Here's some moe information on clipless pedals from: http://citybikes.com/page.cfm?PageID=212
What are Clipless Pedals?
Clipless pedals are actually a system comprised of special pedals and cleats, devices included with the pedals that attach to the soles of clipless cycling shoes. This means that you'll need to select pedals and shoes in order to upgrade to a clipless system.
Once you have the cleats bolted to your shoes and the clipless pedals on your bicycle, you simply step on the pedals to click your feet securely in place (most systems make a "click" when you're locked in). When engaged, your feet are connected to the pedals for optimum efficiency. And your feet won't come off the pedals unless you want them to. To get out, you swing your feet heels first to the outside as if you're getting ready to put your feet down, and the pedals release.
Because your feet are locked into the pedals when riding, you'll have more power throughout the pedal stroke and while accelerating and climbing. Clipless pedals also give you more control by letting you use your feet for maneuvers such as hopping pavement cracks, railroad tracks and more exciting obstacles if you're riding off road. Plus, because you can get in and out so quickly, you’re more apt to get your feet down and land safely should you need to dismount quickly.
Clips and Straps Versus Clipless
If you’re cycling short distances and casually, basic rubber pedals work fine. As you pedal more seriously, say to achieve fitness, the speed and distance that you pedal increases and there’s a risk of your feet slipping off the pedals. At the least, this is an annoyance; at the worst, it can cause a crash and injury. Also, even if you never slip off the pedals, rubber pedals allow your feet to change positions while you’re pedaling, which is very inefficient.
Ideally, you'll always pedal with the balls of your feet over the centers of the pedals. Because it's difficult to keep your feet in position, toe clips and straps were invented (shortly after bicycles were invented, actually).
Toe clips and straps bolt to regular pedals (non clipless) and form cages to hold your feet in the correct place on the pedals and keep your feet from slipping off. This is a perfectly viable solution and one less expensive than clipless pedals and the special shoes needed to complete the clipless system.
There are drawbacks, however. One is that the clips and straps may cut off the circulation to your feet when they’re fastened tightly enough to allow efficient pedaling and control. It’s also a fairly tricky two-step process to get out of the clips and straps when they’re tightened because you must reach down to loosen the strap before you can pull your foot out. Also, when you're riding off road on the pedal bottoms, the toe straps hang down where they can snag on roots or sticks causing a crash.
These are just some of the reasons that clipless pedals are now de rigueur for serious cyclists. The only real disadvantage is that they take a little practice to learn how to use (true with toe clips and straps, too), and they’re more costly.
Float And Tension Adjustment
The majority of clipless systems today feature float. This is a few degrees of built-in lateral play allowing your feet to move slightly and find the optimum pedaling position. Float ensures that you won't injure your knees by riding with your feet misaligned with your knees, which was a common problem before pedals with float were invented.
Keep in mind that even though most clipless pedals offer float, it's still important to align the cleats carefully. They must be positioned to hold the balls of your feet over the pedals and to match your natural foot inclination. Our bike fitters are experts at this.
Another adjustment many clipless pedals offer is fine-tuning the ease of entry and exit. Competitive riders often set their pedals very firm because they don't want their feet popping out in all-out sprinting efforts. Meanwhile, mountain bikers like a loose setting so that they can get out with very little effort should they need to get their feet down in a hurry. A loose setting is also helpful if you're just starting out with clipless pedals.
Do not look where you fell, but where you slipped.
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