Newbie Rider Report
Ok, so before I get into it I'll be totally honest. Most of my riding over the past few years has been commuting on upright bicycles. I have gone on a few longer (more than 100 miles) trips, but they were on my road bike and were pretty painful after mile marker 40 or so.
Now I have a V2K conversion setup like a road bike. Over the past few days I've learned how to ride in a straight line, negotiate tight turns, and (most recently) start by pedaling.
Last Sunday I decided to go for a ride around town. I noticed two things immediately. First looking around while riding is way more fun if you're not craning your neck. Second, plant your back against the seat and these things move!
By the time my knees started to ache a bit (fit is good, maybe the cranks are too long or I'm just not in shape yet) I had cycled more than 20 miles in an hour and 10 minutes. I had to double check that distance with Google maps when I got home. I know that's not a record-setting pace, but for this Mega-Clyde to have accomplished that with only a twinge of knee pain is remarkable, trust me.
So add mine to the list of converts and testimonials. I'm convinced. Now I just need to gain the confidence needed to tackle the high rise bridges to test their climbing ability. I've heard that it's passable.
Way to go!!
Are you clipping in, or running on flat pedals? The reason I ask is part of your knee pain could be due to mashing. I think it will go away, but you'd be well advised to clip in, once you get comfy enough to do so. These bikes, especially, do really well when you are tied to the pedals and spin the pedals, as opposed to pushing only.
If you are already clipping in, then...... Nevermind! LOL!!
I agree with Mark. I assumed a crank length issue had caused my knee pain, but I was informed that I was likely pushing too big a gear. I started gearing down, spinning more and knee pain is gone. Mashing is okay once and a while (if you are blasting up a short hill, for example) but spinning is where it's at.
I am using flat pedals, as a matter of fact. I've never used clipless pedals. Mostly because I started riding as a kid on mountain bikes and then commuting. It always seemed like clipless pedals for those activities were either dangerous or overkill.
Not having experience with clipless pedals, I'm wondering how you increase your speed by gearing down and spinning faster? Won't you eventually spin out? Is it only then that you gear back up? Or am I seriously over-thinking it and should just shut up and go do it, already?
Also, what products might I start looking at for a guy with large feet (size US 12) and a wide stance? I heard Keens have a clipless shoe.. do we like that? Do all pedals match with shoes?
As far as I have seen, all dedicated cycling shoes have three bolt holes on each sole, and the pedals come packaged with their matching cleat. The cleats and soles are slightly slotted to ensure fit and to position the pedal axle just where you are accustomed to feel it.
I find that clipless pedals (after one is comfortable on a Cruzbike) makes a huge difference in control. While I can now ride without hands and without clipping in, I find it much easier to do so clipped in.
Nashbar has sandals. A lot of people like the Keens.
Yes, pedals come matched with cleats. All road shoes come with three hole patterns. MTB shoes come with two hole patterns. Road shoes are generally stiffer (although not always); MTB shoes are much easier to walk in (you can get shoes that look like, well, shoes ).
I use MTB shoes and SPD pedals/cleats (where I have dual sided pedals - cleats one side platform on the other). I always wear cleats unless I'm tuning my bike and test riding it in my driveway.
Once you're clipped in, it is much easier to spin quickly as you no longer have to worry about your feet flying off the pedals. You also don't have to spend energy holding your feet on the pedals. It's very easy to mash on a Cruzbike and very easy to push against your back and really put some force down on the pedals. I find that just being in the wrong gear on a hill and my knees will tell me where to go.
p.s. Shimano makes SPD MTB pedals/cleats and SPD-SL road pedals cleats. The names are similar because it's fun to confuse people.
So it sounds like I simply buy a shoe that I like and there are only two types of shoes (road or mtb). Then I purchase the clipless pedal that I like (in matching road or mtb format) and the pedal comes with the correct cleat that I then bolt onto the shoe.
I hope that's correct. If it gets much more complicated than that I'm going to need some diagrams and possibly a flowchart.
You pretty much got it. There are shoes that will allow both types of cleats.
For somebody who hasn't used clipless before, I recommend MTB shoes/pedals/cleats. If you're racing, then it probably makes sense to go with road shoes/pedals/cleats, but otherwise...
(This isn't to say that all of you who use road cleats/pedals are doing anything at all wrong. You're not. )
I generally find that hard soled road shoes tend to be more slippery when you stop and put your foot down. Especially true when you're starting out. As suggested before, I recommend a mtb shoe or sandal. Usually, the spd cleat will be recessed into the sole and you don't have to walk like a duck. Is it dangerous? There is a learning curve and it's one more thing to remember as you come to a stop, to twist your foot to release the cleat. With some practice, it becomes second nature. You get to where you don't even think about it.
Spinning the pedals is simply taking full advantage of your bicycle's gearing and your body's muscles. You spin an easier gear and when you find a cadence you are comfortable with, you up/downshift accordingly to maintain that cadence as your speed increases/decreases. Pretty much just the way your car operates. As you pick up speed, the transmission shifts so that you maintain a relatively steady RPM. If you drive a manual, you understand this as keeping from blowing the engine up. It's the same principal. This is a bit of over simplification, but it's the general idea.
The pedals and shoe combo you select will have a big impact on your experience with clipless pedals. Some are easier to get in/out of than others, some allow for a bit of "float" which can be a good/bad thing depending on your riding style, goals, natural foot position, etc.
I've ordered a starter set of pedals and shoes. I had to order it sight-unseen because all of our local shops only sell beach cruisers. I figured that it should give me enough of a feel for the system to decide if I can make it work for me or not. I've been reading about clipless pedals and it seems that we've managed to greatly complicate the concept of pedals, but if it is better and easier on the knees, then that's the way we'll go.
Don't worry. I already have elbow pads! Wish me luck.
- grab onto a pole and practice clipping in and out for 30 minutes before riding.
- When unclipping just one foot, hold it well away from the bike to make sure you don't tip to the side that is still clipped in.
Actually, clipless pedals have greatly simplified the pedaling process. It's been known for decades that attaching oneself to the pedals and spinning the full rotation of the pedals was the most efficient way. The old way of doing this was with toe clips. You had a cage that went around your foot with a leather strap that tightened it down. The shoes had a wooden cleat that you nailed to the sole of your shoe where you wanted it. That cleat would recess into the pedal and you would reach down to tighten the strap so you were really and truly tied to the pedal. When you rolled up to a stop, you had to remember to reach down and loosen the strap so you could pull your foot out. Most people ran with one side or the other slightly loose so they could get their foot out in an emergency.
Of course, when you are only riding around the block, you don't worry about such fiddle faddle, so you unbolt the toe clips from the pedals and throw them in the trash. Your department store bikes don't even bother, any more. But, back in the day, if you were a serious cyclist, you bothered. Now you understand why "clipless" pedals were invented.
'clipless' pedals is the stupidest name ever. They might be strapless, but the are not clipless! :)
After over 50 years of bike riding and never went clipless I gave it a try a few weeks ago. After recommendations from this site I went with the Shimano Road Cycling shoes SH-RT82, the SPD system. Also installed pedal extenders as it moves my foot away from the crank, not sure if it's good or bad, however it allows me to twist out in either direction when I forget. For about a week I tested the pedals on a 3 wheel Catrike and then got on the Cruzbike. Should have done it years ago. So far I forgot to unclip only once when stopping but I was lucky the shoe came out before I completely fell over but I felt pretty stupid. Now I go around repeating to myself, unclip, unclip, unclip. In time I should remember.