Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Clipsplaining Explained

In the years I've been riding bikes I've had the chance to ride all different kinds of pedals. Flat pedals, pedals with toe clips, pedals with Power Grips, and a wide range of clipless pedals (the pedals which, ironically, you clip into via a special cleat that is attached to the bottom of your special shoe). These days all my bikes are equipped with flat pedals and I'm perfectly happy to ride around without having my feet bolted to the pedal. I know about the virtues of clipless and other pedals, but I'm fine riding without them.

Over the years, however, I've had dozens of conversations where some "serious" cyclist has seen the flat pedals on my bicycle and proceeded to spontaneously launch into a sermon intended to enlighten me as to the virtues of clipless pedals. I recently joked that if I had a nickel for every time I've heard such a lecture I could buy a really nice Rivendell. I've dubbed this evangelical pedal preaching "clipsplaining" and my reaction to it is to nod and simply say "these pedals work fine for me."

In my job I get asked about pedals a lot and I can ramble on about the subject with the best of them. I try to give the pros and cons when asked but I don't spontaneously broach the subject and I don't assume that someone who doesn't have clipless pedals on their bike is ignorant of their existence.

Christine tells me that she's never been the victim of a clipsplaining lecture but some of my other friends have told me it happens to them a lot. One of my twitter pals said she switched bike shops after being on the receiving end of clipsplaining condescension.

I'm not sure how common clipsplaining is but if you have a good or bad clipsplaining story, feel free to comment on this post.

And keep 'em rolling, whatever your pedal choice is.

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