To clip in or not to clip in that is the question.
What are clipless pedals?
The clipless system consist of special shoes that you attach a cleat to and a special set of pedals that your cleat will lock onto when you are riding. To lock your shoe to the pedal you will step down onto the pedal lining the cleat with the pedal. You will be able to tell when it engages. Don’t worry. It is easier than it sounds. After riding with clipless pedals for two or three months I found that I would lock in without even thinking about it.
This clip system will secure your foot to the pedals while you are riding.
To release the cleats from the pedals twist your heals outward. You will feel the cleats release.
Benefits of using clipless pedals
Clipless pedals hold your feet in place making it easier for you to keep a steady pedaling rhythm. This is important as it allows you to learn to pedal without thinking about it.
Clipless pedals are safer because they will keep your feet from slipping off of the pedals causing you to dump the bike and possibly injure yourself.
Clipless pedals also allow you to pull on the pedals with you up-stroke. This is an excellent technique used while climbing to keep your feet from falling asleep from the pressure that you are putting on the pedals. I use it all the time. It can make all the difference between making it to the top of a hard climb and having to get off and walk it. While there is no shame in having to get off and walk it (I have done it more than once) the optimal idea is not to have to.
Last but not least they are simply more comfortable. While there is a learning curve to using them it is well worth it.
Alternatives to clipless shoes
If or when you start looking for clipless shoes you will undoubtable see what is referred to as basket pedals. I started out with them myself and I do not recommend them at all. They seem to be easier looking at them but if you buy them you will be wasting your money (in my opinion). They are so hard to get into that you will have an accident looking down at them. They constantly role upside down because they are heavier on top.
I have never paid for any companies high end pedals (not to say that any of them are cheap) and I have never had any problem with the ones that I have used. Some people are really caught up in having as little weight on their bikes as possible and if that’s their thing then more power to them but I would rather have some money left over to buy a new jersey or water bottle.
After looking around online to familiarize yourself the product and its high and lower price range I wouldn’t worry about trying to figure out which ones to buy or getting the right fit. I personally think that from there it is well worth it to just find your local bike shop and let them set you up with the rest. Let them know where you primarily ride and what your concerns and price range are and they will work with you from there. You may have to tell them no a couple of times when they try to push the more expensive pedals at you but they will set you up with what you need far better than you will ever be able to by studying about them.
Getting used to riding clipless
The trick to getting used to riding with clipless pedals is just like anything else, practice. You have to clip in and out of them until the motion becomes a reflex. Warning. This does not happen overnight. The number one thing to remember is to unclip about thirty or forty feet from where you need to stop. This allows you to be relaxed. Panic is the thing that will cause you to get locked up and fall every time.
Two, it allows you to find something to grab ahold of if you get stuck and can’t get out.
You are sure to get the hang of it in no time but please be sure to get very good and comfortable with it before you ride trails and definitely before you get out on the road. It is probably a good idea to ride with a friend at the park for a while until you have mastered the technique.
That’s all for now. See you on the road.