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While some avid cyclists would never go without their trusty straps or toe clips, for other people, they're simply in the way. If you're in the camp that wants the straps off as fast as possible, you're in luck; removing the straps on most bike pedals is a quick and easy task. Bike pedal straps come in a number of different configurations, but most of them either consist of a simple strap around the pedal, or a toe clip and strap combination.
What Straps Do
Some beginner cyclists choose to remove the straps or toe clips on their pedals because they feel constricted by not being able to move their foot off the pedal with ease. However, pedal straps actually have a purpose: increasing your efficiency and overall speed. When you have a strap or clip attached to the top of your foot, you're able to gain speed not just on the downstroke, but also when pulling the pedal upward. If you're a commuter or someone interested in getting from point A to B faster, consider keeping your pedal straps or replacing them with something similar.
Your pedal strap may be attached to the pedal in one of two ways: either threaded or bolted. To remove the threaded kind, first unbuckle the buckle that keeps the two ends together. Then pull on the buckle end of the strap to loosen it from the pedal. Often the strap is threaded through various pieces of metal on the pedal, so it may require you to pull the strap in and out of the gaps in the metal to loosen and remove it.
Some pedal straps, meanwhile, are attached to the bottom of the pedal with bolts. To remove these, flip the pedal over to reveal the underside, and then place an Allen wrench, screwdriver -- or another wrench that fits your bolts -- into the bolt holes and turn them to the left until they are loose. Pull out the bolts and then pull the strap off the pedal. In some cases, you may have a toe clip-strap combination; to remove these, first pull off the strap and then unscrew the bolts or screws holding the toe clip onto the pedal.
If your pedal straps needed to be removed because they were old, this could be a good time to replace them with a different type of foot hold, which may be more beneficial for your cycling efficiency. One possibility is the toe clip or toe cage, which is like a "cage" for the front of your foot that bolts directly onto the pedal. Since there is no strap, it will be easier to move your foot off the pedal. Another option is the clipless pedal, which typically requires installing a new set of pedals. These types of pedals have holes in them that match up to special shoes with cleats that fit into the holes. These clipless pedals come in a two-, three- and four-cleat design, so if you're going to go this route, be sure to purchase shoes and clips with the same number of holes.