From the Blog


Heel Slings

Posted by admin on June 5th, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Recumbent trike and bike riders:

Do you want to keep your feet on the pedals, add power/speed, reduce your fatigue and do so without spending a bundle on clipless pedals and shoes? Well, Heel Slings are what you want.

This simple yet ingenious design allows you to:

– Ride with regular athletic shoes (or sandals if you prefer).

– Pull on the approaching pedal* using your calf muscle (not your shin muscle, like clipless pedals) for less fatigue and more power.

– Eliminates the need to push on the approaching pedal to maintain foot contact which decreases pedaling efficiency.

– Ride safer because it helps keep your feet on the pedals and not under the trike. Large reflectors on the Heel Sling platforms add visibility. Rapidly moving pedal reflectors are VERY visible!

– Quickly and easily lift your feet off the pedals without twisting or turning your foot to disengage the clipless pedal latch.

– Reposition your feet while pedaling for increased comfort. Try that with clipless pedals!

* point your toe slightly and pull with your heel.

However, don’t just take my word for it. Read what Larry Varney, co-editor of “BentRider Online” wrote – see

Well, OK. How much do they cost?

$30.00 + shipping + sales tax for the basic assembly.

If you want to purchase the Heel Sling now, click here:

What do you get?

You get a Heel Sling assembly for each pedal [see photos below] consisting of

1) The cable assembly,

2) The platform that includes the reflector and mounting screws and

3) The wear bar and the cable tie to attach the bar to the pedal.

I ride with sandals or Crocks that have open backs. How can I protect my heel?

If you ride with sandals or other footwear that has an open heel, you will need a heel pad set for $5.00 + S & ST As you can see below, it encapsulates the cables and protects your skin.

If you want to purchase pads now, click here:

How do I install them? [button to show info below]

  1. Remove the reflector on the front of your pedal.
  2. Install the wear bar on the back portion of the pedal frame.
  3. From the top, thread the mushroom ends of the cable assembly through the area between the axel and the rear frame member. Stay inside the supports.
  4. Install the mushroom ends in the platform keyholes.
  5. Install the platform on the pedal using the screws & nuts provided thru the holes that held the reflector and slide the platform up as high as possible to trap the cable mushrooms between the platform and the front pedal frame. Tighten the screws.

note location of cable tie end

cables thru pedal & in platform

pedal w/HEEL SLING installed

How do I adjust them to fit my shoe size? [button]

  1. Turn the screw in each nut so that the flat is parallel to the cable. This will release the cable so that it can slide thru the lock nut.
  2. Position the foot on the pedal so that the ball of the foot is over the pedal axel and slide the outside nut so that the cable loop fits tightly against the back of the heel. The loop should be about half way between the sole and the top of the heel.
  3. Lock the nut to the cable by turning the screw so the flat is not parallel to the cable. Over tightening may damage the cable and make it difficult to slide the cable thru the nut in the future.
  4. Remove your foot from the pedals and adjust the inside nut so that the loop it controls is the same size as the loop formed in step #2. Lock the nut to the cable.
  5. When properly adjusted, your foot should rest [hang] in the sling with the ball of the foot in line with the pedal axel.

with cables loose, position ball of foot over axle

tighten first cable and secure nut to cable

tighten the second cable and secure nut to cable

I have special need because of foot or leg differences. Will the Heel Sling work for me?

Generally, yes they will work. However, to insure that this is true, please contact me at with your specifics. In most cases, I will make custom add on HS parts to meet your needs at no cost. The only request that I have is that you provide me with feedback on how well they meet your needs and work with me to get it right.

13 Responses to Heel Slings



  2. Michael Anderson |

    Hi John,

    It’s me again. I lost another wear bar on my right pedal and (of course) the cable on that side wore about through from rubbing on my pedal (I had tried to pad it with tie straps but that didn’t work).

    I’m ordering another pair through paypal but wanted to give you a heads up to please include the longer wear bars (4″ minimum) with them when you send them out.

    Normally I wouldn’t fuss with something like this but I do really like the slings and I’m bound and determined to get them to work with these pedals of mine (which I also really like).

    I’ll have an extra wear bar with the new set as I only need to really replace the one side now so that will give me something to play with to see if I can get it to work with that one side of mine (I must be pedaling wierd)


  3. is there a better pedal that these work on ? the pedals that i am using don’t seem to be wide enough & are hard to get my shoes in.

  4. Hello,

    Have you heard of anyone using the heel slings with toe clips (especially strapless ones)?

    I just want to make sure my feet would be secure on my trike without using clipless pedals, which cause me numbness and hot spots.

    • steven telck |

      I am presently using John’s heel slings with strapless toe clips. I just took the straps off my toe clips. The cage of the toe clips keeps the front of my foot from lifting and is working well. I have everything set so I can even twist out of the toe clip like a cleat. I do have to reach down and pull the toe clip up after placing my heel in the slings to get my foot on the pedal. My toe clips are carbon fiber impregnated plastic so they are rather springy by design and are working out well,

  5. Carol O'Donnell |

    I had been looking for an adaptive pedal for our recumbent bike for nearly 3 months after my husband was released from outpatient therapy which was needed as the result of a stroke. Regaining the ability to walk again will require that Tom develop his hamstring, knee, and calf muscles – something the bike was sure to help. However, this important piece of equipment sat without use and our hopes of having a pedal that would hold Tom’s foot in place were just about gone until I finally found the heel slings on this website. In order to find a pedal that would work for my husband and for the type of bike we had, the owner (John) answered all of my questions by email and even called me to make sure we had the order correct. He followed up to see if the pedal was working and even offered his personal good luck wishes for Tom’s continued improvement. I can’t begin to express my gratitude for the opportunity the heel sling has provided for my husband, and I will be recommending this product to the physical therapists that we have worked with over the past 8 months. Thanks John!

  6. Josh Wertheim |

    John–Great design! May I suggest a “special sale” for BentRiderOnline members? Say a free heel pad and reduced shipping? Nearly everybody, member or not, uses BROL as a mainstay.

    ps I don’t think you want to collect sales tax from every state. That means you’ll have to file 50 business tax returns!

  7. John,

    My wife and I were discussing the disappearance of customer service today as she was dealing with a girl at the pharmacy over the phone. I refer to this as our Wal-Mart mentality where the public is willing to sacrifice service for price and no longer expect or demand service. We both grew up working at a time where the customer was right and service was the norm not the exception.

    This leads to yesterday’s pleasant surprise. The heel slings I ordered from you were in my mailbox. There was also a five dollar check from you with the memo. late. I will be installing the slings on my trike today and will be returning your check. I didn’t feel the delivery was late and was ecstatic to learn someone still believes in service. Thanks for the excellent product and restoring my faith in customer service.


    Mike Haug

  8. Hi John: Thanks for this product. We are new to bent riding with Terratrike tandem pro and after two rides, my wife’s ankle is banged up so this is imperative.

    I just ordered 2 sets. My shoe size is 14 so hopefully there will be enough cable.

    Best regards, gary

  9. Just wanted to take some time to comment on what I feel is a very good product which addresses an issue which can produce serious injuries for riders of both Delta and especially Tadpole trikes which is “leg suck”. This has nothing to do with walking through muddy Amazon waters and then scraping off more leeches than Carter had pills. It is a problem that can exists when one of your legs comes off a pedal and hits the ground and then is pushed or “sucked” under the cross bar of a Tadpole trike or under the main frame of a Delta trike. This can happen because trikes are so low to the ground that your leg can be “sucked” under pinning it against the frame and the ground.
    Recently this happened to me during the last days of my ride in Thailand. I was on a rough section of sidewalk passing under a major road when I dropped a wheel into a depression of a sidewalk built of paving stones. The SPD on my right pedal platform which I use to address “hot foot” issues. These platforms allow me to ride in walking shoes and custom orthotics, place the cleat where I need it to relieve hot foot and still have a system which allows me to quickly disconnect from my pedals. It just so happened my body twist was strong enough that I came unclipped from the pedal when my body was thrown sideways as the trike quickly tipped.
    It should be known that I have been riding for several years and have had my foot unclip on rough roads in the past, but this was the first time my leg had ever gotten trapped beneath the trike frame and the ground. Even though I was traveling only 3-4 miles per hour I suffered stretched ligaments in my right knee and had some difficulty pedaling for the next few days. There are stories on the internet of people who have suffered much worse, broken bones, losses of skin on ankle bones, etc so I consider myself lucky. Upon returning home I started looking for a better solution. An engineer at ICE corporation pointed me to John Lawrence’s heel slings. I bought a pair and I must say I feel much safer now that my foot is resting in his sling which wraps around the heel of a shoe and are adjustable for length so your foot can be placed on the pedal as desired. I am still using toe clips WITHOUT the straps to help keep my foot on the pedal in the most extreme conditions. Here are the benefits I see with the Heel slings:
    • Allows people to ride with cleats if they desire and helps assure their foot will stay on the pedal and not drop to the ground if there cleat should be unintentionally disconnected from the pedal.
    • Allows me to rest my leg when coasting down hills so I don’t have to make a concerted effort to keep my foot upon the pedal.
    • Allows me to pull against the sling with the back of the heel for added power using the old “wiping dog poo from the bottom of your shoe technique”.
    • On occasion when I forget to down shift at a light and find myself in a high gear I can both mash a pedal and pull on the other making starting up easier.
    Yes I agree any good cleat system will offer good foot security, but for those times that one’s cleats or foot should come off their pedal it offers added security against leg suck. If you like to ride in shoes without cleats as many who ride trikes do, I would highly recommend these slings for the three main reasons listed above. It is my understanding that John will soon be releasing pedals set up with his sling design, optional toe clips and a balancing system to keep the pedal in a ready position.

  10. To all who have commented and not received a reply from me, I am terribly sorry. The website was not positing comments and I assumed that I was not getting any. I just learned from Steve that it was not working and my website guy just fixed it.
    In any event please except my apology and if you wish contact me via

  11. We have pedals that are clipless on one side & platform on the other so we can let our friends, that don’t have cycling shoes, ride our TerraTrike Sportsters trikes. However, these trikes can go fast & I’m always concerned for their safety. Therefore, I would like to be able add heel slings quickly (& remove them quickly) without changing pedals. Will your heel slings work for use?