When I started playing (coming up for two years ago) I used clipless, because that’s what was on my dual-purpose commuter/polo bike. Due to being shit, I used to crash a lot, mainly because the bike kept ‘jacking’ on me round corners, and I couldn’t clip out in time, so fell over the bike and kept spraining my wrists (insert violin/tearful sobbing noise here).
When I switched to freewheel, I took the opportunity to use flat pedals and mourned the loss of acceleration due to floppy-soled trainers and up/down pedal-mashing technique. I put up with this because all of a sudden, big-crashes stopped happening. With flats I could just dismount when shit got hectic.
Now though, my legendary tightfistedness (keep killing trainers on spiky pedals) has caused me to return to clipless, and what a joy! Everyone’s been getting faster in Birmingham, but now it seems I can get everywhere that little bit faster. I haven’t lost a joust since the switch, either (although this could be because we switched to ‘Ready? Ready?…..Polo!’, rather than ‘3,2,1,Polo!’ – perhaps Birmingham was rife with cheaters).
It seems to me that many of the fastest players at tournaments are using clipless, and another benefit is reduced pedal-strike (my clipless pedals are a good few cm shorter than my flats).
But the slams are back! My right arm and love-handle in particular have taken a battering. I no-longer get my bike jacking on me, but in ‘comings together’ I can’t quite get my feet out fast enough to avoid a crash.
London’s famous Snoops recommended multi-release cleats on lfgss.com, and I’m keeping an eye out for some, but at the moment I’m fidddling with spring tension and cleat position.