Over at CommuteByBike.com I posted an article this morning about the various ways to carry your smaller child on a bike. It is a good article to read for the basics of child bike seats, trailers and the Xtracycle. Many commentors have added their own ways of carrying children which I hope to touch on soon.
How do you ride with your smaller children? Do you commute with them to places like school or the library, by bike?
We recently talked about the different types of pedals, and left the conversation with the question “Do I Need Clipless Pedals?”
Advantages of Clipless Pedals
There are three main advantages that I tell every customer thinking of getting a pair of shoes and clipless pedals.
You will be more efficient and faster on the bike. You are able to use the whole pedal stroke, not only the down stroke. Pulling up and making round circles with your pedaling technique will allow you to keep a higher cruising speed or get up those hills faster with less effort.
The sole of a cycling shoe is stiffer and does not flex as much to cause arch or foot pain.
You are in a locked position in the pedals for a more dynamic fitting on your bike.
Disadvantages of Clipless Pedals
In my mind the advantages out way the disadvantages, clipless pedals will make you a stronger cyclist.
You are locked in and need to be educated how to “un-clip” your pedals
There is a learning curve, try to learn on a trainer or in a quite community
Your bike fit is now more important and you could injure yourself if you aren’t properly adjusted from toes up to your shoulders. It all links together in the human body chain.
The cost for pedals/shoes starts about $150 – 250 for the common types of shoes and pedals.
Types, Styles and What to Look For
This is a follow up article to help aid you in finding your perfect system. We will discuss different types of shoes, pedals and why each is useful.
Two months ago I started commuting daily with the most fashionable basket possible, Basil Blossom Basket. At first I felt like a nerd, I have a pannier on one side of my rear rack and then this large, in charge, basket up front. The more I used it, the more I fell in love. Continue reading →
There are a variety of pedal types out in bike land these days. The three top types of pedals are the following :
These are the pedals you have been using since the big wheel. The are flat, sometimes with small grip pegs sticking out. These do not require any special shoes, are the easiest to use and are also the least effecient of the pedals listed.
Toe Clips and Straps
Take the above platform pedal, and and a cage with strap. These can be tightened down on your shoe to give you some ability to pull up on the pedals, as well as keeping your foot in a relative position.
You have probably heard horror stories of clipless, or clip-in, pedals. Chances are if you have tried them, you have toppled over one or two times. Requiring special shoes, special pedals and a high confidence rate. I recommend to try learning how to clip in with a friend, or your favorite local bike shop. Being locked into a trainer also helps as you don’t have to worry about falling over.
Clipless pedals (also clip-in or step-in) require a special cycling shoe with a cleat fitted to the sole, which locks into a mechanism in the pedal, holding the shoe firmly to the pedal. Most of today’s clipless pedals lock to the cleats when stepped together firmly, and unlock with when the foot is twisted outward. Clipless refers to the lack of an external toe clip (cage), but not to be confused with platform pedals without toe clips. – Souce: Wikipedia
Every Monday night there is a group ride that I put together at a local state park. Currently, I’m the slowest person in the group but no one seems to mind as I am surrounded by customers and members of the mountain bike team I run. All good people, all excellent people to share moments on the trail with.
During this past weeks ride one of the faster fellows on my mountain bike team slowed down to chat with me. He had been encouraging his wife to come out on the group ride, but she was too intimidated by those fast guys he rides with.
It rang a bell in my head, as I’ve been on those rides and have heard tons of stories from customers. What I should of said there was, I’ve heard horror stories from customers.
Group Rides Should Be Fun
There is a reason we aren’t calling them training rides. If you want to have a test-fest* make sure it is in the fine print of your advertising of the ride. If the ride says a no-drop, then you should wait every once in awhile and make sure the people behind you are alive. When they arrive, let them breathe before you leave again.
How a Proper Group Ride Acts
You show up to destination 15 minutes prior to the departure time
Everyone says hello and talks up
Arguing for who is taking the lead into the trail
Put the single speeders up front, it will be better for all
If the group separates too often, you lead designated leaders of these separate packs. Those leaders make sure their group stays together as best as possible. Stopping every few miles to regroup and make sure everyone is alive.
For more beginner rides, you may stop at every mile marker.
Someone is your sweep. Normally an individual with mechanical experience to help your fallen friends with flat tires.
You finish your ride
Have a beer
Plan for next week
Our group rides are at Lake Norman State Park, come join us if you are near Charlotte/Lake Norman, North Carolina.
*Test-fest : A term I have coined for those events where there is too much testosterone or testicles in the area.