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Strap on pedals for Eroica, how much of a PITA?

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Strap on pedals for Eroica, how much of a PITA?

Old 08-12-20, 06:51 PM
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Tomm Willians
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Strap on pedals for Eroica, how much of a PITA?

Once the world returns to normal I canít wait to do Calif. Eroica with my Ď71 Mondia Special. It currently sports vintage Campy flat pedals that had toe straps that I removed and saved, those straps looked like a sure way to crash a beautiful restoration of my bike but now Iím getting interested in setting it up as authentically as I can.
Whats the trick to using straps and not getting your foot caught and crashing ?
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Old 08-12-20, 06:59 PM
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I just don't pull my straps tight on the bikes that have them. Never had an issue with it. I ride them with Giro Rumble shoes. In and out is easy, and the clips help keep my feet from sliding forward, which is an issue for me.
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Old 08-12-20, 07:01 PM
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Trick that works for adults who never learned to ride a bike and don't want to fall and break something: practice it in a nice grass field. Worst thing that happens is getting turf on your bike.
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Old 08-12-20, 07:03 PM
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The trick is to tighten the straps enough to hold your feet on the pedal so that the cleat stay engaged with the pedal but loose enough that you can yank your foot out in an emergency. I found that when I was climbing, I had to tighten up the straps but if I keep them tightened my toes would go numb. That is why I prefer clipless pedals.
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Old 08-12-20, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Tomm Willians View Post
Once the world returns to normal I canít wait to do Calif. Eroica with my Ď71 Mondia Special. It currently sports vintage Campy flat pedals that had toe straps that I removed and saved, those straps looked like a sure way to crash a beautiful restoration of my bike but now Iím getting interested in setting it up as authentically as I can.
Whats the trick to using straps and not getting your foot caught and crashing ?
They are not that hard to navigate, I only use them to corral my feet on the pedals and can't stand the look of modern clipless so not going there, ever.

I don't ride that hard and have a bad ankle so no cleats and never used actual cycling shoes.

You can use shoes with an aggressive sole and cinch them down or go all the way with oldschool shoes and cleats, that is a skill that can be challenging to master but many have, did and still do so there you go.
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Old 08-12-20, 08:02 PM
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Just use flat pedals without cages or straps.
Nobody cares.
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Old 08-12-20, 08:08 PM
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The "trick" is to not use cleats.

The other "trick" is to not tuck the strap's end into the buckle. Leaving it loose allows you to just quickly reach down, hit the metal buckle and loosen the strap.

The final "trick" is to plan ahead.
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Old 08-12-20, 08:21 PM
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Interesting question...
I learned back in the mid 70's as a teen age kid. I was wearing Adidas tennis shoes and learned to flip the pedal up and get into the toe clips. After a few years of this, I eventually got "proper" bike shoes with cleats and got the full benefit of the clips and straps. Still, those early years of practice with regular shoes certainly were a good way to learn.

I still use clips & straps with cleated and uncleated shoes. I also use SPD shoes and pedals on some bikes. They are both routine for me, so no feeling of risk or danger.
What sort of problems do you have or expect?

Steve in Peoria

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Old 08-12-20, 08:25 PM
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Same answer you get in NYC when you ask how to get to Carnegie Hall.
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Old 08-12-20, 09:02 PM
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Don't tuck in the ends through the buckle. Pull the loose end to cinch them. Flip (yank on) the open end of the buckle with your thumb to loosen them. Practice this inside leaning against a wall if you want. Practice some more. After a while it becomes instinctive.

Leave them loose in town and in traffic until you get used to them. Tighten when you get to open road. Don't forget to loosen before stop signs! Mostly they are useful for climbing and sprinting.

Don't try to use them with some sort of lugged sole running shoes. Stick to smooth soles.
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Old 08-13-20, 01:41 AM
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When I was racing I tightened the straps down pretty tight every time I put my foot in, even when riding by myself far from any race. The conventional wisdom (maybe BS or "bogus stuff" as my sainted Dad used to say) was that if you did crash, it was safer to have your feet still in the pedals -- that getting your foot out was asking for broken bones.

As a teenager first getting into longer/harder rides, I used toeclips without cleats or tightening the straps, then with cleats but still not tightening the straps. Probably multiple years at each of those steps. So by the time I was ready to ride with racers, cinching down the straps tightly was just one step beyond what I was used to. I seem to remember the adaptation period was short, only fell over once from forgetting to loosen the buckle -- that I can remember. Reaching down to slap the tab on the buckle quickly becomes a reflex.

You don't have to tighten the straps for Eroica or most regular, non-racing riding, but it is a pretty big advantage for pedaling "in anger" -- especially sprinting.

Mark B in Seattle
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Old 08-13-20, 01:48 AM
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Toe Clips & Straps
allow you to spin a higher cadence with power,
pedal circles (less mashing) for better muscle balanced endurance,
enables that pull-up-power-stroke when needed
keeps a foot engaged to backpedal for a quick start.

Clipless does the same - but better, and with same weight as flat, or less.

Over a long and/or hilly course, these things can matter.
Over a shorter course, or flat course = .not much dif.
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Old 08-13-20, 02:49 AM
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Like others, I have been riding with straps since the early seventies . I use a narrow skate shoe or just flat soled tennis shoe. I have not ridden without them so I can’t say how long it would take to get used to them but I would think it would be easy. When I got my daughter into cycling it only took one ride and she got it and still uses them.
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Old 08-13-20, 03:07 AM
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For commuting and most casual riding I always kept the left pedal strap loose. I only cinched it down for crits, time trials and some fast solo rides, especially with climbs.

My Detto Pietros with cleats were PITA for commuting (the metal cleats were worse than my Look Delta cleats on pavement -- like ice skates), so I mostly used casual walking or gym shoes. Back in the 1970s there was a fad of running shoes with extra wide waffle soles that jammed into the toe clips, so I never wore those for riding. I think those Adidas and Nike running shoes of the '70s wide flared soles that supposedly were more stable, but that fad mostly died out. I used to scrape my own inner ankles running with those stupid things.

Apparently that habit was so ingrained that even when I went 30 years without riding a bike, the first time I rode again in 2015, I was still doing the same thing: always pulling my left foot backward (from the non-existent toe clips, since I was riding a comfort hybrid with platform pedals), to set it on the road, while keeping the right foot on the pedal.

And now that I'm using clipless on road bikes, same habit again. I'm not sure I could change now to unclip the right foot to set it down for stops. I really should practice in case it becomes necessary.

If you watch some older race finishes, the team handlers often "caught" the exhausted riders just past the finish line to keep them from toppling over while they were strapped in tightly to the pedals. Notably in the film of Merckx's one hour record, in training he's so exhausted his coach or trainer has to catch him and free his foot from the pedal -- common in track with fixed gear since the exhausted rider couldn't simply coast and reach down to easily loosen the buckle. (Friends who've ridden track with clipless say it's not much easier.)
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Old 08-13-20, 06:06 AM
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Straps keep my feet where they belong, comfortably.

Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
Don't tuck in the ends through the buckle. Pull the loose end to cinch them. Flip (yank on) the open end of the buckle with your thumb to loosen them. Practice this inside leaning against a wall if you want. Practice some more. After a while it becomes instinctive.


Leave them loose in town and in traffic until you get used to them. Tighten when you get to open road. Don't forget to loosen before stop signs! Mostly they are useful for climbing and sprinting.


Don't try to use them with some sort of lugged sole running shoes. Stick to smooth soles.

+10 What he said. Never put the strap through the buckle, (unless you are on a track, going for the hour record), The buckle end should work like the flip top on a can, to loosen the strap, Anticipate a little and open them early. If using cleats, lift them early too, so you're sure you can put your foot down. Salamandrine uses his thumb, I use the inside of my pointer finger of loosely closed hand.


THIS IS IMPORTANT:

*** Make sure that the strap works properly. it should tighten easily with a quick tug, and flip loose easily too. The buckle edge should be easy to flip with pedal near 12 oclock... Rough, difficult straps, use for other things, until you're pro. They should roll smoothly, then it will be easy, (as long as you remember to do it). I still reach down sometimes to loosen the buckle, only to find I'm riding clipless...
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Old 08-13-20, 06:21 AM
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What they all said. I used them exclusively in the late 60' and 70's. It like learning to ride a bike. If you are mechanically inclined, think about the constraints and the weak spot and what you need to do to take advantage of it. Pre-meditated preparation helps a lot, especially as you ride. It becomes part of the process of braking. Avoid doing an Arte Johnson.
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Old 08-13-20, 06:31 AM
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Start with them loose and gradually get used to them and gradually tighten them over time. If I could do it as a ten year old you can do it! And that was with leather soled shoes and steel cleats that had zero play.
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Old 08-13-20, 07:50 AM
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When correctly installed you reach down and pull up on the buckle tab which loosens the strap enough to get your foot out.
So when you start off and get going you pull up on the strap, this tightens the strap. Tighten to comfort. You come to a situation where you may need to stop loosen one foot strap for if you do need to stop.
Do this enough and it becomes second nature.
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Old 08-13-20, 08:17 AM
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Just try them out, using the advice given already! I've been using toe clips/straps since the early '70s, with either non cleated riding shoes (Avocet Mod. 30) or cleated (Detto Pietros with TA Anquetil nailed on cleats or Diadoras with bolt on cleats).

As mentioned previously, never, ever tuck the straps into the buckles! I made this mistake the first time using my Dettos in town, came up to a stoplight and couldn't get my foot out! Fortunately, I was right by a telephone pole so used it to stay upright while extricating the strap ends. When I ride toe clips/straps anymore I normally do not tighten them. I also ride clipless, and lately mountain bike-type flat pedals with the pins. If you can't get used to toe clips/straps, just use flat pedals. No one will care.
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Old 08-13-20, 08:50 AM
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I rode clips and straps for many years, but it wasn't until c. 1999 I really got comfortable with them. Now I use buckle pads on my straps and the little strap buttons on the ends of the straps. The pad is nice for comfort reasons, and the button makes it just that much easier to snag the strap as it goes by with the thumb and forefinger of my left hand when I'm reach to cinch it down. Slowing for a stop I'll reach down and use my slightly curled forefinger to tug upward on the buckle - though I could use the thumb to push down on the other end of the buckle's top plate. I do all of this on fixed-gears, which gave me the chance to master inserting a foot into a moving pedal. It's easier than it sounds, and MKS Sylvan Track pedals help. Maybe I should score a set of MKS's take on Berthet Mod. 23s.

I ride in older cycle touring shoes, usually old Sidis as sold by Rivendell in the early 2000s or a contemporary pair of Carnacs. The rise of Eroica has led to lots of sellers of vintage style cycling shoes. Maybe avoid cleats?

In 46 years of riding in toe clips and straps, I have fallen over exactly once. That was before I got my first real pair of cycling shoes, and was riding in my beat-up Adidas. They were so beat up that I had wrapped them with white surgical tape right before a ride. It was a hot day, maybe July or August in Macon, GA in 1978, and unbeknownst to me, within four or five miles the adhesive had saturated the cloth tape through to the outside, where it made contact with the flat sections of my Lyotard Berthet pedals. I slowed for a stop sign and went to put my foot down - only to find it was thoroughly glued to the pedal. There were cars going along on the road I wanted to cross, and my only option was to slowly topple over, kinda like Artie Johnson on his tricycle on Laugh-In, but with a lot more guttural consonants.
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Old 08-13-20, 09:53 AM
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I cut my teeth in the days of quill pedals and toeclips and nail-on slotted cleats. There was certainly a learning curve and everybody had to do it, but I'm not sure there's any value in learning it for the first time now.

Also, those quill pedals were too narrow for any type of shoe that wasn't especially made for them so they were really uncomfortable to use with running shoes.

For Eroica last year I went with my commuter flat platform pedals with clips and some smooth sole sneakers - very much like I use all the time on my commuter and errand bike. You could learn to use a setup like this in a lot less time, and there's a lot lower possibility of spectacular user error. It pretty much had the vintage look and it worked better than cleats would have in the soft gravel and almost as well as cleats would have in the steep stuff, and no foot pain. I practiced for about a month like this doing my regular ride up the local mountain before Eroica.



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Old 08-13-20, 10:00 AM
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I saw Tom Ritchey at Eroica California a few years ago at the top of Cypress Mountain. He was off the bike but there were clips and straps on his shoes as he was walking around. Apparently he just rode in his normal clip-less pedals and attached the clips and straps to the shoe! Brilliantly original thinking.
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Old 08-13-20, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
Same answer you get in NYC when you ask how to get to Carnegie Hall.
@1:37

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Old 08-13-20, 10:12 AM
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I have my straps on, but not tightened. I could just use the clips- the straps are just there for appearance.

I don't 'race' or anything, but my foot feels loose and lost on pedals without clips or some sort of foot retention.

As far as "tips," I was terrified of getting them, but someone said "you'll fall down a couple of times, but then you'll get it." Pretty much exactly how it worked.
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Old 08-13-20, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Oldairhead View Post
I saw Tom Ritchey at Eroica California a few years ago at the top of Cypress Mountain. He was off the bike but there were clips and straps on his shoes as he was walking around. Apparently he just rode in his normal clip-less pedals and attached the clips and straps to the shoe! Brilliantly original thinking.
Yeah, there are toe clip / strap devices with cleats that snap into clipless pedals. You also have the option of loosening the straps and sliding your feet out, leaving them on the pedals. I'm surprised that Eroica would allow that. Then again, it was Tom Ritchey.....

Gotta wonder what he did at brief stops, whether he snapped out (which I would think would be frowned upon) or slid his foot out of the clip. (Oh, that's right, it was Tom, he probably track-stood every stop.... )
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