Toe clips are a now-decrepit
way of securing a cyclist
's feet onto the pedal
s that said cyclist uses to propel
his or her bicycle
. These "toe clips" allow cyclists to pull up on the pedals, thus utilizing a different muscle
group and improving efficency. Also, toe clips are good at keeping a mountain biker
's feet from flying off of the pedals, and, by nature, keeping the rider attached to the bike, during insane rock
-filled downhill singletrack
Oh yeah, they look sort of like this:
toe strap --> | \ <-- plastic toe holder
^-- axle of pedal
But, toe clips have since been made obsolete by clipless pedals. Clipless pedals are much easier to get out of (thus decreasing the potential pain of an endo) and look lots cooler. One caveat: The most popular style of clipless pedals for mountain bikes (the SPD), designed by the Microsoft of Bikes clogs up with mud very easily, and turns into expensive paperweights.
The only mud-proof options for ATB clipless pedals are the Time ATAC and Speedplay Frog models. I, personally, use the Time ATACs.