My bike buddy and I have been talking about trying to kick up our biking exercise level.  We do want to go on longer trips and go faster.  However, she being encumbered with a 15 year old bike and me with the ‘cheap, yet heavy’ model from the store…and neither of us quite ready to commit to spend big bucks for the lightweight, go-fast bikes…we pursued other options to kick up the speed.

Our solution?  Toe clips.

Basically, we now have simple pedals which you push down on to go.  With toe clips, you can push down with one foot…and simultaneously lift with the other.  Sort of like rubbing your belly and patting your head, it takes some getting used to doing. For those of you who know about it, think Spinning Class.

Toe clip options include a simple toe cage you attach to the existing pedals


attach to the pedal, tuck the toes, and go

or the much more efficient egg beater pedal.  This requires a special pedal and special shoes to clip into that pedal.


swap 'em out and lock 'em in

Everyone (all three of them) we talked to said the best was the latter.  Your shoes lock into the pedal, allowing much better lifting action.

Spying a sale this past week, we decided to open the pocketbooks [sounds of flitting moths escaping] and buy the egg beater shoes and pedal.  The saleslady was helpful, explaining how the system worked and giving us helpful hints like “be prepared to stop” and “be patient learning how to lift and push at the same time”.

After a very festive time trying to replace the pedals ourselves (involving many new combination of swear words and scraped up knuckles), we were ready to try out our new purchases.

Now, as I said, the special shoes have a clip on the bottom that slip into the egg beater pedal and lock in.  Well, that’s the theory.  We spent an easy 10 minutes trying to figure out just how to clip our shoes into the pedal.  Then a few trips around the parking lot, practicing a stop or two.  To remove your foot from the pedal, you can’t just lift it off…it’s hooked in now.  You have to rotate your foot a bit to disconnect first, then lift the foot.

Thinking we were ready to roll, we charged up the short hill to the bike path and we were off!

And it was great!  A little awkward learning to lift with one foot while pushing with the other, yes, but great nonetheless.  I noticed we could accelerate much more quickly.

The bike path crosses quite a few roads, but we luckily didn’t see any traffic at the first three intersections, so scooted right across.

The fourth intersection?  Uh-oh…traffic.

We both slowed down to stop.

We both tried to rotate our feet to release from the locking egg beater pedal.

We both failed miserably.

Braking to a stop well before the intersection, we nonetheless now found ourselves in a frantic balancing act of being stopped on a bike with both feet firmly locked into the pedals while trying to free those same feet from the pedals.

And, as if in a ballet and perfectly in time together, we both collapsed to our left.


It. Was. Beautiful.

And painful.  Still, we were laughing our asses off and wishing someone had a video of it.  If only they had Synchronized Falling as an Olympic event.  I should have heeded that ominous music playing when the saleslady said, “Be prepared to stop!”

Gravity is a cruel mistress with a perfect record and she proved it again.

Deciding to head back, we stopped at every intersection, oncoming cars or not.  And still managed to find ourselves on the ground a few more times…okay, bike buddy only once…me?  Three more times.

And to think, we’re going to have to relearn this all again next bike season when we pull the bikes out of storage.

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7 Responses to “Synchronicity”

  1. nursemyra Says:

    oh i could see those falls coming. Locking your feet in? uh uh … not for me….

  2. daisyfae Says:

    two words, honey: “Training Wheels”…

  3. hisqueen Says:

    Oh Oh… make it stop…can’t breath, (must stop laughing)… sides hurt. The mental movie of the 2 of you on this little trip is better than any video that could have been shot. You should consider taking the Girl with you to tape you guys so you could try and win the $100,000. GP from funniest home videos.

  4. thegnukid Says:

    nursemyra – yeah, sort of forecasted that a bit…but HOW we fell…priceless

    daisyfae – good idea. i’m thinking i need training wheels in life as well.

    hisqueen – ummm, i’m not thinking our bodies can take many more falls like that. there are already chunks of flesh littering the bike path.

  5. silverstar98121 Says:

    This is exactly why when I get the urge to exercise, I lie down until it passes.

  6. Dennis the Vizsla Says:

    My boss swears by those Egg Beaters. I have Time ATACs myself — similar principle but different implementation. Either is better than the Shimano clipless pedals, which are like bolting your feet to your bike. (When I had the Shimanos there was much falling over, occasionally onto rocks.)

  7. thegnukid Says:

    @silverstar – hmmm, i think you’ve got something there. if i’d done that instead, i would have much more skin on my body instead of laying out there on the bike path

    @dennis – welcome to The Wilds of Ohio…ride with us for a spell. my exercise buddy and i are total rookies when it came to upgrading. we relied heavily on word of mouth and the saleslady. i think we’ll do fine in the long run, though. next upgrade, we’ll be more judicious and research more.

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