Wednesday, June 13, 2012
What, You Don't Clip In?
"It's more efficient," a friend recently said, "so I'm surprised that you don't." Efficient, how so? I'm a stop and go traveler around town. I even place my feet on the pedal's flip-side, avoiding the cages altogether. Sure, the plastic traps scrape on the asphalt, but at least it's not a hazard whereas I imagine using clips might be awkward. And when I ride to work it's an all-out push for 11 miles, but I still can't see using the clipless system then or even on tours. It's never made sense to buy into this newer "efficient" technology, wearing special shoes, and less so now that I own 3 bikes. So, without getting into a long explanation, my response to these inquires is usually, "It's what works for me."
More often than not, these comments come from sport cyclists—though not always. It seems there's a segment of the cycling world that's brought up to assume that riding a bike requires clipless pedals. Getting back to my friend, she owns two bikes with two different clipless systems, so she owns two unique types of cycling shoes. How is that efficient? She admired my bike sandals, which was how the conversation began, and liked that they could be used (cutting the rubber sole to expose the cleat) on her type of pedal. Or without, as in my case. I'm no dummy to the advantage of stiff-soled footwear. It's the odd-shaped specialized pedals I could do without.
I concede that clipless pedals provide more efficiency if you ride a lightweight bike and race. But remember, it's a personal preference. So if you pass me, just say "hi", because I'll be tooling along, happy in my footwear with pedals of choice and smelling the flowers en route.