Wednesday, 9 September 2009

The great cleat debate

I'm tempted I'll admit it.

Cleats are the things in your shoes that clip into specially designed pedals. Your feet are secure even if it's weeing with rain and, apparently they can improve your pedal power as your foot is in the correct position.

But if you don't get out of them in time at a junction you fall over sideways in an undignified manner.

Mr Weenie is against them as he reckons I'll fall over continually and I'm worried about the fact you can't pedal in normal shoes so if your cleats are wet/unusable you're screwed. You can get cleat shoes that you can walk in as well as pedal so, ostensibly, it wouldn't be that much of a barrier but specialist shoes cost a huge amount more than normal ones.

I'm torn.

Any advice gratefully received.


  1. To continue to improve your roadie image, you will sooner or later have to take the plunge and get cleated cycling shoes and pedals. You'll also need drop handlebars, which will involve getting new combi shifter/brake levers. It's more a case of when than if. For the handlebars and shifters, it may be easier just to get a proper road bike which comes with them, so you can leave this until Reg goes into retirement (next summer, is it?). That means you're free to make the transition to cleated cycling shoes and pedals sometime soon. They will of course be transferable to your future bike and you'll have loads of time to get used to riding with them before having to get used to the new bike.

  2. Hmmmm, a cogent argument and I too was thinking of upgrading Reg next year and getting a full roadie with drops.

  3. Don't do it! You'll rattle like a tap dancer or Mr Tumnus from the Chronicles of Narnia

    But what do I know? I don't do road bikes.

  4. The solution to your other concern about not being able to use clip-in pedals with normal shoes is to get pedals that are flat on one side but have a cleat locking mechanism on the other. Best of both worlds, though maybe a bit of a pain to always have to flip the pedal over with your toe first.

  5. I think so - he has hooves, so he must clatter a bit.

  6. 1) You can walk in SPDs.
    2) They're WAY more secure in the wet than flats.
    3) Merlin quite often do a package deal where you can get M520 pedals and a shimano shoe for £50

    Granted, I have fallen into cowshit once having a "clipless" moment, but the efficiency and security of SPD (and SPD-SL on the roadie) make even that seem worth it.

  7. I agree with Andrew. I have the flat side/cleat side pedals so I can choose depending on the day. If I am feeling a little insecure I will just clip in my right side and leave the left out. I especially do this in heavy traffic when I can never be too sure what that car in front might do and I might need to step out quickly. I have only fallen once, and that was in front of my very caring husband who didn't laugh (much)!

    The extra peddling power is helpful. You pull as well as push so you are less tired at the end of your cycle.

  8. For commuting I'd much rather run a decent pair of flats and a pair of Vans. No problems with grip even in the wet, none of that slight delay when pulling away from a stop and having to click in each time, no danger of not being able to a foot down in an emergency, plus no requirement to change shoes just to pop down the shops quickly.

    Longer rides maybe I'll think about getting some at some point but I've had no problems with doing 100 milers without being attached.