Bike accessories – No. 1: Clipless pedals

Since entering the world of road cycling I have purchased a number of ‘essential’ bike accessories. Over a series of blogs I intend to record what I have bought, why I bought it, and whether it was a worthwhile purchase. I am undecided about recording the prices of each accessory as I fear the total spend would be twice the price of the bike itself.

One of my first purchases was a set of ‘clipless pedals’. The bike came with standard platform pedals with a toe strap but these were immediately swapped for a set of Shimano 105 SPD-SL pedals which allow your feet to be rigidly attached via a cleat on the sole of a special cycling shoe. This in turn allows both pushing and pulling of the feel for a smooth circular cycling motion.

The major negative with this type of system is that you are unable to quickly place your foot on the floor to prevent a fall. The shoe has to be twisted out of the pedal which takes some practice to prevent embarrassing sideways collapses. One of my most foolish falls was when I pulled over against a steep grass verge to let a tractor pass on a narrow country lane. I unclipped my outer foot and placed it on the verge and somehow managed to push myself away from the verge. With my inside foot clipped to the pedal I fell into the road and came face to face with an enormous tractor tyre. Since this incident I have been very careful to unclip my feet before coming to a standstill. These two blogs show that I am not alone in such incidents – Cycling Fail: Faceplant & Memories.

Bike accessory no. 1: Clipless pedals – Worth it? Yes, but be prepared for bruised hips and pride.

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