Health & Nutrition

Serious about bikes? Then get clipped in

May 14th, 2023 11:40 AM

By Southern Star Team

The cleated system takes getting used to, but increases the efficiency of your pedal stroke. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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By Paudie O’Donovan 

RECENTLY I came in from a 140km cycle and needed to charge a few of the things I used when cycling. 

I plugged in my phone, my garmin cycling computer, my cycling headphones, which sit behind my ear and not in my ear in case of hindering my hearing, my front light, my back light, my watch … and then I got a text on my phone saying my electronic di2 gears needed charging. So, that was seven things I had to power up. 

Gone are the days that you had nothing to charge only the odd battery in your lights. My point is our cycling gear is always changing and advancing and so should our view to training and cycling in general. You should always look at better apparel, better equipment, new routes, a new food plan, more rest and less distraction. Give yourself every chance with these marginal gains. One of these gains are clip-in pedal with cleats. 


You have the option to use flat pedals but if you’re serious about cycling you will have to ‘clip in.’ These are called cleats and require cycling shoes to suit. This cleated system increases the efficiency of your pedal stroke and they create a balanced use of the three main muscles used when cycling. However they do take getting used to, so be very careful and practice at home before you head out on the road. 

Where to cycle 

Take five minutes before you head out the door to plan your route. The first thing you do is look at the wind because you don’t want to be cycling into a head wind on your way home. It’ll destroy you! So when you’re at your strongest on the way out you cycle into the wind and then on the way back it’ll blow you home. It’s like going swimming where you look at the tides and plan your swim. If you don’t want to venture too far from home plan two or three shorter routes which you can do in the evening after work and one or two long routes that you can do on the weekends. Cycling these route in the opposite direction is also an option. When your strength and your power grows look at more hilly routes or increasing the distance or even the speed. 

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