Posted by: emilybybike | June 7, 2010

A Pedaling Question

Since I started biking as an adult, about 7 years ago, the only pedals I’ve known are clipless. My first mountain bike came with “SPD” pedals, and although it took a few falls to get used to, I’ve hardly ridden without being clipped to my pedals since. UNTIL now! My Trek Valencia Ride+ came with flat pedals, and I have yet to decide whether to keep them as is, or perhaps revert back to being stuck to my pedal.

So yes – this is what I’m used to riding:

And this is what I’ve got on my commuter:

Little bit of a difference, eh?

Riding flats has taken some adjustment – I’m definitely not used to having my foot slip or bounce off the pedal (and subsequently slam into my poor shins!) However, I have come to appreciate coming to a stop and getting on and off the bike without having to wiggle my foot around to clip-in. I enjoy the freedom to ride in tennis shoes or sandals and not always have to haul non-cycling shoes with me. But, at the same time I know my pedaling isn’t as efficient as it is when I am both pulling and pushing on the pedals, as what happens with clipless pedals.

So what’s a girl to do? How do you balance the need for easy on/off, and the ability to jump on without special bike shoes with the need for keeping your feet on the pedal (saving my shins) and a higher pedaling efficiency?

Thoughts? Ideas? I am open to options and suggestions!



  1. Why don’t you get some Toe Clips? That way you can still wear tennis shoes, but don’t have to worry about your feet bouncing off the pedals?

    That’s what I used before I knew about clipless pedals. Best of both worlds!

  2. Go to the dark side and get a large platform clipless pedal like some mallets or acid from crank bros since it looks like your already a eggbeater :).

    I learned mtb in flats and still ride them from time to time to keep certain flat skills/advantages in use but the general connected ness of clipless is soo superior for mtb.

    Casual/commuting its nice to have the extra power/speed for when you want to make time but the stops in traffic, etc do make them something of an issue. I’d slap my most worn out pair of cleats and try the combo’s I listed above.

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