Saturday, November 03, 2007

Turning a Pedalpusher into a Pedalpuller

I may actually do something I swore I would never do – get clipless bicycle pedals. The idea of having my feet “glued” to the pedals always made me cringe at the idea of stopping, for fear I would forget to loosen my feet first.

I went out on a ride this afternoon with my friend who knows a lot about biking with the idea that he might be able to tell me how to ride more efficiently. Five minutes into the ride he got out his tools and moved my seat back, having noticed that my knees were too far forward when I started to push the pedals down. He also wondered about the possibility of changing the gear ratio on my bike, so I suggested we ride over to Spokes and speak with those guys that always are doing free adjustments on my bike.

The Spokes guys came up with two optional changes that would increase the lower gears on my bike. They fixed something that was loose in the handlebar extender, at no charge of course.

On the ride back after a particularly steep hill, my friend asked if I had ever considered clipless pedals. If you don’t know what these are, they are pedals that your shoes attach to. They do keep your feet from slipping on the pedals. But, more importantly, my friend pointed out that they give you the power of pulling as well as pushing. It makes so much sense that this would help on hills.

This is one of those things I’ve always had a mental block on. Sort of like driving a stick-shift car, which turned out to be a piece of cake once I didn’t have the option to drive an automatic. So I just have to think positively, go buy some bike shoes, and get my pedals changed out. I may also go for at least one of the gear modifications.

I figured I might end up with weight training or something to build up my legs. But instead it’s just a matter of using the strength I have more efficiently. This makes so much sense.

Meanwhile my husband is talking about a bike ride (with a group) from Jerusalem to Eilat. That’s 300 miles on Israeli roads and they are some kind of crazy drivers. It’s hilly and much of it is in the desert. I think I’d better get training...


Blogger media concepts said...

I've been using toe clips since I was 15 and clipless pedals since my 20s. I think clipless are not only the most efficient and provide the best muscle workout, but also the safest. With toe clips, your foot could get stuck if you take a spill. With bare pedals, your feet can slip off in the rain. With clipless, your feet are secure when they need to be, but will disengage from the pedals when necessary. You'll get used to them in a day.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Matt -- I'm starting to be a convert before I've even tried this! When I started driving a stick-shift car at age 35, I wondered if there would ever come a time that I would not be cognizant of changing gears. It's like second nature now. Maybe by the time I'm 70, I won't think about getting my feet unlocked when I need to stop on my bike!

9:29 PM  
Blogger Ruth D~ said...

Interesting. I have naked opedals and love it, but maybe, just maybe, I'm missing out on a better workout. Sounds like they clipless come undone like ski bindings release in a fall?

10:57 PM  
Blogger riseoutofme said...

I agree with media concepts ... clipless will make a huge difference to your cycling ... and you will get used to them very quickly and then you'll wonder "why didn't I do this years ago"!

Enjoy! Am rather jealous of your planned bike trip to Israel.

7:26 AM  
Blogger KC said...

Look at you turning into a pro. Next you'll be wearing a "bee" outfit.

3:30 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

RuthD -- I'm not familiar with the pedals you mentioned. But the clipless ones are exactly as you said: they snap in and out just like cross-country skis.

Rise -- You are probably right about thinking I should have done it long ago. But time will tell!

KC -- This is so funny because I mentally vowed that while I might buy the shoes, I am going to stop short of becoming a "bee". I really don't want to appear as though I know what I'm doing!

Welcome to my little group of commenters. Before you know it you too may be Blogging!

3:42 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

You really do make me want a bike; though, the thought of clipping my feet to anything scares me. I fall down. A lot.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Ulysses said...

The clips can make it less likely to fall over. You can even out your force on the pedals and waver less side to side.
Good luck with the training

7:42 AM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

I go along with what media said. You can get hurt if you fall and can't get your feet out!

1:05 PM  
Blogger steve said...

I'm still for letting the air out of Davids tires...just a little!

2:11 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Ulysses -- I'm sure there will be a learning curve, but I'm now convinced I need to do it!

MOI -- The good news is that if you fall over, you're probably not moving any longer. I'm going to figure out how not to fall over!

Steve -- It would be hard because he keeps pumping up his tires...

7:55 PM  

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