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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

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Old 02-17-07, 09:22 AM   #1
gerv 
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What kind of pedals do you use?

I use platform pedals. This allows me to wear just about any type of shoe when cycling. However, lately, I've thought about moving to something that would give me better performance. I could go to clipless, but they seem like they wouldn't work well for general transportation needs. So I'm looking at Power Grips, which would allow me to wear any show, but probably wouldn't be as efficient as clipless. Below are the Nashbar variety.



Any thoughts on pedals?
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Old 02-17-07, 09:30 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by gerv
I use platform pedals. This allows me to wear just about any type of shoe when cycling. However, lately, I've thought about moving to something that would give me better performance...

Any thoughts on pedals?
I also use platform pedals for the same reason as you. I am not in a quest for "better performance" at any price. Giving up the convenience of any type shoe, (including shoes suitable for any extreme weather condition or any off-bike walking scenario) would be too high a price for me.
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Old 02-17-07, 09:39 AM   #3
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I use platform pedals for the same reasons that gerv and ILTB cited.
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Old 02-17-07, 10:37 AM   #4
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There are pedals available that are platform on one side and clipless on the other, Shimano 324, and Perfomance Campus are two that come readily to mind.
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Old 02-17-07, 11:13 AM   #5
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I use clipless (Shimano SPD) with MTB shoes (Specialized Taho) that I can easily walk around in when shopping or cafe-hopping, etcetera. For touring, I do carry an extra pair of hiking shoes and an extra pair of sandals for loafing around in the woods or beaches. The only problem with the MTB shoes is that once the sole material around the recessed cleat goes down a bit, you can sometimes hear your cleats go crunch crunch against the pavement when walking on concrete, and it's not a pleasant noise, but it's something you can ignore in time.

I love feeling "at one" with my bike the way I do with clipless and I will never go back to platform pedals and clips. They are especially wonderful when climbing hills or any time I want to switch the workload over to the gastrocnemius/soleus muscle groups (calves), but again, it's a feel thing more than a "performance" issue the way Grant Peterson et al make it sound.

I do have a winter beater back in Buffalo with 'bear-trap' pedals, but I haven't used it in 2 years now because I no longer live there. I'm something of a retrogrouch in many of my cycling tastes, but this isn't one of them.

I have considered getting these so that I could use any shoes with my SPD pedals if I needed to, though I would only use them in snowy climates, and I no longer live in snowy climates: spd toeclip converters <--clicky
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Old 02-17-07, 08:28 PM   #6
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I think there have been quite a few pedal threads over in the commuter section, and, although no one has ever changed anyone else's mind, the trend there seems to be, once people try clipless, they can't pedal with anything else ever again; they're hopelessly hooked, like crack addicts. (Get it? Hooked? Clipless pedals? Never mind...) Of course, more purely commuting-type cyclists ride more for performance than for utility purposes. If you ride in traffic hauling a 12-pack of IPA and a bag of dog food and have to put your foot down at stop lights every few blocks, and your average speed is only about 15-20mph anyway, you aren't going to want to mess with those infernal foot-twisty things. I think a good rule of thumb is this: if you feel obliged to wear spandex while riding, get clipless; otherwise, stick to something less likely to make you fall over at an intersection next to a car full of hot college girls.
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Old 02-17-07, 10:48 PM   #7
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I use the Performance Campus pedals... I use clipless all the time unless it's below 30 F out... then I wear my insulated hiking boots to keep my feet warm. If I could afford a pair of winter cycling shoes/boots I'd get them in a second.

After riding only a couple months with the clipless I found myself putting my MTB shoes on even for just running down to the store.
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Old 02-18-07, 03:21 AM   #8
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I think Powergrips are the best compromise when it comes to performance versus versatility. You can wear almost any shoes you have, but still get good amount of power per stroke. I never tried clipless (i'm afraid of crack) but I've tried toe clips, power grips, and platform. Power grips is the next best thing to clipless for performance.
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Old 02-18-07, 07:48 AM   #9
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I have Shimano 324s on my utility bike. I use the platform side for quick trips to the store (about a half mile each way), and mountain bike shoes and the clip side for longer, hillier rides.
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Old 02-18-07, 07:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bragi
I think there have been quite a few pedal threads over in the commuter section, and, although no one has ever changed anyone else's mind, the trend there seems to be, once people try clipless, they can't pedal with anything else ever again; they're hopelessly hooked, like crack addicts. (Get it? Hooked? Clipless pedals? Never mind...) Of course, more purely commuting-type cyclists ride more for performance than for utility purposes.
I've read a few of the pedal posts in the commuting forum. Most of the arguments for clipless do not make sense for the type of cycling I do. I was wondering what the consensus was over here. I sometimes get a little depressed when I visit an LBS and listen to sales guys sell all this bling that doesn't work for basic transportation. However, I have a second bike that I mostly use for longer rides in the country and I thought Powergrips might be a nice alternative to clipless.
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Old 02-18-07, 08:08 AM   #11
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Personally, having my feet fastened to anything would make me very uncomfortable.
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Old 02-18-07, 09:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bragi
Of course, more purely commuting-type cyclists ride more for performance than for utility purposes. If you ride in traffic hauling a 12-pack of IPA and a bag of dog food and have to put your foot down at stop lights every few blocks, and your average speed is only about 15-20mph anyway, you aren't going to want to mess with those infernal foot-twisty things.
Care to expand what you mean by "more purely commuting-type cyclists ride more for performance than for utility purposes"? Did you make a typo, because the meaning is the opposite of the rest of your post.
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Old 02-18-07, 11:25 AM   #13
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I've got a pair of PowerGrips on platform pedals. I like them, but I took them off in the winter. They are easy to get your feet out of, so I don't feel trapped. They also don't scratch up nice shoes or run stockings or tights the way toe clips could.
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Old 02-18-07, 11:56 AM   #14
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I have used Power Grips for over 10 years, very happily. I have also used traditional clips and straps, as well as clipless systems (and rejected the last as not meaningfully better performing than Power Grips for my purposes, but far less convenient and more expensive). If I were actually racing or pretending to , "training," etc., I'd be using clipless like everybody else. As it is, the fact that Power Grips let me wear even leather-soled dress shoes without marring, or galoshes, or snow boots, or sneakers or whatever is priceless. I don't change clothes to ride 98% of the time.

Some form of foot-pedal retention is definitely a good idea for riding where you expect to be putting out more than maybe 80% of maximum effort part of the time, where your speed will exceed 20 or so on possibly rough surfaces, where your safety in traffic might depend on strong sudden changes in speed or course, etc. They'll help you do these things, and they'll end the risk of wiping out from a foot slipping off a pedal at a bad moment.

Otherwise, platform pedals are fine. My favorites, with or without Power Grips, are MKS Sylvan Touring.
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Old 02-18-07, 12:17 PM   #15
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I use platforms. Only about 10 % of the riding I do would benefit from clipless, so that's not worth the bother for me. I do upgrade to better pedals. I like a Suntour pedal (sorry, don't know the model name or number) that has never broken on me, even when I weighed a lot more than I do now. Also, my feet have never slipped with these pedals.
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Old 02-18-07, 02:48 PM   #16
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platform pedals,
for the convenience of wearing non-bike type shoes or boots.
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Old 02-18-07, 04:03 PM   #17
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Shimano 324 on my utility bike. Mountain bike SPD's on my mountain and road bike.
I have absolutely no problem getting in or out of SPD's.
Mountain biking is far more demanding in this regard than riding on the street.
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Old 02-18-07, 04:13 PM   #18
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MTB Platforms
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Old 02-18-07, 04:34 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bragi
I think there have been quite a few pedal threads over in the commuter section, and, although no one has ever changed anyone else's mind, the trend there seems to be, once people try clipless, they can't pedal with anything else ever again; they're hopelessly hooked, like crack addicts. (Get it? Hooked? Clipless pedals? Never mind...) Of course, more purely commuting-type cyclists ride more for performance than for utility purposes. If you ride in traffic hauling a 12-pack of IPA and a bag of dog food and have to put your foot down at stop lights every few blocks, and your average speed is only about 15-20mph anyway, you aren't going to want to mess with those infernal foot-twisty things. I think a good rule of thumb is this: if you feel obliged to wear spandex while riding, get clipless; otherwise, stick to something less likely to make you fall over at an intersection next to a car full of hot college girls.
I always wear my clipless when I go to the grocery store, and I bring back some HUMONGOUS loads, including 20-25 lbs bags of dogfood every couple weeks. It takes a half second to clip in when I start going, less to clip out. And I don't own a pair of cycling shorts at all, much less spandex. I do have a couple compression tops that I wear when it's hot, and they really do work well.
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Old 02-18-07, 05:35 PM   #20
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shimano spds and shimano sandals. they are easy to walk in and stand in but they are stiff and don't have power loss. plusy ou can vary the socks you wear so I have used them from 25 to summer without problems.
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Old 02-18-07, 07:49 PM   #21
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shimano spds and shimano sandals. they are easy to walk in and stand in but they are stiff and don't have power loss. plusy ou can vary the socks you wear so I have used them from 25 to summer without problems.
+1

My favorite foot wear for any ride, I even did Bike Virgina in them last summer. But, it has been toooooo cold for me to wear them latlely.
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Old 02-18-07, 07:51 PM   #22
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+1

My favorite foot wear for any ride, I even did Bike Virgina in them last summer. But, it has been toooooo cold for me to wear them latlely.
when it is really cold I use thick wool socks and fleece lined sealskinz socks. maybe some thinner cycling socks first. that takes me down pretty well.
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Old 02-18-07, 08:14 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmclaughlin807
I always wear my clipless when I go to the grocery store, and I bring back some HUMONGOUS loads, including 20-25 lbs bags of dogfood every couple weeks. It takes a half second to clip in when I start going, less to clip out. And I don't own a pair of cycling shorts at all, much less spandex. I do have a couple compression tops that I wear when it's hot, and they really do work well.
Same here. I wear clipless both when I'm grocery shopping for the week and when I'm on a fully loaded tourer (4 panniers and the entire rear rack covered with camping gear), and have no trouble getting in or out. It's second nature.

I've also had 2 wipe-outs since going clipless in 2002, one of which landed me in the hospital last July, but in neither one of them did I end up "sticking" to my bike when I hit the ground, and neither were caused by pedal disengagement reaction time. I instinctively unclipped just fine. Even though I have assured my girlfriend that they are safe, she still calls them "pedals of death." Oh well.

I know I had trepidations when first buying the things, and based on this I suspect that they do tend to scare off a lot of people the way they did me, but I'm not trying to sell them to anyone*, so I'm not going to belabor the point or get into a "pepsi vs. coke" thing about it.

I'm also spandex-less and greatly prefer riding in everyday clothing. I don't think the clipless thing is by necessity part of the cycling fashion scene or only meant to be enjoyed by the racing crowd. They are functional enough for any kind of riding, IMO.


*Addendum: Not that it's happening here in this thread (!), but I do find it tremendously funny how people can get into heated arguments over products in much the same way sports fans support their favorite teams to the very brink of bitterness. I was reading this negative review on the Aeron chair earlier, and I was laughing myself silly at the comments section because a few folks out there seem to quite literally take offense when something they've bought is maligned or criticized by someone else. I've seen it plenty on these forums too about this or that bike thing being sold out there. Our corporate overlords must be so pleased at this behavior.
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Old 02-18-07, 08:50 PM   #24
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This thread is entirely too tame I think. Kent Peterson, at http://www.mile43.com/peterson/Turtle/TurtleText.html put Power Grips vs. clipless nicely, I think:

Quote:
Alan is intrigued that I prefer Power Grips to clipless pedals. It’s a discussion I’ve had with various folks over the years, so my well-rehearsed side of the conversation goes something like this:

You have three places where you interface with the bike: your hands, your butt, and your feet.

Now let’s say you’re going to do something crazy, like ride your bike in the mountains for 2,500 miles, trying to ride at least 100 miles per day. Somebody comes to you and says, “Hey, we’ve got this handlebar system. You clip your hands into this one place and that’s the only place they can be. But science is telling us that this is the best place for your hands.”

You’d probably say, “No thanks.”

And let’s say they have a saddle with his little clip. The clip will lock your butt on the saddle and science says that it’s the best possible place for your butt to be.

You’d probably say, “No thanks.”

Now let’s say they have these pedals . . .

I don’t convince Alan but I didn’t expect that I would. Clipless aficionados like to talk about float, but rotational freedom is only one dimension. One of the things I like with Power Grips is that I can also move my foot in the fore and aft plane as well as rotationally, but the bottom line is that they just work well for me.
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Old 02-18-07, 10:30 PM   #25
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I use SPD clipless, both mountain shoes and sandals. The recessed cleats allow for walking comfort in most circumstances. I'll also bring a pair of regular sandals with me if I know I'll be at a place for a while (in the Pac NW, socks with sandals is considered a style, not necessarily a faux pax!) and keep a pair of shoes at work.

As for difficulty in entry or exit, I find SPDs much easier compared to clips or PowerGrips, but that's just me. I do tend to anticipate situations I might need to stop, and click out one foot just in case. I use the Shimano touring pedals which have some extra support so you can pedal decently without actually clicking in.
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