I have ridden clipless pedals pretty much since I started riding a few years back. I have ridden Crank Bros exclusively until a few months ago when I purchased a pair of of the platform/SPD combo pedals. I wanted the option of platforms on at least one of my bikes so that I could just hop on and ride and not have to worry about getting on special shoes. I also bout a Trek Doodlebug trailer to pull my sons so that we could ride together and I felt a little safer not being clipped in while towing the boys.
A couple of observations regarding the platforms and the SPD. I like the Crank Bros much better than the standard SPDs. The SPDs to me are much more difficult to clip in and out of than the Crank Bros. One reason for that is of course on my pedals you can only clip in on one side. Even so, the SPDs seem much less forgiving to me than the Crank Bros. So for any clipless pedals I am sticking with Crank Bros. Secondly, I honestly do not feel that I am losing anything when I just ride the platforms. I am not a racer. I am just a pure recreational and fitness rider. The only benefits/advantages to the clipless pedals that I can see are if you are in a sprint, pedaling an extremely high cadence or being able to "pull up" on the upstroke which I am not sure I do all that much anyway.
I have been reading these forums and articles by Grant at Rivendell and I am beginning to agree that for me and riders like me (which I believe constitute the vast majority of cyclist out there) that there is no specific benefit or boost to riding clipless vs platforms. We have all been somewhat bullied into believing clipless is the only way by our LBS. Just like the attitude I caught from the young racer sales guy when I recently purchased my Volpe. I asked him to put some platforms on for me for the test ride and he looked at me as if I had asked for a record needle in an Apple store. I like riding my clipless and will continue to do so, but I am beginning to believe that platforms offer a lot of advantages without any real sacrifice in performance.
All of the rambling above leads to my question. I really like the idea of the combo pedal where you can clip in one one side and have a platform on the other side. However, it seems you can only find this in standard SPD. The Crank Bros Mallet looks like a possible alternative. Anyone have any experience or thoughts on them. Also on sites like Rivendell they sell "touring" pedals and "sneaker" pedals. What makes a pedal a "touring" pedal. Are there any special benefits or advantages of the "touring" pedal vs the "sneaker" platform pedal? Thanks