In the past few days, I’ve had a lot of questions about road biking and wearing clipless shoes. I wear them every time I’m out for a “ride” (not commuting) and when I am riding on my indoor trainer.
The pedals on your bike really serve only one purpose – as a means to transfer power from your legs to your bicycle. For casual riding, you really don’t need anything more than plastic blocks with a few grooves to plant your feet into. However, for longer or competitive rides, you’re going to want something to “clip-in” to:
- Without something holding your foot securely to the pedal, it would be easy to slip off the pedal and send your foot into the wheel.
- There is a correct placement for the position of your foot over the pedal axle. By placing your foot in this position, you will get the maximum amount of leg power with a minimal amount of effort.
- A good pedal/shoe system has to be able to transfer all of the power from your leg to the pedals without trying to bend your foot over the top of the pedal, which causes both fatigue and pain.
- It is less to think about while you are riding. This way, you can focus on smoking your competitor rather than focusing on keeping your foot on the pedal.
There are two styles of clipless pedals, which are road and MTB. Mountain bike style pedals use a small cleat that sits up inside the sole of the shoe. It enables reasonable walking/running when dismounted.
On the other hand, road pedals use a wide cleat that makes walking difficult, but gives good power transfer and is comfortable on long rides.
I have no experience with mountain bike clipless pedals, but I can show you how to use road clipless pedals.
I have a pair of Shimano RD86
How To Use Clipless Shoes
1. The first thing you want to do is secure the cleat to your shoe. The cleat should be centered under the ball of your foot with the triangular piece facing forward.
2. The insert the cleat into the pedal, start by pressing downward at a 45 degree angle into the pedal so that the front of the cleat slips into the lip of the pedal. I started by practicing in the store with the clerk holding me upright. After I could clip it in and out, I graduated to the parking lot and started doing it by myself.
PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!
3. With the front tab of the cleat hooked into the pedal lip, step down firmly on the pedal so that the back clips in. You should hear a pretty noticeable click.
4. To unclip your shoe from the pedal, pivot your heel sideways and away from the bike. This is actually fairly easy compared to clicking into the pedal. As long as you use enough force, it should come out pretty easily.
5. Once you are comfortable in a stationary position, try to do it in a parking lot. Clip one foot in, start the bike rolling, and clip the other foot in. It took me awhile to get the hang of it, but now I clip like a pro!
And you can too
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me!