The question is sometimes asked … “WHAT PEDALS SHOULD I GET FOR MY TADPOLE TRIKE?”  Definitely there are options. I have written some about this previously, especially in regards to the concern with injury from “leg suck“.  So why write about it again you ask? I “dunno” … it just seemed like I should … to share about those options.

As to pedals there are so many to choose from nowadays one could probably get a headache trying to figure it out. There is everything from old school platform pedals …

 standard platform pedals to more exotic platform pedals …

A GPS sensor inside lets you track your bike if it's been moved.  and it goes on …

platform vertical edge

and on …

platform pedals orange

to even more exotic (some might call it bizarre) …

amoeba bicycle pedal And there are lots of platform pedals in between all of these. One thing to keep in mind is that when your shoe is pushing on just a thin piece of metal … platform vertical edge … it could bother your foot after awhile. I know it bothers mine when I used pedals like that. It is good to have pedals that more less grip the bottom of your shoe so your shoes stay in  place on the pedal, but these thin edges might be a problem. Some pedals seem to “grip” better than others. Some are downright risky as one’s shoe readily slip off of them.

It is highly recommended that some type of pedal be used which keeps the feet from coming off of the pedals and going down onto the pavement below. This is because of the concern of injury … namely leg suck. “Leg suck” occurs when a foot touches the ground and the bike runs forward over the contact point, causing ligament damage and, in some cases, ankle fractures. I saw it happen to a friend of mine. It wasn’t a pretty sight. There are various types of pedals available that are used to help prevent this.

One of the oldest types of restraining devices is the toe clips and toe straps. I always heard them referred to as “rat traps” when I was a kid growing up. Another name for them is “quill”.

rat trap strap pedal


Hase has a pedal with both a rat trap and an elastic heel strap which sell for about $43 each. That’s right, you order them individually specifying left or right.

hase hookpedals

Some people use just a strap …

foot belts

Power Grip makes a strap which works to hold the foot onto the pedal by turning the foot sideways a bit and placing the foot thru their strap. Upon straightening the foot back around in line with the pedal their strap tightens down onto the shoe to hold it is place.

power grips pedals

And then there are some really specialty items …

platform pedals buckle

From there we get into other special pedals which have clips on them to clip special shoes onto them so one’s feet can’t come off of the pedals. The very thing that these pedals and shoes do is “clip in/on” so it seems so stupid to call these “clipless pedals”, but that is what they are called. It stems from the fact that the foot is held in place without the use of toe clips and toe straps. The clipless pedal was invented by Charles Hanson in 1895 so they have been around for awhile.

The most common and popular are known as SPD. There are two different types … road bike and mountain bike. There are considerably different from one another. The road bike type are large plastic and stick out on the bottom of the shoe making them difficult and impractical to try to walk in. The mountain bike type are metal, smaller and are recessed up into the bottom of the shoe making them far more practical to walk in. In the picture below you can see a comparison of the two. The road bike type on the right is getting pretty messed up from the abrasion walking on it.

SPD road and mountain shoe comparison

Catrike trikes come with combination platform and SPD pedals. One side is a platform pedal and the other side is an SPD pedal.

Catrike stock pedals

These are what I am currently using.

There are other SPD pedals … strictly SPD … so one pretty much has to be wearing the special SPD shoes in order to ride the trike.

Can you imagine trying to pedal this (pictured below) with just regular shoes on?

eggbeater 2  These are commonly referred to as “Egg Beaters”.

Two other types of clip in pedals are somewhat common. They are the Speedplay “Frog” …

speedplay frog pedals  and the Shimano  SPD road pedal …

SPD road pedalsThere are yet 2 or 3 others I have heard of which I won’t go into here.

Heel slings” are another method of keeping one’s feet from coming off of the pedals and down onto the pavement. I have never tried them, but they look like they would work better than most methods other than the SPD type.

heel straps 2

heel strap closeup

In closing I want to mention my thoughts on this matter of  keeping one’s feet safely on the pedals. I spoke of the different means of doing this. Some would work better than others as far as accomplishing that. Some are difficult to get in and out of. I personally would never use any of these which would not allow me to quickly and easily get my shoes free from the pedals in an emergency. The simple strap type and the toe clips with the toe straps may allow the shoe to be removed easier than some of the others, but then I would be concerned that my foot would come out of it when I don’t want it to. Also the use of a strap over the foot doesn’t appeal to me as I find them uncomfortable. And they can mess up a shoe in time.

Given the available options the SPD mountain bike type pedals and shoes seem to me to be the best option. I have these myself. The problem I have in using them is “comfort”. The shoes I don’t think are nearly as comfortable as the shoes I would wear if I were just using platform pedals. After riding for awhile with SPD shoes and pedals my feet start hurting. I don’t have that problem with my regular shoes. The heel slings I think would be another good option.

Another factor is that I like to be able to move my feet around a little bit on the pedals as I ride. You can’t do that when you are ‘locked in’. For me it adds (brings on) fatigue and soreness in my feet and legs that I would not otherwise experience. Darn leg suck issue anyway! I rode for years using platform pedals and have had my feet come off of the pedals several times. I have never had any problem with my feet going down onto the pavement. Never the less I am always very much aware of the very real danger and concern. It could happen and if and when it does it can get ugly folks! That’s all I’ve got to say about that. I will include a few videos here at the end. Be safe and …


Oh, I almost forgot. I don’t want to leave the gals out. They even make SPD shoes especially for you … as ridiculous as they are:

SPD high heel shoe

  black high heels  red high heel shoes

(When I first saw this I assumed it was a hoax … that these really don’t exist … that they are photoshopped. However, take a look HERE.)

Well, anyway … on with the show … the videos that is.

Sue from All Out Adventures explains the pros and cons of: 4 different pedal-types for recumbent trikes, Heel and Toe Support pedals, Powergrip pedals and clipless pedals .

Author: Steve Newbauer

I have a few current blogs (tadpolerider1, navysight, truthtoponder and stevesmixedbag) so I am keeping busy. I hope you the reader will find these blogs interesting and enjoy your time here. Feel free to email me at tadpolerider2 at gmail dot com (

2 thoughts on “PEDALS … PEDALS … READ ALL ABOUT IT!”

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