Beware; this blog post contains scenes of an over-excited nature!
My struggle with clip-in cycle shoes is finally over and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am. This ongoing battle has held back my cycling for years and now I have cracked it. I say, I cracked it, but the honest truth is it wasn’t really me, more my new pedal system. Before I go on and reveal all, I feel I must state that this is not an advertising post and no one paid me to say this – but I LOVE my Speedplay pedals.
I had assumed, like many others, that there are just a couple of different pedal systems (that are basically the same) and it’s simply a case of getting used to them
All this happened because of a chance conversation with a fellow mum who also rides. We were chatting while waiting for our daughters, and I mentioned that I was still struggling with my clip-in shoes. “Oh, you should try frog pedals – they are soooooo much easier to use” she said. Now this was a bit of a bolt out of the blue… Frog pedals – just what the hell are they?
I had assumed, like many others, that there are just a couple of different pedal systems (that are basically the same) and it’s simply a case of getting used to them. It’s kind of seen as a rite of passage, you fall off a few times and then you get it – like throwing a baby in a swimming pool – sink or swim. Call me a wimp, but I just don’t like pain or fear, so that process was not working for me at all.
So, I googled Frog pedals and pretty quickly came upon comment after comment about how these pedals changed peoples riding experience. I just couldn’t believe it, why had I not come across this before? It was like someone had opened a secret door to another world. Ok maybe I am over cooking it a bit now, but honestly, I almost cried I was that relieved.
Incredibly, I found that instead of avoiding clipping in I was actually WANTING to clip-in.
I contacted the company, talked through my issues and they recommended the Speedplay Zero Light Action, a slightly different model to the Frog but with the same release system. Within a week I had a pair and within 10 minutes of riding with them I was venturing out into the traffic, clipped in and laughing like a crazed toddler who has just been given fizzy sweets for the first time!
The next morning (Sunday) I got up early, which is practically unheard of for me and went out on my standard 20 miler. Incredibly, I found that instead of avoiding clipping in I was actually WANTING to clip-in and although I did unclip unnecessarily a few times (just to check I hadn’t dreamt it all) by the time I got home I felt like a pro.
So what’s the difference? Well, mainly it’s simply that only minimal force is required to unclip, instead the shoe just eases out because the mechanism works differently. There is also a degree of movement once clipped in, so you are not held in a rigid position, which is apparently good for people with knee issues. For me though, it means that the element of panic is gone and because there is no panic, there is no fear and I can relax and enjoy cycling a whole lot more. That’s what it’s meant to be like, right? Enjoyable?
Regardless of how the half Ironman triathlon goes next month, I really feel that I’ve accomplished something here - I’ve started riding longer distances at the weekend and even stop at lovely country cafes that regular cyclists haunt – I now feel like one of the gang!
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