Best Bicycle Touring Pedals

Bicycle touring generally means long hours on the bike where a rider may become acutely aware of every point that their body comes in contact with the bike. Since I’ve already posted about avoiding a sore butt and numb hands, it’s time to address the third contact point, your feet. It is not uncommon for cyclists to experience hot spots or soreness in their feet while touring. However, with the proper pedals these problems can be completely eliminated.

Shimano XT Touring PD-T8000 SPD Trekking Clipless Pedal
Shimano XT Touring PD-T8000 SPD Trekking Clipless Pedal

Five Features to Look for in a Touring Pedal

  • Reliability – First and foremost, look for a good quality, reliable and serviceable pedal. Many of my bicycle adventures take me off road or in areas where bicycle shops may not be readily available. While quality and reliability are important, serviceability is just as important in the rare case that there is a problem.
  • Comfort – Look for pedals that allow you to change position on the pedal. Being able to change your foot position will increase comfort by reducing the pressure on the same point on your foot and will help to eliminate soreness and hotspots.
  • Versatility – Look for pedals that can be used with more than just cycling shoes. While I prefer cycling with clipless SPD pedals, there are times when I want to be able get out of my cycling shoes. Who wants to put on their bike shoes to cycle, just to ride over to the restroom on the other side of the campground?
  • Stability – Look for a pedal that you will feel safe cycling on all terrain and at all speeds. While I like to be clipped into my SPD pedals on a good surface, on difficult terrain or at slow speeds I prefer a wide cleated platform for stability and that I can also easily put a foot down on if necessary.
  • Visibility – Look for a pedal that will make you more visible to vehicles on the road. I like to make myself as visible as possible on the road, especially at night. I prefer a pedal with reflectors as part of their design.

The best bicycle pedal that meets all my touring requirements is the Shimano XT Touring PD-T8000 SPD Trekking Clipless Pedal. If you know of a better pedal for bicycle touring, please share why in the comments below.

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Ken Whittaker