Pedal power

If you are a bike mechanic or a racing cyclist, you should probably look away now: the rest of this post is bound to offend you.

I’ve just carried out a few "modifications" to my new bike. This involved using a pair of sharp scissors and some brute force.

I decided after a trial run yesterday, in which I spent about 30 minutes doing laps of the local streets, that pedals with toe clips and straps are just too dangerous for commuter cycling. I can appreciate that they are beneficial for long-distance riding and competitive racing, but for use in stop-start traffic they are too much of a hindrance — and I could just see myself falling off my bike if I tried to use them during my usual commute.

So this afternoon I removed the buckled straps and then proceeded to cut off the plastic toe "cages" with a pair of very sharp scissors. I know, I know, I know. I winced with every snip! But at least I’ll be able to cycle without worrying if I can untangle my toes in time to stop at the next set of traffic lights. 

I’ll see how things pan out this week, but I figure I’ll be heading to Evans at some point to invest in some double-sided platform pedals — or simply "recycle" the ones from my old bike.

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4 thoughts on “Pedal power

  1. Oh dear you should have persevered with them as in the long run you will grow to love them! I’ve been using clips/straps for years and it does take a little while to get used to them but the extra power and control you have when actually part of the bike is worth the initial trepidation. I’m thinking of moving on to proper clipless shoes and pedals – but it is quite an expense if I don’t like it.
    BTW – you could have just unscrewed the toe-clips so that you could have given it another try in the future……

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  2. I had toe clips some years ago, but gave them up in favour of some MTB-style clipless pedals. These (and the accompanying shoes) are somewhat different to the road-racer clipless in that you can actually walk in the shoes because the cleats are embedded rather than sticking out three feet.
    The pedals I’m currently running have that set up on one side, and just an ordinary “platform” pedal on the other — it gives me the option of pedalling without “clipping in” should I decide that’s what any given situation requires.

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  3. The old straps are dangerous, but I’ve seen plenty of people go halfway with just the clips.
    I ride clipless, same as Chris posted about. SPDs with casual commutinng bike shoes and recessed cleats. Comfortable to wear all day and walk around in, but also with the benefit of clipless.
    If you still feel like you need to be secured to the pedals but don’t want to be tied to wearing bike shoes all the time, PowerGrips are nice. I have an old mountain bike with PowerGrips and they work well.

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  4. Jezzer, I did consider taking the clips off properly (by unscrewing them) but figured it wasn’t worth the effort: I’d already made my mind up that I was never going to feel comfortable using these pedals. Hence the scissors!
    Chris, I like the idea of dual purpose pedals. Sounds like you have the best of both worlds.
    Fritz, I thought the straps were too dangerous for commuting, but I like the sound of PowerGrips. I will look into them.

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