Adventure Racing: How to Use Clipless Pedals

Imagine using duct tape to secure your running shoes to a pair of skis. It may work, but your skiing experience probably won't be all that great. Similarly, when it comes to the biking part of?adventure racing, clipless pedals provide the rider with better control over the pedals and bicycle.

If you're new to adventure racing and?want to learn how to use clipless pedals, continue reading.


Learning how to use clipless pedals isn't hard—they all pretty much work in the same way. A pedal "cleat" is connected to the bottom of your cycling shoes. You simply place your foot (while wearing the special shoes, of course) on top of the pedal and push down. The pedal and cleat will then lock together.

There's a common misconception that once you're locked into a clipless pedal, it's difficult to get out. Don't believe the hype! You'll be able to get out just as easily as you were able to get in. If you want to un-clip, you simply push your foot sideways and towards the ground. I would strongly recommend that you have your local bike shop demonstrate the locking and unlocking procedure for the pedal that you buy.

The Cleat

Each clipless pedal type has a unique cleat. Not all cleats are compatible with every shoe and not all shoes can accept every cleat. This difference forces the rider to make a decision on which is more important; the shoe or the pedal. For example, if you decide to buy a shoe first, you'll have a limited set of cleat/pedals to choose from. Alternatively, if you must have a certain type of cleat/pedal, you'll limit your shoe options. Either way, there are more than enough options for you to choose from that will make you happy. And we all want to be happy, don't we?

Ease of locking (clipping in), ease of unlocking (clipping out), and most importantly, "float" are the main design differences with pedals. Practice clipping in and out at home before you go out on your first ride.

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