A noob asks... what is the point of toe clips for a commute?

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Telecaster68
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Re: A noob asks... what is the point of toe clips for a commute?

Postby Telecaster68 » 16 Aug 2019, 10:18am

Thanks for the replies. Glad to see I'm not the only sceptic... No particular axe to grind, I just wondered if I was missing something vital with toeclips, but it seems not.

I also wear retired running shoes for cycling, and I'm realising I'm definitely at the utilitarian end of the cycling spectrum so I prefer minimal faff. And I'm definitely far too cack-footed to easily get the hang of flipping pedals round as I accelerate away from lights.

drossall
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Re: A noob asks... what is the point of toe clips for a commute?

Postby drossall » 16 Aug 2019, 10:31am

It does come quite naturally with a little practice. And, like riding a bike, it's not something you forget once learnt. I wouldn't let this be the decider, except that it becomes a pain when you're doing it every 100 metres.

Or learn to track stand...

Telecaster68
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Re: A noob asks... what is the point of toe clips for a commute?

Postby Telecaster68 » 16 Aug 2019, 11:00am

drossall wrote:It does come quite naturally with a little practice. And, like riding a bike, it's not something you forget once learnt. I wouldn't let this be the decider, except that it becomes a pain when you're doing it every 100 metres.


My commute wouldn't involved this quite every 100 metres, but maybe averaging every 500m, or at least potentially if the lights/traffic didn't go my way.

It's the 'little practice' bit that bothers me - the practice would involve a couple of weeks (I know my level of cack-footedness). It seems to me that the left pedal would need flipping round every single time, because gravity would pull the heavier side of the pedal - the one with the clip - underneath. So I'd need to whack the back of the it with my toes then flip my toe up just at the right moment to catch the spinning pedal as it moved on the crank, because I'd already be pedalling forwards, probably with a white van up my rear. Repeat every 3-4 minutes, wobbling violently and/or falling over, in traffic, every time I re-started, and in between times, getting stressed about the next time I have to perform the manoeuvre all over again...

I'm fully prepared to believe this is entirely me finding this hugely difficult, but if there's some easier way of doing it, I'd love to know.

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mjr
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Re: A noob asks... what is the point of toe clips for a commute?

Postby mjr » 16 Aug 2019, 12:04pm

drossall wrote: My only significant clip-related accident ended with my being checked in hospital for concussion after my foot slipped off a rubber pedal - i.e. I crashed because I didn't have clips fitted.

I'd say you crashed because the pedal was insufficiently grippy. I wonder whether it was rubber or that awful resin often missold as rubber - better if they sold them as resin because you can do a textured surface in it that is fairly grippy but it can't be passed off as more expensive rubber.

Glad you survived.

To the original question, I say the only point would be to shut your friend up... And why not ask them? From here it looks like they're trying to harm you which is not friendly!
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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: A noob asks... what is the point of toe clips for a commute?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 16 Aug 2019, 12:29pm

Hi,
If you use toe clips with straps, these I have found to be the most robust.
The design can vary very slightly, Several outlets and manufacturers and sellers of these.
As with all stuff you will need to space the toe clip off the pedal With washers/plastic spacers.
Length of clip can vary by 5 mm, different makers.
To get your correct pedal spindle to foot For an aft position, This is important and I suggest pedal spindle rear of ball of foot By 10 to 12 mm for size 9 to 10 shoes, (see Steve hoggs website)
They don't suffer the same problems as normal plastic toe clips, Also don't permanently miss form like metal clips.
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DaveGos
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Re: A noob asks... what is the point of toe clips for a commute?

Postby DaveGos » 16 Aug 2019, 12:40pm

I use half and half pedals ( one side plain the other with SPD) gives me the option . I ride to tennis in tennis shoes , cant be bothered with a second set of shoes . Yesterday did 40 miles in tennis shoes and no clips. Only noticed it on hills where I tend to get out of the saddle and missed the sureness of clips. In the end its what you are comfortable with , but its worth trying different options . The pull up thing is mainly rubbish. I until recently toured, raced and time trialled and only used pull up on short sections of road racing.

profpointy
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Re: A noob asks... what is the point of toe clips for a commute?

Postby profpointy » 16 Aug 2019, 1:15pm

Like all things, it is a balance between convenience vs comfort & efficiency. I used toe clips for many decades and hated riding without them. More modern times I've gone for so-called clipless and whilst these are better-in-use than toeclips and straps, you then need special shoes, albeit I can still comfortably walk in mine.

As someone upthread has said, toeclips are better if used with those pedals with a little hooky bit to allow to flip the pedal over to get your foot in. They do take a little bit of getting used to, but even in traffic I didn't really find it a problem. You can usually get your foot out quick, even if straps are somewhat tight. I think I am more efficient, in that it seems less work for same speed, likewise I can grunt up a hill with my foot secure on the pedal and unlikely to slip. That said, I do not believe "ability to pull up" is really a thing, or if it is, it isn't much of a thing.

Clipless are easier, but as I say, you've then got the "special shoes" nonsense

dobbo800
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Re: A noob asks... what is the point of toe clips for a commute?

Postby dobbo800 » 16 Aug 2019, 2:10pm

My commute sounds very similar to yours.

On my current bike I swapped out the original, crap, narrow, flat pedals for good quality - light, good bearings, wide, grippy - flat ones. I wear boxing trainers because the sole is flat and grippy and they have Velcro fastening. This combination works for me - I can't recall one incident of feet slipping off pedals, and I ride 5-days-a-week-all-year-round. In terms of 'lost performance', you're commuting a short distance (5 miles?) not racing. Any gains would be tiny (what really affects commute times is traffic lights, cars, wind, pedestrians....). On an urban commute what's important for me is to be able to get my foot off the pedal and onto the ground as quickly as possible, without hassle. So no clips for me. Biggest priority for me? Full mudguards! They make such a difference.

mercalia
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Re: A noob asks... what is the point of toe clips for a commute?

Postby mercalia » 16 Aug 2019, 2:33pm

dont use toe clips or spds just get decently large pedals

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661-Pete
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Re: A noob asks... what is the point of toe clips for a commute?

Postby 661-Pete » 16 Aug 2019, 2:38pm

richardfm wrote:
661-Pete wrote:I expected most people would answer your query with the remark "don't use toe clips, use clipless (SPD etc.)". That's certainly been my experience years back on other forums - the ones populated by younger more sporty individuals.

Switching to SPD if you're having trouble with toe clips is the very worst move you can take. Don't go there!


I'm neither young nor sporty and have used SPD pedals and shoes for years on my commute. I can clip in and out at will as needed.
Would you care to explain
661-Pete wrote:Switching to SPD if you're having trouble with toe clips is the very worst move you can take. Don't go there!
? Did yo try them once and not get on with them?
You are an experienced cyclist. So - maybe - am I. The OP by his/her own admission, isn't.

I've never used SPDs myself, but I've witnessed plenty of 'clipless moments'. In my view they are not suitable for the novice cyclist - surely most would agree there! Personally, I haven't switched because I don't feel the need.

Is that a good enough answer?
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DaveReading
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Re: A noob asks... what is the point of toe clips for a commute?

Postby DaveReading » 16 Aug 2019, 2:40pm

Telecaster68 wrote:So I'd need to whack the back of the it with my toes then flip my toe up just at the right moment to catch the spinning pedal as it moved on the crank, because I'd already be pedalling forwards, probably with a white van up my rear.

No, you can choose when the best moment is to flip the pedal over. In the meantime, just pedal with your foot on the flat side.

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: A noob asks... what is the point of toe clips for a commute?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 16 Aug 2019, 2:53pm

Hi,
Like others have said about pulling up, I have done it and when I feel inclined-
I stand coming to top of hill and keep bike perfectly up right and no sway at all, to do this you have to force your hips into bars and bend your knees, yes thats right as you push down and mostly forward, lets your knees bend not straighten, thats push forward as you let your knees bend, thrusting your hips to bars, this is the only method short of sitting down and twiddling that I have found, to keep your bike perfectly upright and no sway or going offline standing. Try It!.....Warning...But only for about ten seconds, it will hurt and you will damage if you try that too long, you will feel it on the knee cap as your power goes through the patellar and let you knee bend too.

But even if I sit and pull up which I have done years ago, not so fit today or robust, you only do it for several seconds at a time to maintain momentum without standing which requires a change in gear, your legs bind up as there is no relaxing of muscles.

Pro road riders don't do this either IIRC, pull up, unless they are sprinting / track.

You can stand and pull up momentarily as your legs allow on very steep hills of course, but that normally means max power output which won't last long.

For that all above you need foot retention.
Otherwise not, but off road if you are not stopping it is an advantage, I mean if the terrain is hard and you are going up hill, slip here and its your shins / manhood :mrgreen:
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Re: A noob asks... what is the point of toe clips for a commute?

Postby LollyKat » 16 Aug 2019, 2:57pm

Telecaster68 wrote: It seems to me that the left pedal would need flipping round every single time, because gravity would pull the heavier side of the pedal - the one with the clip - underneath. So I'd need to whack the back of the it with my toes then flip my toe up just at the right moment to catch the spinning pedal as it moved on the crank, because I'd already be pedalling forwards...

:lol:

I'ts not as complicated as that - you don't need to "whack it" with your toes. I start off with right foot on the pedal, already in the toeclip, and left foot on the ground. As I push down on the right, the left foot comes back slightly and the left pedal comes up with the toeclip hanging down. The pedal doesn't spin because of the weight of the clip. As the pedal comes up I lightly brush the stop back edge of the pedal body with the front of the sole of the shoe, underneath my toes. This rotates the pedal 1/4 turn and my shoe slides into the clip. It all happens in one fluid movement in a fraction of a second and is automatic - but I have had over 40 years of practice.

If you are happy as you are with free feet, then don't worry - just keep riding as you are and don't feel that you are somehow lacking something.

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The utility cyclist
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Re: A noob asks... what is the point of toe clips for a commute?

Postby The utility cyclist » 16 Aug 2019, 5:29pm

If flat pedals are what makes you feel comfortable in your mind then simply stick to that, there are plenty of good options for good quality wide flats that can be had for not very much money that will stand up to the rigours of daily use.

That said I commuted as a student for two years through very high density traffic in amongst everything a largish city could offer, just making sure you have the right tension in the strap, the right footwear and being able to sometimes pedal on the 'wrong' side of the foot you put down until you get going.
With better brakes, easier gear shifting this shouldn't be an issue with a bit of practise and though I rarely ride out with the old girl there are plenty of lights to contend with so it's sometimes about gauging your effort and figuring out if there's a railing/post you can lean on or even nipping down a side street. Better yet a quick dismount, run across and remount t'other side without having to be too concerned about getting away from the lights.

I find I enjoy the challenge of clipping in, it makes you think a bit more about stuff especially when reaching down for the gears on the down tube when you haven't for over a year.

But as I originally said, go with what makes you feel comfortable, us old farts reminiscing is all well and good (and some who never gave up with clips and straps 8) ) but we aren't you.

richardfm
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Re: A noob asks... what is the point of toe clips for a commute?

Postby richardfm » 16 Aug 2019, 7:01pm

661-Pete wrote:
richardfm wrote:
661-Pete wrote:I expected most people would answer your query with the remark "don't use toe clips, use clipless (SPD etc.)". That's certainly been my experience years back on other forums - the ones populated by younger more sporty individuals.

Switching to SPD if you're having trouble with toe clips is the very worst move you can take. Don't go there!


I'm neither young nor sporty and have used SPD pedals and shoes for years on my commute. I can clip in and out at will as needed.
Would you care to explain
661-Pete wrote:Switching to SPD if you're having trouble with toe clips is the very worst move you can take. Don't go there!
? Did yo try them once and not get on with them?
You are an experienced cyclist. So - maybe - am I. The OP by his/her own admission, isn't.

I've never used SPDs myself, but I've witnessed plenty of 'clipless moments'. In my view they are not suitable for the novice cyclist - surely most would agree there! Personally, I haven't switched because I don't feel the need.

Is that a good enough answer?

Not really. Your advice was "Switching to SPD if you're having trouble with toe clips is the very worst move you can take. Don't go there!" but you seem to base this advice on nothing, certainly not experience