advice on toe cages (yet another thread about my kid)

← Back to Forums


sarah_q
Participant
#

On his commute to school this morning my son endo’d on the bike. We were traveling pretty fast on the jail trail (~24 mph). While changing gears his foot slipped off his flat pedal and went into the spokes on his front tire, and BLAM. He’s okay, just some road rash and he needs a new helmet. His bike needs a doctor. :’-(

Now he’s ready to try toe cages. He doesn’t want to go clipless since he wants to wear his street shoes.

What kind of cages? I am debating between the ones with no straps or something like powergrips? Or do you really need the straps — they seem like a huge PITA.

Any advice for getting used to them? I ride clipless (I have reverse pedals on my commuter but never use the flat side) but I have never used cages. Any tips and tricks to help my kid (age 13) would be appreciated.

p.s. yes, I almost had a heart attack when this happened.


edmonds59
Participant
#

I’d say Powergrips.

Metal toe clips and straps are terrible, only beloved of 10th degree retrogrouches. I am a 9th degree and I don’t even like them. The clips without the straps are pretty useless.

I have Powergrips on a single-speed and like them fine with plimsoles. I ride prob 80% clipped in (SPD’s) with the remainder split between loosefoot and the grips.


that guy
Participant
#

Powergrips are ok, but almost the whole world has switched to the Velcro canvas style straps, like those from Hold-Fast. There are tons and tons of options and versions now. You can get full custom or Chinese cheap.

http://holdfastordie.com/

Even Powergrips themselves are making a pair now.


Swalfoort
Participant
#

I use the sort of “open toeclips.” Just a molded curve with no straps, open on the sides. They give me no power boost, but I use them as a way to monitor foot position (as I try to extend my cycling life with a bum knee).

They only cost a few bucks, and if you get them at REI, they are returnable. You might want to have him try them.

As for ease of use, pretty simple, but I would add one caveat. When I start from a dead stop, I need to have my foot in the cage, with the pedal in the upright position when I start off in traffic. Otherwise, I feel like I spend too much time maneauvering to get the cage/my foot in position than I would think safe in traffic.


reddan
Keymaster
#

@sarah_q: As regards bike doctoring, if he’d be interested in learning such things, I could probably bring workstand and tools by your place sometime Sunday afternoon…give him a chance to learn some basic bike service techniques.


jonawebb
Participant
#

You could get him cleated shoes that look OK for normal wear. See http://antranik.org/the-practical-guide-to-casual-and-stylish-looking-clipless-shoes/

I used toe clips for decades and hate hate hate them. Always ending up wrong side up, you have to reach down and flip them sometimes or untangle the strap from the pedal, just a total pain.

If he gets the cleated shoes he’ll make a snappy clicking sound while he walks — bonus.


Lou M.
Participant
#

I have these that I don’t like. Used them once but not interested. Thought I would like them on my fixie but don’t. They’re yours for $10 if you want them.


edmonds59
Participant
#

Oh, man for 10 beans go with those.


sarah_q
Participant
#

@Lou – yes. Thanks! I’ll PM you.

@Dan – thanks for the offer but I just got back from pro bikes. His big chainring was stuck in the frame, bent crank, and tires majorly out of true. It’s a mess. The good news is he is getting a compact crankset out of this deal.


the beast
Participant
#

@ Sarah- Ive been in that position to watch a child take a major crash while following them, never fun!

Was he running stock pedals? My little brother will not go clipless and didnt want toe clips either and he got a pair of (I think) BMX pedals that have almost like little spikes on them to help hold the foot on. I dont know much about them, but may be worth a look.


WillB
Participant
#

@sarah_q – I’ll second swalfoort and say that the strapless clips are great for maintaining foot position, even if they don’t do much for power. They also let you adjust your pedal position at a stop, which is nice, and are very easy to get in and out of. The only think you need to get used to is flipping the pedal over to get your foot in once you’re moving. I’ve got a pair I no longer use since I switched to clipless, which I’d be happy to give you. I’ve also got about six billion old pairs of regular, plastic with canvas strap style toe clips (if you keep the straps a little loose they function well as foot guides without trapping you), so you could have one of those instead/too if you like.


sarah_q
Participant
#

He has bright green flat pedals that have little spiky things on them.

@Will, thanks but I think we have a pair of like that in the basement. I will check with my husband. If not I’ll shoot you a PM.


Erica
Participant
#

yeesh. And I was whining all day about how my foot slipped off my pedal and it spun around and dug into my leg. I can’t imagine my foot going into my wheel. Glad he’s okay!


Pierce
Participant
#

Upon further thought, I think this happens on my road-commuter bike sometimes too when I’m downshifting.

Perhaps making him aware of the fact that he’ll spinout a little sometimes when shifting and then he could be more cautious during shifting would help too

Depending on what he’s doing, that period of spinning could catch him off balance too


sarah_q
Participant
#

^ good advice.

He’s home from school and fine minus a couple of patches of road rash on his leg and arm — the bonus of being 13. I am still a nervous wreck 12 hours later. ha


brian j
Participant
#

Wow, I’m in the 10th circle of retro-grouchiness. Who knew? I’ve never tried PowerGrips, or the newer hipster models, so maybe there’s hope for me yet.

That said, being attached to the pedals really only trades one sort of potential accident for another. I’m not AT ALL suggesting that being attached to your pedals is unsafe, but such techniques require a bit of learning curve (as does riding flat pedals at speed). While his foot may not slip off during high speed shenanigans, he may fall over trying to get his foot out of the attachment point.


sarah_q
Participant
#

Actually now that I think about it my son had a 0 mph crash on flat pedals a couple of years ago in the parking lot of the jail trail on a Major Taylor ride. He just forgot to put his foot down when he stopped.

I know there is a learning curve and risks involved with toe clips or clipless but he races triathlons and wants to get into longer distance riding so it’s worth figuring this skill out IMO.


Anonymous
Inactive
#

Cages are nice if you aren’t ready to move completely to clipless, which is in my opinion the best feel. For riding around town, I generally use platforms (on a dual pedal) and for longer rides I have mountain/touring shoes.

The downside of the cages is that they can sometimes be a little tricky to get into, and can also cause falls if you forget to remove your foot. It is easier to yank your foot out of them than a clipless pedal though.

When I got the double sided pedal and started biking with the platforms, I hated it at first as I was very used to the cages for my commuter. The real trick for keeping your feet on the platforms is 1) have good gripping pedals and 2) don’t apply lots of pressure on the pedal while changing gears. The second item is important regardless of pedal type.

For both clipless and cages have your son practice engaging and disengaging several times while stationary (in a doorframe or holding onto a table or chair) so that he feels comfortable when getting out on the street.

Hope your son recovers quickly!


brian j
Participant
#

I know there is a learning curve and risks involved with toe clips or clipless but he races triathlons and wants to get into longer distance riding so it’s worth figuring this skill out IMO.

Yep, I think it’s worth it, for sure.


TeamDecaf
Moderator
#

It looks like you’ve already made the decision to go with Lou M’s straps, but my 2¢… I’ve been using powergrips for 5 years and I recommend them. They keep your feet as tight as you want to the pedal (adjustable) and I’ve never had a problem getting out of them as I stop.


helen s
Participant
#

I have power grips, strapless cages, and strapped cages on different bikes at different times. I like all 3, but have never tried anything else other than plain platform pedals a long time ago. Never had a fall from getting out of the pedals, and only tightened the straps when racing many years ago. I often ride the strap clips without a strap until I can put a new one in after it wears out. I do sometimes wear out the top of the cage from starting out and missing the clip on the first try while accelerating, but that takes years to do. My pedals are all ancient, as am I.


Anonymous
Inactive
#

you can go to Jerry’s get a set of plastic toe clips with straps for $6-$8.

If you /your son don’t want to use the straps don’t put them on.

If you don’t ever want to use the straps, cut the strap holding bits off and now you have a set of ‘mini clips’.

I just looked at the FRS straps – $57 !!! + $7 shipping !!!!!

sometimes “better tech” is just not worth the price…


sarah_q
Participant
#

Just met Lou (and his adorable son!!!) and got the straps. Thanks! My kid’s bike is still in the shop and frankly he’s still a little banged up. I am going to let him heal up (plus he’s running the Great Race 10k tomorrow) then we’ll see about the toe straps. I’ll probably throw his bike on the trainer and let him practice.

He has a commuter bike and a road bike. I am assuming we’ll start with the straps on the commuter and maybe he’ll want clipless on the road bike. We shall see.

Lyle accurately pointed out to me that all of this time I was worried about cars and then the kid goes over the handlebars on the jail trail. Oh, irony.


Pierce
Participant
#

If the kid keeps riding, a crash is all but inevitable

There’s only so much you can do

← Back to Forums

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Click here to login.