Thursday, June 10, 2010
Yesterday, fellow biker and dear friend SS wrote a detailed review of clipless pedals. He prides himself on his thoroughness in these reviews, so I was incredulous when he failed to mention how ABSURDLY dangerous they are. He wrote quaint anecdotes about the benefits of straps over laces and that the term "clipless" makes no sense, as you CLIP INTO THEM. Thus, I thought I already had clipless pedals. When I realized I didn't, I asked my parents to get me them for my birthday. Allow me to play bad cop.
I will concede that clipless pedals are inherently more efficient, as your feet are holstered in and can generate momentum over your entire stride. But, once that momentum is gone, there's the little matter of your feet still being attached to the bicycle. Let me back up a few steps before I paint this gruesome picture.
SPD shoes are pretty straightforward. They look like soccer cleats, but have little clips on the bottom. They feel like wearing ski boots, and when I walk around in them I sound like I am learning Jazz tap. This is a problem because I like to do errands on my bike rides. For example, I had to pack a pair of sandals to change into when I got to Trader Joe's on Monday. That valuable space could have been used for hummus or tamales in my backpack.
The act of physically clipping into the pedal is a little tricky, but is definitely a personal problem. More often than not I get my right foot in and spend the next 10-100 seconds feeling like one of Cinderella's evil stepsisters. Now let us return to where we left off. You are clipped in and come to a stop. You realize feet are still clipped in. You immediately experience the surge of adrenaline and fear that is known in scientific circles as "fight or flight". I liken it to the time I tried to leapfrog SS off his trampoline and found myself 7 feet in the air parallel to the ground. I flailed once and landed on my face. On the bike, you wiggle your foot frantically, and this happens:
Don't say I didn't warn you.