Pedals: To Clip or Not to Clip?

Triathlon | Clipless Pedals | Biking | Triathlon Tip |

To clip or not to clip that is the question.  Seriously – that is the question when it comes to biking.  Or rather, it was never a question for me when I decided to do my first triathlon.  Of course I was going all in (remember my first triathlon was an Ironman) ….  I was getting the clipless pedals!  (And why do they call them clipless?  I still don’t understand.  They have clips ….  You are clipping in … why are they called clipless????)

Of course I invested in the system on my very first road bike!  I bought everything when I moved to San Francisco from MN.  I was all alone in a new city BUT with a fancy new bike!!!  I was so cool – until the first time I came to a stoplight in the Marina and I forgot to clip out.  Yep …. fancy new bike – fancy bike outfit and I tipped right over.  I was ok – the embarrassment lasted a lot longer than the scrapes from the fall.

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And falling over with clips doesn’t end there – I just finished a two day 150 mile ride last weekend (17 years later) and right after crossing the finish line I couldn’t get clipped out and almost fell into the kids handing out medals!  There is real danger in clipping into a bike …..

But would I ever ride now without clips?  Nope!  And here is why if you are serious about biking you shouldn’t either ….


Unlike your regular running shoes, cycling shoes have a very stiff sole so that the power produced by your leg muscles goes straight to the pedal instead of being absorbed by the cushion of the shoe.  This makes it easier to pedal—which means you’re able to amp up the resistance more than you could while wearing non-cycling shoes.



If you wear sneakers on the bike, you need to make a conscious effort to stay in the proper position. But since cycling shoes lock into place (or, in cycling speak, “clip in”), they don’t slip around, which means you’re more likely to stay aligned—and can better avoid ankle, knee, and hip injuries.


Other Muscles

I remember someone telling me once that cycling was only good for my quads.  Well – cycling shoes can also help you target your glutes, hamstrings and core better during your ride.  Since cycling shoes fix your feet into place – you are able to use the up-stroke – meaning your hamstrings are engaged and not just your quads.  This also takes a lot of stress off other parts of your body that aren’t necessary for the workout – like your hip flexors and shoulders.



You can absolutely do a triathlon with your regular running shoes.  Really – you can!  But if you are ready to take it to the next level.  I promise you will not be disappointed.

Can’t wait to hear about your experience!  And see the pictures of you at the finish line!


Move your body, put good thing in and ENJOY every day!

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