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Recumbent What IS that thing?! Recumbents may be odd looking, but they have many advantages over a "wedgie" bicycle. Discuss the in's and out's recumbent lifestyle in the recumbent forum.

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Old 05-11-07, 08:55 AM   #1
SabreMan
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Clipless pedals and numb feet

I have two recumbents, a Burley Kooshah LWB, and a tandem trike. I have ordinary pedals on my LWB and clipless on the trike (actually, Shimano SPD reversible petals).

The problem is my feet are falling asleep on the trike! After about 45 min of riding, my feet from the cleat up (i.e. to the toes) goes numb. This is quite a nuisance and uncomfortable to boot

Is the problem the clipless pedal/cleats or the fact that my feet are much higher than on my Burley? I did ride the trike for a couple of weeks without clips, but only for short rides. I don't remember any problems then.

What's going on here?

Thanks
Glenn in Omaha
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Old 05-11-07, 09:26 AM   #2
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I've heard that this happens to a percentage of people with high bottom brackets. Different forums have had suggestions on how to deal with it. I have a LWB with a low BB so I don't know much about the numb feet thing. Someone on this web site will be able to help you, though.
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Old 05-11-07, 09:30 AM   #3
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It's probably the higher BB, but it could also be the shoes themselves. Do you wear different shoes when you're riding each bike?
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Old 05-11-07, 09:46 AM   #4
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I'm going to guess it is the higher BB. I have 5 bikes. I only encounter this problem on the trike, but it's pretty frequent. I don't think it has anything to do with clipless pedals per se. In fact, on a trike, you have to do much less work with clipless pedals -- otherwise gravity makes your feet fall off the pedals they tend to be perpendicular to the ground.
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Old 05-11-07, 10:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff-o
It's probably the higher BB, but it could also be the shoes themselves. Do you wear different shoes when you're riding each bike?

I do wear different shoes. My clipless shoes are the Shimano MT5. There is a only a thin pad between the cleat and my foot. And the numbness is only from the cleat to the toes, not in the other direction.

So, I'm guessing that the problem may be a combination of the increased height of my feet relative to my heart, and the pressure of the cleat.

So, So, What can I do about it?

Thanks
Glenn in Omaha
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Old 05-11-07, 10:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SabreMan
I do wear different shoes. My clipless shoes are the Shimano MT5. There is a only a thin pad between the cleat and my foot. And the numbness is only from the cleat to the toes, not in the other direction.

So, I'm guessing that the problem may be a combination of the increased height of my feet relative to my heart, and the pressure of the cleat.

So, So, What can I do about it?

Thanks
Glenn in Omaha
I don't have this problem, but here are the solutions I have seen discussed online:

- loose shoes [buy a bigger shoe or wear thin socks]
- insoles [people seem to have some success using after market insoles]
- move the cleat more towards the heel
- ensure you pull the non-power foot away from the pedal slightly each stroke so you don't have pressure on the bottom of your foot 100% of the time
- wiggle your toes around as you ride

Good luck!
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Old 05-11-07, 10:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vik
I don't have this problem, but here are the solutions I have seen discussed online:

- loose shoes [buy a bigger shoe or wear thin socks]
- insoles [people seem to have some success using after market insoles]
- move the cleat more towards the heel
- ensure you pull the non-power foot away from the pedal slightly each stroke so you don't have pressure on the bottom of your foot 100% of the time
- wiggle your toes around as you ride

Good luck!
Funny, when my wife was getting fitted with shoes, the salesperson said that she wanted an "aggressive" fit. We assumed that meant tighter. Go figure.

I try to wiggle, but it's hard to remember to constantly push, wiggle, push wiggle.

Thanks for the suggestions.
Glenn in Omaha
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Old 05-11-07, 12:09 PM   #8
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If you can't solve the problem with the above mentionned suggestions, try switching to regular pedals and shoes to see if you're still getting numb toes... try different foot placements on your pedals.

If the problem is with the shoes, at least you will get some clues as to what you need when you buy your next pair of cycling footwear.
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Old 05-11-07, 12:19 PM   #9
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I can't imagine a trike having a high enough BB to cause such a problem. I bet his issues are:

1. Shoe fit
2. Cleat position
3. Poor spin

For myself I have a VERY high BB bike, and I would get numb toes at around the 55-60 mile mark with sandals. Sidi megas made it a little better, but not much. Then I put a set of specialized footbeds in there and problem solved. Instally able to do comfy centuries.
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Old 05-11-07, 01:54 PM   #10
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Definitely move the cleat back! Even to the point of elongating the mounting holes a quarter inch so you can get them back further.
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Old 05-11-07, 02:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlazingPedals
Definitely move the cleat back! Even to the point of elongating the mounting holes a quarter inch so you can get them back further.

By back, you mean toward the heel?

Thanks.
Glenn in Omaha
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Old 05-11-07, 02:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SabreMan
By back, you mean toward the heel?

Thanks.
Glenn in Omaha
yes!
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Old 05-11-07, 05:05 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by aikigreg
yes!
I am riding tomorrow (Saturday), so I will change the cleat placement and see how that works.

Thanks.
Glenn in Omaha
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Old 05-12-07, 12:23 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlazingPedals
Definitely move the cleat back! Even to the point of elongating the mounting holes a quarter inch so you can get them back further.
I had a similar problem with toes going numb and I noticed that your feet hang from the pedals on a recumbent vs a diamond frame bike and effectively changes the location of the ball of your foot inside your shoe up to half an inch. Move the cleats back and you'll notice a big difference. My discomfort is gone after moving the cleat 3/8".

Chris
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Old 05-13-07, 07:03 AM   #15
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Moving the cleat helps, but...

I moved the cleat toward my heel as far as it would go. It definitely helped, but ... my feet still became numb, not as numb, but still noticeable.

I also tried to wiggle my toes frequently and pull my feet off the pedals on the back stroke. Both activities are distracting, however, and hard to continue for very long at a stretch.

Next up, a pair of sandals for the summer that give my feet more room to move.

Thanks for the suggestions.
Glenn in Omaha
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