archival and resource material for human powered recumbent tricycles

Heel Slings for trike pilots

I just received a photo from trike pilot Steven Telck (visit his page), also known as ICEMAN (for more than just the fact that he rides an ICE trike), showing a heel sling on a human powered recumbent tadpole tricycle. This is a method for wearing regular human shoes while pedaling for those who choose not to use cycling shoes with binding attachment mechanisms. Steven is also working on manufacturing a prototype pedaling device that provides added benefits of lessening Nerve Compression Syndrome (hotspots), which should prove fascinating – the evolution of the heel sling.

Steven Telck Heal SlingsFor an assessment of heel slings, read Larry Varney’s BROL article HERE.

If you are going to use regular shoes while on a tricycle, where blood flow is critical, a sling device certainly is preferred over the product called Power Grips, as promoted by Hostel Shoppe in their printed catalogue as “A MUST FOR TRIKE RIDERS!” – Having used Power Grips in 2009 for a trek to Death Valley, I concluded that they severely restrict blood flow in the foot by their compression design, which forces the foot to remain on the pedal. Only use Power Grips for very short around-town rides!

Heel Sling SandalHeel Sling with sandal instead of shoe


9 responses

  1. trikerebelalskart

    Hey Steve, no evolution involved in heel slings. My wife’s trike has had them for the past 3 years and the idea came from Kevin at Dtekhpvs who sells ICE trikes among many others. Get with the beat baggy buddy.

    April 27, 2014 at 12:24 pm

  2. Jerry Forster

    Over the years I have heard the argument about “regular” shoes for riding more times than I can count. But every person I have converted to “cycling” shoes has thanked over and over again. No more sore and tender feet. The soft soles are great for walking but terrible for riding.

    April 27, 2014 at 4:08 pm

  3. The “binding attachment cycling shoes” are ok, but unless you have a average foot width they are way too expensive as the extra wide size is just ridiculous in price. Also I don’t like the idea of upsetting and not being able to readily get my foot loose from the pedal. As for the sling setup I have considered this, but unless it is winter time I wear sandals and so my heel is not protected as it is when wearing a regular shoe. That means I can’t use a sling when I ride with sandals. So I just ride without anything and have never once had any problem with my foot going down to the ground as is feared by so many. I have been riding a trike now for over 5 years and well over 25,000 miles … without any incidents. I am not advocating riding without this element of protection, but for me it really is a non issue.

    April 28, 2014 at 6:54 am

  4. The evolution is not in the heel sling design, but rather in the prototype that Steven is currently creating, which does take the heel sling to the next evolutional step. He is a man possessed to have his own ideal pedaling platform, and I do believe he will succeed.

    April 28, 2014 at 8:12 am

  5. I have really wide feet, so I ended up purchasing shoes from two companies that make cycling shoes in wide widths, because, like you, I discovered that traditional cycling shoes are very narrow. Both my Lake MX-165 mtb shoes and SIDI Dominator 5 Pro shoes are extra wide, and allow me more than sufficient toe box room for my wide feet. Neither shoe company charged more for the extra wide version. At the time, I believe these were the only two companies that offered an extra wide version, so if there are others, perhaps someone could comment for us. I have found the Italian SIDI shoes to be worth every penny, as they have been a key factor in finally ending my longstanding Nerve Compression Syndrome issues (hot spots) during really long rides. It was either that or stop riding all together, because for a while, my feet were getting really messed up with the nerves (they are fine now). I love sandals during warm dry weather on day rides!

    April 28, 2014 at 8:17 am

  6. I am not following this either. I don’t see anything different here than I have seen several others have rigged up over the years. What is supposed to be different (evolved) in this design?

    April 28, 2014 at 8:17 am

  7. OK, I see now what you are talking about. One has to look at his page to see the plate/platform which is attached to the pedals which the shoe sits in. The evolution is going from the simple sling to the plate/platform. Even so, this is nothing new. I have seen others with the same design concept.

    April 28, 2014 at 8:49 am

  8. I have not posted his design yet, as it is still in the creation phase. The sandaled rider is using conventional heel slings to illustrate your point that it may not be the most comfortable for some folks. Steven’s design uses an entire foot platform to disperse the load evenly over the entire foot bed area.

    April 28, 2014 at 9:01 am

  9. Alonzo Savage (Trike rebel)

    On closer inspection, ( I blew up the photo of Steven’s trike) his idea seems sound enough. The boom on his trike appears to be well extended so I’m guessing he is tall. Being tall myself I can easily envisage the ‘plates’ on his pedals catching on the ground over speed bumps and the like but they would be ideal perhaps for riders who, like me, have one leg slightly longer than the other as it would surely be feasible to put shims under the plates to compensate.
    Steven, I look forward to seeing your idea develop, so please ignore the nay sayers and ride happy knowing you’ve ‘maybe’ cracked the problem.

    April 29, 2014 at 9:09 am