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Old 10-12-12, 03:12 PM   #1
Papa Tom
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Pushing Fifty & Scalin' It Back

Right after you all welcomed me so warmly to this forum, I realized I didn't have anything urgent to say that was targeted to this particular demographic. So, for the past week or two, I've been posting over at the Northeast, Commuter, and Touring forums. Here's one, however, that I think fits the bill...

When I got back into bicycling in 1996, I was primarily mountain biking. My fellow MTBers convinced me to add toe clips to my pedals, which was a great idea for keeping my feet from slipping off as I mashed down to try to climb all those hills. Then, when I started using my mountain bike on the road, Bicycling Magazine convinced me to keep the clips on so that I could ride using a full rotary motion - pumping down with one foot while pulling up on the other.

Grant Petersen's recent book put the bug in my head that this whole concept might be hogwash, so I decided to take a shot at riding without my shredded 16-year-old toe clips. After all, they have always been such a nuisance when dismounting and re-mounting at stop lights.

Anyway, it turns out that I hardly notice a difference in my ride, except for the fact that it's so much easier to just hop on the saddle and take off now. No more scraping the bottom of my sneaker against the pedal to slip into the clip; no more worrying when the clip is dragging on the street because I rushed to start up after a red light; and no more unsightly black marks on the insides of my shoes. I feel free, and bicycling feels "fresh" again.

If anybody else has become a slave to toe clips, I can say that riding without them is really a pleasure and takes away yet another hassle of getting on the bike. The same day I pulled off the clips, I also removed the cable lock from my seat post. Who am I fooling? I'm not leaving my bike anywhere.

Now my ride is much leaner and lighter. I think I'm in love again...
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Old 10-12-12, 03:43 PM   #2
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Tried Toe clips for a year before going clipless and that led to several Tombays. To keep the foot tight in the pedal I had to tighten the straps so much that the foot would not come out of the pedals. And at our age- excess weight is a burden. Problem is that for some of us taking a a few grammes off the bike is not enough. And surgfery is not always the answer either.
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Old 10-12-12, 04:10 PM   #3
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I think most riders switched to clipless many years ago. Give it a try!
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Old 10-12-12, 04:15 PM   #4
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I rode with toe clips a long time ago. When I re-started riding, I didn't even think twice - went straight to Speedplays.

Best possible decision - they're SO much better than the old fashioned system. I never had a problem getting in or out , and have never fallen at a stop light - or anywhere else.

I remember always tightening the toe straps so I could get enough of a pull on the up-stroke, especially when sprinting or climbing. And because they were so tight, my feet were so constricted that blood flow was blocked and my toes were cold and blue.

Wild horses could not get me back to toe clips (or old fashioned shifters, or steel frames, or heavy saddles, or ... any of the older stuff).



(BTW - to the OP - my daughter will be getting married in Syosset in January.)
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Old 10-12-12, 04:20 PM   #5
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I ride toe clips, no straps. Yeah, sure, missing some power on the upstroke. I don't care. Most of my riding is urban with at least some traffic, so I like not thinking about unclipping.
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Old 10-12-12, 04:20 PM   #6
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48,000 mi with walking shoes.
Love it.



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Old 10-12-12, 04:39 PM   #7
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Chacun a son gout, as the French say.

Coming from a racing background, I would find not being locked into the pedals quite distressing, especially when climbing steep grades out of the saddle on a fixed gear.

But if you're more comfortable not being attached to the pedals, then that's how you must ride!

Don't let anyone tell you how to ride! The more comfortable you are, the more you'll ride.

And when the time comes (and it may never come), there are always options!

Luis
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Old 10-12-12, 05:09 PM   #8
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Yippee! another plain pedals / toe clip / clipless thread...

Read and follow or ignore as you see fit:

I use clipless (SPD), I find they work well for me and I appreciate the positioning that it does for my feet - much better than my (admittedly ancient) memories of riding with toe clips. I'm especially able to maintain a higher cadence than otherwise.

Steve
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Old 10-12-12, 05:28 PM   #9
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I have it solved

1 bike platforms

1 bike "open- loose" toe clips

1 bike clipless.

No matter how I feel that day, or what shoes I have on, I can always ride!! So, there.
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Old 10-12-12, 05:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
I have it solved

1 bike platforms

1 bike "open- loose" toe clips

1 bike clipless.

No matter how I feel that day, or what shoes I have on, I can always ride!! So, there.
oh definitely +1 (or is that N+3)?
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Old 10-12-12, 05:39 PM   #11
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Riding with toeclips since the early 1970s.
Tried 'clipless' for about 3,000 miles; was not overly impressed and back to clips.
A chacun son gout, n'est pa?
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Old 10-12-12, 06:05 PM   #12
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This wasn't meant to be a debate about toe clips vs. clipless -- or toe clips vs. no clips, for that matter. I'm just sharing a minor revelation that has made cycling feel fresh to me again.

Actually, it just hit me that I feel like I'm riding naked, pooping at will like a baby, or having sexual relations without protection for the first time. How freeing not to be locked into the bike in any way. I wouldn't have considered this in my early or mid-40's, as I was still impressed with how cool toe clips looked and how good I was at getting in and out of them. Now, at 49 and 11/12ths, I finally don't care a whole lot about what "they" say about how I should ride my bike.

This is awesome!
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Old 10-12-12, 06:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
48,000 mi with walking shoes.
Love it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
Riding with toeclips since the early 1970s.
Tried 'clipless' for about 3,000 miles; was not overly impressed and back to clips.
A chacun son gout, n'est pa?
Good to know I'm not the only "Subversive" here.

Age: 55
Ride: Fixed gear, steel frame.
Toeclips: yes.

There are several things that I just blew off. Among them are clipless pedals, cycling computers, and frames made of.. Something else. just not for me.
A colleague has ridden more in his lifetime that anyone else I know, and he has also blown off the entire clipless movement. He rides year round, and he
makes out just fine.

I never cinch mine up too tight. I'm easily able to slip in and out of them quickly and easily. On a fixie, it takes a little practice.

We need one more smiley, something with a devilish grin and horns on it.
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Old 10-12-12, 07:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
This wasn't meant to be a debate about toe clips vs. clipless -- or toe clips vs. no clips, for that matter. I'm just sharing a minor revelation that has made cycling feel fresh to me again.

Actually, it just hit me that I feel like I'm riding naked, pooping at will like a baby, or having sexual relations without protection for the first time. How freeing not to be locked into the bike in any way. I wouldn't have considered this in my early or mid-40's, as I was still impressed with how cool toe clips looked and how good I was at getting in and out of them. Now, at 49 and 11/12ths, I finally don't care a whole lot about what "they" say about how I should ride my bike.

This is awesome!
Also awesome to me is that I follow no "rules" about what I should wear with what bike. I get a kick out of those who say it takes them too long to get ready to ride. WHAT?? I just jump on an appropriate bike for my footwear and go.

Yesterday I wore loose nylon shorts (no pad/chamois/lycra) and a jersey because I needed the extra rear pocket for cellphone. Somedays I will wear the full getup, but mostly, I would shock the 41 with how I look, and likely would be ignored. And that makes me happy. That is also freeing, although not as great as sex without protection

Last edited by DnvrFox; 10-12-12 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 10-12-12, 07:12 PM   #15
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I've been riding clipless for about 2 years. After I banged up my knee this spring I swapped out the clipless pedals and put on an old set of platforms just to try to see if my knee was ready to ride again. I rode the platforms for a couple of rides but ended up going back to my clipless pedals. I really prefer having my feet attached.

I just finished reading Grant Petersen's book as well. It was interesting. There was a lot that I agreed with but also a lot I didn't agree with. I think it's kind of like of like listening to your uncle, he spouts a lot of strange ideas but he has some real gems hidden in there with them and, you realize that he's probably forgotten more about bikes that I'll ever know.
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Old 10-12-12, 07:25 PM   #16
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My wife and I went on a bicycle excursion on vacation a couple years ago. The bikes were mountain with standard platform pedals. I couldn't keep up with the younger tour guides because my feet kept coming off the pedals playing around with them on sprints and steep uphill climbs. I was so used to having my foot stable and using the benefit of being to "pull" on the upstroke, my feet wouldn't stay planted.
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Old 10-12-12, 07:37 PM   #17
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LOL, everytime I ride with my local club on a social ride, someone yacks off about clipless being so easy and they've never fallen over and sure as the sun rises, it's them that bites it a stop sign, ect. I watch a lot of them "do the little dance" to get the foot out in time and the "let's find the clip in" when taking off from a stop. Not for me, I keep my straps, just lose enough to pull out of quickly and slip in quickly. Since I'm not a "racer boy", I don't see any need for the extra expense of clipless pedals! When I use to ride MTB's I use the "half clip or mini-clips" so my foot could get out ASAP at a harry moment on the trail. If ya like YA, if ya don't, that's ok too. Now I DO NOT like riding without them as my foot doesn't want to stay in place, even with extra grippy BMX style platforms.
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Old 10-12-12, 08:24 PM   #18
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48,000 mi with walking shoes.
Love it.
Fred, you're my idol! 48K miles is a ton! I'm about 1.5 years into road cycling and should be hitting 10K miles by next month.

Your riding conditions are very similar to mine since you live on the TX gulf coast like I do so I deal with the wind and heat all the time. When I retire I'll see if I can catch up with you

Richard
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Old 10-12-12, 08:33 PM   #19
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Quote:
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This wasn't meant to be a debate about toe clips vs. clipless -- or toe clips vs. no clips, for that matter. I'm just sharing a minor revelation that has made cycling feel fresh to me again.
It's cool you found what you like and that we all have choices available.

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Now, at 49 and 11/12ths...
But you have to stay off the lawn for another month.
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Old 10-12-12, 08:58 PM   #20
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Grant changed my mind, too, but I was already headed in that direction. I'd probably been riding for 25 years with toe clips when clipless pedals came out. I tried two or three types, and they worked OK, but I wasn't any faster or stronger with them, and it's really hard to find comfortable, efficient shoes in size 51 or 52. A few years ago I sold them at a bike swap, and now I use toe clips and straps on two bikes, Power Grips one one and plain BMX pedals on my singlespeed.
FWIW, I've lived in the same place for 33 years and done many of my regular rides thousands of times. There's no significant difference in my times or perceived fatigue from one pedal setup to the next.
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Old 10-12-12, 09:07 PM   #21
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Geez, on my recumbents with my legs out in front of me, my feet will for sure fall to the ground if they aren't secured to the pedals. (Shimano Pedal Dynamics - generic versions)

Whatever floats the boat.
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Old 10-12-12, 09:10 PM   #22
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Up till this summer all of my bikes had toe clips on them. I bought a slightly used pair of Shimano MTB because they worked with the toe clips and were nice and stiff. The seller threw in a pair of clipless pedals that worked with the cleats in the shoes. I decided to try the combination since I had both the shoes and pedals. Now all my bikes have clipless. The urbanized MTB has double sided pedals with platforms on one side and clipless on the other. I now have a box of old pedals and toe clips and straps. Don't think I will be looking back any time soon.

My main complaint against the clips-straps combo was that in the last couple of years I was getting some numbness on the outside of my left foot from the pressure of the strap. Other than that, I like the clip-straps setup as it is a great old school touch.
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Old 10-12-12, 10:10 PM   #23
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Stopped using toe clips in the 80s. Waayy over 100,000 miles on clipless on all the bikes, mostly in mountains, or at least, hills.




Last edited by big john; 10-12-12 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 10-13-12, 06:22 AM   #24
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Final comment from the OP: 'Glad so many of you have discovered clipless. As I said in the original post, though, I'm pretty much convinced that au natural is the choice for me.

Last edited by Papa Tom; 10-14-12 at 05:35 AM.
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Old 10-13-12, 06:46 AM   #25
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My commuter has loose clips just to keep my foot positioned correctly for the short ride to the train station. My super light roadie is pure clipless. All the rest have "campus pedals" with platform on one side and SPD on the other.

I do not feel safe on a bike until I'm locked into the clipless. That sounds counter-intuitive to most non bikers but you folks know what I'm talking about.
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