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Anyone go to flat pedals from a life of clipless?

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Anyone go to flat pedals from a life of clipless?

Old 05-27-10, 04:21 PM
  #1  
Austinite
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Anyone go to flat pedals from a life of clipless?

I've just ordered a touring bike (LHT) which will actually be my "do everything except race" bike. It's for commuting to work (8mi each way), bringing home stuff from the farmer's market, hauling my toddlers in the trailer, running errands, avoiding car use, and yes - probably at some point actually a bit o' touring. I come from a roadie background - so I ride with Speedplays on that bike and I've ridden with SPD mountain cleats on others.

BUT, on the LHT I'm seriously considering just throwing flats or flats w/ straps on there. Is that common w/ this sort of scenario? Yes, I know there are threads on clipless pedals but folks are usually trying to decide whether to GO clipless. I'm just trying to decide, when my bike arrives, whether to just throw on flats (or straps) and leave the bike more "usable".
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Old 05-27-10, 04:59 PM
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I pretty much asked the same question - or at least a very similar one a few days ago and got some great input of peoples experience with platform pedals for touring and commuting (I had specifically asked about touring). The responses were all positive enought that I am going to give it a go on my new commuter/tourer (which I don't have yet). Lots of great recommendations for pedal types on the thread below.


http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...latform-Pedals
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Old 05-27-10, 05:07 PM
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It's a fairly inexpensive experiment. I try it about once a year and always go back to clipless.
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Old 05-27-10, 05:13 PM
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I now have 30,000 miles with no straps.

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Old 05-27-10, 05:30 PM
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I run Shimano Mountain pedals... You couldn't pay me to ride anything but clipless unless it was a beach cruiser. I don't do beach cruisers.

That being said.. give it a try. You will come back to the force after your little experiment.
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Old 05-27-10, 06:14 PM
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Try shimano a530 or another pedal that's double sided. I have them on my 520 and just use the clipless side for rides longer than 10 miles at a time. As I get older I'm finding that I like versatility in my bikes more and more.
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Old 05-27-10, 06:36 PM
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I happily use MKS GR9's

without straps but with these

on my commuter general tooling around the city bike.

They work great and cost around $42 all together. The convenience of being able to wear street shoes and substantial cost savings vs another set of speedplays (that I do use on my road bike) induced me to give them a try. I'm really happy with this setup.
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Old 05-27-10, 06:40 PM
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I know someone who went from clipless to flats after knee replacement surgery. But a couple of years later, after his knees were fully recovered, he went back.

I have clipless pedals on both my bikes, and kind of miss the carefree days of jumping on my bike at a moment's notice. Changing into cycling shoes is a drag. Even so, I'm hooked on the less convenient alternative!
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Old 05-27-10, 07:12 PM
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After many years as a happy clipless user, I experimented with a set of the MKS pedals that Rivendell sells as the Grip King (I think they are actually the MKS Lambda?).

I had a lot of fun last summer commuting in tennis shoes. I loved the ability to jump off and on the bike with no cleats clicking at all (I had used SPD's prior to that). In the winter, though, I switched back to SPD's because I have a great pair of SPD waterproof cyclocross boots, and I couldn't find great waterproof shoes otherwise to wear on a bike that didn't slip around.

Now that it's spring again I went back to the platforms but didn't love them. I tried a couple of other things, but am back to SPD pedals again.
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Old 05-27-10, 09:06 PM
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I used to ride clipless pedals only,I even used them on my LHT.
But I changed over to platform pedals for my LHT,I still run clipless on my road bike.
I now use bmx style pedals with the pins on my LHT and I couldn't be happier.
Platform pedals makes a bike so much more usefull and ready to ride than clipless pedals are,plus there is the advantage to not haveing to carry extra shoes while touring.

So I say try the platform pedals,you just may like them.
One thing to remember though is that there is a relearning curve you will go through.
Your feet are no longer firmly planted on the pedal so you may feel like they will fall off at any time,they won't.
Just don't go jumping over curbs and riding wheelies and you will do fine.
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Old 05-27-10, 09:13 PM
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I'm a die-hard clipless roadie, but when I built up a beater bike for all-around use -- including my short daily commute -- I experimented with a few options. My road shoes (keo) were just too ungainly off the bike, eg walking into work. I tried mtn bike shoes and pedals, but they still required a change and weren't as nice a ride as the keos I was used to.

I found strappy toe clips really hard to use, and kind of dangerous.

Eventually I settled on "power grip" straps, and I have to say I'm really happy with them. I can commute in casual work shoes, but they have a clever design that gives you a really snug fit.

My only complaint is that they would get annoying on a really long ride. But then, thats not what they're for. For ambling around town, and wearing civilian shoes, they get my vote.
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Old 05-27-10, 09:13 PM
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Honestly, pedals and saddles are very personal choices. What works for the majority of others may not be best for you. While most people here are perfectly happy with platform pedals, I prefer the "connected" feeling of being clipped in, whether riding across town or across the country.

Fortunately, it's cheap to test a set of flat pedals to see if you like them. The pedals themselves are pretty cheap and there are no expensive shoes to buy. Just try them.
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Old 05-27-10, 11:31 PM
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Why not get something like the "Campus" SPD pedals which look like caged pedals but on one side have SPD bindings? You can ride them with SPD-cleated shoes OR regular street shoes. They can be found on sale for $30-40.
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Old 05-28-10, 02:52 AM
  #14  
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I went from using clipless with both feet to using clipless for my left foot only. I use a platform pedal for my right foot.
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Old 05-28-10, 03:17 AM
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In the last couple of years I've started to do some light touring on my Dutch bike. 3sp hub, high handlebars, gear in the grocery panniers. Lazy, happy cruising. 60km feels like a big day at those speeds. Running shoes are great for visiting some old castle or fortress at lunchtime.
The hills are bothersome, though. I really like to stand up and pull when riding my road or mountain bike. Can't do that very well on flat pedals. So I sit back down and grind away in slow motion. Eventually I get there.
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Old 05-28-10, 05:06 AM
  #16  
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Sure, I went from using Look and Time road pedals for 20+ years to Wellgo MG-1's on my sport touring bike. The grip is superior. I can climb the steepest of grades and I have no worries of my feet moving. I get the Wellgo's on ebay for about 30 bucks.
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Old 05-28-10, 06:28 AM
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Gave up SPDs, my legs thank me every ride. My LHT equiped with my old Christophe clips and straps on MKS touring pedals.
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Old 05-28-10, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by acantor View Post
I have clipless pedals on both my bikes, and kind of miss the carefree days of jumping on my bike at a moment's notice. Changing into cycling shoes is a drag. Even so, I'm hooked on the less convenient alternative!
Yeah, I'm trying to make sure this bike doesn't give me excuses NOT to jump on it to go run an errand. In my roadie life, I "have" to get suited up and put on ridiculous unwalkable shoes. Even though I know there are highly walkable SPD-based shoes out there and I could put pedals for that on my LHT, part of me doesn't want this bike to demand special shoes, cleats, etc. I'd end up with yet another special ($$) set of footwear that isn't what I'd ordinarily be wearing at my destination. This bike is going to be for the anti-roadie in me.

That said, I'd consider the pedals with an *option* for clipping in on one side!
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Old 05-28-10, 08:03 AM
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I went from 100% clipless to mostly flat pedals on all my bikes including my touring bikes. The freedom to wear street shoes has been awesome and I have not missed anything about riding clipless.



The only bike I keep clipless on is my cross bike which is setup as a all weather road bike and frankly I don't enjoy clipping in, but I see it as a useful feature for fast road rides.



Several of my friends made the switch at the same time several years ago and nobody has gone back. I generally use BMX flats since they provide a big secure platform that is comfortable even in a flexible shoe.



I was in the washroom of a restaurant along a very popular touring route locally and a guy came in wearing a cycling jersey, padded bike shorts, helmet, and spd shoes. I chatted with him about his ride and we walked out together...well I walked...he had clip clop carefully so he didn't wipe out....I checked out his touring rig and gave him two thumbs up for having a cool bike and then I walked over to my LHT. He gave me a shocked look when he realized I was a touring cyclist as well. I was wearing a pair of runners, street shorts, a running t-shirt and ball cap.

I really enjoy riding my bike covert style without a cycling uniform and haven't seen any reason to go back for most of my riding.
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Old 05-28-10, 08:19 AM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by vik View Post
... I was a touring cyclist as well. I was wearing a pair of runners, street shorts, a running t-shirt and ball cap.
I really enjoy riding my bike covert style without a cycling uniform and haven't seen any reason to go back for most of my riding.
My case is exactly the same, with only one difference: I always have an helmet instead of baseball cap

I suggest any reader experiment some days forgetting cycling wear, cycling shoes and straps/hooks in pedals too. Enjoy freedom!!

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Old 05-28-10, 10:50 AM
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I just converte my two road bikes from clipless to toe clips. My new tourer already has toe clips. I got tired of wearing bike specific shoes, though I had MTB shoes with shimano clipless which allowed me to walk albeit not as comfortably as with trail runners or sandals. I also got tired of having to twist my leg to get out. I felt that now that I'm a little bit older (see my post on this topic in the over 50 forum) I might increase my chances of falling. I much prefer the convenience of wearing any shoes that I'm in the mood for rather than always having to don the cycling shoes. For recreational riders, I do not see the advantage of clipless. Any mechanical advantage in terms of energy transferal really has to be negligible. All this business about pulling up is also a minor point. I rarely pull up. Besides, you can pull up with toe clips. When I was younger I bought into all the bike specific gear, but now that I'm older and retired, I see things differently. I like the toe clips rather than just the platform pedals because when I'm pedaling hard I don't want my foot to slip off the pedal.
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Old 05-28-10, 12:11 PM
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Power grips!!!!
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Old 05-28-10, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Austinite View Post
I've just ordered a touring bike (LHT) which will actually be my "do everything except race" bike. It's for commuting to work (8mi each way), bringing home stuff from the farmer's market, hauling my toddlers in the trailer, running errands, avoiding car use, and yes - probably at some point actually a bit o' touring. I come from a roadie background - so I ride with Speedplays on that bike and I've ridden with SPD mountain cleats on others.

BUT, on the LHT I'm seriously considering just throwing flats or flats w/ straps on there. Is that common w/ this sort of scenario? Yes, I know there are threads on clipless pedals but folks are usually trying to decide whether to GO clipless. I'm just trying to decide, when my bike arrives, whether to just throw on flats (or straps) and leave the bike more "usable".
I have two bikes, one with clipless and one with platforms. I use the platforms on my townie bike for many of the scenarios you describe here, and I find them much better for such errand type trips. Reason number one is I live in an urban environment, and this necessitates a lot of stopping and starting during a typical ride. I really don't care for constant clipping in/out of pedals during these rides, and have a much more enjoyable ride with the platforms. When I arrive at my destination, it is definitely preferable to hop off the bike and walk around in regular shoes. When I take longer recreational rides, where I can pedal for miles without stopping, I use the other bike with the clipless pedals. However, I am currently rethinking this, and may end up just going with platforms all the time. I think I would prefer platforms on a tour, because I would rather have just one pair of shoes. I have never liked straps though, and much prefer just a basic platform pedal.
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Old 05-28-10, 01:44 PM
  #24  
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I confess to liking some of the accouterments of "serious" cycling. Some items have joined my list of "indispensable" touring toys. As much as I miss the carefree days of riding in whatever shoes I was wearing, I find that for multi-day tours in hilly terrain, a shoe that bonds you to the pedal is too great an advantage to pass by. Similarly, for years I toured in T-shirts. Now I wear a long sleeved jersey. It's much cooler (temperature!) when the material next to your skin draws away moisture and protects your skin from the sun. Also, both my touring bicycles have aerobars. After a couple of hours gripping the handlebars, my hands, arms, shoulders, and neck appreciate a change. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I would not be able to take extended tours if it were not for aerobars.

Maybe I look like a cycling geek in my cycling shoes, jersey, and aerobars. But for me, it's all about comfort!

Last edited by acantor; 05-28-10 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 05-28-10, 02:40 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by acantor View Post
Maybe I look like a cycling geek in my cycling shoes, jersey, and aerobars. But for me, it's all about comfort!
+1 - ultimately you should have fun on your bike!

I think it's important to challenge the conventional wisdom in cycling because in many cases there are better options, but if you enjoy clipless pedals and cycling jerseys then use 'em...there isn't one solution that's ideal for everyone...
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