection.

EDIT: Just saw this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
Have been hit by a car 3 times in the past almost 30 years of cycling and each time I jumped off the bike and broke the fall well (got away without anything broken, rolling over hoods and pavement). That's what worries me the most - is it doable with SPDs? Do they let you fly off the bike in an emergency, or you fly with the bike? How ankle/knee safe are they?
Boy, that car must have really had it in for you to hit you three times in 30 years!

I've had three accidents with my bikes. Once was entirely my fault for pedaling through a turn while riding fast and leaned over. My pedal hit the pavement and sent me off the bike in the other direction. The second time I was knocked off the bike by an intercepting rottweiler. Third time I was left-crossed by a Pontiac. All three times I magically became unclipped, and did a tuck-and-roll which prevented major injury each time.

Last edited by tsl; 11-05-11 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 11-05-11, 10:15 AM   #16
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The only time I've ever had the problem of my foot getting stuck in my pedal during an accident was when I was using strap-on clips. In all my accidents with clipless pedals, I've always been magically clipped out before injury.
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Old 11-05-11, 11:57 AM   #17
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I use the multi release SPD cleats. They have worked well for me after I fell a few times using the regular cleats. http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/164...-Cleat-Set.htm
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Old 11-05-11, 02:06 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
Hi all,

Been reading on SPD (clipless) on the forum, heard praise from a coleague who uses it, but still not 100% certain.

My commute varies from 4 km one way through the city (traffic light every 400 m and a separate bike lane with stupid pedestrians and women pushing babies along it without looking), to 11 km one way of open road.
I had 24 traffic lights (only one a right turn) and 10 stop signs on my 19km one way commute and my clipless pedals worked as well as they do anywhere.

You won't slip off the pedals when it rains and can be comfortably connected 120-130 RPM when you need to dial it up a notch at 50 km/h to make it through traffic lights timed for cars.
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Old 11-05-11, 02:31 PM   #19
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I would echo what tsl said. I don't like riding without foot retention; on flats I need to think about foot placement, weighing the pedal over bumps, trying to keep traction on the pedal when I go into a skid (usually on snow) etc. With toe clips and clipless, my feet stay on unless I want to put it down, then they magically unclip (it's just second nature). Toe clips take longer for me to get out of.

On the crash note...I haven't had any crashes with other objects (vehicles, peds, etc), just ones due to handling while mountain biking and commuting on snow/ice. On snow/ice, I generally go down fast enough that I don't get unclipped (especially true before I bought studded tires). In these situations, I feel fine attached to the bike; I just slide along, unclip once stopped, dust off the snow, and keep riding. In both mountain biking and commuting, I have had numerous situations where I would have crashed had my feet been disconnected from the pedals, so for my riding style/skill, I think they are probably safer.
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Old 11-05-11, 02:38 PM   #20
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I use clipless and like it pretty well. Occasionally, I'd like to have platforms on there for a quick trip to the store. So, I can see the value of the dual sided things, but whatever you do, don't go with platforms with clips on them. That can be a real pain, especially with all the stopping you have to do.
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Old 11-05-11, 06:21 PM   #21
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Toe clips / rattrap pedals tore up my "real" shoes as did road splat.
I've had some nasty falls off platform pedals when they were damp or when the bike chain slipped.
Recommend double-sided mountain bike SPD pedals and shoes. Slick road shoes don't give you good traction and aren't comfortable off the bike.
Also recommend multi-release cleat. I asked the bike store to adjust mine for lots of float.
When my bike club is riding downtown I hear lots of gripes about clip/unclip from my pals with road shoes/pedals. My Keen bike sandals are like second nature to clip in/out.
I rarely wear my road shoes, don't like the slick sole.
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Old 11-05-11, 06:29 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by vuduchyld5 View Post
I personally would not go clipless in this type of riding environment...but that's just me. Seems like too much of a hassle to keep clipping in and out...and not enough room or freedom to "stretch out" to take advantage of the clipless pedals' advantages anyway.
I prefer flat pedals for this very reason. Even toe-clips are a hassle when every couple of blocks I may have to stop for a light or traffic. Multiply that annoyance over my 7 mile commute and it far overshadows any supposed benefit over being clipped in, toeclips, power straps/whatever. I'd much rather that I take off cleanly after having to stop for each of those lights. I always get these roadies trying to go around me becuase they assume since I am a big guy and overweight, and on a old MTB that I MUST be slower. Inevitably I have to go around them while they are struggling to clip in and wasting time doing so while I am accelerating cleanly through the intersection.
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Old 11-05-11, 06:58 PM   #23
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I never use clipless pedals when I drive but always use SPD mountain-style pedals whenever I ride, including my suburban/urban commute. Clipping and unclipping is not a hassle or a problem and takes no time and I mean that almost literally.
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Old 11-05-11, 08:25 PM   #24
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I use clipless and stop and start a lot. I would never choose to ride any other way. I'd rather have gripshifts than ride without my clipless pedals... maybe.
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Old 11-05-11, 10:10 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
Hi all,

Been reading on SPD (clipless) on the forum, heard praise from a coleague who uses it, but still not 100% certain.

My commute varies from 4 km one way through the city (traffic light every 400 m and a separate bike lane with stupid pedestrians and women pushing babies along it without looking), to 11 km one way of open road.

Commute is all flat. No hills. Is it smart to go clipless in such conditions, will I gain anything, or just risk not jumping off the bike fast enough?
The whole pedal question is like religion: no one's going to change anyone else's mind. You just need to try it yourself for a while to see how you like it. Some people really like clipless, and believe that it's madness not to use them. Others do just fine with platforms. Some people (inexplicably, IMO), even like toe clips. Your own experience, not persuasion, will tell you what works.

I tried clipless for a few months, and really liked them. They do improve efficiency a little bit and are easy to learn how to use. However, I ultimately went back to platforms, because I ride in a heavily urban, high-traffic environment, get on and off the bike several times a day, and decided that, for myself, it's just a lot easier to use platforms; the small performance advantage of clipless wasn't worth the hassles to me. But that's just me. You may come to a totally different conclusion.
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