I rarely have trouble with bashing my shins on the pedals because I ride clipped in, and SPD’s don’t havesharp edges. I recently set up a mountain bike for my girlfriend with RaceFace Affect flat pedals since shes not ready to ride clipped in. She’s having fun, but the other day we were practicing riding down stairs in the park, when she tried riding back up the stairs. She stalled and ended up gouging up her shins on the pins of the pedals. A lot of our local trails have very rocky technical climbs similar to stairs, where you can stall out. She likes the grippyness of the pedals, but the fear of adding more and more scars to her legs is holding her her back.
Are there any good flat pedal options out there that offer good grip, without destroying your shins? I tried out some plastic Odyssey pedals with molded-in pins and her feet slip off them too easily.
Basically the grip on a flat pedal comes from the pins digging into your shoe, in much the same way as they can dig into your shin. I have seen smooth pedals with skateboard tape for grip, but these are primarily used for flatland bmx, and I doubt they’ll be grippy enough for mountain biking. As far as I know, you just have to keep trying and getting better. Maybe she could try wearing shin guards until she gets more experienced and confident. You can get mountain bike specific ones but soccer shin guards should be just as effective and likely cheaper.
Or she could just tough it out and wear her scars with pride.
I earned my shin scars early on and I still ride with platforms. Shin guards will 100% stop the pedal bites. Also, look into some quality MTB shoes like 5.10 with sticky soles. Once I switched to good shoes and started getting better, the shin guards went away and scars are in my past. She can also try moving her foot up on the pedal so the center of the pedal is just behind the ball of her foot.
We feel your girlfriend’s pain Sean. I concur with oldandrolling. I still ride flats but slip pedals much less now than I once did. Better shoes. Better foot positioning. On the downhills, center the pedal more towards the mid-foot and get those heels down. BUT I do a lot of hike-a-bike in my riding and I still far too often forget the location of my pedals when I start hiking and hit my shins on the pedals. Ugh !!!!!!!
This is the main reason I just pushed myself to learn to ride clipped in. I’ve had a few of these experiences where I still can’t believe I didn’t crack a bone. I’d suggest shin guards. I had flat pedals without any real sharp edges and it still hurt like a bastard, broke skin, and left marks I still have.
My wife experienced the same problem when we upgraded her bike this winter and went to “pokey” flats. Knee high socks have solved her problem. A lot of bike shops have them in fun designs. She went with the snail socks for her riding pace. Although she may have to upgrade to hare socks at the speed she’s going!