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Old 04-27-12, 11:38 PM   #1
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I just got pedal toe clips... and I hate them.

So i always heard how the clips are awesome, how you can pull your pedals up now, effectively doubling your power, and my friend swears by them. So I decided to invest in them and... I absolutely hate biking with them on!

My main beef is that they restrict HOW I pedal, forcing me to keep my feet at a certain position. I tend to bike with the middle of my foot, but the clips make me pedal with the part closer to the front. I feel like I am "tip-toeing" on the pedal. It feels akward and actually makes me pedal LESS EFFICIENTLY since I cant put full force of my foot on it. So whatever speed boost I get from pulling up is lost.

Secondly, maybe I need to rise my seat, but with my legs a bit further back I dont feel like I get to stretch them enough; after a few minutes my legs start feeling cramped. Urgh!

And the last thing, I am finding that fact that I am now rising the pedal with my legs affecting my endurance. I mean, with regular pedaling you push push, rest rest, push push, rest rest etc. But with these, the push-pull-push-pull, your leg does not get ANY rest; it's far more tiring and while you may get more "power" you end up loosing in the duration!

So tell me BikeForums, do others find similar experiences, or am I proverbially "doing it wrong?"
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Old 04-27-12, 11:48 PM   #2
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Toe clips?

Or clipless pedals?

Two different things.

And it is possible you've been pedalling with the wrong part of your foot (you should be pedalling with the ball of your foot or the back of the ball of your foot) ... and it is possible you've got your bicycle set up wrong.

Also, with regular pedaling you do not "push push, rest rest, push push, rest rest etc." You're completely in the wrong gear if you ride like that. You should be spinning round and round and round and round and round and round and round ... until you finish your ride. With the occasional coast break if you go downhill or round a corner or something.
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Old 04-28-12, 12:15 AM   #3
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Don't pull up with your leg on the upstroke, just unweight it.
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Old 04-28-12, 12:34 AM   #4
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Quite possible that is you are using old fashioned toe clips and straps and that the clips are the wrong size and do not allow for proper foot position and if you are using clipless that your cleat is too far forward and puts your foot in the wrong position.

A good deal of research has shown that a good number of clip-less pedals do not allow enough range of adjustment to get an optimal foot position and one should not be pedalling on the ball of their foot and some recent changes in design, in response to this research, now has us seeing shoes that allow for a cleat that can be moved back much farther.

Take a look at where your feet sit when you ride flat pedals and most often the centre line of pedal spindle will fall behind the ball of the foot... this is a fairly natural and comfortable pedalling position and reduces stress to the smaller joints of the foot and a clip less or clipped set up should give you this.

As for pedalling it is rare that you ever want to be pulling up with the trailing leg except for brief efforts and a smooth pedaling stroke where you spin in smooth circles and un-weight the trailing leg as it comes through the bottom of the pedal stroke and up is most efficient.

You want to be able to bring your foot through the bottom of the pedal stroke with your foot nearly flat and the best way to describe the end of the pedal stroke is to be as if you were scraping mud off the bottom of your shoe before your leg gets a little reprieve as it comes up and around.

It takes practice but after you develop a smooth pedalling stroke it will change your riding experience forever.
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Old 04-28-12, 01:03 AM   #5
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never pedal, pedal, rest, rest, rest, unless you have to wait for your 6 year old to catch up. turn that crank non stop! downshift when you get tired or if coming up on a light/corner but keep them spinning.
I never liked toe clips. they would make the top of my foot hurt. the only benefit I ever found was that if your shoes are wet you had alot less chance of slipping off the pedals. Clipless pedals are much better for the push/pull/forward/back motion but not everyone wants to carry special shoes in their backpack. and yes it is more efficient stroking when your feet are welded to the cranks.
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Old 04-28-12, 05:34 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Koobazaur View Post
My main beef is that they restrict HOW I pedal, forcing me to keep my feet at a certain position. I tend to bike with the middle of my foot, but the clips make me pedal with the part closer to the front. I feel like I am "tip-toeing" on the pedal. It feels akward and actually makes me pedal LESS EFFICIENTLY since I cant put full force of my foot on it. So whatever speed boost I get from pulling up is lost.
The standard positioning of the feet on pedals is to have the balls of the feet over the pedal axle (approximately). It seems that you have your foot arch over the axle, which means your foot is too far forward (this position is fairly typical for casual cyclists).

Having the balls of the foot over the axle makes it easier (more efficient) to apply power over more of the crank rotation (but it might take some getting used to).

It's possible that the toe clips/cages are too small but it's also possible that they are forcing you to put your foot in the "correct" position.

You should indicate how far you ride. If you ride short distances, don't worry about using cages.

Anyway, it could be that the cages are forcing you to change what you are doing and it's could be that that is a good thing.
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Old 04-28-12, 06:09 AM   #7
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Your initial reaction might differ from your long-term view. One option is to stay the course for awhile and see whether you end up liking them. Maybe go for a month's time and reassess.

The other approach is to bin the clips and go with flats. Many riders do, in fact, ride without being clipped in. I do. My good friend and riding buddy does. Heck, he's even got mountain-bike flats on his Specialized Roubaix. He could care less what people think about that, and he easily leaves me in the dust when he chooses to put the hammer down. He is an excellent rider with good endurance.

In the end, just ride what you enjoy. If you're not smiling, change parts until you do smile.
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Old 04-28-12, 06:11 AM   #8
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And if you would like to read a viewpoint against clips from someone prominent, here ya go:

http://www.bikejames.com/strength/flats-vs-clipless-please-prove-me-wrong-why-i-wont-let-it-go/
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Old 04-28-12, 06:13 AM   #9
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I did not realize their value until I got this mantra in my head and finally started doing it - "spinning little circles, spinning little circles". Until you do, the natural rhythm of clipped in won't be any benefit to you.

Stomp, stomp, stomp or stomp, pull up, stomp are both very inefficient and tiring compared to "little circles" - hard to believe but it is true. Use lower gears more until you get the experience.

And actually, you don't need either toeclips or clipin pedals to use the "spinning little circles" technique, but I think they help to keep your feet in the right position on the pedal and your ankles at the right angle for transferring power to the bike. Good luck.

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Old 04-28-12, 06:22 AM   #10
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The other approach is to bin the clips and go with flats.
From what he says, he's not riding with clipless pedals ... he's riding with toe clips. Is that what you're talking about too?


The OP will have to return and clarify for us what exactly he is using.
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Old 04-28-12, 06:36 AM   #11
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The toe clip box is too small. They come in sizes.

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/mks-steel-to...teel_Toe_Clips

Or you might try Power Grips:

http://kentsbike.blogspot.com/2005/11/power-grips.html
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Old 04-28-12, 09:35 AM   #12
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remove the straps and cut off the top of the clip and make them mini clips. they are what I prefer.

you can also buy miniclips new but I found it hard to find any that were big enough for my shoe, so many are too tight/small

here's an example
http://www.amazon.com/Zefal-Cristoph...5627271&sr=8-1
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Old 04-28-12, 09:44 AM   #13
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Ok what size shoes do you wear? what size toe clip did you buy ?

pedaling with the arch of your foot over the pedal axle is bad form..

so having the toe clip not letting you retain the poor foot positioning

on the pedal is not a design flaw.


Quote:
I tend to bike with the middle of my foot, but the clips make me pedal with the part closer to the front. I feel like I am "tip-toeing" on the pedal. It feels awkward
and perhaps you have the saddle height too low.

taller saddle and the 'ankling technique' and faster cadences aids the efficiency of effort.

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Old 04-28-12, 09:45 AM   #14
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I love my SPD pedals!
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Old 04-28-12, 09:48 AM   #15
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Size 14 shoe so I added spacer.





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Old 04-28-12, 10:38 AM   #16
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Sorry I am not 100% familiar with the terminology - I meant I got those clips that extend forward in front of the pedal and wrap up around your toes:
http://www.wiggle.co.uk/mks-steel-to...teel_Toe_Clips
But mine also have a strap that goes over my foot from side to side of the pedal (power grips?)

ALSO when I say "push rest push rest" I did NOT mean I stop pedalling. I just meant how one naturally gets like a split second of "rest" in a full cycle - when you push the foot down you are exerting force, but as the pedal comes up you are not pushing it anymore. With the clips, I am now pulling it up, so I am constantly exerting force, which is more tiring I am finding.

and as for distance, I dont measure it, but I usually bike 30-60 minutes and my area has lots of occasional inclines/hills, it's not very flat.

Hmmm, I never actually measured where my foot lies on the pedal, I just went with what felt natural and resulted in the most efficient force on the pedal; I just assumed it's middle-ish but now I am no longer sure, it might be more of the ball - I never actually thought about it (again, it just felt natural!) Could it be the 'wrong' position? Maybe. But if I enjoy it and it has not caused me any pain or discomfort in the years I've been biking (I always biked the same), does it honestly matter?

I was considering returning them, but figured I'd give it a few more rides and see if I can adjust. And in retrospect, I probably should have checked for size, I just let the bike store guy sort it out for me.

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Old 04-28-12, 11:47 AM   #17
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You do indeed have traditional toe clips and straps. What 10 Wheels is illustrating is a variation referred to as mini clips or toe clips without straps.
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Old 04-28-12, 12:02 PM   #18
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I prescribe lotsa one-leg drills.
and as another poster noted, ball of foot in the vicinity of pedal spindle. also noted earlier, clip size is crucial.

I always have at least one bike with BMX platforms, and a couple with clips&straps. This one will be going back to clips and straps soon. I run the platforms on it for winter riding - my big ol' waterproof boots just don't work with clips and straps.

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Old 04-28-12, 12:07 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Koobazaur View Post
But if I enjoy it and it has not caused me any pain or discomfort in the years I've been biking (I always biked the same), does it honestly matter?
Toe clips (and other foot retention systems) are for performance and aggressive riding. If you don't ride like that, that no, using them is not important.

I should point out that by "performance and aggressive riding," I don't mean just racing. Commuting can be aggressive, and as an example of where toe clips may come in handy is when launching hard from a light to get up to speed quickly (aggressive action), and particularly in wet or cold (i.e. slippery) conditions where a foot might slip from the pedal and put you in a dangerous, potentially fatal, situation. The clips will keep any shoe, on any pedal, in place, and slipping becomes a non issue.

If you want to eek that extra measure of performance out of your cycling, you can only achieve that by using a foot retention system. If you're just casually noodling along and not challenging yourself, then you can forget about 'em.
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Old 04-28-12, 02:31 PM   #20
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ALSO when I say "push rest push rest" I did NOT mean I stop pedalling. I just meant how one naturally gets like a split second of "rest" in a full cycle - when you push the foot down you are exerting force, but as the pedal comes up you are not pushing it anymore. With the clips, I am now pulling it up, so I am constantly exerting force, which is more tiring I am finding.
The clips are not forcing you to pull up.

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and as for distance, I dont measure it, but I usually bike 30-60 minutes and my area has lots of occasional inclines/hills, it's not very flat.
That's a fairly short for a bicycle ride.

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Hmmm, I never actually measured where my foot lies on the pedal, I just went with what felt natural and resulted in the most efficient force on the pedal; I just assumed it's middle-ish but now I am no longer sure, it might be more of the ball - I never actually thought about it (again, it just felt natural!) Could it be the 'wrong' position? Maybe. But if I enjoy it and it has not caused me any pain or discomfort in the years I've been biking (I always biked the same), does it honestly matter?
Either something is the "most efficient" or it is not. So, in some sense, it does matter. You are free to pedal in any way that you prefer but your preference might not be the most efficient. Given the short duration of your rides, you don't necessarily need to be the most efficient.

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but figured I'd give it a few more rides and see if I can adjust.
Many things that are new require some time to adjust.

Last edited by njkayaker; 04-28-12 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 04-28-12, 02:48 PM   #21
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Problem is toe clips is that for road riding people don't have the proper shoe for them because their not sold in LBS's or most on line stores. The proper shoe had a plastic or wood cleat with a horizontal slot for the edge of the pedal cage to "clip" into when you slid your foot in. Without that cleat you can't pedal like you can with clipless without cinching down the strap too tight, and if you don't cinch the strap you could pull your foot out when pedaling.

Toe clips can work with lugged touring or walking or hiking bike shoes because the lugs can slip into the pedal cage. Or you need to buy these for your road shoes: http://www.yellowjersey.org/tocleat.html notice the slot? But in order to work right you need those cleats.

Once you get those on your shoes you don't have to cinch the strap down as tight so you just lift and pull your foot out. I've been riding with these toe clips for over 40 years, they are completely natural for me to use, and we all use to race with those back in the day so they work for racing. I wear a shoe for road riding with the cleats, but when I tour I don't, I use a Performance brand touring shoe designed for walking with a toe clip pedal system.

Also what's cool about toe clips is if you want to take a quick ride with the kids you can slip into the clips with any shoe you have on without putting pedals covers etc, just ride.

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Old 04-28-12, 05:03 PM   #22
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My main beef is that they restrict HOW I pedal, forcing me to keep my feet at a certain position. I tend to bike with the middle of my foot, but the clips make me pedal with the part closer to the front. I feel like I am "tip-toeing" on the pedal. It feels akward and actually makes me pedal LESS EFFICIENTLY since I cant put full force of my foot on it. So whatever speed boost I get from pulling up is lost.
Think about your foot position when you walk up stairs. You use the ball of your foot. Same as on a bike.
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Old 04-28-12, 05:59 PM   #23
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Stop partying like it's 1979 and get clipless. They are much nicer than toe clips. Get an MTB set up and you can even have comfy shoes if that's your thing!
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Old 04-28-12, 07:34 PM   #24
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Sorry I am not 100% familiar with the terminology - I meant I got those clips that extend forward in front of the pedal and wrap up around your toes: But mine also have a strap that goes over my foot from side to side of the pedal (power grips?)
You have traditional toe clips. I don't think toe clips are supposed to "effectively double your power" ... clipless pedals don't either, but toe clips definitely won't. About the only thing toe clips will do is help keep your foot in the right position, and help keep your foot in place when you do things like standing ... but only if you've got the correct size and have them set up correctly for you. And they'll only be comfortable if you're wearing the right type of shoes (solid toes, flat solid soles).

Also, something to keep in mind, toe clips can actually be more dangerous than clipless pedals if you cinch the straps down.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Koobazaur View Post
ALSO when I say "push rest push rest" I did NOT mean I stop pedalling. I just meant how one naturally gets like a split second of "rest" in a full cycle - when you push the foot down you are exerting force, but as the pedal comes up you are not pushing it anymore. With the clips, I am now pulling it up, so I am constantly exerting force, which is more tiring I am finding.
Try riding as though you are scraping the mud off the bottom of your shoes, rather than push, push, push.


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Originally Posted by Koobazaur View Post
and as for distance, I dont measure it, but I usually bike 30-60 minutes and my area has lots of occasional inclines/hills, it's not very flat.
OK, those are your short evening rides ... what about your longer rides on the weekends? If you're tiring after 60 minutes, it sounds like you need to start building up your endurance and strength.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Koobazaur View Post
Hmmm, I never actually measured where my foot lies on the pedal, I just went with what felt natural and resulted in the most efficient force on the pedal; I just assumed it's middle-ish but now I am no longer sure, it might be more of the ball - I never actually thought about it (again, it just felt natural!) Could it be the 'wrong' position? Maybe. But if I enjoy it and it has not caused me any pain or discomfort in the years I've been biking (I always biked the same), does it honestly matter?
Where your foot is placed is quite important. Your body on the bicycle is a machine ... a collection of levers. Get it right and you've got something very efficient. Get it wrong, and all you'll struggle with ineffieciency and breakdowns. Study engineering.

When your foot is on the pedal now, with the toe clips, where is the spindle located? Now flip the pedal over and place your foot on the pedal where you used to have your foot. Where is the spindle located? You might need to put your bicycle up on a trainer to do this, or have a friend look, or use mirrors.


I rode with toe clips for years when I was in my teens and early twenties (80s and early 90s). I hated the straps that held my feet in, so they were removed fairly early on. Without the straps they weren't too bad, but when a friend gave me a set of clipless pedals, and I switched, I liked them so much better.

Then I got more into touring and long distance cycling, and back in 2007, I switched to these ... they allow me to clip in when I want, and ride the platforms when I want. Best of both worlds.


http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...60_-1___202363

There are several different styles here:
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Categor...y=&searchTerm=
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Old 04-28-12, 07:52 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Koobazaur View Post
My main beef is that they restrict HOW I pedal, forcing me to keep my feet at a certain position. I tend to bike with the middle of my foot, but the clips make me pedal with the part closer to the front. I feel like I am "tip-toeing" on the pedal. It feels akward and actually makes me pedal LESS EFFICIENTLY since I cant put full force of my foot on it. So whatever speed boost I get from pulling up is lost.
If this is what you are doing, you're not using all of the muscles that you could. You are moving the pedals by pushing down with your thigh muscles, but you could also be using your calf muscles. Spreading the work over more muscle groups is a good thing.

Right now it FEELS inefficient because your calf muscles haven't developed as much as your thigh muscles. It will take a bit of work to balance that out.
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