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how to start on a hill - clipless pedals

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 8:39 am
by jinu4ever
Hi all,

Did my first commute ride today on my new bike! 18km from Homebush to Sydney CBD..
took an hour, i didn't install my computer yet, but will do so and seek to improve my time as i get a bit more confident on the road.

now the major critical question for me is ...after having to stop at a traffic light.. how on earth do you get yourself going on a hill with clipless pedals? i give it a good push with my right foot that's already clipped in but there's no momentum at all so my left foot needs to do the work but it keeps slipping.. and i got to re-start... obviously a bit of road rage behind me..

so i move to the footpath, thinking without the pressure from the cars it might work...but that ain't the reason...still the same.. and i basically had to push the bike up the rest of the hill?

Any tips?

Cheers
Andrew

Re: how to start on a hill - clipless pedals

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 8:44 am
by DaveOZ
Practice. After a while you it will slip straight in. You should be able to get some momentum just pedalling with one leg. Once the bike is moving and you are comfortable find the pedal and get it in. Just keep practicing. I've only been using my Keos for 3 weeks but I have lots of hill starts in my commute so I learnt quickly.

Re: how to start on a hill - clipless pedals

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:51 am
by Solirossi
A few ways to tackle it;
- always be in an easy gear so that you can basically pedal away one footed. A way to practice is select an easy gear on a hilly side street, stop and try to pedal away one footed. Generally once you have done 2 or 3 revs of your clipped in foot you can start pedalling with your unclipped foot even without clipping it in, once enought momentum is gained that you can coast then try to clip your left foot in.
- Another option, if you get in a tricky spot is to down pedal with your right foot, but instead of going all the way around in one revolution bring your pedal back to the top of the stroke by back pedaling (so your foot goes from 12 to 6 via 3, then back to 6 via 3 again) as you are doing this keep using your left foot to push you along (like a skateboarder would do). This is not ideal but its a good technique to get out of the way of a car or whatever.

The main thing you need is momentum, so if you can confidently get away with one foot, then bring your second foot into the stroke without clipping in then when all has calmed and you are out of harms way/the intersection try to clip the left foot in.

Before long it will be second nature and yoiu will just get it in every time wihtout thinking.

Re: how to start on a hill - clipless pedals

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:08 am
by sogood
Apart from getting familiar and confident of clipping in first go, picking the right gear is also important. Too high, too much energy is being spent on the pedalling leg and one loses the opportunity to clip the other foot in. Too low, one spin and the whole bike stops, leaving insufficient time to smoothly clip in. As others have said, practice makes perfect and boosts confidence.

Re: how to start on a hill - clipless pedals

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:12 am
by ozzymac
HI,
I have it a bit easier as my bike is a Hybrid and I put a set of MTB Clipless pedals on mine. So I still have the normal pedal as well as SPD clips. Which makes easy to start of on the hills or are they Mts around here.

I actually find it harder to unclip when having to stop for a breather, had a few close calls.

Also on the subject of pedals....

Can someone tell me why they are called CLIPLESS pedals when you CLIP in to them.

Try explaining that to a non cyclist.

cheers

Re: how to start on a hill - clipless pedals

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:18 am
by zero
The name was taken by pedals with toeclips. Also the original source of "clipping in".

Re: how to start on a hill - clipless pedals

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:35 am
by daacha
While trying to clip in you can always push down on the pedal if you feel like it's not working. At least this bring up the clipped in foot to give you more time and momentum. Just don't push too hard with the non clipped in foot because it will slip off the pedal.

daacha

Re: how to start on a hill - clipless pedals

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:06 am
by robbiejuve
Hi,

I recently started commuting on my bike which has Look pedals. This is what worked for me.

Most pedals are going to have some sort of platform so instead of nervously trying to clip in within 1 rotation, just make sure you are in a low gear and get your foot planted somewhere on the pedal. Because you are in an easy gear means you won’t apply as much pressure so you won’t slip while unclipped. Once you have some speed, you can then look to get clipped in.

Work on making it come natural while on flats or downhill, not uphill with a bunch of peak hour morons in cages behind you.

Re: how to start on a hill - clipless pedals

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:14 am
by human909
As many others have said. You should get in the habit of changing down a bunch of gears before stopping. I never bother trying to clip when starting off in traffic. I might be 100 or 200m down the road before I get clipped in. MTB shoes obviously aid this.

Re: how to start on a hill - clipless pedals

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:17 am
by jinu4ever
thanks for some great tips folks.

guess what im not doing is changing my gears to a low gear as i come to a stop... should i be doing this or just shift whilst im standing still and let the gears shift to a lower gear when i roll?

Re: how to start on a hill - clipless pedals

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 12:06 pm
by trailgumby
If you change down to lower gears while stationary, pick up the back wheel and spin it over with the cranks so that the chain is already on the right sprocket when it's time to go. Othertwise the result will be truly ugly - lots of unpleasant clashing sounds from the vicinity of the cassette :lol: ... and if the driver behind you isn't prepared when you fall off, you could end up becoming very thin. :x

Better to change down as you're slowing.

Frequently I don't lock in to the clips straight away. More often than not it's a few pedal strokes, after which I have a bit of momentum and I then shuffle the foot and in it goes.

+1 to sogood's comments on gear choice. Prefer to err on the "tall" side with the gears in this situation so that the pedal doesn't just flop to the bottom of the stroke before you've moved off.

Re: how to start on a hill - clipless pedals

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 12:09 pm
by Solirossi
Change before you stop. Do it well in advance. The more you think ahead whilst in traffic the better.

Re: how to start on a hill - clipless pedals

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 2:46 pm
by winona_rider
after years of cycling i still freak out a bit when on a roadie starting off up a hill. i have cut my left ankle so many times in a mild panic trying to get hold of the left pedal to keep my momentum and my cleats slipping off the pedal and bang!

i did the skateboard thing someone above mentioned on saturday. not very dignified, but it got the job done.

the only thing i can add to what has been said above is that sometimes there is traffic island on the left you can jump up onto and these are usually more level. or even have a bit of down where the pedestrians cross. (definitely not an ideal way to take off at lights and be very careful you don't push off into a car - i usually wait for cars if there's not much room.)

Re: how to start on a hill - clipless pedals

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 3:38 pm
by alex
put it in an easy gear before you stop, take off, and if required, sit down and pedal with the connected foot until you sort yourself out

Re: how to start on a hill - clipless pedals

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 4:01 pm
by Baldy
You did not mention if you were trying it while standing up or seated?

Until you are confident clipping in you should do it while seated for hill starts and like others have said use a nice easy gear. You can push lightly with the non clipped in foot until you have enough momentum so your steady. Unless you have full carbon soles then you do need to be careful because they can slip pretty easily.

Also practice track standing or at the least practice balancing while moving very slowly. The better balance you have obviously the more time it gives you to clip in, you dont even need to be moving forward on a really steep start. Just holding the clipped in foot at 3oclock[while seated] You dont need to stay like it for long because it is harder to balance while seated but all you need is 1-2secs.

Practice on some grass is a good idea, just in case you lose balance just as you get clipped in with both feet or topple towards the clipped in foot.

And lastly dont look at your feet while trying to clip in, keep your head up and look to the horizon or at the least ahead of you 10-20m[which helps with balance] and clip in by feel. Looking at the foot your trying to clip in seems like the best thing to do when your learning but it really is a bad habit to get into.

Good luck with it mate.

cheers

Re: how to start on a hill - clipless pedals

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:37 pm
by Spork!
Loose a few cool points and get SPD shoes and pedals for commuting. (Cool points only apply on training rides anyway, not the daily commute). I've read that clipping in is easier than most "road" clipless systems, also because of the rubber sole if you aren't clipped in you still have some grip on the pedal. Whats more, you can actually walk (as opposed to balancing gingerly on your feet and clopping about like a draught horse on cobblestones) when you get to your destination wearing SPD shoes because of the recessed cleat. You can regain some of those cool points by using "road like" SPD pedals like shimano PD-A600's, or the cheaper PD-A520. If looks don't matter the PD-A530 has a clip on one side and a platform on the other, so great for commuting. If you don't want the chunky MTB sole, Shimano make RT-31 and RT-81 touring shoes - Road shoe looks (almost) with a smooth sole, but keeping the recessed cleats.
Mine will hopefully arrive this week. :)

Re: how to start on a hill - clipless pedals

Posted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 10:42 pm
by Apple
Can you believe I had this problem on the weekend, I was in a large group and I was so embarrassed. I googled "how to start on hills and got this". I think I was nervous due to the size of the group and they are fast riders. Great points on the hill start on this thread, I think I was in the wrong gear, so I sort of pushed with one foot till I got to the top of the hill, I looked like a douchebag. :oops:

Re: how to start on a hill - clipless pedals

Posted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:36 am
by Rider123
Another thing to remember is that one normally gets into trouble clipping in at the start of a hill when they are tired and fatigued. It is not just the legs that get tired but the mind starts to wonder.
It is a lot easier to start on a hill 5km into a ride as opposed to 80km.That's the same for clipping out (more challenging than one may think 100km into a ride)

So practice, practice, practice but for a beginner, try to time it so that uphill stop/starts are at the start of your ride, not always practical I know.
Keep going and clipping in will become easy to you in no time.

Re: how to start on a hill - clipless pedals

Posted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:11 pm
by lump_a_charcoal
As a n00b, I found it is easier to clip in the left pedal while standing upright on the right.

Not sure why, and only works while moving obviously, so probably won't help if you are doing an ascent.

Re: how to start on a hill - clipless pedals

Posted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:43 pm
by boss
SPD-SL clips are simple. It's just practice. Pedalling one footed and skating the pedal will help you out.

Just stick with it. It'll take maybe a couple thousand kays and you'll have it down pat.

I remember really being stressed out by clips but only three months later they are pretty much second nature - clipping in standing up, can use either foot to clip in, etc, etc.

But yeah. I can't stress enough - practice makes perfect.

Re: how to start on a hill - clipless pedals

Posted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 10:32 pm
by g-boaf
Rider123 wrote:Another thing to remember is that one normally gets into trouble clipping in at the start of a hill when they are tired and fatigued. It is not just the legs that get tired but the mind starts to wonder.
It is a lot easier to start on a hill 5km into a ride as opposed to 80km.That's the same for clipping out (more challenging than one may think 100km into a ride)

So practice, practice, practice but for a beginner, try to time it so that uphill stop/starts are at the start of your ride, not always practical I know.
Keep going and clipping in will become easy to you in no time.


I'd never have thought about this, but having done my first 100km ride today, I understand. I admit near the end I made a few stops just to get some feeling back in certain private parts. :oops:

I start off on the right foot, I clip in with that side first. The peddle is at about 1400h position and that gives me a fairly decent push off and then I get my other foot in the left pedal. Sometimes it goes straight in, other times not so. If it doesn't you just keep cranking the pedals over and get some speed up and then worry about clipping in.

Eventually the muscle memory will make it easier.

Re: how to start on a hill - clipless pedals

Posted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:16 am
by lump_a_charcoal
Doing a ride like the Syd to Gong is great for practicing how to ride without clipping in right away. I actually forgot at one point, and rode about 1km with my left hoof floating.