Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Power Grips

I've ridden many thousands of miles on Power Grips and I find them to be a terrific way to keep my feet on the pedals. But a lot of "serious" cyclists find my pedal choice to be rather odd, so I wind up having the same discussion many times over. This past summer I had this very discussion with Alan Tilling, one of my fellow racers on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Race. Here is the scene, an excerpt from my forthcoming book The Way of the Mountain Turtle.


June 21st, 2005

The skies are looking nasty when we roll up to the Grasshopper Inn at 7:40 PM. Over dinner, we talk about the ride, equipment, life, and choices. Alan is intrigued that I prefer Power Grips to clipless pedals. It’s a discussion I’ve had with various folks over the years, so my well-rehearsed side of the conversation goes something like this:

You have three places where you interface with the bike: your hands, your butt, and your feet.

Now let’s say you’re going to do something crazy, like ride your bike in the mountains for 2,500 miles, trying to ride at least 100 miles per day. Somebody comes to you and says, “Hey, we’ve got this handlebar system. You clip your hands into this one place and that’s the only place they can be. But science is telling us that this is the best place for your hands.”

You’d probably say, “No thanks.”

And let’s say they have a saddle with his little clip. The clip will lock your butt on the saddle and science says that it’s the best possible place for your butt to be.

You’d probably say, “No thanks.”

Now let’s say they have these pedals . . .

I don’t convince Alan but I didn’t expect that I would. Clipless aficionados like to talk about float, but rotational freedom is only one dimension. One of the things I like with Power Grips is that I can also move my foot in the fore and aft plane as well as rotationally, but the bottom line is that they just work well for me.


By the way, while I was telling Alan this, he was sitting with a large bag of ice on his knees. And when we'd stop to rest, he would scarf down ibuprofin in much the same way that I would swallow M&Ms. Alan is a very tough rider, but he wound up abandoning the Great Divide Mountain Bike Race when various pains and numbness got to be too much for him. I didn't win the race, but I did finish it in a time of 22 days, 3 hours and 9 minutes. And while I did get very, very tired, I didn't take any ibuprofin or other pain medications. I'm not tough, but I do know what works for me. Power Grips are one of those things that work.

And in case you are wondering, Power Grips did sponsor me on the Divide Race by giving me a new set of their grips. But over the years I've bought at least half a dozen pairs with my own hard earned money.
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