Toe clips. Why?

Wrath Rob
Wrath Rob Posts: 2,918
edited July 2013 in Commuting chat
<WARNING - RANT BELOW>

2 toe clip incidents this morning. One with a guy who I can only describe as "dressed like a cowboy", i.e. long hair and dressed head to toe in denim. He was in front as we slowed down for some lights before he wobbled slowly to the right, straight in front of me, in a failed attempt to track stand. No big deal I thought, especially as he apologised, and as the lights changed he put in some effort to pull ahead. For all of about 4 pedal strokes before he then stopped pedalling completely, looked down at his pedals and struggled to get his toes into the toe clips.

Incident 2 was pulling away from VB lights onto Millbank, a train of 4 guys are in front of me. The guy immediately in front is on a old style steel bike (down tube shifters) who is on the drops, winds it up to 20 and then again stops pedalling to faff around with his toe clips.

Why would you use something which is hard to get into, is dangerous (hits the ground, especially if you have to turn a corner before you can get into them) and slows you down? Clip-less are much, much better for most cycling, if you want the choice of being able to use regular shoes or something cycle specific then there are SPD options out there for this.

What can we do to discourage this scourge of cycling?

</RANT>
FCN3: Titanium Qoroz.

Comments

  • The Rookie
    The Rookie Posts: 27,812
    Nothing, just leave it to Darwin to sort them out over time......
    Currently riding a Whyte T130C, X0 drivetrain, Magura Trail brakes converted to mixed wheel size (homebuilt wheels) with 140mm Fox 34 Rhythm and RP23 suspension. 12.2Kg.
  • bigmat
    bigmat Posts: 5,134
    I guess its either a) people who want to use normal shoes, or b) people who want to appear "old school". Same sort of argument as for riding fixies in central London.

    I used to use toe clips for years and to be honest they were fine. Clipless are way better and I doubt I'd ever go back, but not sure toe clips are that big a deal.
  • tgotb
    tgotb Posts: 4,714
    Wrath Rob wrote:
    <WARNING - RANT BELOW>

    2 toe clip incidents this morning. One with a guy who I can only describe as "dressed like a cowboy", i.e. long hair and dressed head to toe in denim. He was in front as we slowed down for some lights before he wobbled slowly to the right, straight in front of me, in a failed attempt to track stand. No big deal I thought, especially as he apologised, and as the lights changed he put in some effort to pull ahead. For all of about 4 pedal strokes before he then stopped pedalling completely, looked down at his pedals and struggled to get his toes into the toe clips.

    Incident 2 was pulling away from VB lights onto Millbank, a train of 4 guys are in front of me. The guy immediately in front is on a old style steel bike (down tube shifters) who is on the drops, winds it up to 20 and then again stops pedalling to faff around with his toe clips.

    Why would you use something which is hard to get into, is dangerous (hits the ground, especially if you have to turn a corner before you can get into them) and slows you down? Clip-less are much, much better for most cycling, if you want the choice of being able to use regular shoes or something cycle specific then there are SPD options out there for this.

    What can we do to discourage this scourge of cycling?

    </RANT>
    I think that's a bit harsh; people who don't know how to use toe clips are no worse than people who don't know how to use their clipless pedals; in fact a lot of the single-sided ones are worse, because there's the added risk of people's feet slipping off the "wrong" side of the pedal as they try to accelerate away from the lights. I think your rant should be against people using any type of pedal system which they can't use without staring at their feet.

    If I ever get round to building a pub bike it will have clips and straps, because I can use them with whatever footwear I'm planning to wear at my destination. I find them far safer than flat pedals without straps, where you either have the risk of your foot slipping off the pedal, the risk of lacerating your leg on the sharp bits put there to hold your foot in place, or both at once.

    I grew up with clips, straps and cleats; they really were the work of the devil. Once you were strapped in you were properly attached to the bike, and if you forgot to loosen a strap as you slowed down, you were toast. Crashes must have been particularly nasty, though I was lucky enough never to have one.
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • alan_sherman
    alan_sherman Posts: 1,157
    Have you just admitted to being the drafting fairy?

    Leave them a bit more room and shouldn't be a problem. Now if they overtake you when you are sat at the lights then plonk their slow, fumbling toestrapped bulk infront of you to get in the way at each set of lights then I understand the frustration.
  • Gallywomack
    Gallywomack Posts: 823
    Bah - it's foot retention in all its forms that's the scourge.

    I've never once caused delay from the lights as a result of any foot-pedal interface problems. Plus I've developed 'instinctive', 'natural' bike-handling abilities - it must be true, cos that BikeJames fella told me so.

    Of course, my foot may occasionally have slipped off the pedal at high cadences, but that's just a bit of fun, innit, and in no way dangerous. Plus I like having mottled and scarred calves.

    So in short, a vote for flats is a vote for rapid, uninterrupted acceleration, ninja cycling skills & calves like Stephen Hendry's face 8)
  • Sailorchick
    Sailorchick Posts: 202
    I still have toe clips on my good bike.

    Having never ridden clipless before I put doublesided pedals on my commuter so that when that inevitable clipless moment happened, whilst I was learning, it would be that bike that got scratched.

    Over a year later I've not had that fall and still not got around to putting clipless pedals on the good bike. Should get round to it in the spring as I'll be wanting to get lots of rides in to get my fitness back then and the toe clips do annoy me.
  • airbag
    airbag Posts: 201
    Because I don't want "a choice over whether to use normal or cycling specific shoes". I want a bike that doesn't force me to buy cycling specific clothing to get the best out of it. I don't mind wearing cycle-specific clothing but outside of an actual race, I'd like to feel like I have a choice rather being forced to buy stuff by a machine.
  • rubertoe
    rubertoe Posts: 3,994
    because they come with the bike...
    "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."

    PX Kaffenback 2 = Work Horse
    B-Twin Alur 700 = Sundays and Hills
  • Agent57
    Agent57 Posts: 2,300
    I still have toe clips on my daily commuter. They've been on the bike for 20 years, and do a fine job. I hardly ever tighten them up, but they help keep my foot in place when I'm wearing trainers, or normal shoes, or flip flops, etc.

    The easiest pedals to "get in to" are the SPDs on my Brompton. Pretty much first time, every time, and they're OK for pedaling without being clipped in. Next are the toe clips; occasionally I have to faff a bit to flip a pedal round and get my foot in.

    Worst, are the SPD-SLs on my road bike. Not too bad on the flat, but quite often a bit tricky when setting off uphill. I've had plenty of occasions when I haven't clipped in first time, and I don't have enough momentum for another go so I try pedalling without clipping in and my foot skates off the pedal. Not fun, although I've yet to actually come off because of it.

    Anyway, we cagers aren't all clueless nodders. :p
    MTB commuter / 531c commuter / CR1 Team 2009 / RockHopper Pro Disc / 10 mile PB: 25:52 (Jun 2014)
  • rubertoe
    rubertoe Posts: 3,994
    Agent57 wrote:
    I still have toe clips on my daily commuter. They've been on the bike for 20 years, and do a fine job. I hardly ever tighten them up, but they help keep my foot in place when I'm wearing trainers, or normal shoes, or flip flops, etc.

    The easiest pedals to "get in to" are the SPDs on my Brompton. Pretty much first time, every time, and they're OK for pedaling without being clipped in. Next are the toe clips; occasionally I have to faff a bit to flip a pedal round and get my foot in.

    Worst, are the SPD-SLs on my road bike. Not too bad on the flat, but quite often a bit tricky when setting off uphill. I've had plenty of occasions when I haven't clipped in first time, and I don't have enough momentum for another go so I try pedalling without clipping in and my foot skates off the pedal. Not fun, although I've yet to actually come off because of it.

    Anyway, we cagers aren't all clueless nodders. :p

    I use SPD - SL's on my commuter. I have never had a problem. I might occasionaly miss the clip in, but its never caused any issue.
    "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."

    PX Kaffenback 2 = Work Horse
    B-Twin Alur 700 = Sundays and Hills
  • cyclingprop
    cyclingprop Posts: 2,426
    rubertoe wrote:
    I use SPD - SL's on my commuter. I have never had a problem. I might occasionaly miss the clip in, but its never caused any issue.


    ^ This. Besides, if you're timing the lights properly you probably don't even need to stop?
    What do you mean you think 64cm is a big frame?
  • veronese68
    veronese68 Posts: 27,562
    I used to have toe clips and never found them to be a problem. The weight of the clip means they always hang the same way, which makes them easier than single sided spd pedals. I didn't have the straps overly tight to make life a bit easier. As TGOTB says ideal for a pub bike.
  • I hear you.

    Answer? Because they're hipster tw-ts trying to look cool and retro but who actually have little clue about cycling and have often never cycled outside of zones one and two (London, not HR zones).

    I used to ride toe clips back in the day. Getting the feet in was OK, it was the straps that were the slow part. Clipless way better of course.

    Though the other day I did see a guy in old leather shoe type cycling shoes with clips all Rapha-ed up and I have to say he did look canny fly.
  • tgotb
    tgotb Posts: 4,714
    Answer? Because they're hipster tw-ts trying to look cool and retro but who actually have little clue about cycling and have often never cycled outside of zones one and two (London, not HR zones).
    As I used to say to my ex, some people make decisions for other reasons than to influence what people think of them...

    I've seen quite a few toeclip users on the commute recently; some are quite competent, but quite a lot are the ones who are irritating the OP. I've assumed they're using toeclips either because the bike they just pulled out of the back of the shed already had them on, or because they want something better than flat pedals without the "big switch" to SPDs or equivalent. I don't think any of them are doing it to look cool; if that were the case they wouldn't be wearing football shorts and hi-vis jackets.

    You can probably buy a set of clips and straps for under a tenner, whereas it's going to cost several times that for even the cheapest SPDs, shoes and cleats, which is quite a lot to spend on a step into the unknown. Given the amount of chat on this forum about clipless moments, and the large number of people I see unclipping 100 yards before every junction, it appears that some people find clipless pedals intimidating. If they see clips and straps as a cheaper or safer option, good luck to 'em!
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • Wrath Rob
    Wrath Rob Posts: 2,918
    Have you just admitted to being the drafting fairy?

    Leave them a bit more room and shouldn't be a problem. Now if they overtake you when you are sat at the lights then plonk their slow, fumbling toestrapped bulk infront of you to get in the way at each set of lights then I understand the frustration.
    Haha ;)

    Its more the break in acceleration as the inevitable fumble to get the toe clip into the right place to then get the toe into the clip takes place that was the issue. If they got up to speed and then faffed around then it wouldn't have been a problem. Mind you, in both cases, perhaps that was their top speed...?
    FCN3: Titanium Qoroz.
  • corriebee1
    corriebee1 Posts: 390
    Meh.

    I wear trainers and use flat pedals most days on my 15 miles of commuting. I cycle pretty fast, and enjoy it.

    Can't say i fancy clips. I have double-sided pedals and some cheapy Specialised SPD's in case I want to clip in, but i find it a bit of a faff and quite enjoy just riding in m'trainers.

    (Does that make me a bad person?! :? )
  • jimmypippa
    jimmypippa Posts: 1,712
    Agent57 wrote:
    I still have toe clips on my daily commuter. They've been on the bike for 20 years, and do a fine job. I hardly ever tighten them up, but they help keep my foot in place when I'm wearing trainers, or normal shoes, or flip flops, etc.

    I usually use toeclips for those reasons, and if they are loose I can get my foot out when the bike is stopped, after slamming the brakes on suddenly for any reason.

    I don't fancy a clipless moment under a quarry lorry at the lights.

    When I am cycling for fun I do use SPDs, and they do allow a more positive feel compared to loose toeclips.

    However I find that with loose toeclips, there is far more opportunity to move the feet around compared to a little folat with SPDs. I find that a less rigid position helps my knees.
  • veronese68
    veronese68 Posts: 27,562
    Riding round Richmond Park this evening and we pass a guy with toe clips, but they are on the lower side of his pedals and one is scraping the tarmac with every revolution. I was behind WR at this point and I could swear he shuddered as he passed.
  • Agent57
    Agent57 Posts: 2,300
    Besides, if you're timing the lights properly you probably don't even need to stop?

    Some lights can be on red for a full minute, in my experience. Others can be hard to predict, especially on unfamiliar roads. I often have to stop.
    MTB commuter / 531c commuter / CR1 Team 2009 / RockHopper Pro Disc / 10 mile PB: 25:52 (Jun 2014)
  • Agent57
    Agent57 Posts: 2,300
    rubertoe wrote:
    Agent57 wrote:
    I still have toe clips on my daily commuter. They've been on the bike for 20 years, and do a fine job. I hardly ever tighten them up, but they help keep my foot in place when I'm wearing trainers, or normal shoes, or flip flops, etc.

    The easiest pedals to "get in to" are the SPDs on my Brompton. Pretty much first time, every time, and they're OK for pedaling without being clipped in. Next are the toe clips; occasionally I have to faff a bit to flip a pedal round and get my foot in.

    Worst, are the SPD-SLs on my road bike. Not too bad on the flat, but quite often a bit tricky when setting off uphill. I've had plenty of occasions when I haven't clipped in first time, and I don't have enough momentum for another go so I try pedalling without clipping in and my foot skates off the pedal. Not fun, although I've yet to actually come off because of it.

    Anyway, we cagers aren't all clueless nodders. :p

    I use SPD - SL's on my commuter. I have never had a problem. I might occasionaly miss the clip in, but its never caused any issue.

    Worst is a relative term; as I said, I've never actually fallen off or anything due to missing the clip in, but I definitely find them the most likely to make me mutter FFS.
    MTB commuter / 531c commuter / CR1 Team 2009 / RockHopper Pro Disc / 10 mile PB: 25:52 (Jun 2014)
  • jimmypippa
    jimmypippa Posts: 1,712
    Agent57 wrote:
    Besides, if you're timing the lights properly you probably don't even need to stop?

    Some lights can be on red for a full minute, in my experience. Others can be hard to predict, especially on unfamiliar roads. I often have to stop.

    There are numpties that pull out on you or cars/lorries that overtake just before a row of parked cars then stop suddenly when a lorry comes the other way. (One of my pet hates). On my way home I'm often passing a primary school about 3-ish. Lot of scope for sudden stops there.
  • TGOTB wrote:
    I don't think any of them are doing it to look cool; if that were the case they wouldn't be wearing football shorts and hi-vis jackets.

    Sounds like rave oldskool hipster tw-ts. The worst kind. :)

    They do sound like they have dragged an old bike out the shed but I find it hard to believe any of these folk are buying new clips because they don't want to go all the way to SPDs.

    Have to ask one next time.
  • Wrath Rob
    Wrath Rob Posts: 2,918
    Veronese68 wrote:
    Riding round Richmond Park this evening and we pass a guy with toe clips, but they are on the lower side of his pedals and one is scraping the tarmac with every revolution. I was behind WR at this point and I could swear he shuddered as he passed.
    A little bit of sick came into my mouth when we went past him...
    FCN3: Titanium Qoroz.