SPD's and falling off...

bluedoggy
bluedoggy Posts: 284
edited April 2013 in Road beginners
I'm nervous, very nervous.....of falling off my bike! I know what to do but fear that in a moment of panic I won't click out spontaneously. Especially when there are cars on the road. Will it get better with time? Any handy tips or just man up and deal with it?
Wilier cento uno.
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Comments

  • Just get on wiht it, stick to a route you know to start with, and try with light traffic conditions. I was in this position at the start of the year, only had the one off so far (touch wood), and that was on that drive, when i got distracted talking to someone, clicked one foot out, turned to talk to someone in the other direction!

    It really isn't as daunting as you think.
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  • It'll become second nature - just stick with it. Do the usual stuff of leaning against a wall and practise clipping in and out.Anticipate the need to unclip and do it early (so no track stands!) until you stop needing to think about it. The time will come when not using SPD will feel awkward (you think your feet are going to slip off the pedals}
  • Can you drive ?

    if you can, you can probably remember what it was like the first time you had a lesson and how it seemed with three pedals, a wheel, and a gear stick and to move your arms and feet independently - it all seemed impossible.

    You're at that stage now with clip-ons and after a few rides you'll forget, fall off and then get up and probably never fall off again.

    Try cycling in a supermarket car park one afternoon when its shut - you'll get used to the process but its nothing like being out on the road when you pull up at a junction !
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    What pedals do you have?

    Depending on the model it may be possible to adjust how easy it is to unclip from them.
  • Don't worry about it; that will only make it worse.

    Practice until it becomes second nature, keep the springs loose and don't take risks. If you're going straight to SPDs from plain platforms (rather than clips and straps) it will be quite a change, but you can do it.
  • dcomp
    dcomp Posts: 43
    Bluedoggy wrote:
    I'm nervous, very nervous.....of falling off my bike! I know what to do but fear that in a moment of panic I won't click out spontaneously. Especially when there are cars on the road. Will it get better with time? Any handy tips or just man up and deal with it?

    You are one step ahead in the fact that you trod the 'what shoes, what pedals' minefield a little before I.....any assistance in selection would be great fully received on my post in buying guide entitled 'pedals and shoes....'
  • Yes it does get much better! I've had mine about a month now and felt really nervous, especially at the thought of a big hill where I'm at very low speed and might have to stop. Only today I was thinking how much more confident I am now.... Famous last words :shock:

    I don't think you'll forget, especially if you're nervous about it.
  • boogi11
    boogi11 Posts: 354
    My first time , I was just like you, I went to a quiet road and did 25 miles no problem, pulled up at a t junction stopped, and realised almost immediately I had got things in the wrong order, as my feet were still clipped in, very embarrassing lying on your side still clipped in! Never done it since
  • bluedoggy
    bluedoggy Posts: 284
    Thanks all. I have the Shimano 520. Haven't adjusted anything at the moment.
    I will practice going round the block as the roads I live Are very Callum with no traffic. I think my biggest fear is the hills. I'm still getting used to changing gear and fear getting confused with gearing and this will be my downfall. Practice, practice and more practice.....
    Wilier cento uno.
  • Thebigbee
    Thebigbee Posts: 570
    Learn how to do a trackstand.

    Most of the time when I am in urban area I don't need to unclip as at traffic lights you can usually hang onto a barrier or the traffic light.

    I have only had 2 offs both of which were unavoidable. A dog ran out directly in front of me and I didn't even have time to brake, let alone unclip, before hitting it.

    Luckily I wasn't in a pro road race as I would be beyond livid! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmDIJ68jcHk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0dzMp61G5w

    And the other time was an idiotic driver not checking their mirrors before cutting into the cycling lane I was in.

    Took me about 5 minutes on empty roads to get the hang of clipping in and out and I now don't like riding without SPDs
  • fgaffney
    fgaffney Posts: 49
    Just try to plan ahead on the approach to lights, traffic queues or any other obstacles where you MIGHT need to unclip and you'll be fine. I've only been clipless about four weeks and like you I was worried at the start however so far I've not had any problems. I always clip in first with my right and unclip first with my left so it's now just become a routine that's second nature to me.

    Even when I ran into the side of a car that pulled straight out in front of me on a roundabout, I still managed to get one foot out and onto the ground before bouncing off the car and straight onto the road. Wouldn't want to try that again though!
  • thefd
    thefd Posts: 1,021
    If you are approaching a que of traffic - clip one foot out in advance. Keep your foot on the pedal though. As you approach you can then pop it back in if the que starts to move or you have your foot out ready.

    It does become easier with time. We have all been there!! :D
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  • ForumNewbie
    ForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    fgaffney wrote:
    I always clip in first with my right and unclip first with my left so it's now just become a routine that's second nature to me.
    fgaffney - I'm assuming by what you say, when you stop you unclip from both pedals. I think most people only unclip one foot when stopping at a junction, and clip back in with the same foot. I always feel more comfortable unclipping and clipping back in with my right foot. My left foot therefore nearly always remains clipped in until I actually finish my ride. I always unclip well in advance of junctions and with my MTB/leisure SPD shoes, I can easily pedal with one foot unclipped with that foot further forward on the pedal.
  • My feet have always 'ripped' out of the pedals in a crisis when I've needed them to. My pedals came preset with the lightest spring setting and I've never had an inadvertent 'clip-out' so I've never felt the need to tighten them.

    One thing to think about is to put the foot to the bottom of the stroke before trying to unclip. Trying to unclip at the top of the stroke is almost impossible (without practise), whereas there shouldn't be any problem with the foot at the bottom of the stroke.

    PMSL at the advice 'learn to trackstand' for a clipless beginner... Perhaps the OP should use tubs as well, eh?
  • Mikey23
    Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    yup, we've all been there. i've had my share of senior moments and just after boasting how i had cracked it the other day, i did the unclip with the left, lean to the right routine. as people have said, you will get used to it, it will become second nature and you will wonder what all the fuss was about. just be sure what your lead leg is (mine is my left), unclip at bottom of the stroke onto that side whenever a potentially hazardous situation seems likely. i often go through town centres unclipped if there are stop start situations.
  • ben@31
    ben@31 Posts: 2,327
    It's easy...

    Just unclip one foot well in advance of a traffic light / junction. I get into the same routine, unclip the right foot with the crank arm laying horizontal in the 3:00 position.

    Clipping in... I always do a routine, clip the left foot in and have the left pedal slightly forward of top dead centre while the right foot is stood on the on the floor. Then push off.

    When clipping in or out Just remember, no matter what keep the bike moving!!! and you'll be fine. Worst case scenario is my road pedal ends up upside down so I have to give one or two rotations of the pedals unclipped, before I can get clipped in.

    Mountain bike SPD's are easier as the pedals are double sided, so you can clip into them in no matter how they end up.

    I've only fallen over at a standstill outside my home or work, it doesn't hurt. I think it's a cycling right of passage to fall over at a standstill in front of a crowd of people, even Tour de France pros do it when the peloton comes to a sudden halt.
    "The Prince of Wales is now the King of France" - Calton Kirby
  • ForumNewbie
    ForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    My feet have always 'ripped' out of the pedals in a crisis when I've needed them to. My pedals came preset with the lightest spring setting and I've never had an inadvertent 'clip-out' so I've never felt the need to tighten them.

    One thing to think about is to put the foot to the bottom of the stroke before trying to unclip. Trying to unclip at the top of the stroke is almost impossible (without practise), whereas there shouldn't be any problem with the foot at the bottom of the stroke.
    However with SPDs you can twist out both ways. At the top of the stroke I find it easy to unclip by twisting my foot inwards towards the frame. I quite often do that when I want to unclip well in advance of a junction as I am cruising up to it.
  • fgaffney
    fgaffney Posts: 49
    fgaffney wrote:
    I always clip in first with my right and unclip first with my left so it's now just become a routine that's second nature to me.
    fgaffney - I'm assuming by what you say, when you stop you unclip from both pedals. I think most people only unclip one foot when stopping at a junction, and clip back in with the same foot. I always feel more comfortable unclipping and clipping back in with my right foot. My left foot therefore nearly always remains clipped in until I actually finish my ride. I always unclip well in advance of junctions and with my MTB/leisure SPD shoes, I can easily pedal with one foot unclipped with that foot further forward on the pedal.

    No... sorry for the confusion. I only ever unclip my left foot when coming to a halt as my right leg is my strong leg which gives me that little bit extra push off when it's time to move again.

    Like you I unclip in advance although I find it more difficult to pedal unclipped with my SPD-SL cleats and my Shimano R540's as my Shimano R077 shoes seem to slip and slide around a bit too much for comfort.
  • ForumNewbie
    ForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    fgaffney wrote:
    fgaffney wrote:
    I always clip in first with my right and unclip first with my left so it's now just become a routine that's second nature to me.
    fgaffney - I'm assuming by what you say, when you stop you unclip from both pedals. I think most people only unclip one foot when stopping at a junction, and clip back in with the same foot. I always feel more comfortable unclipping and clipping back in with my right foot. My left foot therefore nearly always remains clipped in until I actually finish my ride. I always unclip well in advance of junctions and with my MTB/leisure SPD shoes, I can easily pedal with one foot unclipped with that foot further forward on the pedal.

    No... sorry for the confusion. I only ever unclip my left foot when coming to a halt as my right leg is my strong leg which gives me that little bit extra push off when it's time to move again.

    Like you I unclip in advance although I find it more difficult to pedal unclipped with my SPD-SL cleats and my Shimano R540's as my Shimano R077 shoes seem to slip and slide around a bit too much for comfort.
    That's okay. I have mountain bike SPDs on my road bikes, and I can pedal easily with one foot unclipped in my leisure type SPD shoes as they have a rubber ridged type sole which stays on the pedal fairly securely unclipped. I recently bought lighter MTB SPD shoes with a firmer sole, which is a bit more difficult as more slippy, although there are rubber sides round the heel area that does help a bit.

    I don't want to try pure road SPD-SL shoes and pedals as I agree it will be too slippy to pedal with one foot unclipped. I am also put off by the fact that road pedals are only one-sided - presumably more difficult for clipping back in without looking down.
  • My first time using clipless pedals were look's, and I was at redbridge cycle centre, for those that know it. I couldn't stop falling over, so I switched to spd's, but they're still difficult. Once I was going through Stamford hill, cut to the front of a line of traffic, stopped, and forgot to unclip, and gracefully fell over as the lights went green. All these 'tricks' are things you seem to forget. Just remember you're attached, and you have to twist your foot out if you want to stop. You will fall over, it's an inevitability. just don't ponder on those moments and move on, and learn from the mistake.
  • MichaelW
    MichaelW Posts: 2,164
    How easy is the transition to SPD? It really depends upon how much bike handling skill you have. If you grew up as a BMX bandit and can trackstand, bunnyhop etc, you will find it pretty easy. If you have just bought a shiny new roadbike and are learning how to look behind safely, then it will be a lot harder.
    In the latter case, I would advise against SPD until you have the bike handling skill.
  • springtide9
    springtide9 Posts: 1,731
    If you are wary of not being able to un-clip, you can slacken off the cleat (on the pedal) so that it makes un-clipping much easier.

    The downside of having them 'loose' is that they are obviously much more prone to un-clipping when you don't want them too (i.e. sprinting out of the saddle).

    And obviously when you get used to them, you can set them up as you want. You can also get cleated pedals with a cage (i.e. PD-M424) that allow you to ride without having to being clipped in,
    Simon
  • fgaffney
    fgaffney Posts: 49
    I don't want to try pure road SPD-SL shoes and pedals as I agree it will be too slippy to pedal with one foot unclipped. I am also put off by the fact that road pedals are only one-sided - presumably more difficult for clipping back in without looking down.
    It's actually not that difficult to clip into SPD-SL pedals as they're weighted and always come to rest in the vertical position, ready to take your shoe when you want to clip in. They are pretty tricky to use unclipped though!
  • The only time i seem to have an issue is when distracted, for instance i nearly went over when pulling over to let a lorry past, not hit the ground yet since starting to use them this 'summer'.
  • ForumNewbie
    ForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    I had been commuting to work clipped in over the last few months, but a few lorries have hurtled past really close on a busy A road recently and made me wobble - if I had stopped or hit the kerb I would have fallen off. This has made me wary again about using clip-ins when commuting. The last couple of times I have done my 18 mile each way commute on my hybrid with flat pedals. I felt much more confident knowing that I could put my foot down in any emergency, and only a few minutes slower than on my Audax bike with SPDs.

    I'll still use clip-in at weekends in the country but not sure if I'll go back to them when commuting.
  • Like lots of people have already said, SPD's and unclipping becomes second nature. I got mine around Christmas time and like you I was very concerned. Yes you probably will fall off once or twice but the benefits you will get from them as opposed to touring clips or so forth will be ten fold. Honestly. Go for it and dont worry. It will become second nature but until that time, if you see something which may make you stop, unclip.
  • willow71uk
    willow71uk Posts: 114
    Iv'e been using clipless pedals for a couple of months now and fell off twice, only hurts for a day or two just get on with it.
  • I had been commuting to work clipped in over the last few months, but a few lorries have hurtled past really close on a busy A road recently and made me wobble - if I had stopped or hit the kerb I would have fallen off. This has made me wary again about using clip-ins when commuting. The last couple of times I have done my 18 mile each way commute on my hybrid with flat pedals. I felt much more confident knowing that I could put my foot down in any emergency, and only a few minutes slower than on my Audax bike with SPDs.

    I'll still use clip-in at weekends in the country but not sure if I'll go back to them when commuting.

    Get some toe clips (MKS) and straps (preferably leather but nylon is generally cheaper), and have near enough the best of both worlds. If you leave the straps nice and loose you will have no problem getting your foot out. For less than £20 too. :)
  • Went SPD a couple of months ago. Have transferred them from MTB to roadie and wouldn't go flat again.

    Fell off outside my house other day, was chuffed at beating my PB on way home and forgot I was clipped. Was celebrating early as well :(.

    Bumped and bruised but recovered. They're dead easy to use after a couple of rides and i've never had trouble at traffic lights/junctions. Just like driving, a bit of anticipation goes a long way.
    Hills are like half life - they wait until you're 50% recovered from one before hitting you in the face with the next.

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  • As others have said you'll get used to it. With a bit of forward planning and confidence you'll be fine.

    I'll always remember my first two off's because of them. Riding in a country park decided i was going to pull up alongisde a bench...... too slow, bike stopped and i was still clipped in. Yup onto my side i went.

    2nd, coming back from said park with a mate, he swerved to avoid some dog muck, clipped my bars sent me over into a bush...... a bush of stinging nettles.... cheers mate.

    A few years on and i couldnt go back. SPD's FTW
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