What a relief. After 1200 miles of unhappy riding, I got rid of the !*#@%^ things and put plain old flat pedals back on my Trek Pilot 1.2.
Did a 72 mile ride yesterday. Haven't enjoyed my riding that much since I first put the damned clipless things on my bike.
First there's the feeling of comfort. My feet could move around -- and my feet did NOT go numb like they did with every ride with the clipless (and which didn't go away after four different fittings, including one $$$ fitting by an "expert"). And with my feet moving, my knees and calfs were free to relax and not cramp up. For the first time in months, my left leg didn't crumple the first time I put weight on it after a ride.
Then there's the serenity. I can react instantly to anything that happens because I'm not in bondage to the bike. Somebody stops suddenly in front of me. No problem -- hit the brakes and hop off at the same time. A pedestrian scoots out in front of you suddenly -- no problem. A car suddenly swerves in front of you -- no problem. Plus, no more resistance to making tight turns -- my feet are always there in case I make the turn too tight.
And the security. Knowing that my left foot isn't going to slip off the pedal while I'm trying to get started from a standing stop because I'm busy trying to get the cleat in AND also pump the pedal. Not having to worry about doing uphill starts (I have power from both legs right at the start). Not having to worry about doing uphill starts across a busy road (same reason). Not having to walk my bike to the top of an uphill to get started (same reason). Hell, not having to worry about starts across a busy intersection.
And more comfort. The ability to stand with both feet flat on the ground at a light and then just hop onto the pedals as the light turns green without having to spend time with the left tippy toe on the ground and hip/thigh draped uncomfortably over the seat. Ahhhhh.
My chiropractor will be VERY unhappy. He's been making a lot of money from all the sprains, strains, and cramps I was getting. Looks like he's not going to get that vacation in the Caribbean that we was so looking forward to.
As far as speed -- this was a totally new route and I can't compare it to previous runs of this route. However, my uphill speeds seemed right in line with my experience on hills of similar grade. My flat speeds seemed in line with my normal flat speeds. My downhill was just as fast, but I usually coast those. AND, my fleet stayed glued to the pedals on rough downhills.
Relief. Happiness. A new-found enjoyment of riding.