Beginners Page 2
Pedals and things
By Roy and Christine Jones
When I was little, bikes were not as complicated as today. One chain ring, brake by pushing backward on the crank, and one type of pedal. The pedal was simply a platform to put your tennis shoe on and pedal round and round.
Wow, have things changed. You have to be sober to learn about pedals. The ones with clip-on are called clipless and the ones with straps are called clip pedals. I think the pedals that go with tennis shoes are called pedals.
Personally I started with a pedal. Easy to get onto and easy to get off of, and they make the bike go. The problem which is an on-going theme of mine (ask Randy about my quest to go faster if you want a good laugh) is that just as soon as you seem to hit your max speed, you want to go faster. So you look around for something mechanical to make you go faster. Work on yourself? Nah, too much trouble. Easier to buy something or up-grade something to make you go faster. As you listen to people talk and if you surf the net, you will find the next step up from a pedal is a clip pedal (the one with a strap). It will make you go faster and is not TOO expensive. The strap allows you to pull up on the pedal as well as push down the old-fashioned way thereby using “up” leg muscles as well as “down” leg muscles. And you go faster. You even find you can go up a hill a little faster and easier and life is good. Sometimes the clip pedal is a little tricky to get out of but with some practice you can safely stop and brace yourself with one leg down.
But then invariably, you want to go faster again. It may be real soon after getting clip pedals or a long time, but eventually you want to go faster. Now faster could mean up to 12 miles per hour or a heart-stopping 15 miles per hour. But it will happen, and you have been watching what other people are using and listening to them tell you that if you just had CLIPLESS pedals, you too could go as fast as the wind without laboriously working on your conditioning, legs, torso, cardio, and all that. (watts, mets, torque, heart-rate, VO2 max and all the things too advanced for me even to mention)
So you are ready to take the leap and go clipless. Oops, that means I have to buy biking shoes that have clips so I can clip into the clipless pedals. Buying shoes is a trip in itself. What size do you want? 42, 43, 45? Heavens no, I am not a big footed clown; I wear a 9-91/2. Nope, you are a 43 unless you buy brand X and then you may be sporting a 42 or 43.5. And then there are SPD, Look, or some other type for wide feet. Best just to throw up your hands and let the experts fit you because all you are interested in is to go 1.5 miles per hour faster, right? Oh yeah, they have shoes that you can walk around in straight from the bike or one that you have to put a protector on before you walk around.
Now you are walking around with a click every step and can’t wait to hear that manly click into the pedal that you have heard the big boys do so many times. But first, you have to learn to click in AND get out of those suckers. Clicking in is not too hard. You push down on the pedal----excuse me---the clipless pedal hard enough to get the bike going without falling over and then search until you find the clip in the clipless pedal and push down to clip in. Hear that click? Then click the other one in----and then never stop so you will not have to un-clip.
Not likely, so you have to twist your foot out a certain way to un-clip, and there is a lot of other technical stuff so let the experts (bike shops) teach you to get in and out of your new clipless pedals.
First, let me make it clear. Unless you are not like 99.99999% of us, you will fall at least once. I still have scars from my learning days and am very conscious of starting and stopping correctly to this day.
Second, you will find yourself able to go at least 1.5 miles per hour faster than you used to so all of the confusion is worth it. And note that you did not have to work on yourself to get faster. Just a simple up-grade did it.
Third, after getting used to the clipping in and out of the clipless pedals, you will find yourself impressing the newer riders with your “click” as you take off. You are an old-timer now.
But first things first, you must come out and ride with us in order to become an old-timer. It’s your club.