Bike Pedals: To Clip or Not to Clip

The bicy­cle ped­al: this fun­da­men­tal part begins the invalu­able con­nec­tion between the rid­er and the bicy­cle. The rider’s foot releas­es force on the ped­al that trans­fers to the crank, bot­tom brack­et spin­dle, chain­ring, chain, rear cogs, and ulti­mate­ly the wheel; cre­at­ing one of the great­est inven­tions man has ever cre­at­ed. The evo­lu­tion of the ped­al has changed over the years, but the pur­pose has remained the same; to effi­cient­ly trans­fer ener­gy from the rid­er to the bicy­cle.

Bike Pedals- to clip or not to clip

At first glance, “cli­p­less  ped­als” sounds like a strange term for ped­als that you “clip-into” with a spe­cial cycling shoe. After being locked in, they unlock when the foot is twist­ed out­ward. Its inven­tor, Charles Han­son, rev­o­lu­tion­ized this human-bicy­cle con­nec­tion in 1895; call­ing it “cli­p­less” because the toe-clip­ping, strap and cage mech­a­nism was replaced by this lock­ing mech­a­nism. It has become the stan­dard for most bicy­cle rac­ing, although flat, plat­form, ped­als are still used in down­hill moun­tain bike rac­ing.

For a lot of peo­ple, the thought of attach­ing their foot to a ped­al could only lead to a cat­a­stroph­ic dis­as­ter. How­ev­er, more and more cyclists are mak­ing the switch despite all the scary hype.

Scary things about cli­p­less:

  • It takes longer to whip a foot out if you start tip­ping over like a sleep­ing cow
  • A begin­ner might fall over at a stop because they can’t “clip-out”
  • Dur­ing the event of a fall or crash, the bike may stay close to the body, result­ing in more bod­i­ly harm
  • Dur­ing moun­tain bik­ing, some­times you can’t clip-in result­ing in a slow­er pace or crash
  • You need spe­cial shoes that are often uncom­fort­able, awk­ward, and nois­i­ly clank around

Awe­some things about Cli­p­less:

  • Bet­ter pow­er trans­fer — the sol­id con­nec­tion between the shoe and ped­al max­imise mus­cle to motion
  • Great­ly increased effi­cien­cy — there is a cir­cu­lar pres­sure on the up-stroke and down-stroke of the foot
  • Clip-in and don’t wor­ry about it – your foot will stay exact­ly in the right spot through­out the entire­ty of the ride
  • Bet­ter con­trol of the bike – a rid­er can push and pull the frame of the bike lat­er­al­ly to avoid haz­ards or more eas­i­ly bun­ny-hop a curb
  • One-with-the-bike-ness! — it’s a feel­ing that you have to try to believe