New pedals…

Posted: November 12, 2012 by Ben Weber in Cycling, Training
Tags: , , , ,

We finally put our new cycling clip pedals on to the bikes today. As opposed to the standard pedals where you rest your shoes on top of the pedals, with these you have special cycle shoes with clips that lock into the pedals meaning that you lose less energy when you pedal: Basically… when you are cycling with standard pedals the main force you generate is from the downward motion from your legs, followed to a lesser extent by the forward/backward motions as you rotate your legs. However, the upward motion of your legs is all but lost. However, when you are clipped in to the pedals, you can utilize all the forces, as being locked in you also lift the pedal upwards as you move your leg up.

The only problem is in how to get used to them… I have only used standard pedals in all the cycling I have done, and the thing is when you are clipped in, you can’t just take your foot off of the pedal when you need to stop at a traffic light (or anywhere!). You have to give a little twist with your foot to un-clip yourself. Seems simple enough, but remembering this and forgetting the old habits is actually a little tricky, and as you find yourself coming to a halt but with feet unable to be taken off the pedals, it is easy to get a bit nervous and find yourself falling off the bike. Very amusing to watch others from the safety of the payment, but quite embarrassing at a traffic light, with lots of cars around but no obvious reason there to fall off. I have to force myself to remember and, at least am finding now, take one of my feet off the pedals before I start braking, so that by the time I stop, I can put it on the ground with no problems. But depending on the tightness of the clip, when you are not used to them and do this too soon, you can accidentally clip yourself back in and not realize  so by the time you come to a stop…. that falling feeling creeps over you…!

The benefits are, however, definitely worth the cost in price and in red faces, especially with long distance biking. Even just practicing riding along the pavement, I could feel a difference, and people say you save about 20% energy over the course of the ride. I think we were getting used to it at the end of our first day. No nasty falls or anything like that, but I suspect that stopping and starting while going up hills could be tricky, and Natalia is a bit worried about the downhills and losing control. I think we will be alright, though of course it will take a little longer to get used to it. And it will be worth it in the end.

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