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50+ Noob finally sold on foot retention

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50+ Noob finally sold on foot retention

Old 07-16-13, 02:45 PM
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50+ Noob finally sold on foot retention

I'm 53, and have been only seriously riding my road bike a little over a year now(had previously only done casual riding on a "comfort" hybrid). Up 'til now, I've stuck with platform pedals with spikes and grippy shoes (VP Thin Gripsters, and Chromes Kursks, respectively) purely out of a fear of falling--have never tried clipless or any other foot retention. I'm very lean and in quite good overall shape, but I have a shoulder issue and the thought of falling over due to being clipped in is not an appealing one.....
Well, I never felt like I was missing out on efficiency and all that not being clipped in--I'm not racing--but what started to become apparent to me, is that there were times (especially now that I'm riding ALOT more, and more aggressively) that being unattached felt downright precarious, even with those sticky pedals/shoes. Particularly hitting bumps on descents. The feeling of one's foot coming off the pedal even a little, and the sensation of lack of control is scary. It would happen at least once every ride, to varying degrees.
So, I installed some Hold Fast straps to my existing pedals (https://holdfastordie.com/), got them dialed in nicely, and I immediately felt...safer. It took about 2 minutes to get used to getting into them, and getting out is a cinch. Sure, I may forget to pull my foot out one of these days and topple anyway, but I'm convinced now that is the lesser of the two evils(the other being losing control when your feet come off the pedals at a fast speed). My cycling friends all say that my new rig is a "gateway drug" to going clipless, and that may be true, but this way at least I was able to try out foot retention for a minimal investment, and I'm totally sold on it.
Just thought I'd share this slight revelation!
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Old 07-16-13, 04:37 PM
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Just a word of warning, you will fall over at very low speed when
it all goes wrong, it happens to everyone, usually one foot out of
the pedals and you go somewhere where the foot in the pedal
can't cope, and you fall to the foot in the pedal side.

Whipping your typical drive foot out of the pedals with the other
foot off the pedals is something I can do but it looks terrible, it
looks like a panic attack, and doesn't feel a lot different, as you
are jumping out of a pedal against the back wheel, it always
looks dreadful, the backwheel locks up immediately if you
are using the rear brake, or lifts a lot of using the front.

It is not stylish, but again at low speed sometimes needed.

I use toeclips on my road bike and took off my homemade
Velcro "Powergrips" on the folder shortly after getting the
road bike, I prefer the difference than being the same.

rgds, sreten.

FWIW if anyone is asking I don't notice what pedals
I'm using, but I'm pretty sure I'm "light" on the pedals
when not using toeclips because I also use toeclips.

Last edited by sreten; 07-16-13 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 07-16-13, 06:30 PM
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I'm alternating between straps and clipless on a couple of bikes. There is a lot to be said for straps, except they can get hot. Of course, the biggest plus is you can wear pretty much anything on your feet with straps, including street sandals.

Clipless are fun when you're hammering, no doubt your stroke is more efficient. This time I got pedals that literally blow the cleats out with a twist, much easier to rescue unclip if you forget..and alternating between set ups it's easy to forget..at least it was for me in the past.

Being married to one particular system is unnecessary if you can ride multiple bikes. It's sort of fun to make a switch and have a fresh experience on each bike. I currently have 2 bikes clipless, 4 bikes straps with different pedals, 2 bikes with powergrips, one mini toe clips and big bearclaws.

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Old 07-16-13, 07:13 PM
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Yeah, I only have the one bike for now---95% of the time I'm out for a dedicated ride in my cycling garb, but I will use it on an errand here and there in street clothes or a casual ride with the family once in a blue moon. I suspect clipless will be next, but this seems like a nice way to go for now--I can wear my Chromes shoes, Vans, etc.
One thing that is nice about this setup is, with the pedal flipped over, it's my same 'ol platform I'm used to, and in fact, the straps don't hit the ground, so even if I can't get in the strap quickly after a stop at an intersection or something, I can still pedal through it quite comfortably. I also can pull out of the pedals way ahead of stops this way and pedal along just fine too if I feel the need (though I wouldn't ride that way any real distance--if the pedal snagged on something that wouldn't be any fun!)
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Old 07-16-13, 09:38 PM
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Older experience rider given up on it.
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Old 07-16-13, 10:49 PM
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You'll put your eye out!
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Old 07-17-13, 12:40 AM
Time for a change.
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I'll get the Tombay Certificate ready. Application is now online by the way.
How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.

Spike Milligan
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Old 07-17-13, 06:28 AM
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I have been using old school toeclips and straps since 1968 and have no plans to change to anything else. Not having any retention at all would scare me the most, but having to switch mentally between jerk back to release and twist and lift to release is equally intimidating, so the only way I could go clipless would be to do so on all five bikes.
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
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Old 07-17-13, 06:49 AM
just keep riding
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Glad you overcame your fear. Happy riding.
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Old 07-17-13, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by stapfam
I'll get the Tombay Certificate ready. Application is now online by the way.
Actually, I HAVE fallen once in recent history--last spring I was riding my old upright "comfort" hybrid in a park with my son, and at about .25 mph, next to a curb, I just did something--I don't even recall exactly what, but it started out by trying to avoid a little 4-5 year old girl careening towards me on her wee bike. My pedal hit the curb, and I toppled VERY slowly over to the right, onto grass. Now, this was with plain 'ol stock platform pedals, AND onto GRASS. I don't expect that qualifies me, huh? Is there another club for this sort of feat?

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Old 07-17-13, 09:15 AM
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Well. I'm in practically the same boat, 52 YO and just went to SPD clipless late last year. And as other's have stated, you are almost guaranteed to fall, usually at very slow speed or stopped - but it still hurts. I fell 2.5 times - last time I just got unclipped as the bike fell over and caught it before it hit the ground and remained upright, however the bike still hit my thigh and calf pretty hard and left bruises.

What I noticed is an increase in speed and stamina. I think that by spreading the load to a different set of muscles helps to keep the muscles you use exclusively when pushing from working as much. As you learn to share the load and pull UP with the opposite leg it spreads the load over more muscle groups. I notice an increase in calf strength.
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Old 07-17-13, 10:41 AM
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Shimano has a new system called Click'r. You might check it out. YouTube has some stuff on it.
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Old 07-17-13, 11:37 AM
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I'm 53. In early 1987 when I bought a new bike, the guy at the LBS told me that if I wasn't going to use toe clips, I should buy a mountain bike and ride upright. Well, I ignored THAT advice. I rode that bike for 23 years with regular ol' platforms, no spikes, no straps, shoes no grippier than your basic cross trainers. In some ways, I liked being the only cyclist out on some serious roads with no foot retention.

Finally, about 3 1/2 years ago, I went to Powergrips on my then 23 year old bike. Did it improve efficiency? Perhaps a little. Fairly imperceptible. But I knew it was probably my gateway to clipless. Only fell once, and that was when I had to make an emergency stop going up a pretty steep hill, did fine on the stop, did lousy on the re-start.

Then a little over a year ago, after 25 years on the old steed, I got a new bike, and for the first time, actually got cycling shoes. Partly to see if the stiffer shoes improved efficiency (perhaps a little, again, fairly imperceptible to me). Partly because I was going to get used to everything but the new pedals and new method of clipping in and out before going clipless.

A month ago I finally gave in. I was used to the new bike, used to the shoes, and I actually got the clipless pedals. The 3 1/2 years on Powergrips definitely got me used to having to get the foot out. I am sure I will fall soon, but it hasn't happened yet. Did it improve efficiency? I think so, more perceptible than the change to Powergrips or the change to cycling shoes. The hardest thing? Getting used to using a different set of muscles. I currently have a slight decrease in stamina while the muscles not previously used are getting adjusted.

Haven't fallen with the clipless yet, but I am expecting it will happen.

The inability to wear whatever shoes I want hasn't bothered me yet. It probably does help that I have 2 other bikes, my now 26 year old bike and a hybrid I inherited from my best friend when he passed away, so I don't have to swap pedals to do a short ride in other shoes.

To the OP, I suggest that someday, perhaps after you have become used to foot retention and the need to get your foot out, try clipless. Your experience may vary, but you may find a significant increase in efficiency from the Hold Fast straps. It only took me 3 1/2 years to move from my initial form of foot retention to clipless, you can wait a long while and still beat my time.
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Old 07-17-13, 11:57 AM
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I ride SPD's and have been for several years. And ya, I fell down a couple of times. They're still adjusted to the lightest release setting. I have bear traps pedals, street tires and a rack pack on the MTB for runs down the the store/etc. for small stuff. Yep, the bicycle is capable of doing light transportation chores with street clothes!
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Old 07-17-13, 12:16 PM
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If you use SPDs, the SH-56 cleats are FAAARRRRR easier to clip-out than the standard SH-55s that come with SPD shoes.

BTW, I've gone clipless not for reasons one would guess. The clips for toe clips kept putting pressure on my second toe, especially the left foot, and it's taken forever for the injuries to heal. When I went clipless, the toe was healing much faster--it also helped that I stayed off the bike for 11 days too. But, clipless seems better for my diabetic feet than toe clips and quill pedals.

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Old 07-17-13, 12:39 PM
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I had used mini toe clips for years until I took the plunge into clipless. I like the comfort of the mountain bike shoes with the recessed cleats and clipping in and out has not been a problem except in stop and go traffic conditions it gets to be a pain. I like the fact that I don't have to keep adjusting my foot to the pedal position constantly anymore and just spin away.
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Old 07-17-13, 01:16 PM
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Thanks for all the insights. Yeah, I haven't really noticed a big difference in efficiency or power yet, though I do feel SOME. I am pulling up to a degree (or thinking about it at least!) As I say, the main thing I felt right out of the gate was I felt safer--seems to breed confidence being attached.
I did have one bad bike wreck when I was 26, on a rocky dirt road, fast descent on a rental mountain bike with just platform pedals. That was a long time ago, and things are a little fuzzy to say the least, but I do remember thinking if my feet hadn't bounced off the pedals I might have been able to correct and not go down. As I say, that was a long time ago (but I CLEARLY remember picking gravel out of my arm with tweezers for an hour when I got home--have the scars to remind me
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Old 07-18-13, 06:44 AM
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I feel much safer clipped in. I am one with the bike and can maneuver more nimbly knowing my feet are connected to the pedals.
Going up hills is where I notice the biggest gain in efficiency.
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