When I first started getting interested in recreational cycling and biking long distances the first “must have” cycling accessories I was advised to buy, after a decent pair of padded cycling shorts of course, was a pair of cycling specific shoes, cleats and clip in pedals. This set up increases pedaling efficiency and makes cycling longer distances easier.
Being clipped in to a pair of pedals is daunting for the first few rides, especially when you need to put a foot down quickly, but you soon get used to them and after a tumble or two (everyone falls over at some point using cleats and clip in pedals) it all comes together.
I always used cycling shoes, cleats and clip in pedals on all my previous bikes (mountain bike, cyclo-cross and racer) and I had no problems at all, so I naturally thought that this would be the case with my ebike. How wrong I was!
Electric bikes are heavy and keeping them upright at slow speeds (such as when riding in the city, i.e. when there is “stop start”) is very difficult. On a racer, cyclo-cross or mountain bike it is possible to keep it upright whilst stationery (this does take a bit of practice) without putting your foot down. Electric bikes aren’t balanced enough to do this because of the weight distribution. Consequently you need to be able to get your feet on the floor, and pretty quickly, when riding an ebike.
As soon as I tried riding my ebike with cleats and clip in pedals I struggled, and after a few awkward rides I decided to abandon using cleats or clipless pedals. The weight distribution of my ebike isn’t balanced enough for riding at very slow speeds or keeping the bike upright whilst stationery and I need to be able to get a foot on the floor in a split second. This is not possible using cleats and clip in pedals.
After experimenting with different types of shoes I have found the ideal footwear for riding the ebike, and these are:-
Walking trainers combined with a pair of standard pedals are the perfect combination for an ebike. Walking trainers are very grippy and tick like the proverbial poo to a blanket and do not slip off the pedals, even when the pedals get wet and muddy. Walking trainers are also breathable, comfortable and will keep your feet cool and feeling fresh for several hours.
I have to admit that I was a bit apprehensive when someone suggested wearing walking trainers for cycling, but now I have tried it and realized just how good walking trainers are I won’t use any other footwear.
Electric bike video playlist that may be of interest
A relatively new eBike owner and loving the experience – I really wish I had bought an electric bike before