RAGBRAI LI Route Announced on Jan. 27!

clips

Ok, I know my Ragbrai friends will have many opinions on this so, here goes. I have been riding in running shoes, this caused some foot problems. I am planning on riding BRR in my snow boots, but as soon as it warms up for regular riding will be getting shoes. So, what suggestions do you all have? Clips, no clips, sandals, shoes. The clips scare me a bit as I am extremely uncoordinated! Let the discussion begin!

37 Replies

Michrider !!!, January 19, 2011 at 11:12 am

turtlemom said: Ok, I know my Ragbrai friends will have many opinions on this so, here goes. I have been riding in running shoes, this caused some foot problems. I am planning on riding BRR in my snow boots, but as soon as it warms up for regular riding will be getting shoes. So, what suggestions do you all have? Clips, no clips, sandals, shoes. The clips scare me a bit as I am extremely uncoordinated! Let the discussion begin!

Hi Turtlemom!  You’ll probably find that most riders who visit this forum use some type of clipless pedal system.  At first you may wish to try a pedal  that has a clip system on one side and is flat on the other side.  Once you get used to clipless, you’ll never go back!

http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-PD-M324-Clipless-Clip-Pedals/dp/B001AT33CW

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knees36, January 19, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Michrider said:

turtlemom said: Ok, I know my Ragbrai friends will have many opinions on this so, here goes. I have been riding in running shoes, this caused some foot problems. I am planning on riding BRR in my snow boots, but as soon as it warms up for regular riding will be getting shoes. So, what suggestions do you all have? Clips, no clips, sandals, shoes. The clips scare me a bit as I am extremely uncoordinated! Let the discussion begin!

Hi Turtlemom!  You’ll probably find that most riders who visit this forum use some type of clipless pedal system.  At first you may wish to try a pedal  that has a clip system on one side and is flat on the other side.  Once you get used to clipless, you’ll never go back! http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-PD-M324-Clipless-Clip-Pedals/dp/B001AT33CW

Turtlemom…for this ride  I’ve been using a nylon/plastic toe clip on a platform pedal used in older style pedal systems (without the leather thongs to adjust the  clips tighter) primarily because they are easy to use (getting in and out of them in a hurry if  I need to…as in icy road conditions.)  I also use slightly oversizes booties over the  leather cycling (touring) shoes and those chemical foot warmers to keep my tootsies nice and toastie for the 23 mile ride.  If you use clipless pedals there will be a thinner sole on your shoe where the clip is attached, thus, “the cold” can seep into your shoe and be uncomfortable.  This system has worked for me (this will be my 29th BRR) quite well.  If the weather is warm, say in the 40’s or 50’s  I still use this system without the chemical foot warmers.  In my experience, clipless shoes or sandals work great for summer riding such as RAGBRAI.  I did see one year that a “couple” used sandals, even in the cold, and had layer upon layer of stockings that, they said, worked well for them.  If you have the time and means to do so, it would be nice to get out in colder weather and see what works best for you. 

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SFC JKL 2, January 19, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Clipless pedals make you 30% more efficient because you get to pull up as well as push down on the pedals.   This comes in handy on long days when your legs are tired because you are using different muscles.

Don’t worry about falling down because everyone does it starting out.  I still fall once about every year at the beginning of the season.  It generally doesn’t hurt if you do it right (tuck and roll on your back).  Putting your arm out to break your fall can break your collar bone.

I prefer sandals, but get something with a recessed cleat that makes it easy to walk around.  Cycling shoes will acctually help your foot problems.  Having a hard sole spreads the pressure of peddling over a large portion of the foot.  A good fitting shoe will ease pressure on and off the bike.

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jwsknk, January 19, 2011 at 12:48 pm

sandals work for BRR too! for me better than cycling shoes because it is easy to adjust the sandals for smartwool socks underneath, can layer with poly prop too or anything else if needed. The socks and stuff are too bulky for the shoes.

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pmac, January 19, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Clipless pedals, which you clip into, are pretty easy to get used, even though they can seem pretty intimidating at first.  Just keep in mind everybody falls over at least once (most of us more than once or twice)  when you stop, unclip and lean the wrong way.  Always seems like everybody is looking at you right then.  Don’t worry about, it happens to everybody. 

Mich’s advice is good.  My bride has been using that system (clip on one side, platform on the other) for years.  Even if you decide to use platform pedals, get some stiff shoes that you can convert to spd or a similar type of clip in shoes later on ( there is a piece of the sole you cut out to access where the cleat screws in).  Those can be sandals, mtn bike shoes, lace ups, etc.  Lots of choices.  I think the key is for the shoes to have a pretty stiff sole, which will help prevent foot problems, but still lets you walk around.  All of the shoe types which can be converted to clipless pedals meet that general criteria.

Only takes a little while to get used to clipless pedals.  Once you get used one you’ll wonder why you didn’t get them earlier..

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Tony, January 19, 2011 at 2:05 pm

There 3 basic pedal systems. Platform, Clipless, and Toe Clips.

Platform pedals have no attachment to the shoe. Your foot just presses down on the platform of the pedal. There is nothing holding your foot to the pedal.

Toe Clip pedals are similar to a platform. Except the addition on toe cage and strap. The strap is cinched to  firmly hold the pedal to the platform. Some toe clip pedals are called quill types. They used a special shoeplate that kept the foot from sliding fore and aft on the platform. The strap still held the foot to the pedal.

Clipless pedals use a “cleat” on on the ball of the shoe. The “cleat” locks into a clamp on the pedal. While this design dates to 1895. Look in 1984 took there ski binding technology and adapted it to bicycles. From there it was developed into to basic styles, ATB and Road. In general ATB style is designed for easy entry and release. It is also designed to self clean mud and debris.  Road style are designed for efficient power transfer to the crank.

There are pros and cons for all these styles. Toe Clips offer a simple design that does not require special shoes. The con for these is the release. You have to reach down and flip the release on the strap buckle to get your foot out. Most riders that use these on pleasure rides. Do not cinch them tight. Which makes it easy to slip your foot in and out of. The leaders in this type of pedal is MKS. The most common clipless pedal type is SPD (Shimano Pedaling Dynamics). It is used on both ATB and Road bikes. The pedals have an adjustable clamping mechanism. As almost all clipless types. You press the shoe “cleat” into a spring loaded clamp to lock in. To release you twist the foot approximately 20 degrees to unlock the “cleat”. The power delivered to the pedal is all through this “cleat”.  If you have a soft sole shoe the pressure can be appled to a small area of the ball of your foot. The can cause a painful condition call hot foot. It is very important to have a stiff sole when using any clipless “cleat”. Some companies like Shimano, Look, Time, and Crankbrothers have made a platform around the locking clamp. When the shoe and cleat are properly adjusted. The platform helps distribute the force more evenly across the bottom of the foot. A big difference between Road and ATB systems are the sole of the shoes. ATB have a recessed mount for the “cleat”. The also have a hiking boot style sole. This allows rider to have more control over the bikes when needing to put a foot to the ground. It also allows dismounting and having firm footing clearing obstacle. Road shoes have a smooth sole with no tread. Because this style is designed for road racing. It was never intended to be walked on. It was designed fto be light and aerodynamic. For a tour ride like RAGBRAI you will be walking a great deal. For the comfort an ATB or toe clip style is better IMO. Both allow you to wear a comfortable shoe you can walk in. What ever style you decide to use. I would suggest practicing on a trainer with them. It take some time to get use to releasing your foot. You want t to be second nature if a panic stop is needed.

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Davy Sprocket, January 19, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Tony!  My Dissertation was not that long.  LOL!!!!

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Tony, January 20, 2011 at 3:16 am

Hey it’s ice over snow outside. I have cabin fever and I’m bored. What can I say…eh…. Just trying to explain the difference between a “cleat” and a clip. I wouldn’t want to confuse anyone…lol

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Davy Sprocket, January 20, 2011 at 5:58 am

Well, it is all good stuff and I sure it is greatly appreciated by all.

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Michrider !!!, January 20, 2011 at 6:05 am

Tony said: Hey it’s ice over snow outside. I have cabin fever and I’m bored. What can I say…eh…. Just trying to explain the difference between a “cleat” and a clip. I wouldn’t want to confuse anyone…lol

Tony, I’m confused, LOL!  Why do we have to “clip” into “clipless” pedals???? ;)

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hopalongatc, January 20, 2011 at 11:58 am

I will be riding for the first time since my below knee amputation (hopefully).  Any opinions on what I should try? 

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KittySlayer, January 20, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Well while all the hippies here wear their sandals I go for shoes.

My preferred setup is Sidi mountain bike shoes an Eggbeater pedals. Same combo works well for my wife and son too.

The Sidi shoes have a nice stiff sole which is great for riding and also eliminating hot spots that some people experience with the smaller cleat interface of off-road pedals. My Sidi shoes fit my feet well and have the  same last as my regular road shoes. They work well for walking around along the ride and when I get to the overnight town I switch to sandals for camp.

The Eggbeater pedals are easy to get in and out of even if you have been tromping around a muddy field. Shimano SPD pedals used to have a reputation for not clearing mud well which made getting clipped in difficult.

By the way, the Sidi shoes will last forever. My son is still using a pair of mine that are over a decade old and he is hard on equipment.

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eghaley, January 20, 2011 at 1:35 pm

I use regular sandals with either smart wool socks or bike socks.  It’s great.  I tried the clipless systems years ago and it was comfortable but I’m a daydreamer while biking and sometimes forget to unclip when stopping.  And then you know what happens ;0))

Since I’ve had total knee replacements, I don’t lift up when pedalling.  Don’t really need to since the new knees are powerful even with a slow cadence uphill!

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indianafrank, January 20, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Choose what you’re comfy with.
Clipless pedals are great but you will fall a couple of times when you first use them because you’ll forget you have them and will panic when your foot won’t come off when you stop. So if you get these, ride for the first few days on bike paths or residential streets with no traffic. Eventually unclipping will become second nature.
But keep in mind, you’ll have to buy shoes that will cost close to $100 and cleats that cost $25 and pedals that will likely cost at least $70, so it’s an investment.
Pedals with toe clips are a lot cheaper. You might be able to find some used ones for next to nothing. You can still pull up a bit for power and they keep your foot from slipping off the pedal, and you can use any shoe.
Being a female you probably don’t have a need-to-be-superman complex like most guys so you would possibly be quite happy with toeclips.

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jwsknk, January 20, 2011 at 2:26 pm


hopalongatc said:
I will be riding for the first time since my below knee amputation (hopefully).  Any opinions on what I should try? 

I alway unclip the left first and lean a litle that way. don’t always have to put the foot down but prepared to. I think my right might be a little stronger so I am ready to power out or start riding again.

Now for hopalongatc, I have never paid attention to how the guys I’ve seen on the ride do it. Twisting the foot/ankle to release on the one side probably won’t work for you? Might have to go old school with the toe cages, just pull straight back to get out unless they are cinched down tight, then you have to reach down to release them

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