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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 01-16-07, 02:34 PM   #1
geog_dash
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What's the taboo about plain pedals without restraints?

My winter shoes are too big for my clips-and-straps. I'm thinking about getting some BMX platforms for the weeks in which I wear them. I have read that riding fixed without clips-and-straps or clipless clips is an "advanced" skill. Does anyone have details on what's so advanced about it?

I have a brake. I don't skid or bunny hop. There are no big hills around here. When roads are wet and slushy, I go about 12 mph tops. I don't care if plain pedals without restraints slow me down. This is a safety question.

I've used search, and am intimate with the many threads extolling the virtues of clips-and-straps vs. clipless. My winter shoes are too big for my clips-and-straps, and I'm not interested in replacing the broken cleats on my clipless shoes, which suck anyway. I'm not interested in sermons on why I should use one or the other. My question is, what malfunction or disaster will occur if I use neither.
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Old 01-16-07, 02:37 PM   #2
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With a brake, you should be fine, especially if it's for winter riding (which I would imagine you'd be approaching more cautiously than regular conditions).
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Old 01-16-07, 02:40 PM   #3
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Sheldon may well have been exaggerating a bit when he called it an advanced skill. The idea is that it hurts like f.uck when your foot slips off the pedal and the pedal goes around and whacks the back of your calf. It can easily cause you to crash as well if you can't get your feet back on or the pain makes you lose focus.
On slushy winter roads, it's a tossup. You can choose the risk of crashing because you can't get your feet out in time when you slip, or crashing because your foot comes off and then you slip. It's your royal prerogative to pick one.
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Old 01-16-07, 02:43 PM   #4
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well, if your feet get out of sync with the pedals, your leg can get smacked by the pedal/crank arm. i can't imagine that being good for business. especially if you're using metal pedals. "bloody mess" would be the key words there, i think.

just think, if you hit a bump or pothole unexpectedly your feet are likely to come off the pedals.

it's good to have a brake if this stuff happens, but think about this: being able to slow down/stop is good for emergency situations. but there are times where being able to keep pedaling/speeding up is what's required to keep you intact.
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Old 01-16-07, 02:44 PM   #5
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A nice solution to the problem might be a set of Power Grips.
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Old 01-16-07, 02:50 PM   #6
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aight, so, the pedal smacking you is a possibility, but i wouldn't call it a danger.

to me it's a question of efficiency. no sense pushing down when you could be pushing and pulling. if you've got a brake, then stopping isn't the issue - going is. if you're going 12mph, that's probably not much of an issue either. seems like comfort and convenience is an issue, so flat pedals might be what this bike of yours needs. however, like the other person said, powergrips might be a good middle ground. big enough for big shoes and boots. slip your feet in, slip them out, it's all good.
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Old 01-16-07, 03:05 PM   #7
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I've ridden my fixed gear (with front brake) in flip flops resting on clipless pedals in my low traffic neighborhood for 1-2mi rides at perhaps 12mph peak speeds. Not something I'd do except to cruise over to my neighbors pool party or get a coffee at the local shop.

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Old 01-16-07, 03:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcatano
A nice solution to the problem might be a set of Power Grips.
Exactly what I was thinking.
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Old 01-16-07, 03:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcatano
A nice solution to the problem might be a set of Power Grips.
Ooh. Hadn't noticed those. Thanks!
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Old 01-16-07, 03:43 PM   #10
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I've had a pedal do some serious damage to my calf on a coasty bike, I shudder when I think about what would happen if I slipped off the pedals on a FG at 15+mph and the cranks kept moving. I think some really loose toe clips would do the job, maybe get some MTB type toe clips and loosen the straps all the way. Or the power grip things.
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Old 01-16-07, 03:48 PM   #11
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Plastic clips (+ straps, loose) work well with boots. The boot jams in enough to be secure but comes out easy too.
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Old 01-16-07, 05:22 PM   #12
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you should be alright i think - i've never had trouble. i learned to ride fixed on a 40-16 ratio with plain flat pedals...only spun out a couple of times, and both of those i got my legs clear and jammed on the brake, with no problems. (wouldn't like to try it without a brake tho...)

having said that i've just started using clipless pedals, and i'm never going back
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Old 01-16-07, 05:43 PM   #13
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I believe it was bostontrevor who convinced me to with plain flats on my winter fixed city mtb. If you're riding in snow as I was today, there's enough times when the front wheel will start washing out or you have to ride into a drift/unplowed snow and you want to be able to hop right out of the pedals. If the bike is seriously unfast and you have a handbrake, it shouldn't be a problem. I considered throwing ATACs on this bike, but after a day like today, exactly what I built up this bike for, I won't go winter clipless unless it's dry, in which case I wouldn't ride this bike anyway.

And if you have big feet, I'd steer clear of toe clips - XL steel and plastic clips didn't fit my street shoes, let alone winter boots.
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Old 01-16-07, 05:51 PM   #14
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BMX pedals are born hating skin, and their bloodlust only gets worth with age, I have scars to prove it. As for powergrips, here's one of the many classic Shants posts on them:

okay. i love powergrips. i have pretty average-sized feet (wear between 8.5-10, depending on the shoe). basically, they are the ultra****ingjam for the following reasons:

* you can easily adjust them to accomodate different sized shoes and boots (i've ridden with combat boots on, but not super large winter-type ones). you cannot really do the same with clips without bending them.

* when properly setup (you have them tight enough for your particular shoes), they fit very snugly and allow very good power transfer. easily as good or better than clips and straps (see following reason for why they are better than clips/straps for everyday riding) for being able to utilize your upstroke and for skidding.

* they are amazingly easy to get in and out of. since you insert your foot at an angle and then rotate your foot to tighten, it is a total breeze. with clips and straps, you have to set the "tightness" so that you have a snug fit but can also get in and out easily (that is, unless you tighten and loosen the straps EVERY TIME you ride). this is probably the absolute best thing about them. i never worry about getting my foot caught in my clips when i have to bail or when i am dismounting.

now, to address the issues with the hardware. once i crashed into an asshat of a pedestrian on a cell phone and it bent the angled bracket. this is to be expected. of course, you hear reports of people bending this very same piece (or, more commonly, bending/breaking the adjustment clamp) in normal riding. i am a skinny and pretty lightweight bastard, so i don't think i put the same stresses on them as someone who is larger. because of the design, i also think that you are more likely to have problems if you have larger feet. i could draw a diagram, but i am not feeling articulate enough right now to describe exactly why this is the case. it has to do with additional torque being placed on the hardware due to increased amount of foot hanging over the side of the pedal. i have never had a problem, however.

all said, i think they are really a superior design for street and everyday riding. but, they could really afford to have beefier hardware. if you aren't a massive mother****er, i don't think that you will have any problems, however.
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Old 01-16-07, 06:39 PM   #15
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I ride my commuter fixie with spikey BMX flats. It DOES have a front brake though. It's 48x16 and I find it pretty much impossible to fully skid b/c i can't pull up with my front foot but with the front brake, everything fine.

do get me wrong, clipless are a better ride all around. they are on all my other bikes except my fixie. The main reason i built my fixie was so I'd have cheap, low maitenence, all around easy bike to jump on and ride my 2 mile commute to work, run to the store or for a cup of joe...

If i was out for long rides, there's no question i'd want clipless
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Old 01-16-07, 06:44 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geog_dash
My winter shoes are too big for my clips-and-straps, and I'm not interested in replacing the broken cleats on my clipless shoes, which suck anyway.
Sooo....what kind of clipless pedals are they?

Can I have them if you don't like them?
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Old 01-16-07, 07:11 PM   #17
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If you slip a pedal going fast itll be a very bad and painful crash.
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Old 01-16-07, 07:28 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deathhare
If you slip a pedal going fast itll be a very bad and painful crash.
that can happen with clipless too, and it may or may not be too easy to get that cleat back in the pedal at speed when it happens, especially with something like spd's

picture yourself hop skidding to a stop and one cleat comes out, might not be pretty

same with sprinting on a fixed, having a foot come lose can be damn ugly
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Old 01-16-07, 07:32 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pedex
that can happen with clipless too, and it may or may not be too easy to get that cleat back in the pedal at speed when it happens, especially with something like spd's

picture yourself hop skidding to a stop and one cleat comes out, might not be pretty

same with sprinting on a fixed, having a foot come lose can be damn ugly
Did i mention clipless sucks too? Toeclips forever
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Old 01-16-07, 07:56 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deathhare
Did i mention clipless sucks too? Toeclips forever
thats why a lot of tracks still require the old clips with straps, the kind that dont come out easily even when you stop and try to get them out

I like both, and will use either, but I do find it somewhat difficult to find toe cages that are deep enough and pedals wide enough sometimes. My feet arent even that big Lately Ive been using el cheapo welgo spd's with the tension cranked to the max, so far, so good.
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Old 01-17-07, 05:42 PM   #21
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honestly, i just use duct tape, twice around each foot. i ride with a swiss army knife in my right hand and i'm fairly adept at cutting myself out on the fly.

granted, i have to ask for assistance if i want to get taped up in a hurry, but most people in tally are pretty nice about helping others out.

although, for snow, i would definitely go with a waterproof tape, like packing tape maybe. you may have to wrap it more, but it will stay until you cut out.

good luck!
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Old 01-17-07, 06:09 PM   #22
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Quote:
Did i mention clipless sucks too? Toeclips forever
Um...

Quote:
thats why a lot of tracks still require the old clips with straps, the kind that dont come out easily even when you stop and try to get them out
Which is meaningless to someone commuting in slushy streets, like the OP.
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Old 01-17-07, 06:14 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcatano
A nice solution to the problem might be a set of Power Grips.
yeah.
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Old 01-17-07, 06:36 PM   #24
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You'll be fine, you have a brake on there. I've seen bmx platforms on a brakeless fix, actually I've seen three. The kid would put his front foot underneath the pedal to skid or push it into a hockey stop. So rest assured, there are worse things you can do, and people are out there doing them.
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Old 01-17-07, 06:37 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Landgolier
BMX pedals are born hating skin, and their bloodlust only gets worth with age, I have scars to prove it.
+keloids



There's a dude in boston who runs brakeless, with bmx platforms.
However, every time i see him, he's got a new fork on that bike.
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