As you may know, our honeymoon next month is a biking tour of northern Italy, and my training has me riding over 100 miles a week. Because of this, some of my biking gear needed an upgrade!
I recently switched from platform pedals (you know, the flat pedals that almost all bikes come with) to clipless pedals.
Side note: “Clipless pedals” is the most ridiculous name ever, because my shoes clip-in and attach to the pedals. Technically, it refers to the fact that there aren’t toe clips/a cage you slip your shoes into, but it still seems like a silly name to me.
Anyways, moving on.
There are two types of clip-in pedals: those for road biking and those for mountain biking. Road biking shoes are lighter, and the clips stick out. When you walk around in the shoes, you need to put covers over your clips to protect them.
That’s why I have mountain biking shoes and pedals, even though my bike is a road bike...the clips are recessed! The shoes may be a little heavier, but I haven’t really noticed, and when we are in Italy, I don’t want to have to mess with covers.
The new pedals and shoes have made SUCH a difference in my riding. Now, when I climb the intense Ithaca hills, I can pull UP in addition to pushing down. They give me more power, and are much easier on my knees.
All pedals are different in terms of their set-up, so I refer you to the instructions that come with your pedals. However, I will give you this tip of advice: put the clips on the loosest setting possible to start out with. Clipping in and out takes some getting used to, so better make it as easy on yourself as possible!
And on that note, I leave you with some lessons I’ve learned since getting clipless pedals:
Lesson learned: When pulling up to an intersection, always unclip one of your feet so that you can stop if you need to!
Lesson learned: When preparing to stop, unclip one of your feet AND lean slightly to the unclipped side. Otherwise, you will try to put both feet down at once, fail and fall on your side. Trust me, I did it twice on the first day (but not since then!)
Lesson learned: When preparing to stop, unclip EARLY. You can still pedal with the shoe unclipped. And then you can avoid those times when you just can’t for the life of you get your shoe out when you need to, and fall on gravel, giving you and your bike some ugly scrapes. Again, trust me on this one. Case in point? These lovely scratches:
So I guess what it really comes down to is this: when in doubt, UNCLIP a shoe.
Seriously, these pedals/shoes are not nearly as scary as they sound. I just figured I’d save you a few spills.