PowerGrips give most of the benefits of toeclips or clipless/cleat systems on bicycle pedals, without most of the downsides. The concept is simple: an asymmetrical strap of cloth that attaches securely to most bicycle platform pedals. The strap is attached in such a way that it loosens when you rotate your heel away from the bike, and tightens when you “heel-in”. This gives you similar benefits of a clipless/cleat system; greater efficiency in pedalling, because you can pull on the pedals’ upstrokes, rather than just being able to push down. They are just as easy (if not easier) to disengage from. The PowerGrips also have a couple of other benefits which fit well with all but the higher-end performance cyclists:
* Can be used with regular shoes or sandals. Almost no lock-in to a particular type of clip/cleat system.
* (Relatively) cheap, at only $20-$25.
* You can get off the bike and walk around without looking like you’re doing some sort of odd balancing act, or scratching up whatever floor you’re walking on.
Because the PowerGrip strap is directly above the pedal, gravity does tend to flip it upside-down when not in use. Just as with toe-clips I can pedal on the upside-down pedal to get started, then flip it over with my foot when I’m moving and insert my foot into the strap. Since my riding is commuting to/from work, I have a fair amount of stop-go traffic at intersections, and feel less likely to get a foot stuck and fall over sideways when I have to stop. The PowerGrip strap is totally loose enough for me to quickly get my foot out at a stop, and it has the unusual benefit of being as tight as I want it to be (without using my hands), depending on how I adjust the strap, and how far I heel-in to the pedal. So the “float” can be adjusted on the fly, according to my current riding conditions. This takes a little getting used to, but in my opinion, involves a lower learning curve than clipless pedals.