With cleats / clip-less pedals you can take full advantage of the pedal stroke and conserve more energy.
Here's three tips for getting started with cleats:
- If you’re afraid of using cleats or new to them, start with flat pedals and then progress onto Shimano SPD single or double-sided pedals. As you become more confident you can use different pedal systems such as Look or Speed play. There are many types of cleat / pedal systems out there.
- When starting out with cleats, make sure that they are set up so they are easy to clip in and clip out of. You’ll have instructions with the cleats and pedals on how to do this. As you become more confident using them, you can tighten them up little by little.
- Always try them out first on your bike leaning up against a wall so you don’t fall over. The best tip for any cyclist is to always look well ahead and clip one leg out if a hazard or stop is coming up. When waiting to push off, make sure that you are in an easy gear. Keep one foot unclipped resting on the ground and your other foot clipped in. Position your clipped in leg at the top of the pedal stroke so that when you push off you have some momentum. Clip in the other leg as soon as you can but avoid looking down. Clip in by feel.
The video below shows, in practice, how you should ride in traffic: