mjr wrote:Just remember they're not obligatory or necessary. I gave up on clipping in years ago. I don't need to sprint (which is where it helps - ignore the random usually-unsubstantiated claims about efficiency because the evidence about that is very weak and mixed) so can't really see any point, plus my knees and ankles sometimes lock up (which can obstruct unclipping) and my feet aren't the easiest to find good shoes for.
They're certainly not necessary
, but suggesting it's all mainly sprinting is a bit odd. I use them to help me get heavy loads up hills on my cargo bike, where I can assure you sprinting is not happening!
The efficiency thing is pretty straightforward but widely misunderstood. People go on about being able to pull up as well as push down which is all a bit dubious on a concerted effort, but the really handy thing is being able to push the pedal forwards at the top of the stroke, where a plain platform relies on inertia to get it through the dead spot. They allow you to get closer to the mythical "pedalling in circles", and at high cadences help keep your feet in place which again helps keep things running nicely. It looks as if they've been deprecated a fair bit off-road in recent years with people going for studded platform pedals and shoes with thick soft outsoles, which can be thought of as a very loose but still positive retention grip.
My general hack bike has one-sided clipless pedals with a mech on one side and a platform on the other. It works fine in normal shoes, but if I'm going to put on outdoor shoes anyway I'll usually choose my cleated ones as they make hills that bit easier.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...