New Bike - 2 falls already, lots questions...

squirejim Posts: 44
edited September 2009 in Road beginners
Hi all,

After having my specialized sirrus hybrid bike stolen recently, i finally decided to purchase a road bike with the insurance money. Im absolutley loving the bike, makes my journey into work so much quicker and, with seemingly much less effort - or maybe im getting fitter.

However, on the 1st day i got the bike and set up the pedals with toe clips and straps, i fell off, after forgetting my feet weere still attached. All very embarrassing, but was perfectly safe as was stationary. But having fallen off, i have been very good at taking one foot out of the straps when i knowe im coming up to traffic. But i seem to have difficulty when starting off at lights or from stationary, putting my left foor into the strap ( i always leave my right foot in) and so often, i pedla a few feet, then look down to try and manouvere my foot into the pedal ... all excpetionally dangerous as it means im not looking where im goinjg, which resulted in yesterday me crashing into the back of a car directly in front of me, me fakling off and mny bike wheel somehow ending up underneath the tyre of the car to the left. totally my fault for not looking and now waking up to the fact that if i cant easily put my foot in the pedal , then i should keep going unattached until im clear of traffic, all while looking out fo rbig hard metalllis things tat hurt when you hit them !

Anyway, a pal has given me shimano clipless pedals and cleats and recommends attachnbg htese. Im hesitant, but would welcome the opijons on the ease of using the clipless and any tips on clipping in, especially if you cant easily clip in whne stratuing off...?

also, the road i cycle to work in is awful, although its the most direct route, does anyone live or cycle thorugh south london on the A23, as thats the route i go, but i hardkly see any other cyclist on it, as im pretty sure i know why ... so does anyone know of any other less trafficalised routes from croydon up to town?

any advise gratefully received



  • mikeq
    mikeq Posts: 141
    I think everyone has had those moments, clipless are no different.

    I hate moving off from lights, it's a case of if you cant get your other foot clipped in then just use your one leg that is attached to push and pull the cranks, watching out for traffic. Then when enough speed/balance get your other foot clipped in.
    Cycling from Glasgow to Paris to raise funds for Asthma UK
  • Mister W
    Mister W Posts: 791
    Clipless pedals are so much easier to use and safer than toe clipes and straps. Spend some time leaning against a wall practising clipping in and out until you can do it without looking down. Then do the same on some quiet roads. Once you're comfortable with it, go for a longer ride and as you come up to each junction or traffic light think ahead and unclip in plenty of time to put your foot down if you need to. You can always rest your heel on the pedal if you need to keep moving for a few yards without clipping back in.
  • bikerZA
    bikerZA Posts: 314
    Use the clip in pedals and shoes. They are far easier to get into and out of than toe straps.
    The best thing to do is spend a bit of time practising with them before you go out on the road. Get on your bike, lean on a wall, clip into the pedals, clip out again. Do it until you are comfortable.
  • huuregeil
    huuregeil Posts: 780
    Clipless is marginally easier (and clearly better in all other ways!), but in the end it boils down to practice - with time, you can get into both toe-clips and clipless pedals on the first revolution. So, practice more while moving on quiet roads and you'll quickyl get much better.
  • all sound advice. If they are the mountain bike type SPDs you can clip in from either side, so after a bit of practice you never need to look. Also you never get the straps dragging on the floor! The only compromise is having to wear the right shoes, but if that doesn't bother you then go for it.
  • I've definitely found that double sided spd pedals combined with mtb shoes are easier to use in traffic situations. The rubber soles of the shoes mean that your foot won't slip off the pedal whilst moving off, allowing you to get going with both feet, and then letting you clip in when you it's safe.

    Not everyone like the grips on mtb shoes but with a sharp knife it's easy enough to remove the grips around the foot arch or wherever. Also easier to walk in if needed.
  • Chicane-UK
    Chicane-UK Posts: 105
    I've just done a year of intermittent commuting and cycling for fun on my very first road bike with just straps over the pedals and never had an off... never even came close to an off to be honest! And I've never had particularly good balance.

    I just made sure there was a good amount of slack in the straps to get your shoes in and out, and of course never wore thick chunky shoes - just nice slim trainers. When I set off from a junction I'd just pedal on the other side of the pedal and once clear of the lights (after 5-10 seconds) I'd got a knack for just flipping the pedal round with my foot and slotting it into the strap. After a few weeks it was just second nature. To be honest, just talking about it now, it's just such a non-issue - I can't understand how anyone finds them a struggle!

    I've just ordered a new bike however and plan on going up to clipless and fully expecting an incident or two whilst I get used to them!
    Planet X Nanolight High Modulus (Roadie) | 2008 Giant Bowery (Fixie)
  • squired
    squired Posts: 1,153
    SquireJim - which part of London are you riding up to? Taking the Brighton Road into Croydon, then continuing through the shops and down past Mayday is normally quite good. From there it depends if you are continuing up to London Bridge, or a route via Clapham Common. If the latter it is possible to do quite a bit of quieter road cycling (plus some cycle paths through parkland).
  • thanks for advice. chicane, im too impatient to wait 2 weeks to get used to trying to tilt my foor in abnormal fashion ..... im pleased you have banana feet and are able to with no diifutly. i think maybe me clodhopper shoes aent the best ...

    in any event, it is a non issue, as ive gone for the MTB spds, shoes, all fixed upm, and just come back from 25 mile ride today .. im shattered , but didnt fall off, clipped in v easy, and just loving my bike, think got overtaken a few times but expert rosad racers, but 25 mile for me is an achievement, admittedy, it was one way with the wind mainly, i botttled out the way home into wind and trained it back, else i think heart attack may have occurred

    squired d, i work near clapham, so have been going, purley way, thornton heath, norbury, streatham, brixton then clapham.

    i will map my ride via croydon main shops then and see if i c\an find route. cheers!
  • I'm just starting out with clipless pedals and I managed to fall off twice in the garage practising :oops:

    I have SPDs with MTB style shoes (recessed cleats so it's easier to walk). I still have trouble getting my foot in after moving off.

    I pedal with the flat of my foot until I get a bit of speed up and I'm safe to fiddle with the foot to get the clip in.

    Try not to look down for too long. Your head dictates the position of your shoulders and changes your balance. Essentially you go where you look, so if you're looking at the ground....

    Have you reduced the tension on the clip? I had to unwind both sides of both pedals, it did make it easier.