Clipless pedals with regular shoes?
April 17, 2005 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Recently upgraded to a newer bike, with clipless pedals. I realized that these are great for riding, but what about just tooling around town - is there such a thing as an adaptor for regular shoes?

Riding a trail, clipless pedals are fine. However, if I'm riding to work, I don't necessarily want to wear the stiff riding shoes with the brackets on the bottom, because then I'd need to cart normal shoes around with me. I was imagining a flat pedal with a bracket on it that would snap into the clip to convert the clipless pedal into a standard one for this sort of thing. Does this exist yet, or should I run out and patent the idea now?
posted by caution live frogs to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total)
I've seen pedals that are normal (flat and large) on one side and the other side is also flat and large but has a clip part that is raised up.

kinda like these ones
posted by exois at 9:56 AM on April 17, 2005

Those inserts exist; bike shops often have them around for test riders, but they're not all that great. A better solution is just a one-sided pedal like this one.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:58 AM on April 17, 2005

I have the exact pedals that Wolfdog links to and they're great. When you're wearing regular shoes you get used to figuring out what side is the "good side" and how to easily flip from the "bad side" and vice versa when you've got clip shoes on. They work good for me.

Also, I used to wear the most normal looking SPD shoes I could find and often I'd just wear them all day at the office. You can find some mt bike SPD shoes styled like skateboard tennis shoes or even SPD flip-flops.
posted by mathowie at 10:47 AM on April 17, 2005

You can also get bear trap pedals which have the clipless pedal installed in the centre - I bought them for the same reason as you: off-road & commuting. But I soon found I liked clipless so much, it was just easier to keep a spare pair of normal shoes at work.
posted by forallmankind at 10:50 AM on April 17, 2005

I have a pair of Lake LX G2s (scroll down a little) that are comfortable and fairly civilized for around the office.
posted by normy at 11:24 AM on April 17, 2005

The trick is to wear mountain cycling shoes, not road cycling shoes. Road shoes are made by and for weight weenies. They're small, flat, smooth, and the cleat sticks out. Roadies fall down more often walking on them than they do riding in them.

The off-road guys have this problem. Occasionally, they get stuck, and have to push the bike. This is dicey enough in road shoes on pavement. On a trail, it's impossible. So, they have real tread on their shoes, and the cleat is recessed.

Walking in any cycling shoe is harder than normal, because the sole won't flex. Mountain shoes, however, are far easier to work with.

If you must wear road shoes, get a tube of Household Goop, and put a strip (follow the outside rear arc) on the heel. This will give you much more traction, and help level the shoe when walking. Realize, though, when your walking in a road shoe, you're abusing the cleat.

Finally, there's the "throw a pair of sandals in a bag" trick. I know lots of commuters that wear backpacks, and put their regular shoes in the water bottle pockets. Finally, if you often commute to work, leave a pair of shoes at the office.
posted by eriko at 11:25 AM on April 17, 2005

I have something similar to the pedals that Wolfdog links to on my commuter bike. Like Matt said, I also have SPD "Vans" and SPD sandals. They are great for just tooling around. If you don't want to swap pedals, the plastic snap in ones are fine for casual use.
posted by fixedgear at 11:57 AM on April 17, 2005

I have Speedplay X-2 pedals, and they came with platforms that clip on to the pedal for normal riding.
posted by patrickje at 4:07 PM on April 17, 2005

back in my days as a bike shop sales-dork we sold these: winwood instep pedal inserts. they work and they're easy-on, easy-off.
posted by RockyChrysler at 8:29 PM on April 17, 2005

In the long run, you will become lazy and forego all these inserts, platforms, etc. Looking for them, putting them on and taking them off becomes a hassle. You will just hop on your bike with normal shoes despite the clipless pedals. If you're going for a ride that's long enough to justify the gadgets people have suggested here, you'll end up just using your bike shoes instead. At least that's my experience, perhaps I'm just lazier than most people.
posted by randomstriker at 10:06 PM on April 17, 2005

Thanks for the feedback, everyone - I think the winwood toeclips look pretty much like they would work for me, although "keep a pair of sandals at the office" is absurdly obvious (as I already have a pair stashed under my desk, this should have been something I already thought of!)

I've got mountain shoes now, but unlike my wife I went for the stiffer, more aggressive model while she opted for a comfier tennis-shoe style. Walking in them is sort of like walking in downhill ski boots. Given what we spent on the bikes (she upgraded at the same time) I think dropping a little on a set of snap-in toeclips would be better than buying a second set of shoes and cleats.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:28 AM on April 18, 2005

One thing to remember, the winwood insert and street shoes will alter your riding position slightly so you might want to raise your seat a bit when you use them.
posted by probablysteve at 6:25 AM on April 18, 2005

I've got a similar problem. My off-road bike is also the one I use for putzing around the city with, so I wanted pedals I could use clipless or with regular shoes.

I've used the cleat one side/flats the other (Shimano 323s or 324s), and they have balance problems; the cleat always hangs down. I found them annoying to use cliplessand removed them after a season. Anyone want a pair? I keep trying to give them away, but people keep giving them back to me.

I've since switched to a pair that have a regular double-sided cleat with a cage around the pedal. They're not perfect either---the cleat sticks up a bit in the middle with regualr shoes---but I've been reasonably happy with them.

Also? Shimano sandals are the best cycling shoes ever for the aforementioned putzing around town.
posted by bonehead at 7:47 AM on April 18, 2005

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