How Do Clipless Bicycle Pedals Work?

How Do Clipless Bicycle Pedals Work?
You may notice your cycling friends wear special shoes and ride bikes with tiny pedals. While an extra investment, cycling shoes and clipless pedals can improve your efficiency and increase your safety on your bike.


Cycling shoes have a stiff sole to keep your foot from flexing and losing power during your pedal stroke. The hard sole protects your foot from the small surface area on clipless pedals.



Clipless pedal cleats bolt to the bottom of bike shoes. Cleats for mountain shoes are small and bolt between the treads on the sole. Road shoes cleats are bigger and bolt onto the smooth sole of the road shoe.


Clipless pedals attach to the cleats on the cycling shoe to connect you to the pedal.

Pedal Stroke

Being attached to the pedals gives you a more efficient pedal stroke. Keeping contact with the pedal means you can push all the way through the bottom of the pedal and even pull up through the top.


When your feet stay attached to your pedals, you have more stability to stand out of your saddle during descents and roll over rough terrain without having a foot slip off your bike.


Article Written By Kathrine Cole

Kathrine Cole is a professional outdoor educator. She teaches rock climbing, backpacking, cycling, and bike maintenance classes. She is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School, a Wilderness First Responder, and a Leave No Trace Trainer.

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