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Setting off smoothly - clipping in

rumbatazrumbataz Posts: 796
edited October 2015 in Road beginners
I've spent a lot of time and effort on getting used to clipless pedals over the last couple of weeks. In general I'm okay with things now apart from one issue: when setting off I'm struggling to turn the pedal the right way up to allow me to clip in properly.

What I find myself doing is pushing down with my clipped in foot, getting up on the saddle and then just pedalling with one of my feet still loose on the unclipped pedal. After a few seconds, and when its safe to do so, I have a quick look down and and eventually manage to turn the pedal the right way around and get my loose foot clipped in.

Is this something that will just improve over time or should I be looking at a different technique? I'm most concerned when I'm at traffic lights with aggressive drivers around me. I've learned not to panic so just pedal away until I'm able to sort my unclipped foot out safely.

Posts

  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    I think that's how most people do it. It should get easier as

    a) you get used to doing it without looking down and
    b) the pedal bearings free up a bit and they'll then tend to hang down vertically rather than ending up completely upside down.

    I'm still happy with my double sided SPDs on the road bike. Proper stomp and go, which is why many people prefer them for commuting.
  • Just takes practice, as you say the only practical way to do it is get one foot clipped in while standing, then push off and get the other foot in once you're moving. Keep doing it and it'll be second nature.

    Thankfully I use double sided SPD so my pedals are never the wrong way up.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Sounds a good plan really. You want to get moving. Nothing worse than seeing someone clip one foot in and not pedal and then fraanticallly try to clip the other foot in before they fall over....

    I just get a turn in from the clipped in foot and then freewheel to get my other foot in.

    I think thats how i do it anyway. I;ll have to watch myself now...
  • ForumNewbieForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    I also use double-sided SPDs on all bikes. I'm sure it will get easier with one-sided SPD-SLs but it just seems to be more of a hassle, especially in traffic or stopped at a roundabout and you want to set-off fast and straight with looking down and trying to flip over a pedal.
  • fish156fish156 Posts: 496
    Don't know about anyone else but I found that you soon get used to gently 'kicking' the top of the pedal (it hangs tail end down) as you take your free foot off the ground and clipping-in in one smooth movement.

    Sounds more difficult than it actually is in practice.
  • rumbatazrumbataz Posts: 796
    Don't know about anyone else but I found that you soon get used to gently 'kicking' the top of the pedal (it hangs tail end down) as you take your free foot off the ground and clipping-in in one smooth movement.

    Sounds more difficult than it actually is in practice.

    It's a technique I'm going to have to work on.
  • bianchimoonbianchimoon Posts: 3,942
    I've spent a lot of time and effort on getting used to clipless pedals over the last couple of weeks. In general I'm okay with things now apart from one issue: when setting off I'm struggling to turn the pedal the right way up to allow me to clip in properly.

    What I find myself doing is pushing down with my clipped in foot, getting up on the saddle and then just pedalling with one of my feet still loose on the unclipped pedal. After a few seconds, and when its safe to do so, I have a quick look down and and eventually manage to turn the pedal the right way around and get my loose foot clipped in.

    Is this something that will just improve over time or should I be looking at a different technique? I'm most concerned when I'm at traffic lights with aggressive drivers around me. I've learned not to panic so just pedal away until I'm able to sort my unclipped foot out safely.

    I'd liken it to a learner driver getting used to a clutch, yes it becomes easier/second nature after time, but if you get flustered or rush it too much you stall/fail to clip in cleanly
    All lies and jest..still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest....
  • 964cup964cup Posts: 1,359
    I use Speedplay in part for this reason - it's just easier to get your foot clipped if the pedal is double-sided.
  • redveeredvee Posts: 11,921
    Most of the time I set off with one foot clipped, the other foot doing the balancing thing. As I set off the balance foot comes up to the pedal and clips in, usually within 3/4 of a turn of the crank.
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • topcattimtopcattim Posts: 766
    I've found it helpful not to set off with too much "oomph" for my first rotation from my already-clipped-in-foot. If I do that, then the other pedal spins and it can be hard then to catch it right to insert my other foot. A gentle half or 1.5 pedal rotation on the clipped in foot will usually leave the other pedal still facing in a way that is predictable and easy to clip into.
  • DAZZ_ADAZZ_A Posts: 74
    Keep riding, it will become natural! There is no right or wrong way, you will eventually get used to your own routine.

    After all, I'm sure you no longer have to think about taking your next step...
  • redveeredvee Posts: 11,921
    When you've had one of these than you'll lose the beginner tag.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECooWWWbszg
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • rumbatazrumbataz Posts: 796
    Yesterday's ride was a lot easier. So, indeed, it's just a matter of time and practise. I'm now at the point where I can get clipped in without looking down around 50% of the time. Just need to ride more!
  • When you've had one of these than you'll lose the beginner tag.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECooWWWbszg
    Only if it's in view of the following:

    - teenage pedestrians
    - an attractive cyclist of the opposite sex

    .. and holds the traffic up long enough to be embarrassing.

    Otherwise it's not humiliating enough to count.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • Just to reiterate on what someone already said about the bearings loosening up, I find that the pedal tends to hang with the front edge pointing to the sky. With this in mind, I use my toe to nudge the front edge of the pedal, so it's then parallel with the road and clip in that way.
    Rose X-Lite CRS 3100
    Focus Cayo AL
  • lakesludditelakesluddite Posts: 1,319
    Just takes practice, as you say the only practical way to do it is get one foot clipped in while standing, then push off and get the other foot in once you're moving. Keep doing it and it'll be second nature.

    Thankfully I use double sided SPD so my pedals are never the wrong way up.

    Me too - too many hill starts round here resulting in SPD-SL/shin bone meetings to continue with them. Double sided much easier, and the cleats don't wear down as they're much tougher and recessed (usually).
  • supermurph09supermurph09 Posts: 2,471
    As others have said it's just practice, but not getting clipped in correctly is not just something newbies need worry about. It happens to everyone, usually when you least need it. Even now if I'm at a junction there's always that thought about whether you will engage the pedal.

    The best thing to do is not to set off too fast, ie, don't apply too much force, if you don't manage to clip in you can still pedal with your foot balancing on the top (just), once you get some momentum the clipping in then becomes alot easier.
  • ForumNewbieForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    As others have said it's just practice, but not getting clipped in correctly is not just something newbies need worry about. It happens to everyone, usually when you least need it. Even now if I'm at a junction there's always that thought about whether you will engage the pedal.

    The best thing to do is not to set off too fast, ie, don't apply too much force, if you don't manage to clip in you can still pedal with your foot balancing on the top (just), once you get some momentum the clipping in then becomes alot easier.
    Double-sided SPDs are so much easier to clip-in, I just wonder why people bother with SPD-SLs. Sometimes at roundabouts or traffic lights you need to be able to set-off fast, so can't be doing with setting off slowly trying to clip in.
  • After a while you do it sub-concious. I think I give the pedal a flick with my toe to nudge it right way up then slide the cleat in ? But worse case pedal one or two revolutions one legged or do a revolution on the pedal wrong way around to get the bike moving.
    "The Prince of Wales is now the King of France" - Calton Kirby
  • As others have said it's just practice, but not getting clipped in correctly is not just something newbies need worry about. It happens to everyone, usually when you least need it. Even now if I'm at a junction there's always that thought about whether you will engage the pedal.

    The best thing to do is not to set off too fast, ie, don't apply too much force, if you don't manage to clip in you can still pedal with your foot balancing on the top (just), once you get some momentum the clipping in then becomes alot easier.
    Double-sided SPDs are so much easier to clip-in, I just wonder why people bother with SPD-SLs. Sometimes at roundabouts or traffic lights you need to be able to set-off fast, so can't be doing with setting off slowly trying to clip in.

    I've got both on different bikes for different reasons, but the SPD-L's on a road bike are just so much better than an SPD, especially with a really stiff shoe. The connection between foot and pedal is just better, more refined, better delivery of power, no sloppiness or hotspot that you get after a long ride with SPD's.

    On a commute with lots of stopping and starting, urban riding, or shorter runs, then yes SPD's great for quick starts, getting in and out etc. but give me a proper road cleat everyday of the week if you're getting out into the countryside, or going on a longer run.
  • I use Speedplay in part for this reason - it's just easier to get your foot clipped if the pedal is double-sided.
    Same here. I was fed up of trying to start from lights and not getting clipped in properly.

    This is another example of kit designed for pros trickling down to the masses. Cleats were designed for racing cyclists who generally clip in at the start in the neutralised zone and then unclip 200km later. They were not really designed for average stop/start riding.
  • frisbeefrisbee Posts: 691
    Single sided pedals are easy to clip into. They are weighted so they hang at the correct angle. The technique is just slightly different from double sided pedals.

    If you mess up your engagement with either type, you'll still have to reset your foot.
  • ForumNewbieForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    Single sided pedals are easy to clip into. They are weighted so they hang at the correct angle. The technique is just slightly different from double sided pedals.

    If you mess up your engagement with either type, you'll still have to reset your foot.
    But I find that if I miss engaging first time with SPDs, my foot in SPD shoes can still press down on the pedal without my foot slipping off, and I can still continue on pedalling until it engages, although usually first time. It's still easy to pedal in SPDs with only one foot clipped in.
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