This article opens with a caveat:
This is written for non-racers, and for riders who don’t ride race-like. In other words, for recreational riders, tourists, commuters, general fitness riders…but not for racers or racer-likes.
Which, of course, meant I probably should have stopped reading (I do most of my commuting on foot and consider “race-like” riding “recreational”). I’m not sure if I agree with any of what is said and I’d like to see some of the data from the muscle activity measuring “machines,” but I do agree that clipless pedals and toe straps are not for all riders.
When elite pedalers and lousy rookie pedalers have been hooked up to machines that measure muscle activity during pedaling, the machines tell us this:
during normal pedaling at normal cadences, nobody pulls UP on the backstroke
the elite/efficient pedalers push down less on the upward moving pedal than the rookies do.
Think about that until it sinks in and you’re bored. The good pedalers—-the guys in the logo costumes and the white sunglasses and shaved legs—-minimize the downward force on the upward-moving pedal more. They don’t pull up on it or even unweight it. They just minimize the downward pressure on it, so one leg isn’t fighting the other as much.
That is a far cry from the 360-degrees of power the clickers and media and experts promise you.
The thing is, if all you can hope to do is minimize the downward force on the upward-moving pedal, how does it help to be clicked or strapped in?
It doesn’t and can’t.
All that said, I couldn’t imagine attacking Beatty without clipless pedals.