Cleats, Getting my feet out when I really need to.

grant.smith Posts: 42
edited July 2007 in Road beginners

Yesterday I went out for my first big ride including a couple of 1:6 hills and for the most part really enjoyed using my new cleats. I have never used Cleats before but found great, I obviously had the obligatory fall off when I used them on Saturday, but all in all very happy. Thats was until yesterday.

When I was climbing a very steep hill I had enough, everything was hurting and my Heart Rate was at 215 so I wanted to stop get my breath back and then carry on. It was at that point I discovered I could not get my feet out of the cleats no matter how hard I struggled.

This happened twice more again on hills as I was going up, thankfully I was on quiet roads and I fell to the left, thus into a verge and not the middle of the road.

So is this normal, user error or can I do anything to make it more reliable, as in, when I need to get my feet out, I can.

Obviously this has really knocked my confidence so any advice would be gratefully received.


  • Eat My Dust
    Eat My Dust Posts: 3,965
    If you start to panic (even a little bit) it always seems harder to unclip. You'll get used to them and then you won't even think about it!!
  • bahzob
    bahzob Posts: 2,195
    If its any consolation almost exactly the same thing happened to me when I started using cleats just over a year ago. I changed down on a steep hill but the chain slipped off the gear so the crank locked. I toppled over into a heap, luckily no cars nearby.

    Good news is that keep trying and slipping in out will become unconcsious action so eposides like this will be thing of the past. (e,g, same as above happened earlier this year on a 17% hill but I had become experienced enough to slip out of my cleats before hitting the deck).
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • Hackbike 6
    Hackbike 6 Posts: 3,116
    When I first used cleats I used a pair of shoes which weren't compatible with the peddles which resulted in me being locked in.I changed these eventually. :oops:
  • Yorkshireman
    Yorkshireman Posts: 999
    What are you using, and if the release is adjustable is it on the lowest setting (easiest to disengage from)?
    Colin N.

    Lincolnshire is mostly flat... but the wind is mostly in your face!
  • cyclingfury
    cyclingfury Posts: 676
    As Yorkshireman says, you can usually back off the tension spring on most pedals and it will make disengaging easier.
    Titanium Bertoletti
  • Thanks for the replies, its nice to hear I should get used to them, in the mean time I should maybe stay off hills I'm not confident about getting up in one try!
  • Would loosening the screws on my shoes help as well? Thus they can move a bit more freely?
  • Eat My Dust
    Eat My Dust Posts: 3,965
    Would loosening the screws on my shoes help as well? Thus they can move a bit more freely?

    No no no!!!! don't do that, your cleats will eventually work themselves loose, and if you are pulling up on the cleat, you will be having a nasty fall!!
  • Yorkshireman
    Yorkshireman Posts: 999
    Would loosening the screws on my shoes help as well? Thus they can move a bit more freely?

    Do not loosen the screws in your shoes. That will make it extremely difficult to unclip
    Colin N.

    Lincolnshire is mostly flat... but the wind is mostly in your face!
  • Rich Hcp
    Rich Hcp Posts: 1,355
    I had the obligitory fall on Saturday too!

    I'm staying off the steeper stuff until I get more confident that I won't need a rest!

    Changing down early is probably the best bet, while you stil have momentum.

    I will get used to it!

    I will!

    Giving it Large
  • Melpro
    Melpro Posts: 35
    Stick with it - it happens to all of us. I got dumped off climbing a dual cariageway when my chain slipped and I couldn't get my feet out quick enough. :(

    If you can't get up the hill consider freewheeling to the bottom and either find another route or just push from there. I've found it's really difficult to clip back in on a hill - it is also a real pain if you have to stop for traffic lights on a hill.

    Practice on flat roads and build up your confidence again. It will all work out in the end. :D
  • keep the screws tight, check fortnightly, try going along a flat bit of road at about 10mph and clip in and out in and out and get used to it, thats what i did and it worked a treat
    felix's bike

    pedal like you stole something!!!
  • Big Red S
    Big Red S Posts: 26,890
    If they're shimano MtB pedals, Shimano do what they call 'multi-release' cleats, which let you unclip by pulling upwards.
    Obviously it takes quite a bit of force to unclip upwards, so they don't render the system entirely pointless, but it's little enough to be manageable in a hurry.

    Also, bear in mind that for most other cleats, the harder you're pulling upwards, the harder it is to clip out.