It’s hip to be flat
August 5, 2015 § 43 Comments
One thing I realized pedaling on heavy bikes across Germany is that nothing beats flat pedals, so I put them on my $75,000 racing bike and they go super awesome with my new Ceramic Speed bearings from FastForward. The pedals are made of plastic, which is pre-carbon, and they are 100% pre-carbon, made completely of pre-carbon.
You probably think I’m joking, but ask Toronto and Hollywood and Ronan’s hockey coach, who all saw me out running errands on Monday afternoon, all fredded out with my walking shorts and regular shoes and flat pedals and backpack, which was filled with two onions, a bag of celery, a bag of carrots, and a whole chicken because I was making chicken soup for dinner.
But I’m not joking, and if you want to turn your $75,000 full-carbon race machine into something that is:
- Easy to ride.
… then we are talking about a $10 upgrade, unless you want to get really fancy and buy high-performance flat pedals for $20 bucks or so. High-performance onion/celery/carrot/chicken carrying is the next big thing.
I’m really not joking.
How many times have you thought, “Fuck, I’d like to hop on my bike and get a quart of milk and some condoms,” but then you’ve immediately thought, “Fuck, I have to wear cleats, and then carry flip-flops, and then switch back and forth from cleats to flip-flops at the milk store and again at the condom store, ahh, fuck it,” and then you got in your car and spent $2.79 in gas and ruined part of the Amazon to drive down to the corner when you could have saved Mother Earth and been part of the solution not the problem all because of those sorry clip-in pedals.
Nope, I’m dead serious, clip-in pedals suck and they always have. What they are, is an improvement over the old toe straps where you had to coast, wobbling, while bending over to fiddle with a leather strap as you struggled to steer around a pothole and brake in time not to shoot out into the intersection and wet yourself or break your humerus in three places. Clip-ins were a big improvement over that shit.
Also, clip-ins made you faster, not because of some stupid circular pedaling mumbo-jumbo or pulling up on the back stroke, but because they chained you to the beast and allowed you to transfer more force to the pedal while allowing you to hold onto the bike in a vise-grip fear of death, further increasing the power transfer.
Otherwise, clip-in pedals suck huge donkey pustules because they discourage you from using your bike to, you know, do useful shit like riding to the bike shop to buy more bike stuff to make your bike even more useful for running errands like riding to the bike shop.
For example, once you get flat pedals you can buy a pair of these pants on one of your trips to the bike shop to get more bike stuff to enhance the usefulness of riding your bike, and yes, I’ve already ordered a pair and am saving up for the mountaineering thingy key chain and the fancy brickwork.
Clip-ins are also hell and ruination for new riders. We’ve all been there. Some friend/S-O/sucker gets interested in bikes, or more likely, gets guilted into it by you, saves up $75,000, and asks you for help at the LBS in getting set up. You go to the bike shop together, in a car of course. “Gotta have Campy 19-speed, full carbon.”
“Gotta have a Giant full carbon aero frame made of 100% carbon.”
“Gotta get tricked out in a StageOne carbon summer kit with bibs, fall kit with windbreaker and vest, and winter kit with long-sleeve insulated jersey and matching leg warmers.”
“Can’t walk out of here without three cases of artisanal electrolyte replacement drink mix.”
“And you need these shoes. They are full carbon.”
“Why do I need the shoes? I already have shoes.”
“To fit onto your pedals. They are full carbon, too.”
“What are you talking about?”
“The pedals are like ski bindings. They lock your foot to the pedal.”
“So I’m locked onto the bike?”
“What happens when I need to get out of the pedals?”
“You twist hard.”
“What happens if I can’t do it fast enough? You know, like at a stop sign?”
“You crash. But you’ll learn quicker that way.”
“So I have to crash my $75,000 bike in order to ride it?”
“Pretty much. Until you learn how to use the pedals.”
“How long does that take?”
“Depends. Some people get the hang of it in a few weeks, others take longer.”
“How much longer?”
“Oh, some people never get it down.”
“And all the while they’re crashing because they can’t take their foot off the pedal?”
“Something like that.”
“Well fuck that.”
And then the friend/S-O/sucker walks out of the bike shop with all the purchases still on the counter and takes up hot bikram crossfit golf.
Even worse are the thousands who buy the bike and pedals, fall over a few times, and never ride again. And remind me what the purpose of the pedals was for these BEGINNER BIKERS? So they can ride faster? Faster than what, a mailbox? I recall my old girlfriend from college who hated bicycles and couldn’t really ride one, so I badgered her into getting a $275 Nishiki with toe clips and straps. On her maiden voyage down the block she tumped over, feet strapped into the clips, whammed her head, got a concussion and had a short seizure. Welcome to cycling and the excitement of being tied to your bike! She never rode again, of course.
See you on the road. Hope you like my knickers.
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