My road bike originally came with these toe-clip style pedals:
Being too much of a weenie to [even attempt to] master them, I switched them out for platform pedals (plain flat ones). But, after hearing great things about “clipless” pedals and how much more efficient they make pedaling, I decided to give them a try. My story is eerily similar to this one from Bicycling magazine, from which I swiped this funny story:
“I refuse to call them clipless pedals because it’s a stupid name. That was what I had on my old bike: pedals that don’t clip. I’ve been using clipless pedals since the third grade. For the first time, I was wearing Garneau shoes that were clipped to bike pedals. . . I unclipped easily, but stopping is one thing. It turns out you have to reinsert both feet to get going again, and as you surely know, the trick is to start pedaling with the clipped-in foot while the other one finds its destination. I didn’t know that trick. My bike briefly hovered at 0 mph as my right shoe wildly pawed the air, and I toppled over in the intersection of Grennan and Whitman Avenue. It’s not a heavily traveled thoroughfare, but there were enough people cruising to picnics and Little League games that my mortification felt complete.”
Anyhow, so-called clipless pedals do indeed lock in your shoes to the pedals, only without a cage that goes over the toe, like my original ones above. So, if you are a cycling newbie like me, that’s why they are called “clipless”.
I decided to get Shimano M087 shoes. Although they are technically for mountain biking, I read that the recessed area for the cleats might make walking around in them a little bit more comfortable, and I didn’t imagine that the extra weight and/or wind resistance was going to make much difference when attached to the 6’5″ and 220 lbs of rider. At the recommendation of a helpful guy at one of our local bike shops, I picked Crank Brothers Candy 1 pedals. Although they are also technically for mountain biking, he advised me that they are quite easy to get in and out of and wouldn’t really sacrifice anything for less than an uber-serious roadie.
Anyhow, for day 1 using my new clipless pedals, I managed to avoid any wipe outs and thought I was hot stuff. So Eyegirl and I went on one of our favorite rides, about 20 miles along a local rail trail. We got through the 10+ miles out and on the way back, we stopped at a traffic light. I unclipped my right foot, no problemo, and decided to take a drink from my water bottle. At the blistering pace of 0 mph, I managed to shift my weight to the left side for some reason, still clipped on that side, and topple over, sending the water bottle skipping along the ground and causing the previously pictured chain ring tattoo (maybe that’s why people advise unclipping the left foot instead):
Luckily, we’ve managed to log a bunch more miles after that without any further wipe-outs, but believe it or not, I was dumb enough to think I could get away without having a crash due to clipless pedals! Otherwise, I have been super happy with both of these two products.
Did you ever have a wipe-out like this?