Q: I’ve ridden for 40 years without knee problems. I’m still using clips and straps but am considering clipless pedals. Is it true they can cause problems? — Ford K.
COACH FRED: I’ve used clipless pedals since the original Look model came out in the mid 1980s. The only “problems” are minor.
For all riders, you have to get used to rotating your feet laterally to release, rather than lifting up and back as you do with clips and straps.
More important — if you have a leg-length inequality — is that your foot is locked in. This can cause you to develop an overuse injury.
With traditional pedals, your short leg can lift slightly because the cleat groove fits over the back of the cage. With clipless pedals, this vertical movement isn’t possible. So, you need to correct for a short leg by putting a shim between that leg’s cleat and shoe sole. The procedure is explained in the RBR book, Andy Pruitt’s Medical Guide for Cyclists.
If you don’t have a leg-length inequality, switching to a clipless pedal system is straightforward. I’ll bet you wish you’d done it sooner!