It's time to become one with your bike.
Most cyclists start out with flat pedals, sometimes with toeclips and straps attached. But for optimum efficiency, speed, comfort and safety, eventually you're going to want to take the plunge: getting clipless pedals and cycling-specific shoes, with cleats that clip into the pedals. (Yes, we know it makes no sense that you clip into "clipless" pedals. Just go with it.) Here, we discuss the biggest benefits of going clipless:
Nothing helps you be happier on your bike than a proper fitting. Efficiency, power and comfort are all improved by a good fit. And the basis of a good fit is your foot being in exactly the correct spot every time you get on your bike. This can only be achieved by using a clipless shoe and pedal system. Dave Colburn is a certified BG Fitter. Come talk to him about the benefits of a good fit and clipless shoe/pedal systems.
With your feet attached to the pedals you become one with your bike, which means more of your energy makes its way to each pedal stroke, giving you more juice to climb and accelerate. Clipping in also allows you to more effectively turn a cadence of 90rpm or more. Higher cadences promote increased endurance and lower levels of lactic acid build-up in your muscles.
Most of the time, you want to just push down while pedaling. However, when the situation dictates applying more power, clipless pedals let you pull on the upstroke as effectively as you push down, creating a smooth and constant application of power through each crank rotation. The only way to achieve this with toeclips is to snug them dangerously tight, and even then you won't have as smooth and steady a cadence as with clipless pedals.
Modern bike shoes are designed to relieve pressure points by spreading pedaling forces evenly across the sole of your foot. Using toeclips and straps creates pressure points that can lead to discomfort and even a phenomenon known as ‘hot foot’.
Clipless pedals let you pull your bike up off the ground to bunnyhop logs, curbs and potholes, and let you safely swerve around roadkill. And when you're rolling over a jagged rock garden, you can easily pop out a foot to dab. Plus, when you ditch the toeclips and straps, you lose the hassle of snagging debris on the trail or catching sticks between your pedal and shoe.
Nearly all clipless pedal systems have float and tension adjustment. Float allows your foot to swivel a few degrees laterally to ensure that you don't injure your knees by having them locked into one position. Tension adjustment lets you control how hard or easy it is to get in and out of the pedal.
We have outfitted hundreds of cyclists with clipless shoe and pedal systems. These setups will start out about $150 for shoes and pedals. Come by and check out our selection of shoes from Specialized and Pearl Izumi along with pedals from Shimano, Crank Brothers and others.