The Perfect Pedal Solution

For a long time now I’ve been looking for the perfect pedal solution for my commuter bike. My commute is about fifteen miles round trip, with lots of hills, so regular pedals don’t really cut it. At the same time, I use the bike for lots of trips close to home for which I like to wear normal shoes, so clipless pedals would be a problem.

I had been using Power Grips, which keep my feet in position and provide a bit of pull without requiring bike shoes. Straps or clips weren’t an option as they and I don’t seem to get along (partly, I think, because of my slightly wonky, splayed feet). The Power Grips were dead cheap, and locked my feet in place reasonably well. But they remained a pain in the bum to get in and out of. On those busy stretches of downtown, where there’s a light every block, I would give up on being strapped in as sometimes it could take a block just to get my feet in place.

Several months ago I went clipless on my road bike, something that completely revolutionized my biking and for which there’s definitely no going back.  This also made the Power Grips seem sort of half-assed. I contemplated going clipless for the long ride into work, keeping a pair of regular shoes in the office. But that would rule out biking in normal shoes for the pub, post office or coffee shop.

Enter the perfect solution: the nattily named Forte Campus Pedal. They’re clipless on one side and suitable for regular shoes on the other. I’ve just installed them, and they definitely work well with either kind of footwear. The customer reviews suggest that they might conk out after a couple of thousand miles, but if that’s the case I’ll just upgrade to Shimano’s more expensive version. Right now, though, it really does look like I have the best of both worlds. I think I’ve found my full-assed pedal solution.

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5 Responses to The Perfect Pedal Solution

  1. tblj says:

    Earlier this year I looked at these pedals for my road bike because I wanted to have the option of wearing regular shoes ultimately, as you know I wound up buying another bike.

  2. Emily says:

    Something very close to this has existed for quite a while actually! You can get heavy plastic platform pedals that clip onto one side of a shimano SPD pedal. They even come with the yellow reflector on the sides.
    They are great, I put them on my old commuter in the late 1990s and they were still on the bike when it was stolen in 2007. They actually might be better than this kind even, since you get the real shimano pedal (which probably has way better bearings and so on). But these are pretty cool looking, and the plastic platform snapped onto the SPD always did look a little jerryrigged.

  3. unsquished says:

    Yeah, I saw those in the bike store, and read some reviews online. I was a bit worried about having them snap out accidentally or, failing that, having to spend time tightening the tension on the pedals and then loosening it again (I usually keep them on the loosest setting). The dude in the store also suggested using a giant zip tie instead of the Power Grips. I guess he wasn’t working on commission.

  4. Emily says:

    When I wanted to take the platforms off one time I ended up having to pry them so hard with a screwdriver that the plastic bent. So, I doubt they would come off on their own.
    They did have the drawback of chipping off bits of plastic now and then when they hit a curb, so they would slowly get kind of misshapen. Which was why I was trying to take off the one that wouldnt come off.
    The more I describe them, the less ideal they sound… I liked them though!

  5. unsquished says:

    I was also thinking of getting these: stuper stylin’ leather padded toe clips! Great for a sort of retro look. Really I’d need a different bike for them though. One with leather handlebar tape, rather than my current urban assault city bike.

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