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Hold Fast is a small, rider founded company making a “Foot Retention System”and is based out of Red Hook, Brooklyn.
For a couple months I’ve been wanting to try out their FRS thinking it might be good for my speed on the court. I normally, and have since the beginning, played with flat platform pedals with no clips or straps. I don’t have clips or straps on my work bike or the bike I race alleycats on either. For two reasons. One, I wear bulky skate shoes. I like the thick soles and the extra upper padding so my shoes do not fit well into toeclips and straps. And second, because if and when I need to jump or eject off my bike, on the street or on the court, there is nothing slowing me down. My feet leave my pedals as easily as my hands leave the bars.
When I started riding road bikes I did use a popular clipless system and never had a problem and I just got back from riding coast to coast doing over 4000 miles clipped in. So I know the advantages of having your feet attached to the pedals. Of course that’s not something I’ve wanted all day and night on the streets of New York or game after game in The Pit.
But still, seeing that Hold Fast makes a quality product and that other players had good things to say I thought I’d like to find a way to get a pair onto my polo bike. I thought that having my feet a little more secure on the pedals would give me more start up power on the jousts and that from using more muscle groups I might be less tired after riding around our huge court.
Luckily Hold Fast sponsored one of my favorite races in NYC, Cranksgiving 11, and I won a set as my second place prize. Right away I installed them onto my Haro BMX pedals, worked around with the fit, securing the straps through the body of the pedals and adjusting the main strap over the top. It took me a little while because I think they are designed around a shoe with less bulk.
Sunday I went out a played a full day with them. And knowing that there is nothing wrong with the way they are made or the purpose they serve, I took them off my bike as soon as I got home. I fell off my bike about twice as much as I should have. Not being used to having my foot held in place made me simply fall before I could catch myself. Also, having large shoes and working the straps into an adjustment that both lets my foot slide into place but not be too loose when in place was hard to do. I found that when I tried a more circular pedal stroke my foot would lift off the pedal but trying to tighten them more I found that I’d need to use my hand to get my shoe in place under the straps.
For me I think it comes down to two things. My shoes have too much upper padding for any strap to be able to hold my foot down without letting my foot lift AND let me get my shoe in place easily on the go. And more importantly, after giving it a go, I don’t think they’ll make me any better at bike polo. I thought about giving it another week and maybe I’d like them more (I really want to like them) but I figure I don’t need to be falling anymore that I already do.
Last thing, and this is just to make the point one more time that for people who run normal size shoes I bet this system would be great. But the shoes I run are so wide that the sides of the straps were making contact with the ground at times when I might or might not pedal strike. All the buckles are on the outer edge and take away from my cornering clearance.