I've often pondered questions of clipless pedal float over the years. I came to the conclusion long ago that I don't like it. I am strongly anti-float. What I like is a solid, unmoving platform from which to launch my furious pedaling assaults. I don't want or need any slop in the pedal-shoe interface.

That's the one thing I've always disliked about my favorite Time mountain pedals -- they are amazingly tough and reliable but the dual rail design leaves nothing solid to stop the constant creeping of the cleat across the pedal. Proper pedaling technique, we might like to remind ourselves between sips of tea, eliminates this concern, but in fact powerful pedaling involves forces other than those that are perfectly parallel to the seat tube. This is especially true for people who live in Colorado and do a lot of out-of-saddle climbing.

And being able to waggle my ankle around (float around a vertical axis) is not something that I've ever identified as an advantage either. This ability to ankle-waggle has been demanded of pedal manufacturers by the bulk of consumers, who are afraid that a truly locked cleat will cause knee problems. And this is a valid concern, if the shoe is locked in an ergonomically harmful position it will cause problems. But if it's not, the last thing I want is slop. The best situation in my opinion is a properly adjusted seat height with a properly adjusted cleat, locked into position with the grip of Hercules. There will be plenty of slop built into the shoe itself without adding still more with the pedal.

On occasion I've felt the unwelcome twinge of knee pain that I've suspected was caused by a certain pattern of cleat wear that allows my foot to rock from side to side more than it otherwise would. My suspicions were reinforced when, more than once, I replaced the cleats and cured the knee problem. These experiences only strengthened my aversion to float of course.

With my unconventional opinion on this matter I was interested to find this article in VeloNews about the second annual Serrotta Science of Cycling Symposium, where pedal float was discussed at length. An engineer at UC Davis, Maury Hull, presented evidence of a study he did using the leg of a cadaver. Hull determined that float causes knee problems. Aha! I said to myself. I knew it! Actually, first I said aarrgh, the leg of a cadaver. Then I said Aha! I knew it, I agree with you leg. But then Andy Pruitt of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine followed with his own presentation and a claim that knee problems were caused not by float but the lack of it. Symposium-goers were left scratching their helmets. But not me, my mind's made up. I vote No on float in '08.