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Basic Bicycle Anatomy 101 - Pedals & Shoes



Standard Platform Pedals


Platform pedals are the most common.

Clean, simple, & straight forward.


"Toe Clip" Pedals

Toe Clips used to be the-thing to have right before "clipless" pedals came out. Toe Clips clip your toes in. They give you the ability to lift with your foot on the up-stroke as your non-force foot returns to the 12 o'clock position of a stroke. This saves energy by using different muscle groups allowing you to ride farther. Cons: this pedal style has a tendency to create in the rider a habit of wearing regular shoes with them. While regular shoes cost less than cycling shoes they do have tread and this tread has a tendency to grip the pedal when you want your foot out of the "toe clip". They take some getting used to but they're more advanced and more useful than platform pedals.


Clipless Pedals

Clipless pedals... where do I begin?
Clipless are called clip-less because they do not have a "clip" over your toe. These came into being after "toe-clip" pedals and what else are we to call them? As I have said before, cyclists are somewhat of an unimaginative lot when it comes to naming new gizmos. But intuitive thought is a good thing in this day and time, isn't it? It has been said that clipless pedals can give as much as 30% more power than regular pedals in that you can put serious torque on the return stroke of a pedal. The other great feature of riding clipless is that they keep your feet from vibrating off the pedal when riding off road mountain trails over rough terrain. This translates into security... one less thing you have to think about.


Many people who buy clipless pedals and shoes fall over after getting clipped in and get aggravated. They then say, I don't like clipless because I don't want to be trapped on my bike. I understand and agree with them entirely. However, it is not a complete thought process. As I recommend to all of my friends who got started with clipless, you must practice. My recommendation is to set your bike in a doorway facing the tv. Watch your favorite show while sitting on the bike IN THE DOORWAY with your shoulder braced against the door frame, hands on the handlebars with the brake levers pulled tight. Clip in and out with each foot 100 times. After that go to an empty parking lot and ride across the empty parking spaces at a time when the parking lot is safe. At every third space/line pretend you are coming to a stop sign and pull to a graceful stop. Do this 50 times with each foot. If you do this you will be a pro at clipping in and out and you won't even have to look down to find the pedal with your foot. Your foot will find it as easily as your hand finds the key hole on the steering column of your car to crank it up... it becomes second nature... you will be able to do it in pitch darkness. All of my friends who have done this the right way have never fallen over due to being "trapped" on the pedal. Having clipless pedals is probably the most ride altering feature that you can change. Ask your sales person for demonstration, explanation, and/or help installing or using them. We are more than happy to help you as we have helped so many others.

Remember: practice makes perfect. Using clipless pedals is a bit like driving a manual transmission. Learning to clip in and out is similar to learning to use the clutch on a stick shift... soon you won't have to think about pushing in the clutch when you drive your car up to a stop light or think about where to move the stick shift to get into first gear when the light turns green... you'll just do it naturally. The good thing about learning to use clipless pedals is that you can do it in the safety of your own home. Practice practice practice.


Clipless pedals are not for everyone and I'm not telling you that you have to get a pair for your bike. You must decide if clipless pedals are right for you. It is your responsibility to decide if your riding skills are adequate for clipless pedals. If you lack the skills to use clipless pedals then you should not attempt to use them.
Your safety is YOUR responsibility.


Road bike shoe & pedal

Company Brand: Look


Road bike shoe & pedal

Company Brand: Speedplay


Mountain bike shoe & pedal

Company Brand: Shimano (SPD)


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Bicycle Front End>>
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