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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 01-01-12, 08:48 AM   #1
s5fskzfv
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Toe Clips?

Hi,

I am wondering if cyclists who use toe clips during the warm weather also use them during the winter? It was a bit icy this morning and I thought it might be better not to have my feet in toe clips if the bike started to slip. I ride mostly on paved roads for errands around town. I notice myself pulling up with the clips mostly when I need to accelerate or going up hill and I appreciate having them, they are noticeably a lot of help in those situations. But, if I'm riding at an easy pace on level ground I don't think I realy use them that much. This is the first winter I'll be riding so I would appreciate hearing about other cyclists experiences. I'm not planning to use studded tires so I will probably not be cycling if the conditions are too slippery. My bike has wide tires with treads but not knobby treads.

Do you use toe clips in the winter?
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Old 01-01-12, 10:38 AM   #2
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No toe clips for me. Two reasons, ice and my boots are just too big to bother.
When you go down on ice, it happens fast, it is nice to have your feet free to react.
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Old 01-01-12, 12:31 PM   #3
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I only use toe clips during the warmer months of the year. In winter I use bmx platform pedals. I don't like to be attatched to my bike when there is snow and ice on the roads, also my winter boots are too big for toe clips.
I ride FG and I have no problems riding on platforms without foot retention.
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Old 01-01-12, 12:57 PM   #4
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I never use studded tires, or clips either. It took till the second winter, but I practiced going over ice by running all my errands through the alleys on my days off. The alleys aren't cleared to the same standards as the roads. People often drain their roofs and lots into the alleys, which is permitted. This leaves patches of ice all over the place.

At first my arms were quite tense going over ice, but gradually I relaxed and got good at it.

There are 1 or 2 times a winter when there is ice that I don't see under snow, and I thump into the pavement. This is usually at a slow speed, under difficult conditions, and little traffic. (6 in the morning)
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Old 01-01-12, 03:02 PM   #5
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When you go down on ice, it happens fast, it is nice to have your feet free to react.
Very true, just got in from a ride, was SPD clipped in made a tight turn front wheel slid out and now have a couple tender ribs to remind me. Had I used the bike with studs it would have been a non-issue or free legs to soften the fall at least. This happened once before about 3 years ago the locked in feet made me feel helpless. I did not clip back in the remainder of the ride home and little loss of confidence maybe.
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Old 01-01-12, 04:20 PM   #6
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trying to put a foot down when you're going at any decent clip will result in leg injury.

it seems counter intuitive, but it's best to take the fall with your entire body.
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Old 01-01-12, 05:07 PM   #7
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No toe clips for me. Two reasons, ice and my boots are just too big to bother.
When you go down on ice, it happens fast, it is nice to have your feet free to react.
Which I why I use the bike with studded tires anytime there's a chance for ice.
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Old 01-01-12, 05:15 PM   #8
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Where are you riding in "winter" that you don't use studded tires?

Anyways, toe-clips suck, IME they are impossible to get out of in an emergency when properly done up to the level at which they're going to help your feet stay on the pedal.

As others noted the safest is flat pedals, but if you want to be locked to the pedal I suggest upgrading to clipless - They're a lot safer than toe-clips and due to their spring mechanism they won't wrench your ankle and knee so badly if you fall accidentally.
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Old 01-01-12, 06:33 PM   #9
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You dont need to cinch toe clips tight to stay on the pedals. If you leave the straps loose, then your feet will come out in an instant. I have slid plenty of times, on mud and ice and my feet are on the ground without thinking. I would never use toe clips cinched tight.
If you MUST have the tightest pedal-shoe contact possible, stick with SPD, they are safer than tight toe clips but you cant get your feet out during a slide.
Toe clips are an intermediate solution, between platforms and SPD. Some people just don't do intermediate in anything, no compromise, all or nothing. I'm happy to have some efficiency and some safety in a cheap, versatile form that I can use with any footwear.
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Old 01-02-12, 08:20 AM   #10
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You dont need to cinch toe clips tight to stay on the pedals. If you leave the straps loose, then your feet will come out in an instant. I have slid plenty of times, on mud and ice and my feet are on the ground without thinking. I would never use toe clips cinched tight.
+1. I have found that loose toe clips help keep my feet from slipping off the pedals, but they are no barrier to getting my feet out in a hurry if necessary.

Jim
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Old 01-02-12, 03:40 PM   #11
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Power grips permit even winter boots to get out in a hurry.
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Old 01-08-12, 09:33 PM   #12
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I use SPDs on my touring bike, but when there's any chance of snow/ice, I ride my mountain bike with studded tires, and I have toe clips on that bike. I only started using SPDs this year, and I like them, but I rode with toe clips for 20 years before that, and I like them, too. I keep them relatively loose, but they still keep me on my pedals and I feel I get some increased power on the upstroke, though not as much as my SPDs give me. If I'm wearing sneakers, they go in and out easily. If it's cold or wet out, I wear duck boots, which are totally water and windproof but not as clunky or heavy as hiking boots. I have a little more trouble getting into the toe clips with those--the rubber seems to catch on the scalloping of my pedals--but no trouble at all getting out. The studded tires definitely make things safer, too.
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Old 01-08-12, 09:36 PM   #13
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I have no problems with toe clips under any circumstance. As some other posters have mentioned, if you're worried about needing your feet in a hurry, just leave the straps a bit loose. Unless you are using deep slotted cleats, no retention system allows you to remove your feet faster.
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Old 01-09-12, 08:18 AM   #14
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I my SPDs year round. Th only exception is really sloppy days when there is lots of fresh snow. I keep the adjustment really loose though. So far when I slip my feet are popping out and hitting the ground in time to keep me vertical.
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Old 01-09-12, 08:26 AM   #15
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Like a couple others have said, Toe clips with loose straps are easy enough for me to get out of and even when loose they help keep your feet on wet pedals for rain rides but for sub-35 degree days I like to wear toasty boots which are pretty bulky so I'm rollin' with BMX pedals sans retention this winter.
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