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Posts Tagged ‘commuting’

Essential Road Cycling Decision: To Use Clipless Pedals or Not?

Pedals are an important part of a road bicycle, and most serious cyclists chose clipless pedals. Photo by bryanpearson on Flickr.

-Photo by bryanpearson on Flickr.

Pedals are one of the most crucial contact points in any bicycle. For cyclists, this raises an essential question. To use clipless pedals or not. Most bikes come with no pedals at all, leaving the buyer to decide which types of pedals to use. By far, clipless are the most popular. However, the cost and complexity of use drive some riders away from these pedals. The other road-based options are platform and toe-strap pedals. These types of pedals offer various advantages and disadvantages, and are all used by many riders because of these. However, I believe that for any type of serious cycling, clipless pedals are by far the best choice.

Platform Pedals

-Photo by square_eye on Flickr

Of the three choices, platform pedals are by far the simplest solution. Basically the same type of pedals on childrens bikes, they are a flat, two sided platform where you simply put your foot on the platform and ride.

The major advantage of these types of pedals is that they allow you to ride in any type of shoe, are very easy to use, and are the cheapest of the three major options. However, they can limit your power output as you have absolutely no ability to pull up on the pedal in the second portion of the pedal stroke. This means that you are only outputting power when pushing down on the pedals and not when the pedals are moving up. This can theoretically decrease your power output by up to 50%.

Who are platform pedals good for?

  • People who want to get one and ride, with little concern about performance
  • Newbie cyclists who want an easy to use pedal system as they adjust to the rest of their bike
  • Commuters who do not wish to deal with seperate cycling shoes

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My 2008 Thanksgiving Cycling Excursion

As my interest in cycling has brown over the past few months, I decided that as long as the weather was decent, I would cycle to my Aunt/Uncle/Cousins' house in Rhode Island for Thanksgiving. Thankfully, the weather was perfect fall riding weather and I was able to successfully complete my ride. The ride was nothing special in terms of terrain, temperature, or distance, however it was fun and I figured I would right up a small ride report.

What I Wore

Right before I left, all geared up and ready to go. I took off the face mask before I departed.
When I left my house at about 10:30AM Thanksgiving morning it was about 40°F, and the high for the day was 45°F, so I bundled up pretty good to make sure I was warm throughout the ride. Here is what I wore:

Overall, my outfit was really effective. I was warm overall although on certain sections of the ride I got a little hot or a little cold, but that is almost unavoidable when riding in and out of shadows. A lot of the gear I wore was not cycling specific, but actually snowboarding gear. I just started cycling, and have been snowboarding for years, so I have a lot of snowboarding gear and would rather not spend hundreds of dollars on cycling specific winter riding gear.

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