Monday, July 14, 2008

skills & pedals

Kudos to the fine group of women who attended this evening's skill-building clinic. After covering shifting and braking, we went over climbing and descending tips, then tackled the climb from the Hilltop chalet up to the first switchback, and back down. I was impressed with how everyone took on each challenge, from overcoming their descending fears to learning to do a front wheel loft.

Now each of you have something to practice before next week! We'll build off what you learned and actually include a trail ride.

On another topic:
This evening, someone brought up clipless pedals. Sometimes these words put fear into cyclists' hearts as they imagine themselves tumbling over in a struggle to release themselves from the contraptions. Of course, those are the stories everyone remembers. But for mountain biking, after learning them, I think they're a great way to go. Why?

1 - you've got the power - the power to climb - because you have not just the downstroke on the pedals, but also the upstroke. If you use clipless, you will make more hills.
2 - you've got control - because your feet are attached to the pedal, they won't easily slip off on a rocky descent or rooty singletrack.
3 - you've got no hang-ups - this is in contrast to toe clips - the clips & straps that people often have on their pedals, but which they sometimes don't clip their feet into. When not clipped in, the clip can drag and get caught on roots on the trail.
4 - you'll use bike shoes - and bike shoes give your feet more support because they're stiffer. Less fatigue results.

If you've got an opinion about clipless pedals, feel free to post it here.

posted by Rose

1 comment:

francis said...

Rose; I am realy glad that you posted this. I think that with the terrain that we have here; i.e., hills on most of the rides that we do, that clipless pedals are the only way to go. I would like to propose that the more you ride without them the more intimidating they become; and you are learning habits that may be harder to re-train should you choose to graduate to clipless pedals later. I have a friend who was learning clipless pedal riding, a new rider, and we got her Shimano pedals that have a platform that you can clip into one side; so that you have a clipless pedal when you want and a platform when you want. That way you can gradually build your skill. I think converts will be amazed at how much more power and stability you really do have with the clipless.