We can appreciate that for some, the thought of having your feet attached to the pedals can seem intimidating. Whether you're looking to add some speed to your daily commute or put an end to getting dropped on climbs during group rides, it's almost always a good idea to trade runners for a pair of proper cycling shoes. You'll be more efficient, your hamstrings will get stronger, you'll be able to spin your legs faster and frankly, you'll feel cooler.
- Proper pedaling means pushing and pulling, but the latter is impossible without cycling shoes. When we push, it’s the quadriceps that are doing the work, when we pull, however, our hamstrings are forced to chip in. Not only will you get a better workout, but you’ll find it’s much easier to get up hills when your hamstrings can contribute.
- Do your feet slide off the pedals when you’re flying downhill or do you find it difficult to control pedaling? When your feet are clipped in, you’ll be able to pedal even on the steep downhill, which is a great time to practice proper pedaling.
- Unlike running shoes, cycling shoes have a sturdy sole. This stiffness allows for better power transfer, which means you’ll get more out of each pedal stroke.
- If you’ve had a proper bike fit and have your feet clipped in, you’ll be better aligned on the pedals. You’ll be pedaling more comfortably and efficiently, and your feet will always be in the right place. This will reduce your chances of chronic injuries from bad form or overuse.
Three Tips for Beginners:
- Loosen the tension adjustment on your pedals. You’ll require less effort to clip in and out, which will immediately eliminate much of the stress when you’re starting out.
- Practice. Before going outside, spend some time inside on the trainer, in the comfort of your own home. Once you’re feeling confident, practice in an empty parking lot, where you don’t have to worry about traffic, pedestrians, other cyclists or a bruised ego. You’ll feel much more confident.
- Anticipate. Don’t wait until the last second to unclip. Instead, unclip early and rest your foot on the pedal. You’ll be able to continue riding, but will be ready to stop if necessary. Looking ahead and being aware of your surroundings will keep your ride more predictable.