Leg Suck Be Damned

Let go of the fear…

OK, I know I’m going to catch sh*t for this, but I recently switched from clipless to platform pedals. I’m going to get in trouble because a couple of years ago, on a popular message board, I mouthed off big time about the dangers of riding unrestrained, and there are still a couple of people out there that love to remind me about my one-and-only public message board temper tantrum… LOL.

The sight of my foot pointing exactly 180 degrees from normal when I got up from the crash is still clearly burned in my memory.

I have good reason to fear riding without toe clips or clipless pedals; I broke my leg and ankle in multiple places in a leg suck accident many years ago. The sight of my foot pointing exactly 180 degrees from normal when I got up from the crash is still clearly burned in my memory. I’ll admit it was a bit of a fluke, but it put me through multiple surgeries and in-and-out of casts for over a year, so I’m still a wee bit skittish around platforms, even after all this time.

Coincidentally (or not, as these things often go), our household is on a serious jag to revamp our on-bike time to include more utilitarian cycling in the form of commuting, library trips, grocery shopping, dental/doctor appointments, coffee/breakfast/lunch/dinner runs, bill paying, etc. We’re trying to make hopping on the bikes as convenient as hopping in the car (imagine how much automobile use would decline if we all changed into padded shorts, helmet, gloves, goggles, and special shoes every time we hopped in the car to make a grocery run for soy milk or toilet tissue). We added platform pedals and panniers to our main rides and revamped our bike storage situation to make for quick and easy entry and exit. The platforms accomodate whatever shoes happen to be on our feet, the panniers accomodate the stuff we need to haul to or from wherever we’re headed, and the convenient entry/exit just makes the whole process that much more pleasant.

So there you have it: I’ve officially rescinded my dogmatic stance on the benefits of restrained pedaling. Let the barbs fly! Leg suck still looms a little larger-than-life in my amygdala, but the freedom to come and go on a whim is finally putting that old fear to rest.

4 Responses to “Leg Suck Be Damned”

  • Craig Miller says:

    Alan,

    Great new site! Thank you very much for the Recumbent Blog, which I have enjoyed over the years.

    As to platform pedals, I am 100% there with you with one addition. I use the old-style bird cage toe clip straps which allow me the best of both worlds. I can run the straps loose when I am not racing from point a to point b. I can wear really comfortable shoes while riding (usually flip flops), and since I am riding a ‘bent, I can pull up on the pedals since I can’t stand on them.

    Best of luck in your new site, I look forward to reading it for years to come.

    Craig…

  • Steve says:

    OK first sling, somebody else can throw the arrow.
    My problem with platforms… power on only one part of the stroke especially on a bent. You are pushing only and no pull.

  • andy parmentier says:

    i just took a long bike ride and wished i had bebop or speedplay pedals with specialized shoes (the only cycling shoe i know of with a built in orthotic (the varus wedge)
    i’ve got bearclaw oversize bmx pedals with pins, and they do grab my shoe decent, but for long rides i’d want to be clipped in.

  • William Furr says:

    What about toe straps or clips? There are all sorts of models that work well with just about any closed-toe shoe.

    The simplest kind to adjust and use are probably PowerGrips: http://powergrips.mrpbike.com/

 
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