I went out for a quick ride on my road bike at lunchtime. I failed to unclip from my pedals in time to stop myself falling as I slowed at one point and then got hit by a lorry, just scraped and bruised so I was able to ride home.
Just thought I'd share it and couldn't find anywhere else.
I bought Shimano 520s and M064 shoes because that was less than £80.00 online. The shoes are mountain bike shoes so I can walk around in them easily, road shoes are a cycling only footwear. You can get the exact same new off of ebay on Buy It Now for £65.00 or so, that's shoes and pedals.
I feel very safe and secure in them and i think there's a power benefit but not able to prove that. I was nervous at first but then thought "what's the worst that can happen?" (Almost found out today!)
Buy some and get on with it, if you need help with cleat fitting there's plenty of stuff online about how critical setup is but with Shimano 520 there's plenty of give so I just cracked on and no pain or discomfort. I'm far from an expert but here to give a view when/if you want one.
tooncheese The largest benefit of clipless (a silly name for clip-in pedals...:dunno:) pedals is that you can continue to transfer power into the pedals on the upstroke, you can't do this with flat pedals.

If you're just starting out with them then Shimano M520s are best, they have all the performance of the higher Shimano models (such as XT and XTR) and the only penalty is a slight weight increase. Alternatively there are other clip in pedals manufactuers such as Crank Brothers, but they can be pricey. Also try and make sure the shoes/pedals you buy come with the SPD cleats, as often they don't and are around £10 by themselves.

Here's the cheapest Shimano M520s with cleats - Pedals

EDIT - Just realised I'm 2 weeks late! LOL
no-FIAt-please, not late at all, I haven't forked out any cash just yet. I'm starting to agree with you and gethinceri, road-specific pedals aren't worth the extra cost.

On a side note new bar tape was definitely needed when another roadie pulled alongside with Cowell-white tape making mine more brown than it already was.
How long have you been riding? What sort of distances and routes? I'm slowly getting myself up to longer distances, as it's a sport that can be done solo I really enjoy it, but having entered a sportive for April I'm a bit concerned how I'll manage among lots of other riders.
I can do 30 miles in one go without food, and 60+ with food and/or pub stops. Its mostly around Watership Down, so its either really steep or completely flat. The best practice for a sportive is to go on a social run as group riding is a sensory overload at first and you probably wont enjoy it straight away. As for speed, do you know what category you are?
Well my furthest is a 30k run which is now becoming my usual Saturday route, I see loads of other roadies out on a Saturday and some in groups of 15+ which I am assuming are from clubs. There are a few well known clubs around me so I aim to tag along at some point to see if I want to join one.
The UCI have created a new category for me which is called "looks like a boiled egg on matchsticks and smoked for 30 years".
Digging the lycra though!
If you've been doing that route for a while you should be able to push the boat out a bit to 40k perhaps. I you just do 20k loop twice then you will always be close to your house in the event of hitting the wall.
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