Confidence knock

Evogirl
Evogirl Posts: 25
edited August 2013 in Road beginners
Was setting off for a ride on Sunday morning trying to cross the traffic on the Nottingham Road in Mansfield I'm not entirely sure what happened though I do know I couldn't release my shoe from my pedal and whilst trying to keep upright and unclip was clipped by a car which inevitably finished the job off and I fell to the floor damaging my brand new Canyon bike in the process.

I got back on and road a mile or two up the road but got the shakes and started feeling nauseous (shock) so turned and came back. The thing is my confidence wasn't high to start with and now I'm terrified of going out again when bike comes back from the LBS. Anyone got any advice.

Comments

  • sungod
    sungod Posts: 16,547
    edited August 2013
    have a good look at cleats, pedals, make sure there's no damage or a bit of stone/whatever wedged in somewhere

    also check the cleats are really secure on the shoes, loose cleats can be extremely difficult to unclip

    are you new to clipless pedals? best thing is to find a quite road and practice clipping in/out a *lot*, eventually it becomes muscle memory and will be automatic/unconscious, until that happens it's easy to fumble things, done it myself

    otherwise, the best is to get on the bike and ride, choose quiet route/times until you feel comfy

    i've had a few bumps, hit and run, not seeing me, etc. nothing too serious fortunately, it's extremely unpleasant at the time, but stuff happens

    don't dwell on it and get anxious, that's easy to do after any nasty event, if you catch yourself doing it, change the mental subject, talk with partner/friend, think happy/good things, or do exercise, break the chain of thought
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    You're not the first to damage their bike by falling off whilst trying to unclip - you won't be the last either.

    Find a quiet road - preferably one where you can ride around in large circles - perhaps a park.
    Practice unclipping and starting & stopping. Balancing in general - it can take time on a bike/setup you're not used too.

    Shock is normal - just your bodies way of telling you to take it easy for a moment. But you got back on and did a couple of miles so you know you can ride it ... :)

    Perhaps find a friend/group to ride with?
  • Are you confident out on the bike without clipless pedals?
    They're really not essential you know. Why don't you try riding with flat pedals for a while to build up your confidence or just only clip in when you have clear road ahead?
    I find it a good habit to unclip *before* you need to, like: "Ok, I'm coming up to a junction, think those lights might be about to change so I'll unclip now while I'm coasting... yep, red... foot down."
    Below a certain speed these days I'll just automatically clip out without consciously thinking about it. It's just lots of practice and embarrassing falling over.

    Basically I don't think it's a good idea to be clipped in around places where you might have to manoeuvre slowly or stop and start. I put the middle of my foot over the pedal to start off, then snick the clip into place once I'm rolling.

    With the confidence just go easy on yourself and build up slowly, start off in the park or somewhere quiet.
    FCN 7

    "Always carry a firearm east of Aldgate, Watson"
  • jaxf
    jaxf Posts: 109
    Me too - was coming downhill on a steep descent to a T junction, it's hard to see the cars coming from both directions at the T, and the way I was going has a sudden and steep uphill immediately after the turn - all of which is perfect!
    The car behind me on the descent before the T decided that he couldn't wait a second longer, so overtook on the corner, and clipped me as I was messing about changing gear, and decelerating (obvious that I would be) .
    I got only 1 foot - the wrong side - out as I wanted to fall away from the car, not further into it, I sprawled in the road, he drove off. I felt bad - clearly, had I been better, I would have stayed upright.
    answer = unclip early and often - oh, and never cycle in front of weird Italians with bad beards ......
    I went out the next day, and the day after - I'm over it.

    Make sure it stays a small thing by getting back in that saddle - don't let anticipation and apprehension blight your enjoyment.
  • Theres no rule saying you have to do a 40 miler just to get your confidence back. Confidence is a building game, it doesnt come overnight.

    I suggest you take on board what went wrong the last time and learn from it. Then, simply go out with the sole aim of only going to the shops and back. Do this a couple of times until you naturally feel yourself wanting to do more.

    Never go by what you see others doing, you have no idea what experience they have so simply go by feel. Build it up from there. Eventually you will gain enough confidence to predict potential problems on the road.
  • Evogirl
    Evogirl Posts: 25
    Thanks guys...hope to get the bike back tomorrow, then I'm going out on a ride.......I can do this.
  • smoggysteve
    smoggysteve Posts: 2,909
    IT happens to the best of us. I have had that split second brain fart and struggled to get my foot out of the clip in time. I hope you can just take it on the chin and carry on. Also I hope the damage to the bike is only minor scuffs. I know how much I treasure my bikes and I never like to hear about someones pride and joy being damaged especially so new.

    Good luck getting back out there. Its only a blip I can promise you that.
  • raymondo60
    raymondo60 Posts: 735
    A classic Bike Radar reply would be 'MTFU' but looking at your nametag it wouldn't be appropriate!

    Wish you well - just take your time - no rush - it will all come back. :)
    Raymondo

    "Let's just all be really careful out there folks!"
  • smoggysteve
    smoggysteve Posts: 2,909
    Raymondo60 wrote:
    A classic Bike Radar reply would be 'MTFU' but looking at your nametag it wouldn't be appropriate!

    Wish you well - just take your time - no rush - it will all come back. :)

    Yeah, WTFU would be more appropriate. Glad you don't sound too patronizing :-)
  • MichaelW
    MichaelW Posts: 2,164
    Switch to platform pedals for a while.
    Clipless pedals and shoes need fairly good bike handling skills to use safely, ie in a dangerous situation. If you lack the experience and bike handling skills you can get overwhelmed by situations and come off.
    Ideally, clipless use should be totally automatic, not requiring any thinking, leaving your brain free to concentrate on the road and traffic. This comes from practice drills in a safe environment.
  • Wrath Rob
    Wrath Rob Posts: 2,918
    I was knocked off a couple of years ago by someone pulling out in front of me. I wasn't really hurt physically but psychologically it took me a while to recover. I felt nervous on the bike, especially around side junctions for a good 3-4 weeks after. Time is the great healer and the sooner you get back out on the bike and get back into riding, the sooner you'll get through the healing process and get your confidence back. Focus on the positive aspects of being on a bike, maybe incentivise yourself to get back on and do a ride, e.g. a bike slice of cake at the cake stop/end to celebrate.

    Good luck!
    FCN3: Titanium Qoroz.
  • Schoie81
    Schoie81 Posts: 749
    Evogirl - I think you need to address the reason for your fall before you head out again. It appears to be largely due to failing to clip out of your pedals, but from what you've said, its not clear if this was because you're new to clipless and just haven't got the hang of it, or if there was some kind of physical problem with the pedals/shoes/cleats which prevented you unclipping? If its the latter, you need to find out what and get it sorted because obviously it could still be dangerous. If its just a case that you're new to clipless and haven't got the hang of it, then practice, practice practice, it'll become natural, and a lot sooner than you think. If clipping out is an issue, maybe it's worth thinking about doing as others have suggested and switching to flats for a while.

    Get back out as soon as you can, as soon as you feel ready, it'll just become a bigger issue in your head if you leave it. Maybe stick to quiet roads and quiet times of the day until you get back into it - if there's less traffic about then all you've got to worry about is you and what you're doing - and that's easy enough! And definitely go with the celebratory cake idea!! Or maybe give yourself a purpose for the ride - a practical reason to get out - nip to the shops for something or go and visit someone maybe.

    I was very very nervous about riding on the roads with traffic when I started out, and I was incredibly unsure about switching to clipless, so I kinda know how you feel, but the fact is that the more you do it, the more it just becomes normal.

    Good luck and I hope you're back enjoying the bike soon! :)
    "I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"
  • Mikey23
    Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    Confidence is something that needs to be built up over time and can be quickly dented. I was pretty timid and defensive when I started out and it took me about 18 months to be confident and competent on a bike. Then I had a major off about 4 weeks ago, recovering from shoulder reconstruction surgery and think it will be several weeks more before I can ride, work or drive again. So my confidence is right down to zero, am nervous about getting back on a bike in case it happens again. I suppose it depends how much you want it and whether you are willing or able to overcome your fears. Character isn't built when things are going well...
  • diamonddog
    diamonddog Posts: 3,426
    Hey Evogirl,
    You can do it, just take it slowly and build your confidence back up and it will soon become a dim memory.
    It was the driver that clipped you that was also the reason you fell off!
    Good Luck :)
  • t4tomo
    t4tomo Posts: 2,643
    MichaelW wrote:
    Switch to platform pedals for a while.
    Clipless pedals and shoes need fairly good bike handling skills to use safely, ie in a dangerous situation. If you lack the experience and bike handling skills you can get overwhelmed by situations and come off.
    Ideally, clipless use should be totally automatic, not requiring any thinking, leaving your brain free to concentrate on the road and traffic. This comes from practice drills in a safe environment.
    ^^^^
    That's a tad patronising!

    This is a bit better:
    Evogirl - I think you need to address the reason for your fall before you head out again. It appears to be largely due to failing to clip out of your pedals, but from what you've said, its not clear if this was because you're new to clipless and just haven't got the hang of it, or if there was some kind of physical problem with the pedals/shoes/cleats which prevented you unclipping? If its the latter, you need to find out what and get it sorted because obviously it could still be dangerous. If its just a case that you're new to clipless and haven't got the hang of it, then practice, practice practice, it'll become natural, and a lot sooner than you think. If clipping out is an issue, maybe it's worth thinking about doing as others have suggested and switching to flats for a while.

    lets not forget the main reason the "incident was a bad as it was is because the car was too close to you. granted you may have swerved when you were faffing with the pedal clip, but a driver giving enough room would have no compounded that by clippiong you.

    Virtually everone has a clipless moment every now and again, I know I have although no bike damage as my hip/arse/thighs protected it.
    Bianchi Infinito CV
    Bianchi Via Nirone 7 Ultegra
    Brompton S Type
    Carrera Vengeance Ultimate Ltd
    Gary Fisher Aquila '98
    Front half of a Viking Saratoga Tandem
  • smoggysteve
    smoggysteve Posts: 2,909
    Guy falls off bike from unclipping accident. - MTFU
    Women does same - Go to flat pedals for a while!

    WTF? No matter who it is, sh1t like this can happen to us all. Sure the OP has had her confidence knocked a bit. So as with any other rider, we should support them and encourage them to get back on the bike soon as possible in the same manner as they were when they fell. Clips are tricky but they are not some extremely complicated contraption. You put your foot in, you pedal, you unclip when you want top stop. A bit of practise of clipping in and out from time to time on the move is good to make it feel second nature. Then before you know it you are clipping in and out without even thinking about it and without looking.
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    I'd gone clipless for years without falling off. Then I made the mistake of saying so on here.
    The very next day I went sideways into a field gateway when I unclipped left and fell right. I was halfway round a 60 mile ride, so had no option but to get back on and ride home. Then earlier this year I did the same thing on the pavement outside the house :oops: Suspecting my wife might have seen me I made light of it and hopped on the bike and rode for an hour and a half, all the time wondering if my knee and knuckles were going to stop throbbing / bleeding because we were flying off on holiday the next day.

    I'd say stick with the clipless pedals and just practice clipping in and out on quieter roads till it's second nature. If you haven't already done it, back off the spring tension to the minimum.
  • Tjgoodhew
    Tjgoodhew Posts: 628
    Guy falls off bike from unclipping accident. - MTFU
    Women does same - Go to flat pedals for a while!

    WTF? No matter who it is, sh1t like this can happen to us all. Sure the OP has had her confidence knocked a bit. So as with any other rider, we should support them and encourage them to get back on the bike soon as possible in the same manner as they were when they fell. Clips are tricky but they are not some extremely complicated contraption. You put your foot in, you pedal, you unclip when you want top stop. A bit of practise of clipping in and out from time to time on the move is good to make it feel second nature. Then before you know it you are clipping in and out without even thinking about it and without looking.

    Totally agree - Surely the worst thing you can do is give up and go back to flat pedals. Get back on the bike and WTFU :wink:

    Maybe stay away from busy roads and as others have said just practice clipping in and out.
    Cannondale Caad8
    Canyon Aeroad 8.0

    http://www.strava.com/athletes/goodhewt
  • Tjgoodhew wrote:
    Totally agree - Surely the worst thing you can do is give up and go back to flat pedals. Get back on the bike and WTFU :wink:

    Maybe stay away from busy roads and as others have said just practice clipping in and out.

    It's hardly giving up, no one has said give up on clipless pedals completely. It depends where a rider is coming from, if someone is not already confident, throwing a new rider out on the roads in traffic with their feet attached is a recipe for trouble in my opinion, potentially dangerous. One step at a time.

    Who decreed that one had to use clipless anyway!? I mean I like them but honestly, they're not that big a deal. Use whatever you're comfortable with and lets you keep your attention on the road.

    All this MTFU/WTFU stuff; yeah, we've all fallen over but I don't care who you are, an incident with a car will rattle anyone's nerves.
    FCN 7

    "Always carry a firearm east of Aldgate, Watson"
  • Evogirl
    Evogirl Posts: 25
    Yeah I get where you're all coming from, I thought I'd got clipless pedals licked to be honest...this was just a blip. However it's resulted in my poor new bike needing a new rear mech hanger to be ordered from Canyon in Germany and then fitted so will be off the bike for a week or two. Already pining and ready to go back out so guess the confidence is back somewhat.