So what does it mean to “clip in”? Clipping in means you are going clipless, makes sense right? But I will leave that story for another day. What we want to talk about here is why you want to be “clipped in”. Clipping in means you are attached to your bicycle at the pedals. AHHHHHHH, freaks you out, right? Well it really shouldn’t. I have taken many cyclists out for their first ride being clipped in, and within 1 hour, they have the hang of it and understand the benefits.
So why clip in?
The pedals on your bike really serve only one purpose – as a means to transfer power from you to your bicycle. So we need to speak of efficencies now.
Without something holding your foot securely to the pedal, it would be easy to slip off the pedal and send your foot into the wheel. There is a correct placement for the position of your foot over the pedal axle to get the most from your muscles. You shouldn’t have to think about how your feet connect to the bicycle while you’re riding. You should be concentrating on having fun!
Being clipped in allows both your hamstrings and quadriceps to be used in the pedaling stroke. This provides a more efficient action by applying power during more of the pedaling stroke. i.e. circular motion instead of pumping action. We don’t “mash” when we pedal. By mashing I mean an up and down motion. Your thought process needs to be more of a forward and backward motion so that you can peadl in a “circle”. A friend of mine who has won many state champiopnships puts it terms of “slippery slippers”. Imagine walking acorss a very slippery floor in very slippery slippers. You almost have to shuffle, forwards and backwards. That’s what you need to think about when pedaling.
There are ancilary benefits of clipping in. They are typically a lighter weight and more aero than platforms, but being clipped in with cycling shoes immediately mark you as a ‘pro’ cyclist immediately! It’s all about the look sometimes! I hope this helped you a bit and this will definitely help you go for the Extra Mile!
Coach Big Mac (A.K.A. McTorture)