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clipless dilemma

seanoconnseanoconn Posts: 10,139
edited January 2010 in Road beginners
Hi everyone, first post, please be kind!

Treated myself to my first road bike before christmas, mainly for leisure, fitness and commuting. Fitted some spds yesterday and set off confident that i'd be different from stories i've read about first time clipless. My confidence soon turned into pain and embarassment when i tried to dismount at the top of a hill, ended up in a crumpled heap with a fair sized audience. My elbow's now football sized.
My question is should i retreat to flats or persist with clipless? I would like to improve as a rider but it hurts!

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks.
Pinno, מלך אידיוט וחרא מכונאי

Posts

  • Bad luck but stick with them. You can loosen them a bit and then practise clipping in and out maybe.
  • Join the club - we all fell on the first time.......stick with them - they are worth it in the long.

    I think after 2/3 rides you will feel different about this post.
  • So far(tm) I am yet to have a scary clipless moment, and I put this down to going from Platform to Toeclip+straps then on to SPD's...

    the change in attitude towards stopping when your feet are semi locked to the pedal with toeclips gives you a great sense of how things will be when you are firmly attached via SPD's!!!

    There is a definite Mental process of "Need to stop, disengage foot while gently braking, lean to the side thats free"

    Oh also, as a newbie clipless rider, I have found SPD's integrated into a platform pedal VERY helpful, as while you learn to clip in smoothly, its nice to be able to at least pedal unclipped for a while until you engage your foot.

    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/Wellg ... 360006644/

    I use these at the mo, but will be moving to double sided SPD pedals soon.
    exercise.png
  • dajdaj Posts: 139
    its all in the mind, Even with flats you take you feet of the pedal before stopping dont you? just unclip before stopping.

    My mate did the same thing when trying for the first time .... I just knew it was going to happen too. My mint GT RTS on a gravel drive !! :cry:
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Slacken tension to minimum.

    Always unclip left, lean left - learn that and you will always be fine. Clipless moments tend to happen when people don't have a system, and unclip one side then lean the other. When coming up to a junction or a stop, anticipate and twist that left foot!
  • seanoconnseanoconn Posts: 10,139
    Thanks for the advice guys, was hoping you'd say stick with it. feel better now. That was the first time i've hit tarmac in 5years, riding most days. I'll try not to panic next time, Don't want that slow motion sinking feeling again. Maybe stopping on a steep hill wasn't the best idea either.
    Pinno, מלך אידיוט וחרא מכונאי
  • It happens to the rest of us don't worry, see my post a little down the board titled 'first ride shenanigans!'. Fortunately I avoided any football sized swelling, just a bruised ankle/ego.
  • tiny_penstiny_pens Posts: 293
    My advice (learned the hard way) is to always unclip BOTH feet when practicing track stands at traffic lights. I'd be lying if I said you 'always' overbalance the wrong side but it only has to happen once to become memorable (in my case in front of a bunch of workmen at temporary traffic lights).
  • gbsgbs Posts: 450
    to sean; here is my history
    Nov last year: tried a road bike with SPDs for first time in carpark - no problems
    +2 days: (1) went to Richmond Park and fell on first hill (Broomfield) through lack of momentum (consequence of standard 53/39 chain rings and overgearing) (2) on way home I sought refuge in the cycle path on Priory Lane and cut up to the path at a fine angle and fell - skinny tyres did not indulge me :oops:
    +5days: fell when I braked to a near standstill for a bus that pulled away from a stop w/o signalling
    since then: no incidents and would never consider any other method - until the new technology arrives.

    Anticipate/Plan ahead and enjoy!

    PS I was nearly 67 when this "drama" occurred.
    vintage newbie, spinning away
  • seanoconnseanoconn Posts: 10,139
    Fellow tales of woe have cheered me right up, thanks, sorry if that sounds bad. Once the swelling goes down i'll give it a proper go. I used to ride a motorbike and you're taught to put your strongest leg down to support a heavy bike, i;e right leg. Developed a bad habit now, can't get my brain to think left foot, lean left, so i'm leaning towards traffic instead of away. didn't realise my error till i joined the forum. I'll get there in the end,
    Pinno, מלך אידיוט וחרא מכונאי
  • Lycra ManLycra Man Posts: 141
    I have enjoyed several clipless moments. The first was a response to the sudden appearance of a car in my path. I skidded to a halt, and then couldn't get my foot free, trackstanded for about 2 seconds and then fell.
    The second was when my chain slipped and got stuck. I am now much more prepared, and anticipate most things, but you can't anticipate the unexpected.
    Althgough I tend toim unclip either foot, I think it is a good habit to use mainly the left, as its definitely better to fall onto the curb, than into the road.
    I know, I've done both.
    Lycra Man
    FCN7 - 1 for SPDs = FCN6
  • seanoconnseanoconn Posts: 10,139
    Was hoping to learn to trackstand but the thought of doing it clipless scares the hell out of me!
    Pinno, מלך אידיוט וחרא מכונאי
  • sicknotesicknote Posts: 901
    seanoconn wrote:
    Was hoping to learn to trackstand but the thought of doing it clipless scares the hell out of me!

    I use to use clips but now use clipless and would never going back ever and have been lucky not have any off,s but have been real close ( quick hands and railings have saved me ) :wink:

    I would say go for it and you will be doing the same as me, tell more to have a go.
  • Steve_b77Steve_b77 Posts: 1,680
    It generally happens when you're either riding very slowly or there's an audience there :D

    You wanna try being clipped in on a MTB with a tree in your immediate planned route, now that's one helluva lot worse than fallign over infront of a crowd :shock:
  • Just to offer an alternative perspective, if you're just commuting or out for shortish rides then it might not be worthwhile having clipless pedals.

    The below link (courtesy of The Bike Show) argues the case that normal flat pedals are fine for 'normal' riding, and clipless are only really of use if you're racing:

    http://www.rivbike.com/article/clothing/the_shoes_ruse

    Personally I use clipless, but that's mainly because I use my commuting bike for training as well. If I was just doing shorter leisure rides and commuting then I'd consider flat pedals and normal trainers.
    IN THE SADDLE
    "Locals are watching from pavement cafés. Non-racers. The emptiness of those lives shocks me." Tim Krabbé, The Rider
  • ProssPross Posts: 34,789
    seanoconn wrote:
    Fellow tales of woe have cheered me right up, thanks, sorry if that sounds bad. Once the swelling goes down i'll give it a proper go. I used to ride a motorbike and you're taught to put your strongest leg down to support a heavy bike, i;e right leg. Developed a bad habit now, can't get my brain to think left foot, lean left, so i'm leaning towards traffic instead of away. didn't realise my error till i joined the forum. I'll get there in the end,

    Stick with your right foot, I always do my right without thinking about it (never considered it before to be honest). To me it makes sense in any case as the camber of the road in most situations will mean that side is slightly higher and the bike won't need to lean so much. I've not heard this left foot / lean left before, as long as you have a standard side you should be fine and you are already used to using the right leg. I find unclipping on my left first feels strange for some reason.
  • Pross wrote:
    Stick with your right foot, I always do my right without thinking about it .

    I suppose it depends on your starting foot though surely? I unclip left and lean left because my starting foot is my right and habitually always was even before I clipped, no real logic just habit.
  • ProssPross Posts: 34,789
    Pross wrote:
    Stick with your right foot, I always do my right without thinking about it .

    I suppose it depends on your starting foot though surely? I unclip left and lean left because my starting foot is my right and habitually always was even before I clipped, no real logic just habit.

    Guess so, I've always started with my left (same when running). Most people start with their right from the days of keeping your left foot on the kerb when pulling off possibly? :?
  • seanoconnseanoconn Posts: 10,139
    Stick with your right foot, I always do my right without thinking about it (never considered it before to be honest). To me it makes sense in any case as the camber of the road in most situations will mean that side is slightly higher and the bike won't need to lean so much. I've not heard this left foot / lean left before, as long as you have a standard side you should be fine and you are already used to using the right leg. I find unclipping on my left first feels strange for some reason.[/quote]

    Good point, the camber of the road can be pretty steep sometimes and wouldn't always be able to get the left foot on the curb with some of the road rubbish that's pushed to the gutter. I might stick with right foot then, my brain didn't cope well with left foot efforts after 10years doing the opposite.
    Pinno, מלך אידיוט וחרא מכונאי
  • johnmioshjohnmiosh Posts: 211
    Both my parents were serious roadies in the fifties, so at the age of ten I was riding a single speed road bike with toeclips and straps, but it was easy to get trainers out of the clips. At the age of 12, I was tall enough to be given my mother's old Claud Butler 5 speed and a pair of cleated shoes and packed off to the local cycling club. I had four clipped moments on the first ride and gained the nickname "suicide". After that ride I had gained sufficient experience and never had any trouble anticipating stops and releasing the straps.

    In 1987, I had a fall on a diesel patch on a fast corner on the way to work in fairly foul weather. Ended up sliding across the road strapped tightly to the bike and only discovered that I had a dislocation fracture of my thumb when i tried to undo the toestrap.

    After recovery I bought a set of look delta pedals and new shoes. Never had a clipless moment, but I did have another clipped moment when I forgot that my fixed bike still had clips and straps.

    Riding clipless really is simple; don't have the tension too high at first and use the same leg every time. There are two schools of thought about which leg, some say right, because the camber of the road means that you have less distance to the surface, others say left because you will then natuarlly lean away from traffic. Neither reason is crucial, just decide which leg you prefer.
    Start off slowly in a lowish gear, too slow and you will struggle to propel the bike, too fast and the pedal will spin
    When the unclipped pedal is at the top, put your foot on it (you really will hit the correct spot without trying after a while), if you miss first time just coast and try again.

    When unclipping, twist your preferred foot as you stop, moving your heel away from the bike, not towards it.

    It is really that easy.

    John
  • MonkeypumpMonkeypump Posts: 1,528
    Damien_KW wrote:
    Just to offer an alternative perspective, if you're just commuting or out for shortish rides then it might not be worthwhile having clipless pedals.

    The below link (courtesy of The Bike Show) argues the case that normal flat pedals are fine for 'normal' riding, and clipless are only really of use if you're racing:

    http://www.rivbike.com/article/clothing/the_shoes_ruse

    Personally I use clipless, but that's mainly because I use my commuting bike for training as well. If I was just doing shorter leisure rides and commuting then I'd consider flat pedals and normal trainers.

    Hmmm.... an interesting read. I'm about as far from a racer as is possible, but it also appears that I'm not a normal cyclist either. After the transition to clipless (new roadbike) and then a quick blast on the mtb (on flats), I found I WAS lifting my feet off the pedals on the upstroke.

    I'm certainly not employing an efficient 360 degree pedalling style, but I do benefit from being able to pull up on clipless pedals and this is something I miss on the mtb. This is more evident on the climbs, but perhaps that doesn't come under the heading of "normal pedalling at normal cadences".

    I'd also question the wisdom of wearing sandals for cycling, but Rivendell buyers may baulk at this idea (since sandals and beards are probably mandatory) :wink:
  • HAHA I tempted fate by saying im yet to have a clipless moment, in exactly the same way my wife did by saying I hadnt had a puncture yet....

    No major crash or damage to myself or the bike, just a horrid sinking feeling that you get as the inevitable dawns on you, and you sail to the floor in a pile of man and metal =D

    There is a lesson here though, Check your cleats often!! Mine didnt clip out as the left cleat had turned on the shoe and stayed in the pedal as one screw wasnt tight enough, and after checking the right shoe also, found that to be loose too.

    Anyone know where I can get spare sh-51 cleat screws?
    exercise.png
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