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First time SPD

SquawkSquawk Posts: 132
edited October 2014 in Commuting chat
14 months since I bought the hybrid, 5000 miles done, and I've bitten the bullet and bought SPDs (mtb style). They should arrive on Monday.

Am I gonna fall off on Tuesday? Any hints and tips? Falling under an Addison Lee cab on embankment doesn't really appeal, and I confess to mild apprehension.

I'm guessing my hamstrings are going to protest, never ridden clipless before.

Posts

  • dhopedhope Posts: 6,699
    Don't do an Embankment commute on day 1, bimble around the side roads away from traffic.
    Set the pedals to their loosest setting so you can unclip easily.
    Don't worry when you fall over. Try to avoid falling in front of the pretty girl who lives on your street. I didn't manage to do that.
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  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    Squawk wrote:
    ...Am I gonna fall off on Tuesday?
    Maybe not on Tuesday, but you will fall off. Probably at a very low speed and probably when you think you have mastered riding clipless.
    Squawk wrote:
    Any hints and tips?
    Spend an hour or two practicing clipping in and out with both feet in a park or other off-road area. You'll probably have the most success when your foot is at the 6 o'clock position.
    Squawk wrote:
    Falling under an Addison Lee cab on embankment doesn't really appeal
    Other minicab companies are available.
    Squawk wrote:
    I confess to mild apprehension.
    Be afraid. Be very afraid!
    Squawk wrote:
    I'm guessing my hamstrings are going to protest, never ridden clipless before.
    In all honesty, you'll be fine*.



































    *Probably.
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  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    dhope wrote:
    Try to avoid falling in front of the pretty girl who lives on your street. I didn't manage to do that.
    I fell over in front of a group of very yummy mummies.
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  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Yes but we are talking about SPD's not your pathetic attempts to pull via a sympathy vote!

    This is how I was advised to start on SPD's and it worked for me......

    Fit an SPD first on the side you usually leave on the pedal (for most that is the right foot as we stop on the left), get used to clipping and unclipping somewhere it doesn't matter (grass is good) and use that for a few days, then swap BOTH pedals so you start having to clip unclip more often but still have a bail out foot, then after that go to both SPD's. It's when you get to the point of being familiar (breeding contempt!) that you fall off, worst scenarios for me (2 falls) was when I had to do emergency stops, you are really grateful you have stopped and then panic as you are still clipped in!
  • KoncordskiKoncordski Posts: 1,009
    Just fit them and have a practice. You'll eventually forget you're clipped in, fall over, feel extremely stupid and then never do it again.

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  • EKE_38BPM wrote:
    You'll probably have the most success when your foot is at the 6 o'clock position.

    I think if your foot's in that position, you may have already fallen off and broken something.
  • best advice I had was to unclip first and then do everything else as you approach a point where you are going to stop.

    I nearly fell off in Parliament Sq in front of a thousand tourists... I was so far over I have no idea how I unclipped and got my foot down.
  • j_mcdj_mcd Posts: 472
    Yep, sorry to say it but you are going to fall off!

    When I first got my Looks my nemesis was traffic lights. Cycle up, stop, fall over. Happened twice before I got to grips with it. Secret is unclipping before you get to the stop point!

    Also had a bit of a nightmare with getting stuck in tram tracks (the Luas in Dublin) but that shouldn't be too much of an issue here!
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  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    You guys have no idea how easy you have it! When I started using cleats in the late 80s, they were the slotted versions used in conjunction with clips and straps. Once you were strapped in, that was it; you couldn't release your foot without bending down and letting the strap off. Crashes must have been interesting.

    Modern cleats may be infinitely safer and more user-friendly, but I still feel a nostalgia for the traditional ones...
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  • mpdouglasmpdouglas Posts: 219
    You will fall off when you first relax/ stop thinking about it. On my first ride with SPDs I was completely fine until I got back to the house. Turned to go up the driveway, looked back over my shoulder to see where my son was and promptly went down like a sack of spuds. All because I stopped concentrating and was in comfort territory.

    Go down the local park and practice on the grass where your fall will be painless and free of gravel rash!

    I have always unclipped my right foot first on the basis that if I am going to fall, I want to fall to my left (towards the pavement) rather than into the traffic. If my right is unclipped I can catch a rightside fall before it happens.

    Experience suggests it takes two falls before the necessary wiring in the brain is fully established!
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  • dyrlacdyrlac Posts: 743
    These: http://www.evanscycles.com/products/shimano/t420-clickr-spd-pedal-ec054119. Trivially easy, although not very stylish and extremely non-Pro (although street legal because of the reflectors, unlike most clipless pedals). 2 minutes after fitting these I was on my commute with no issues--didn't even do a practice ride around the block--not even a hint of a clipless moment, ever. You will eventually want to ratchet up the tension, but if you are careful with your foot position, even at the loosest setting you can haul up on them with reasonable power without inadvertently unclipping.

    Speedplays were a different story. Spent the better part of an afternoon in the back garden this summer figuring out how to reliably get clipped in. Once done, then spent most of the rest of the afternoon wheel-side up, totally unable to unclip lying on my back with my best bike in the air. On my first proper outing I stacked it within 10 feet of my front door in front of the wife and kids, badly scuffing my right shifter and rear derailleur. Stuck with it though, and 1000 miles later I'm a Speedplay partisan. Icy float for the win.
    mpdouglas wrote:
    I have always unclipped my right foot first on the basis that if I am going to fall, I want to fall to my left (towards the pavement) rather than into the traffic. If my right is unclipped I can catch a rightside fall before it happens.

    Don't you have a problem with the camber of the road? In any event, I am so used to unclipping first on the left that I'm pretty sure if I even attempted to unclip first on the right I'd topple over immediately.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    The best advice above is to plan ahead and unclip your standing foot (whichever you put down first) whenever you think you might need to stop well before needing to.

    Falling off isn't inevitable during the learning period. I don't think I did. In fact I can only think of two occasions when I have:
    1. One morning when the temp was about -8C I was heading towards a T-junction with cars coming from both directions - pulled on the brakes and they were both frozen solid :shock: I was concentrating so hard on pulling the brakes that, when one finally worked and I stopped, I'd completely forgotten about unclipping and I toppled into a giggling (with relief) heap
    2. Busy crossing in town - stopped and clipped in with both feet holding onto the rail when I suddenly realised the traffic was stopped and the light was green (I was miles away). Set off in completely the wrong gear and just fell over in the middle of the crossing :oops:
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  • InitialisedInitialised Posts: 3,047
    I've yet to hear of a grimmer SPD fail than mine. My bar ends (Ergon Grips on flat bars) tore a hole in my cheek.

    It definitely was a learning experience as I haven't had one since and always tend to be out of the pedals before I hit the deck in subsequent crashes.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    Rule #5

    You'll be fine. Its easy. Just don't forget you're clipped in, that's all. After a few rides unclipping will become second nature, *if* you are going to come off its then when you will come a cropper.
  • Before you set off, just make sure you can clip in and out on both sides of the pedal and if necessary adjust.

    Then you'll be absolutely fine.

    En route, you'll probably only ever unclip on one side when you stop (left in this country, right in most of the rest of the world, for obvious reasons).

    Don't stress about. Like countless thousands of others, I've never fallen off due to failing to unclip and it's unlikely you will either. Neiher have my 2 older kids, who started using clipless when they were about 9 and haven't had the slightest problem.
  • I don't use them any more but, I never had a problem with SPD's as others have said wind them back and you'll unclip very quickly and easlly, maybe don't try to trackstand at lights.

    I never fell from being clipped in, just don't panic/forget and it will become normal in no time.
  • rower63rower63 Posts: 1,991
    I fell off twice on my first ride, even though it was a dedicated "get used to them" short ride. One caused the traffic at the lights alongside me much amusement as I fell into and hugged the traffic-light-post and slid down it.
    Are you a left-foot-put-down or right? If left, you'll fall off onto the kerb, much safer than right, obviously.
    Either way, plan an acclimatization route where your risks are minimized. If a left-foot-downer, doing a left-turning-only route on normal roads should be fine, but if a you're a "righty", find a park or somewhere safer to get used to them and get your two falls-off out of the way. I seem to recall one of the bike deaths last year was an unclip-fail incident.

    Edit: for the record, I unclip and put my left foot down. Don't understand why anyone would do otherwise for LHD roads, except that I recall someone mentioned that motorbike-riders must go right-foot-down due to clutch arrangement or something?
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  • SquawkSquawk Posts: 132
    What a difference.

    Got them delivered to work, attached them in the basement and after a couple of minutes experimenting I rode the 15 miles back.

    The only issue: Fairy visit next to the Houses of Parliament, 15 yards before the traffic lights turning off embankment. Changing tubes with all those tourists wasn't ideal at 7pm tonight. I didn't even realise it was a puncture ar first, thought the bike felt stranges due to the pedals.

    Wish I'd done this sooner. Felt right at home with them straight away.
  • dhopedhope Posts: 6,699
    Squawk wrote:
    Felt right at home with them straight away.
    Excellent, you're ready for your first clipless moment
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  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    rower63 wrote:
    I recall someone mentioned that motorbike-riders must go right-foot-down due to clutch arrangement or something?
    The gearshift on 99.99% of bikes (pretty much anything designed since about 1960) is activated by the front of the left foot. I would imagine it's on the left so that the vast majority of the world drive on the left can stop right foot down towards the kerb. Interestingly the Royal Enfield (Old and British design and made in India which is a drive on the left market) only went from right to left shift about 7 or 8 years ago.

    The same logic can be seen in that the vast majority of cars have the fuel filler on the right but Japanese cars (drive on the left) are on the left (next to the kerb) and also in indicator stalks which for most cars are on the left (so most the world can indicate whilst changing gear, but we can't) but Indian and Japanese manufacturers both still have the indicator on the right for their home market cars.
  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    rower63 wrote:
    Edit: for the record, I unclip and put my left foot down. Don't understand why anyone would do otherwise for LHD roads, except that I recall someone mentioned that motorbike-riders must go right-foot-down due to clutch arrangement or something?
    I teach my trainees to set their pedal with their right foot so that they put their left foot down so that they lean away from traffic rather than leaning towards traffic.

    Some lefty trainees and fellow trainers think I'm being a "body fascist" for teaching setting the pedal with the right foot, but I feel I do it for the right reason so I'll stick to it. If I was in one of those weird countries which drive on the wrong side of the road, I'd teach setting the left pedal just as stubbornly as I currently teach setting the right pedal.


    Especially as I naturally set my left pedal and have to fight my instincts when I'm with trainees.
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  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 24,121 Lives Here
    I've had several motorcycles with gearchanges on either side, stamping on the back brake rather than changing down a gear is not recommended.
    Another advantage of left foot down is that it keeps your leg away from the drivetrain if you are wearing normal clothes. Left foot down, dismount to the left and push a bike from the left hand side. The only downside is you should always lean a bike on it's left side so you are on the wrong side for that.
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 24,121 Lives Here
    Double post due to the poxy hourly time-out error nonsense. :evil:
  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    Veronese68 wrote:
    I've had several motorcycles with gearchanges on either side, stamping on the back brake rather than changing down a gear is not recommended.
    Another advantage of left foot down is that it keeps your leg away from the drivetrain if you are wearing normal clothes. Left foot down, dismount to the left and push a bike from the left hand side. The only downside is you should always lean a bike on it's left side so you are on the wrong side for that.
    I agree with every word of that apart from the leaning the bike on the left bit.

    If you lean a bike on the left and it falls, it will fall on the drive side and you risk damage to the mechs. If you lean it on the right and it falls, no big deal, so that is what I teach.
    It also means that when trainees park the bike they are automatically on the correct (left) side of the bike when they collect them again.
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  • rower63rower63 Posts: 1,991
    EKE_38BPM wrote:
    rower63 wrote:
    Edit: for the record, I unclip and put my left foot down. Don't understand why anyone would do otherwise for LHD roads, except that I recall someone mentioned that motorbike-riders must go right-foot-down due to clutch arrangement or something?
    I teach my trainees to set their pedal with their right foot so that they put their left foot down so that they lean away from traffic rather than leaning towards traffic.

    Some lefty trainees and fellow trainers think I'm being a "body fascist" for teaching setting the pedal with the right foot, but I feel I do it for the right reason so I'll stick to it. If I was in one of those weird countries which drive on the wrong side of the road, I'd teach setting the left pedal just as stubbornly as I currently teach setting the right pedal.
    Quite - couldn't agree with you more. In RHD countries I'd try to change my own habit too...
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