First time clipless

hbscouse Posts: 6
edited March 2008 in Road beginners
Can I run this past you all, having recently moved over from a hybrid to a Trek Pilot roadie, I have discovered the delights of long fast rides again..but, and here's the problem, I have finally taken the plunge and gone "clipless" and I just can't seem to get the hang of "getting in and out" of the damn things.

I am sure this is an age old issue, but it's seriously denting my confidence in and therefore enjoyment of my riding. I have adjusted the release spring pressure so that it's at its least resistant, and, i have to say I can count on maybe doing the clipless tumble at least once a ride.

Any advice, or encouragement guys, is it just me?



  • Mog Uk
    Mog Uk Posts: 964
    Practice, practice, practice....

    Try to think ahead, if you know that you're going to stop ( lights, roundabout, junction ) then clip out a good few metres before you have to put your foot down, don't leave it till the last minute..

    Keep at it, it does get easier.
  • Nuggs
    Nuggs Posts: 1,804
    How are you trying to unclip? Don't try pulling your feet out of the pedals, give the foot a good twist outwards (keeping the movement flat - don't pull up).

    Also, a bit of lube on the pedal springs could be helpful.
  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    I agree with the above advice, also try to develop the habit of leaning to the same side and unclipping that side every time you stop, this will get you into the habit of unclipping with less dithering. I always unclip with the left foot so I lean away from traffic, keep right foot clipped at the top of the stroke, ready to push off.
  • i agree just stay calm try not to panic (i always found if i paniced the natural reaction is to try to pull your foot out.just twist your foot out moving your anckle out .you will soon get used to it and really get the benefits :D
  • scapaslow
    scapaslow Posts: 305
    What combination of pedals/cleats are you using?

    I use Shimano SPD's and found that changing the cleats from SH51 to SH56 makes a great difference to releasing with Shimano pedals. As the others have said make sure to twist your heels in good time.

    I have two sets of pedals double sided M520's and single sided A520's and find the double sided much easier to clip in/out of. I found it very difficult to unclip from the A520's with the SH51 cleat - caused me a few tumbles.
  • heavymental
    heavymental Posts: 2,076
    Concentrate on just pushing your heel out to the side. You're not trying to twist your whole leg, its a relatively small movement. Sit on your bike leaning against a wall or holding onto a bannister and get used to it. Clip in and out 20 odd times until your comfortable with it. Better to get it wired somewhere safe rather than at a set of lights.

    Its not just you, but 99% of people get used to it eventually through practice.

    Good luck and enjoy your riding.
  • tonywar
    tonywar Posts: 34
    I am still getting comfortable with clipless pedals. (Love em though). I find that I can unclip when necessary, but immediately place my cleat back over the pedal. You can still pedal if you point your foot downwards, so the front of the cleat is still in the pedal. If you don't have to put your foot down, then bring the pedal flat and re engage the cleat fully and ride on. But I think the main point as already mentioned is anticipating the need to release in advance.
  • hbscouse
    hbscouse Posts: 6
    Hey! thanks guys, so much good advice, and it's good to know that it's not just me (ha!)
    will be out tommorow (after a short practice session leaning against the wall) and will stick with it.

    thanks again
  • pneumatic
    pneumatic Posts: 1,989
    The thing that helped me most was the advice to lubricate the damned things. They have metal to metal moving parts that benefit hugely from being oiled from time to time. Just doing that really helped.

    Also my SPDs are adjustable tension-wise so you should loosen them to the easiest setting to start with and only tighten them when your instincts have properly kicked in.

    Fast and Bulbous
    Eddingtons: 80 (Metric); 60 (Imperial)

  • rdaviesb
    rdaviesb Posts: 566
    Go lean against a walll and don't move awat until you've got the technique cracked!
  • Try unclipping on afew quiet roads , after half a dozen rides you'll be fine if you are coming to a stopping situation slow down well before and unclip.

    You'll be fine...
  • Lagavulin
    Lagavulin Posts: 1,688
    I found the move from straps to clipless (Specialized MTB shoes and Shimano M520s) to be a breeze.

    I practised for maybe 15-20 mins on a cycle path adjacent to my house but after that I found it virtually second nature (this is from someone who doesn't take well to change :wink:).

    I think they're probably the second best invention ever for bikes (I was never comfortable with the down tube shifters on my first touring style bike - though I was 9 years old).

    I've since upgraded my footwear and pedals but I'm content with Shimano SPD to the extent I've bought a set of double-sided XTR's to sling on new bike (once I order it).
  • Mike59
    Mike59 Posts: 1,170
    I've just got used to riding clipless on the road bike. As said above, what a difference!

    I've mastered the technique of clipping out, but have had problems remembering to do so on a couple of occasions :

    (Approaches T junction) 'Now, which way shall I go?'

    The answer, inevitably, was a combination of down and sideways :)
  • doyler78
    doyler78 Posts: 1,951
    Another great place to practice uncllipping in a totally safe environment is on a turbo trainer if you have one.

    Also if you have problems in clipping outwards then you need to try and work out if you have a flexibility problem that prevents you from easily rotating your heel outwards either far enough to comfortably unclip or with enough force to release. There are some people out there who just can't unclip by outward twisting so it shouldn't be assumed that everyone can do it. At present I am forced to use spd's because they offer the ability to release by inward rotation which I can do easily using a multi-release cleat as mentioned above.

    I would love to have road pedals that I could use as the bigger contact area would make longer rides more comfortable but I am just glad I have something I can use.
  • Rich Hcp
    Rich Hcp Posts: 1,355
    I always put the same foot down, makes the decision easier!

    Stick with it

    Giving it Large
  • doyler78
    doyler78 Posts: 1,951
    Rich Hcp wrote:
    I always put the same foot down, makes the decision easier!

    Stick with it

    As I have only been using these a month I guess it is probably down to inexperience however I used the pick a foot and stick with it approach only to find when I was coming home one night and found myself having to negotiate a couple of cars as I swing round into my path to the house. I was leaning to the left to turn the corner to the path and I had always practised on unclipping to the right which I did however my balance was weighted to the left and if it wasn't for the fact that I grabbed my fence to save myself from topppling I would have hit the deck. Not sure then that always using the same foot is necessarily always a good thing.
  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    Unclipping on the left makes more sense to me, lean away from road, foot on kerb etc. I don't have a problem with it.
  • hbscouse
    hbscouse Posts: 6
    Hey guys

    Well all your great advice worked (up to point) just got back from a really good Saturday morning spin, fantastic, took the advice to un-clip well in advance, used the same foot every time, brilliant, twisted the heel and not the whole leg,50k later came to smug stop on my drive at home, so made up at having broken the clipless tumble duck that I forgot I had the damn things on and promptly toppled over on to the lawn !!!.

    Onward and upward !
  • klarky
    klarky Posts: 10
    having only beem road biking for a couple of months now,in the last 6 weeks having changed to clipless pedals, i find clipless much better for riding. have managed to master getting out but getting back into the pedal sometimes is harder,foot tends to slip over pedal which can be dangerous when setting off over junctions or on a hill, any special tecnique??
  • redvee
    redvee Posts: 11,922
    klarky wrote:
    foot tends to slip over pedal which can be dangerous when setting off over junctions or on a hill, any special tecnique??

    Sounds like you might need to adjust the position of the cleats slightly so they are under teh contact point of foot and pedal. Correctly positioned cleats enable you to clip in within 1/4 turn of the pedals.
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • klarky
    klarky Posts: 10
    will adjust them to see if this cures the problem