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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 09-24-05, 09:04 PM   #1
Ritterview
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Stoker clip pedal terror

I am trying to convince my stoker of the myriad virtues of clip pedals. We've got Look clip pedals, which I find a cinch to ingress/egress, but not so my stoker. She struggles and says she cannot get out easily, and as a result frets, indeed is terrified, about falling while clipped in.

I thought Look pedals were the easist to get in and out of, but maybe I am wrong. What clip pedals are the easiest in this regard?
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Old 09-24-05, 09:42 PM   #2
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Never used Look pedals... only SPD's. SPD pedal have an adjustment screw that regulates how easy it is to get on/off.
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Old 09-24-05, 09:46 PM   #3
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I have Looks on my two road bikes, and SPDs on the MTB. I find the Looks very easy to use, and easier to get into than the SPDs - I have them set to the lightest release setting, and have never found the need to adjust them so that they're harder to release. How are those on the back of your tandem set?

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Old 09-24-05, 11:41 PM   #4
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How are those on the back of your tandem set?
As loose as I can make them.
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Old 09-24-05, 11:44 PM   #5
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Better stop dropping her. Plant your feet and wait for the OK until she is confident.
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Old 09-25-05, 05:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritterview
I thought Look pedals were the easist to get in and out of, but maybe I am wrong. What clip pedals are the easiest in this regard?
First of all, how long has your stoker been cycling and how long have you had the tandem? If she is a cyclist, what type of shoe / pedal system is she comfortable with? My general advise to new tandem teams where the Captain is an experienced cyclist but the stoker is not is to "work up to" clipless pedals by starting off with quill pedals to deal with the various "fear factor" associated with clip-in pedals. It doesn't take long for most stokers to get a feel for the tandem and gain some confidence in their captain's ability to handle the thing which then makes the transition to a clipped-in foot a far sight easier. If she is already riding with some type of clipless pedal system, that's obviously what you'd want her to use on the tandem. One final thing to consider is why she might be worried about falling over... are you mindful that you've got someone sitting on the tandem with you and being careful to NOT LEAN the tandem to your down foot side when starting and stopping? The latter is something that many if not most single road bike riders do out of habit and if you do it on a tandem it can really freak out the stoker. I've never broken my habit 100% but Debbie has gotten confortable with it.

Back to the question at hand, IMHO MTB clipless pedals and shoes are easier to use than road pedals and are ideally suited for tandeming, particularly if you intend to do any social riding or tandem rallies. The latter is because MTB pedals/shoes allow you to walk around without being concerned about your footing or risking damage to your cleats / loosing a Kool Kover. However, roadies being roadies, you'll still see a lot of road bike shoes and pedals being used by the hard core folks who find MTB shoes and pedals just don't cut it for them on road bikes.

That said, IMHO, the easiest pedal to get into and out of are Speedplay's mountain biking pedal, Frogs. No springs, two-sided, and also easy on the knees. The various other MTB pedals from Shimano, Crank Bros, etc that use the SPD cleat come in a close second, again noting that they are multi-sided and relatively easy to twist out of.

In the road bike category, Speedplay's X-series pedals are perhaps the easiest to get into and out of and easy on the knees; however, they are perhaps the worst when it comes to off-bike footing. Looks, which I used for many years, are pretty easy to use once you figure out the technique that works best for you. A few years back I switched over to Campy's ProFits which are, for all intents and purposes, use the same basic design as Look with the Look pedals I found it was easier for me to kick my rear heel "IN" to get out of the pedal instead of "OUT". The Campy pedals are the opposite, where it's easier (and more natural) to kick my heel "OUT" to exit.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 09-25-05 at 09:07 PM.
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Old 09-25-05, 07:38 AM   #7
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I currently use crankbrothers eggbeater. They are fairly easy to get into and very easy to get out of. Unfortunately my stoker does not use clipless pedals yet either, she is not really a cyclist, but entertains me by riding with me. Maybe, if she gets more interest, we will consider clipless for her as well.

My suggestion would be to sit on the bike frame standing still and let your stoker practice in/out 20+ times, just getting her foot used to the motion. After that, ride some real short distances (100 yards) and help the stoker get the feel of being clipped in during stopping and take offs. Hopefully after all this practice, your stoker will be more comfortable. Having said this, keep the stoker happy. Even if you could be 200% more efficient with the stoker going clipless, is he/she isn't comfortable with it, just let it be.
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Old 09-25-05, 08:46 AM   #8
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We both use Crankbrothers Eggbeaters. My Stoker had never ridden clipless before. I placed a well worn set of my old cleats into her shoes. The beaters can be be adjusted to disengage early http://www.crankbrothers.com/tech_eggbeater.php For the first few rides I called 'disengage stopping' earlier than normal. We both clip in our right pedal before launching. Note that with the eggbeaters you can just place your foot down and the pedal rolls into the locked position. There is rarely any "tap dancing" emanating from the stoker. There has been no need to stop pedaling while she finds her left cleat.
We avoided technical trails and tight traffic situations for a few rides until she was comfortable with the disengaging process. She is relaxed and has been able to disengage promptly in a few unusual situations.
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Old 09-25-05, 11:58 AM   #9
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Pilot has some respomsibility on creating the 'fear fator'.
Ask if she wants to go with toeclips or Powergrips on the back. Eventually she may advance to some type of clipless.
My stoker, Kay, tried clipless and developed knee problems and asked to swith back to toeclips . . . it works for her . . . and for me!

Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 09-25-05, 03:49 PM   #10
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I wonder if the problem isn't that your stoker is in the habit of putting her foot down at a stop. The way we do it, and "The Proper Method", IIRC is that the stoker only clips out when the bike is completely stopped and I have the bike stabilized for her dismount. At that point she can take as long as she likes to unclip or climb all over the bike with worrying about me dropping her.

If this is the way you are doing it, I wonder if you are providing a stable enough parking position for your stoker to have confidence that you won't drop her.

PS. If you ever have the chance, try riding as the stoker some time. It's quite enlightening!!
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Old 09-25-05, 04:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritterview
I thought Look pedals were the easist to get in and out of, but maybe I am wrong. What clip pedals are the easiest in this regard?
Oh, back to the actual question you asked. For me there's only one road pedal, the Speedplay X series. As Mark indicated they are perhaps the worst for walking though, and can be easily fouled up by mud, gravel, etc. They are not for walking!

The beauty of the Speedplays is that there is no resistance to release (NONE). The potential scare with these pedals is that the foot has to be turned quite far before it will release.

In my mind there are two factors to release problems:

1. Resistance to the release mechanism (you have to put some muscle in to it)
2. Turning the foot for release but failing to accomplish the release because the foot did not turn far enough.

Perhaps you could communicate with your stoker and advise which of these problems her fear is related to. I would recommend different pedals for each phobia.

Okay, there's one more factor, mode of failure. One that pertains to SPDs especially in my experience. I've seen two different cases where SPD compatible pedals, when they failed, WOULD NOT release (even after the rider had fallen and I was trying to help them get out. Shoe removal was the only exit in both cases). That's a bad mode of failure if you ask me.
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Old 09-25-05, 07:07 PM   #12
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Point of order! I believe that everyone is talking about clip-less pedals. Clip pedals are the old school pedals with the steel toe clip that wrapped over the top of you shoe and was cinched down with leather straps. Talk about technique to get in and out of, wow! Everyone is always confused because they snap (“clip”) into pedals that eliminated the clip aka “clip-less" pedals!

Perhaps if you didn't fall, you stoker wouldn't be terrorfied about falling! (just kidding) Maybe you could remind your stoker about the lack falls when riding. However, if you are falling down with some frequency, you stoker may have a point. Remember, the stoker is ALWAYS RIGHT!
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Old 09-25-05, 07:45 PM   #13
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My wife uses the newer Look KeO cleats which she says are easier to get in and out of. I've been using Speedplay Zeros for a couple of years and find the in and out much better, but with a different feel.

As for stopping, we both unclip our left. To start, we bring the right foot up and then push off on the count of three. This works great for us and makes my wife comfortable at stops. She has stayed clipped in a few times, but doesn't care to do so.
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Old 09-25-05, 09:06 PM   #14
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Stoker Kay does not unclip at stops.
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Old 09-25-05, 09:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost Coyote
Remember, the stoker is ALWAYS RIGHT!
No, the stoker is not always right and is often times wrong. The expression you're thinking of is Bill McCready's Primary Rule of Tandeming: "the Stoker makes no mistakes".
http://www.precisiontandems.com/artpropermethod.htm

Also, the older style of bicycle pedal system you're referring to is also called, "quill pedals with toe clips and straps".

Last edited by TandemGeek; 09-26-05 at 05:07 AM.
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Old 09-25-05, 10:39 PM   #16
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Thanks for the responses, everyone.

I was confused about terminology. I had thought flat pedals were “clipless”, and that I was encouraging “clip” pedals.

My captaining deficiencies, which are manifold, certainly contributed to the terror. I had encouraged practice ingress/egress with the Looks while stable (done diffidently) reasoned that we were very unlikely to fall, and always kept the bike as steady as possible. However, if Angels from Heaven had descended in their glory to personally assure my stoker that she would not fall, their remonstrance would be futile, as she would still be terrified.

We have had our tandem for 12 years, and used it intermittently, with flat pedals. I’ve become a bona fide cyclist in the meantime and appreciate the clipless benefits. I could just punt, and keep the flat pedals, but I know that eventually my less experienced stoker will see the benefit of clipless (and we would both enjoy increased cycling efficiency) if the terror could only be alleviated.

The ultimate solution for the Clipless Terror is a clipless system that has the easiest egress and thus physically addresses the fear at its source. From posts on this thread, elsewhere in the forum, and other sources it appears that the Speedplay X series is the King of Egress. This apparently at the cost of awkwardness while walking at the coffee shop and gym. If we can just banish clipless terror, awkward walking after tandeming happily to those destinations will be a high class problem to have.
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Old 09-26-05, 12:25 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TandemGeek


That said, IMHO, the easiest pedal to get into and out of are Speedplay's mountain biking pedal, Frogs. No springs, two-sided, and also easy on the knees. The various other MTB pedals from Shimano, Crank Bros, etc that use the SPD cleat come in a close second, again noting that they are multi-sided and relatively easy to twist out of.
the bebops are even easier. just step on the pedal to get in turn either way to get out. but both are good pedals.
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Old 09-26-05, 04:55 AM   #18
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Speedplay pedals are by far the easiest to get in and out of. Look does make a model with a lighter spring tension, but they're not as easy to use as Speedplay (X models, not the Zero). How much practice went into this before hitting the road? Put her on a stand and put in some reps.
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Old 09-26-05, 05:52 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritterview
I was confused about terminology. I had thought flat pedals were “clipless”, and that I was encouraging “clip” pedals.
Now worries; it wasn't that confusing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritterview
I could just punt, and keep the flat pedals, but I know that eventually my less experienced stoker will see the benefit of clipless (and we would both enjoy increased cycling efficiency) if the terror could only be alleviated.
In years gone by, I would have probably suggested getting her started in quill pedal with toe clips, initially without the straps to address the fear of the trapped foot and then move into loose straps, and well you get the idea. However, clipless pedal systems -- particularly the two or multi-sided MTB models (I'd forgotten about the BeBops) -- are simply easier to use. Not sure what to suggest other than sharing some of the comments you've been given in this thread. Debbie was leary at first as well, but was tutored in the entry and release of her Shimano 747 SPDs with the tandem in a trainer and has never looked back. We switched over to Speedplay Frogs in '98.
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Old 09-26-05, 03:21 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TandemGeek
No, the stoker is not always right and is often times wrong. The expression you're thinking of is Bill McCready's Primary Rule of Tandeming: "the Stoker makes no mistakes".
http://www.precisiontandems.com/artpropermethod.htm

Oh yeah? well you've never met my stoker! LOL! However, I guess I did miss quote McCready.

Last edited by Lost Coyote; 09-26-05 at 03:26 PM. Reason: syntax error
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Old 09-27-05, 12:34 AM   #21
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My nine year old son has asked me to fit cages to the back of the tandem. I see this as a first step for him to get used to not just putting his foot down. As they say one step at a time and before we know it he will be on SPDs.
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Old 09-27-05, 04:05 AM   #22
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Man, some of you guys are P-dub'd pretty bad.... I'm all for creating an equitable environment, whether riding or not, but the stoker needs to learn how to ride a bicycle or stay home. That includes some experience, some effort and some technique.
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Old 09-27-05, 05:09 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by ElRey
Man, some of you guys are P-dub'd pretty bad.... I'm all for creating an equitable environment, whether riding or not, but the stoker needs to learn how to ride a bicycle or stay home. That includes some experience, some effort and some technique.
Just curious, how many years have you and your wife been married and how many years ago did you two start tandeming together?
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Old 09-27-05, 06:57 AM   #24
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If your intent here is to somehow defend this ridiculous "the stoker is always right" notion, you're wasting time with me. If you're offering marriage counselling, I think I already beat you to the higher ground.
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Old 09-27-05, 07:20 AM   #25
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If your intent here is to somehow defend this ridiculous "the stoker is always right" notion, you're wasting time with me. If you're offering marriage counselling, I think I already beat you to the higher ground.
No, just perspective. So, how long?
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