HEEL SLINGS VS. SPD SHOES & PEDALS
“Leg Suck” is a serious matter and concern as it can result is a very bad and painful injury … one which could cripple you for life and cause considerable pain and suffering … a horrific ordeal to go thru. To prevent this from happening it is highly recommended that a rider of a tadpole trike use some means of keeping their feet on the pedals. SPD shoes and pedals are probably the most common means, but there are also others. I currently use SPD sandals and pedals, but I am seriously thinking about getting heel slings to use and get away from the SPD. I don’t like having my feet locked into the pedals. I don’t feel safe with this going on. Should I upset or have a wreck I want my feet to come free readily.
I also like the idea of being able to wear whatever footwear I choose to including boots in the winter time.
Heel Slings to the rescue. I started out using JSRL heel slings which I really liked at first. A few years later I came across the newer design TerraTrike offers and bought them. I have to say I much prefer them over the JSRL heel slings.
The ones offered by TerraTrike just work better. They are easier to use and hold ones foot in place better. And they look nicer. I caution anyone attempting to buy the TerraTrike ones be aware that they still have to older model they are selling which are inferior to the newer design. They are shown on right in picture below. I would advise against buying them even though they are less money.
Please note that when I originally wrote this article it was about the JSRL heel slings as the TerraTrike product didn’t exist to my knowledge. So from here on down you will read quite a lot about the JSRL heel slings. And it was written with my full support and endorsement of the product. As stated above I can no longer recommend it as my first choice as I find the TerraTrike product superior.
As to the JSRL product HERE is a link to the website. A single individual makes and sells these heel slings. His name is John Lawrence. Here are some pictures of what he offers …
A pad is available for the slings for comfort when wearing sandals.
Here is an excerpt from his webpage:
“Do you want to keep your feet on the pedals, add power/speed, reduce your fatigue and do so without spending a bundle on clipless pedals and shoes? Well, Heel Slings are what you want.
This simple yet ingenious design allows you to:
– Ride with regular athletic shoes (or sandals if you prefer).
– Pull on the approaching pedal* using your calf muscle (not your shin muscle, like clipless pedals) for less fatigue and more power.
– Eliminates the need to push on the approaching pedal to maintain foot contact which decreases pedaling efficiency.
– Ride safer because it helps keep your feet on the pedals and not under the trike. Large reflectors on the Heel Sling platforms add visibility. Rapidly moving pedal reflectors are VERY visible!
– Quickly and easily lift your feet off the pedals without twisting or turning your foot to disengage the clipless pedal latch.
– Reposition your feet while pedaling for increased comfort. Try that with clipless pedals!
* point your toe slightly and pull with your heel.”
John writes that he will work with those with special needs which is very good of him. I am impressed with his website and what he shares on it.
I take issue with the part about using heel slings to pull back on the pedals like a rider can do with SPD shoes and pedals. Using heel slings to try to do this is extremely impractical since your feet come off of the pedals when pulling back on the heel straps.
Using heel slings could not be any easier or faster …
There are, as I mentioned, other types of devices to accomplish the same thing although I personally would not care for them. They tend to lock your foot in again and are more time consuming and troublesome to use than the simplicity of the heel slings. Also some of them are monstrous sized which doesn’t appeal to me. Here are a couple of examples of other ways to keep your feet from going down onto the pavement:
I reckon’ this one above would be okay for someone who needed them as she discussed in the beginning of the video.
I am sure there are those who don’t object to using the toe strap type devices so if you are one of those by all means go for it. I just don’t like using them.
Having your leg and foot get ran over and pulled back in a position it was never intended to be in is not something anyone would want to experience. We all need to do something to prevent it from happening so we can …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’