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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

View Poll Results: Clipless or Platform or Other
Clipless all the way! 49 56.32%
Nothin' but Regular Platform Pedals! 16 18.39%
Other/Both/Whatever 22 25.29%
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Old 07-25-14, 03:13 PM   #1
steve-in-kville 
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Clipless vs. Platform Pedals for Long Distance Riding

I've been commuting to work full time for 5+ years. My main rides are a Windsor Tourist and a Kilo TT single-speed. Last fall I bought a pair of SPD pedals and shoes to fit. I have yet to use them in the real world. I have a lot of interest in riding centuries as endurance cycling really intrigues me. So who is using cleats and who is still using basic platforms and why?
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Old 07-25-14, 03:17 PM   #2
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Nearly all of the regular riders I know use clipless pedals of a variety of different styles.
When I got my Sojourn, I rode platform pedals for the first 6 months or so, then switched to clipless and haven't looked back.
If you're riding, clipless is better. If you're starting and stopping and walking around, platforms are better. So it just depends on how much time you spend doing what on your rides.
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Old 07-25-14, 03:30 PM   #3
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I recently saw someone make an interesting point about clipless that is true of me. When I ride platform pedals on my commuter, my feet are always pointed at a really bad angle for me. But since my commute is only 7 miles, it isn't a big deal. Over 100+ miles, it would be an issue. Clipless keeps my feet oriented in the proper direction.

I also feel a lot more secure with clipless.

OTOH, I know a couple of people that ride a lot of miles on platforms. It doesn't really slow you down much.
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Old 07-25-14, 07:01 PM   #4
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I use both ... at once.
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Old 07-26-14, 08:30 AM   #5
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I use both ... at once.
How's that, and why?
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Old 07-26-14, 08:45 AM   #6
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How's that, and why?
I use Shimano M324 combination (multi-purpose) pedals ... clips on one side, platform on the other.

I clip in with my left foot ... and my right foot rides on the platform. I've been riding like that since 2007.

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Old 07-26-14, 08:53 AM   #7
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Due to your foot angles, or to facilitate safe stopping?
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Old 07-26-14, 09:14 AM   #8
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Due to your foot angles, or to facilitate safe stopping?
Probably both, and more, I guess.

I had really bad Achilles tendon problems in that right foot/ankle which started in 2002, but that has hardly bothered me since I started doing that with these pedals ... possibly because I have a bit of a leg length difference, and perhaps doing this corrects that.

And I did feel constricted when my right foot was clipped in. I adjusted the cleats so that angle wasn't bad, but no matter how much I adjusted it a hair this way and a touch that way, it never felt quite right. I admire people who can put cleats on a shoe, do a couple little adjustments and go ... I could never do that, at least not with my right foot.

I have ever-worsening arthritis in my right foot, and I find that being able to move my foot around on the pedal can be helpful to ease the pressure.

Also, coming from the flatlands of Manitoba, I have always had issues with climbing. I never learned to climb. When I started travelling, and climbing more, I crashed a few times because I hit a point where the climb was too steep for me and I didn't have time to unclip. Obviously if I had grown up climbing, I would have learned whatever the trick is to avoid doing that, but after crashing those few times, I developed a fear of hills and started walking everything in sight ... even little tiny hills. I started doing this little trick of mine with the pedals in Europe in 2007, and discovered that it removed my fear of hills. I'm still not a great climber, but at least I'll give hills a go now (and often surprise myself by making it all the way up) because I know I can just step off that pedal if I need to.

And finally, as I mentioned, we made this switch in Europe in 2007, and I found it so much easier to negotiate some of the European cities on tour. The cycling can be very stop-start-stop-start and I just found it so much faster and more efficient to be able to drop my foot on a moment's notice when someone cut me off.

So ... lots of reasons. I know it's a bit odd, but it seems to work well for me.

Occasionally I'll clip in with both feet when the terrain is relatively flat and rural (quiet country roads), but most often, I ride "my way".
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Old 07-26-14, 10:30 AM   #9
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Once on a brevet I saw a person with platforms.
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Old 07-26-14, 06:24 PM   #10
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Riding a recumbent trike I use the clip on pedals to prevent foot suck under the cross beam. around town or on the trails on the df I use either old style toe clips or ride platforms. Horses for courses.
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Old 07-26-14, 06:45 PM   #11
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I like dual sided pedals with walkable MTB or touring shoes for long distances, especially if I'm going to be hitting local restaurants, do some sight-seeing, or whatever. Sometimes I get hot spots after a long time pedaling clipped in and just flipping the pedals and moving my feet a bit more than the normal float of the cleats makes a difference. I like to be clipped in but am perfectly comfortable riding the flats for general cruising on decent roads.

To the OP, when you go SPD clipless, make sure you have multi-release cleats and set the cleat retention on the pedals to the lightest setting that prevents unintentional clip outs. This will make clipping in and out much easier and more intuitive. You may have to do some trial and error with cleat position on your shoes until you find the perfect position and angle so that you clip in and out without thinking about it.

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Old 07-26-14, 11:05 PM   #12
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I run A530s. Its rare that the flat sides get used but they are good for gravel and for giving a different foot position to mix it up on longer rides.
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Old 07-27-14, 09:19 AM   #13
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Since developing neuropathy in my feet a few years ago after chemotherapy, I have a really hard time getting my feet comfortable. Using platform pedals for my commute and long FLAT distances work really well, but I get very nervous climbing without my SPDs. Fear of slipping off when I'm standing hard on the pedals…

I'm thinking of going for an extra large, extra wide clip less boot to see if that helps. I find the extra room in my sneakers helps the big dogs stay comfy.
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Old 07-27-14, 11:53 AM   #14
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I've done 100+ mile rides on the platform side of M324s, toe clips, and clipless pedals. After developing good reflexive unclipping habits, I've gotten a lot more secure on clipless pedals and that's pretty much all I use now.

That said, you should use whatever works best for you -- don't worry too much about what the majority of the group uses.
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Old 07-28-14, 09:14 AM   #15
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Clipless for me.

Whatever for anyone else. (Unless they ask for my recommendation!)
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Old 07-28-14, 10:22 AM   #16
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don't call them platform pedals, call them "infinite float" pedals
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Old 07-28-14, 03:14 PM   #17
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Thanks for the helpful replies. Can anyone recommend a comfy shoe that doesn't require me to walk like a duck when I am off the bike?? I have some cheapo Forte's that I got used. The cleat sticks way out!!
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Old 07-28-14, 05:00 PM   #18
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I saw a guy on a 600k yesterday riding in sneakers on flat pedals. But he's a fairly rare exception.
I'm sort of the opposite of Machka - I HATE not having my feet attached to the pedals. I use toeclips on my commuter, along with regular street shoes, and double-sided SPD's on all my other bikes. I don't unclip until the instant my foot needs to leave the pedal, and I clip back in as soon as I can, even in stop-and-go situations (one reason Iike the double-sided ones). I go through a bit of trial and error on a new pair of shoes to get the cleats right, but once they're on, I've never had a situation where I had some ache or pain that was alleviated by putting some other part of my foot on the pedal.
My better half, though, likes the touring pedals that have platforms on one side, because he's more comfortable over the long haul if he can move his foot around some of the time.
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Old 07-28-14, 05:31 PM   #19
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Thanks for the helpful replies. Can anyone recommend a comfy shoe that doesn't require me to walk like a duck when I am off the bike?? I have some cheapo Forte's that I got used. The cleat sticks way out!!
Look at mtn bike shoes. I wear Lake cycling shoes ... they look a little bit like hiking shoes but they've got the cleats. I've done a lot of walking in those shoes, including a few short hikes.
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Old 07-29-14, 03:20 PM   #20
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I use to prefer clipless pedals and wore them for years and years, however I developed a bad case of intermetatarsal bursitis and can no longer wear clipless shoes. They are too narrow for my feat and the tiny amount of compression drives my feet crazy. At first I thought that I would really struggle riding ultra distance without them however I have found very little difference. Perhaps if anything the muscles in my legs have developed slightly differently to counter for pedaling different, not so much round and round but round, up and down. I easily ride 200+ km in around 11 hrs.

I don't think that clipless pedals make as much difference to your riding compared to you perception of how you are riding.

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Old 07-29-14, 03:34 PM   #21
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Thanks for the helpful replies. Can anyone recommend a comfy shoe that doesn't require me to walk like a duck when I am off the bike?? I have some cheapo Forte's that I got used. The cleat sticks way out!!
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Old 07-29-14, 04:19 PM   #22
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I have converted to mountain biking shoes. I can't count the number of times I had problem with Speedplay cleats getting fouled and then having to fight to get clipped in. And being able to walk is a big advantage in randonneuring. Stopping at controles and getting proof of passage is part of the game, so you have to walk. In Eastern Pennsylvania, when crossing the Delaware you have to walk or the bridge guards will stop you. So walkable shoes can be a big advantage there.
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Old 07-29-14, 04:24 PM   #23
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Thanks for the helpful replies. Can anyone recommend a comfy shoe that doesn't require me to walk like a duck when I am off the bike?? I have some cheapo Forte's that I got used. The cleat sticks way out!!
Chrome Industries has a great SPD line, but they are more urban oriented.
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Old 07-29-14, 04:29 PM   #24
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I like platforms for casual rides, even if they are longer distance. I use clipless when training, cause rides, or touring; they make a difference in keeping a strong, even cadence. For me, anyway.
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Old 08-31-14, 02:47 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
I use Shimano M324 combination (multi-purpose) pedals ... clips on one side, platform on the other.

I clip in with my left foot ... and my right foot rides on the platform. I've been riding like that since 2007.
I too have used this combination. Did 300k in March with left foot clipped in w/SPD, and the right foot was shorn with a Crock and a Power Grip strap, with that pedal flipped over to the platform side. Outcome: No noticeable difference to either foot. In fact the right foot is adjustable on the platform as needed. Please read this: http://www.bikejames.com/strength/th...h-flat-pedals/
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