This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Bike pedals are as personal as saddles.  You will notice that nearly all mid to high quality bikes are sold without pedals or saddles.  Choosing the right pedals is probably the most performance enhancing decision one can make.  Despite the fact that the "clipless" pedal design has proven to be the  most efficient and consequently the most popular among racers and spandex hamsters, they are not the best choice for all cycling.   I used "clipless" pedals on my road bike for several years, but found there are three problems.  First "clipping" my cleats into a "clipless" pedal makes no sense to me on a grammatical level.  After all they have clips, just not toeclips. It's like the inevitable page in a sheaf of legal documents that says "This page left blank intentionally."  Who's kidding whom?  It's not blank, there's writing all over it.  It always bothered me that a better name hasen't been adopted rather than accepting an oxymoronic procedure.    Somebody even more obssesive than I will have to think of a name because I'm just not thinking of it again now that I have gotten that off my chest.   Another problem is that you just about have to wear special cleated shoes to use them.  I get tired of wearing the same shoes all the time, and they aren't suitable for all the things I do on a bike.  The third problem is "hot foot," that excruciating pain resulting from having all that pressure in one small place right on the ball of the foot. It did give manufactureres an opportunity to put some more MIT dropouts to work designing new shoes and insoles to sell to counteract the pain.  If it puts people to work, it can't be bad right?  Kind of like the saddle problem, I solved it when the clips of the "clipless" pedal  broke.  I went back to a platform pedal with regular toe-clips.  These "old-school" pedals are great.  You can wear any type of shoe you like, wear them loose for traffic, tighten them for the road and the pressure is spread over half the foot (what a relief).

Now each of my bikes has a different form of pedal because each has a different function.
My folder had these plain old platforms

which fold up against the crank out of the way.

They aren't the most efficient but they are universally useful.
My winter bike has the "half-clips"

which a lot of people feel are useless, but do a good job of holding the foot in proper position although they don't help you pedal on the upstroke like the others pretend to do.

Byron, my city bike has these ingenious paddle-like pedals.

It's another one of Rivendell's designs which has been taken mainstream by MKS.  The platform is extended providing more comfort, but also creates more leverage making ankling easier and more natural.  Another benefit is that placing the heel of a regular street shoe against the back edge provides the same stability as a toe clip.  It holds your foot in position on the pedal and,in my case, the ball of the foot is right over the axle where it belongs.

On the Hunqapillar, my touring bike, I use SPD platform pedals.  On one side these have the clips for "cliplessly" attaching to the cleat on a bike shoe

but the other side is a plain platform.

 I find these great because I can clip in on the road, but use the  plain platforms whenever I get to a town and have traffic to deal with, they provide the best of both worlds available today.
Now if I could only find an appropriate name of  "clipless" riding I would feel good about the world.

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