Post written by Angela Brown
Last year I changed my pedals to clipless and I have never looked back. I enjoy the control and extra power that I get from being clipped in to my pedals. I have a friend of mine that changed just this year to clipless and is also finding the new pedals to be a big improvement over her standard bike pedal. She was asking for some pointers and to keep her in mind as she started off on this new endeavor.
As for my transition into the clipless world of mountain biking, I was changing from toe clips to clipless and had to retrain my brain on how to get out of the pedals. With toe clips, you pull your foot backward and the clipless is more of a side step motion, so my brain had a disadvantage to begin with. I also made the mistake of riding clipped in all the time and not gauging when I should be clipped in or when I should just pedal without being attached. I had to learn to predict my dismounts and not just stop and then worry about removing my feet. “Trust me,” this little detail led to several funny tumbles at 0-1 mph.
I was in my local bike shop a few times, and they offered to let me ride the rollers for as long as I needed to get the hang of it. Thanks guys, but I need to master this with as little of an audience as I can and in a busy bike shop was not my idea of private! Then one of the guys told me to remember “reverse Dorothy.” Instead of clicking my heels together, I needed to move them apart. I thought this was funny, and actually, it stuck in my brain, “could this be the key?”
My rides after that resulted in fewer mishaps, and I could actually tell that I was getting the hang of it. So after blaming the pedals for being the wrong ones, my clips on my shoes being in the wrong place, it was the mud, a rock was stuck… I finally decided that the pedals were fine, the shoes were fine, it was just my learning curve that needed to end. I can’t imagine riding any other way now. I always thought in the back of my head that people that used these types of pedals on mountain bike trails were just crazy, or they were just begging for a broken neck. Now I understand why they are so great, and why everyone that bikes should eventually move up to using them. You get more for your pedal stroke, and you can pull and push at the same time, which is tremendous when you are climbing or accelerating down a trail.
As for my friend and her new pedals, I think she is doing pretty good with them and already can tell a difference in her rides, so look into clipless pedals. You can get a good pair of Crank Bros. starting for around $35+ and they work like a dream.