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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 04-24-11, 10:26 PM   #1
WonderMonkey
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Two questions - Toe Cages & Night Time Lights

I take my bike into my LBS for servicing tomorrow. A co-worker suggested toe cages. They sound like a good idea because I'll be able to keep my legs engaged in more of the pedaling circle than without it. Thoughts on this? Brands to suggest? The LBS only has one kind and I don't remember which but since I don't know any better I'll go with his recommendation unless you folks have any other thoughts.

Since I ride at night, even though it is mostly bike path, I need to have the proper lights. Not only is it a good idea but when I am on the road it is the law (I'm pretty sure). Right now I use a light that I've mounted to my helmet. It's the kind that you usually have on a band around your head for hiking, etc. What would you suggest for a red rear light and some sort of front light?
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Old 04-24-11, 11:44 PM   #2
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Bike lights have gone through some amazing evolution in the last 20 years. Advances in rechargable batteries and LED lights have changed the tune completely.

For red back lights, I have 2 blinkies. One on the helmet, and one on the bike. I also wear a reflective vest. Being seen from behind is really important to me.

For front lights, we bought my girlfriend a $150 LED. It provides what we believe to be enough illumination to see while riding on the MUP. $150 is now just above the entry level front lights. The most expensive I've seen is $800 !

Enjoy the shopping. Nothing wrong checking what's available from REI.
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Old 04-25-11, 01:02 AM   #3
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For lighting, check out the Magicshine model. It's a LED light that comes with a rechargable battery that lasts ~3hrs on it's brightest setting. The lighting section this site should have plenty of info on it as it's a pretty popular light due to it's brightness/cost (I spent -$100 on mine). I do all my riding at night and I love this light-really happy with my purchase. I would not mind a investment into a dyno hub, but, that's a big step up in cost.
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Old 04-25-11, 05:49 AM   #4
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I don't think you'll find much differences, if any, among toe clip manufacturers. In fact, you may not find more than one manufacturer or model at whatever shop you visit. The main thing to consider is whether the shoe you like to wear will fit in them. In the old days they used to be sized, and you wanted to make sure they were long enough to get the ball of your foot over the pedal spindle. I don't know if you have that luxury in today's down-sized toe clip market. Of course there's always the tried and true work-around of putting spacers or stacks of washers between the clip's mounting plate and the front of the pedal.

As far as material goes, I was never a fan of plastic ones - I always went with the chrome-plated spring steel.
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Old 04-25-11, 08:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
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For lighting, check out the Magicshine model. It's a LED light that comes with a rechargable battery that lasts ~3hrs on it's brightest setting. The lighting section this site should have plenty of info on it as it's a pretty popular light due to it's brightness/cost (I spent -$100 on mine). I do all my riding at night and I love this light-really happy with my purchase. I would not mind a investment into a dyno hub, but, that's a big step up in cost.
We have a lighting section? I need to get to the main page more often!
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Old 04-25-11, 08:37 AM   #6
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Thanks for the thoughts, all.
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Old 04-25-11, 10:57 AM   #7
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PlanetBike Superflash is a great rear light.

I prefer two rear lights - one flashing, one solid.

I prefer two front lights - one flashing, one solid.

MagicShine is the light I'll go with next fall when I start to regularly need a headlight again.
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Old 04-25-11, 02:09 PM   #8
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I do a fair amount of riding at night. The advice on rear lights is spot on - they are there to make sure you are seen.

Front lights serve two purposes - to be seen and to see. I've had really good luck with 3 brands - Niterider, Stella (Light & Motion) and Cygolight. In my (limited) experience the brands seem fairly equivalent at a given price point in terms of brightness and battery life. The really important consideration becomes how far ahead do you need to see? (aka how fast are you riding at night). My personal bias has been to buy the most expensive lights I can afford. The really expensive ones get close to as bright as a car headlight.

I like to have 2 bright lights - one on the helmet and one on the handlebars. The one on the helmet will illuminate where you are looking, which won't always be where your handlebars are pointed - especially if you are cornering at speed, which will involve countersteering. The one on the handlebars I have pointed down a bit to make sure I spot potholes and obstacles - it doesn't need to be as bright as the helmet one. Just be careful to look down when talking to anyone - otherwise you'll ruin their night vision for a while!

I have also learned the hard way to carry a small light AAA powered light in my pocket, just in case one of the main lights didn't take a charge or I'm riding longer than expected (it's happened on a couple of double centuries), or for when I'm riding and there's a chance I'll still be out after dark, but don't plan to be. A bad light is still better than none at all, and will make sure you are visible to drivers.

JB
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Old 04-25-11, 02:30 PM   #9
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As far as lights go, you can get a P7 from dealextreme for about $30. Usually you will need batteries and a charger, but they run for about $15. The magicshine also gets a lot of praise.

For a rear light the Planet Bike SuperFlash is highly recommended, and with the 1watt version out is has gotten even better.

For cages they all seem to be about the same. I have the PowerGrips on all of my bikes and I like them a lot.
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Old 04-25-11, 02:33 PM   #10
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best bang for the buck on light, try geomangear, he is a bfer and has a wide range of lights.. You really do not need to spend more than 150.00 for a very good light

http://www.geomangear.com/
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Old 04-25-11, 02:50 PM   #11
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I've been planning wearing my helmet light for the reasons you stated. Last night there was a bit of fog and it was helpful to look ahead around corners to make sure there wasn't a log in the road, etc.

Backup lights, batteries, etc. are all goes ideas.
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Old 04-25-11, 03:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I take my bike into my LBS for servicing tomorrow. A co-worker suggested toe cages. They sound like a good idea because I'll be able to keep my legs engaged in more of the pedaling circle than without it. Thoughts on this?
Your friend is correct. The toe clips make cycling a bit easier; you can use them to pull the pedals up instead of pushing them down, and rest some of your muscles while you ride. It's also a bit easier (just a little) to climb hills in them. Don't cinch them down too tight, though, or you'll have trouble getting out when you need to.

If they work out for you, down the line, you might want to look into clipless pedals.
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Old 04-25-11, 05:02 PM   #13
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If I prove to myself I'm going to keep riding I may look into those. I have a fear of trying to get out of those things and not being able to as you mentioned on the cages and cinching them down too tight.
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Old 04-25-11, 07:19 PM   #14
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Clipless pedals don't eliminate the need to plan ahead to get your feet free. Both systems require that. It's just that getting loose from clipless pedals is all done with your foot motion, while cinched-tight clips and straps require a hand to reach down and loosen them.
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Old 04-25-11, 07:36 PM   #15
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I don't think you'll find much differences, if any, among toe clip manufacturers. In fact, you may not find more than one manufacturer or model at whatever shop you visit. The main thing to consider is whether the shoe you like to wear will fit in them. In the old days they used to be sized, and you wanted to make sure they were long enough to get the ball of your foot over the pedal spindle. I don't know if you have that luxury in today's down-sized toe clip market. Of course there's always the tried and true work-around of putting spacers or stacks of washers between the clip's mounting plate and the front of the pedal.

As far as material goes, I was never a fan of plastic ones - I always went with the chrome-plated spring steel.
MKS and Velo Orange still make toe clips in different sizes. I wear a size 12/12.5 and the MKS deep LL (aka XL) works great for me.
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Old 04-25-11, 07:59 PM   #16
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Clipless pedals don't eliminate the need to plan ahead to get your feet free. Both systems require that. It's just that getting loose from clipless pedals is all done with your foot motion, while cinched-tight clips and straps require a hand to reach down and loosen them.
Either way I expect to destroy my body before getting used to either.
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Old 04-25-11, 08:36 PM   #17
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PlanetBike Superflash is a great rear light.

I prefer two rear lights - one flashing, one solid.

I prefer two front lights - one flashing, one solid.
x 2


The Radbot 1000 is also an excellent tail light.

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Old 04-26-11, 08:34 AM   #18
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Your friend is correct. The toe clips make cycling a bit easier; you can use them to pull the pedals up instead of pushing them down, and rest some of your muscles while you ride. It's also a bit easier (just a little) to climb hills in them. Don't cinch them down too tight, though, or you'll have trouble getting out when you need to.

If they work out for you, down the line, you might want to look into clipless pedals.
I'd say skip the clips and go directly to clipless. Yes, there is a learning curve for clipless and, yes, you may experience an embarrassing (very slow speed) crash but there is also a learning curve for toe clips. With clipless...especially 2 sided mountain bike pedals...if your foot hits the pedal, you'll likely engage. With clips, you have to rotate the pedal and hunt around for the space to put your foot then reach down and cinch the strap if you want a more positive engagement with the pedal. Most people don't bother with cinching them down because it's mostly a pain to do and you have to plan much further ahead to release the strap vs. simply rotating your foot.
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Old 04-26-11, 09:39 AM   #19
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I have a magicshine and it is a great light for the price. On high the light is super bright, med is more thabn adequate for trail riding. I use the blinking mode in the day and it helps with visibility and the battery lasts a long time on blink. I also have the magicshine tail and it is a good light also. Geomangear is a great company as already stated above.
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Old 04-26-11, 11:30 AM   #20
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I'm narrowing down a purchase. At the price I'd like to spend right now and considering I ride mostly bike paths and wear a head light as well I'm thinking...

Planet Bike 3040 Superflash Tail Light and Blaze Headlight Light Set
http://www.amazon.com/Planet-Bike-30...3838230&sr=8-3



The Magicshine and others look great but they are above what I'd like to invest. If I keep riding I'll upgrade at some point.
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Old 04-26-11, 11:51 AM   #21
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I am going to take this over to the lighting sub-forum.

Thanks for all your inputs though.
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Old 04-26-11, 12:46 PM   #22
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I'd say skip the clips and go directly to clipless. Yes, there is a learning curve for clipless and, yes, you may experience an embarrassing (very slow speed) crash but there is also a learning curve for toe clips. With clipless...especially 2 sided mountain bike pedals...if your foot hits the pedal, you'll likely engage. With clips, you have to rotate the pedal and hunt around for the space to put your foot then reach down and cinch the strap if you want a more positive engagement with the pedal. Most people don't bother with cinching them down because it's mostly a pain to do and you have to plan much further ahead to release the strap vs. simply rotating your foot.
I actually think clipless pedals are safer than toe clips, because getting out is always the same (easy) motion, and because it doesn't get harder to get out if you cinch the straps down tight. Great post, Cyccommute.



I have this light set. The only problem I have is that the headlight seems to come a bit loose from time to time, and then the light wants to point too far downward. So I tighten it back up.
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Old 04-26-11, 12:57 PM   #23
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What are clipless pedals? Are you talking the toe cages or the straps?
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Old 04-26-11, 01:23 PM   #24
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Clipless pedals, ironically enough, are the ones you clip into. Road pedals (most of them, anyway) work much like ski bindings - toe of the cleat goes into the front of the pedal, push down with the heal until it clicks. Rotate the heel far enough, and you unclip. Mountain bike pedals in practice work much the same way, although the mechanics of clipping in are easier when you are learning, and combined with mountain bike shoes, the smaller cleats make for easier walking around off the bike. There are even some pros who have used mountain bike pedals for road races, so good ones are up for most anything we're doing. Thus, it really comes down to preferences. I use Look Keo pedals (popular road pedals), but if I had to do it over again would probably go for Crank Bros. Egg Beaters (mountain bike pedals that you also see on lots of cyclocross and touring bikes). YMMV.

JB
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Old 04-26-11, 01:41 PM   #25
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Don't be confused by the word "clipless" in "clipless pedals." The clips it refers to are toe clips, which are what you've been calling toe cages.

Yes, with "clipless" pedals you do "clip in" with your cleat, but the connection is completely between the pedal and your cleat, and doesn't rely on the use of toe clips and straps. No toe clips = "clipless."
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