Pushing Pedals – Beginner’s Guide

One of the biggest changes you can make to improve your bike riding is moving from regular shoes / training shoes to specific cycling shoes and pedals. So what are the options? Read on for beginner’s tips for moving into ‘click-in’ pedals.

Why Do I Need Them?

Shoes for riding bikes have a stiffer sole for transferring energy from the rider to the bike, whereas regular shoes or running shoes are designed to flex while walking or running. If your rides are usually a 2 minute trip to the shops, they might not transform your world. If you are riding for longer than that, they will improve your riding experience.

How do they Work?

Cycling shoes, with their stiffer sole, have pre drilled soles for mounting ‘cleats’ which click into pedals. The foot is then held in position on the pedal.

Why is That Better?

Having shoes connected to pedals makes riding easier. It smoothes out your pedal stroke and increases pedalling efficiency. This is because the foot cannot move around or slip on the pedal. Cleats can still allow a little movement (also known as ‘float’) on the pedals.

Having shoes attached to pedals also means that as well as pushing down, riders can pull up and produce a more powerful pedal stroke. However, some mountain bike riders (more extreme Downhill / Jump / Enduro riders) prefer to use flat pedals and shoes.

Are They Safe?

Initially the thought of having foot connected to a pedal can be slightly unnerving. However, all pedals are designed to release the foot in the event of a fall. All pedals require a twisting force (to the side) to release the foot. To ‘click in’, all pedals need the foot to be pushed down onto the base of the pedal. Many pedals have adjustable springs, to reduce or increase the force required to twist out of the pedal.

Changing to ‘click-in’ pedals, can be a daunting step for new riders, however practise makes perfect and you will soon wonder how you ever rode without them. See video below for tips on starting out with click in pedals.

Are All Cycling Shoes the same?

The main differences in cycling shoes are in the sole. Off Road shoes tend to have a slightly more flexible, deeper treaded sole and fixings for 2 bolt (SPD) style cleats. Road cycling shoes tend to be lighter and have a stiffer sole. They can have 2 bolt or 3 bolt options for SPD or Look style cleats. Gravel bike, leisure & commuter riders often use Off Road shoes as they are much easier and more comfortable to walk in. Before purchasing, check shoes and pedals are compatible (eg. both 3 bolt or 2 bolt fitting).

2 Bolt – Shimano SPD, Look X Track, Time Atac, Crank Brothers

3 Bolt – Shimano SPD-SL, Look Keo, Time I Clic & Xpresso, Speedplay (with adapter)

Look Keo & Wellgo SPD Cleats

Are all Clipless Pedals the same?

As with shoes, pedals fall broadly into two categories, Off-Road and Road Bike pedals. Road pedals tend to have a larger surface area to maximise power transfer and are often single sided (except Speedplay pedals). Off-Road pedals tend to be double sided, have better seals on the bearings and a smaller body, they are also designed to continue to work even in muddy conditions.

Road Shoes

Our stock of road shoes is constantly evolving, to see our latest selection check out the link here.

Merlin RC2
Giro Techne
Sidi Genius 7

Road Pedals

Check out our current range of pedals here.

Shimano R7000 SPD-SL
Time Xpresso 2 Pedals
Speedplay Zero Chromoly
Campagnolo Record Pro-Fit

Off Road Shoes

Our stock of mountain bike shoes is constantly evolving, to see our latest selection check out the link here.

Northwave Escape Evo
Force Free MTB

Off Road Pedals

Check out our current range of pedals here.

Shimano M520 SPD
Time Atac MX2
Look X Track
Shimano XT M8100 SPD

Click and Go!

Once pedals are fitted and cleats are attached, it is time to take your first ride. Before you do, the below video clip shows good advice before heading off.

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