Commuting and clipping

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Commuting and clipping

Postby bura » Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:19 pm

Hi all,

Cycling from Camberwell to the city (and back), hopefully four days a week. I've just bought Shimano shoes and am getting used to clipping in and out. Love the feeling while powering along but it also feels dangerous, particularly when a car swings out of a parking space, blocking everything but the tram lines etc..

Notice very few people using clipped in cycling shoes - wondering if it is worth it safety-wise? How many people here commute clipping in and out at every set of lights?

Any advice for someone starting out?
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by BNA » Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:30 pm

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Re: Commuting and clipping

Postby Shard » Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:30 pm

It's like driving a manual car.

You don't think about changing gears it just happens, same with clipping in and out. The few times I've had to put the foot down my feet have slid out instinctively.

There's no way to get used to it other then practice.
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Postby Bantam Roosta » Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:32 pm

I don't cross many lights (about 8 over a 15km ride) but one thing I try and do if possible is time the lights so I don't have to stop and unclip. The roads I'm on all have nice wide bike paths too so stopping isn't really an issue, except for the slowing down bit.
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Re: Commuting and clipping

Postby cbf » Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:33 pm

Shard wrote:There's no way to get used to it other then practice.


I agree with this. I'd never ride anywhere without cycling shoes now. Once you get used to it it's as easy as breathing.

Edit: Alternatively, learn to track stand! ;-)
Last edited by cbf on Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Commuting and clipping

Postby Fletcher » Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:35 pm

I've just started commuting to work in Canberra, a similar distance to you. I'm using clip pedals and some Specialized MTB shoes. I must say I'm very glad I bought them, thanks to the folks on this forum who encouraged me to do so when I asked for advice.
I was a bit concerned about the falling over factor, but it hasn't happened yet. For the first week I had the pedals on the softest setting, for ease of clipping in & out. I've tightened them a notch or two now.
I would hate to fall down in them, and it will probably happen one day, but it's made me careful. It helps to look ahead and think ahead. If you think you possibly might have to unclip, get ready to do so.
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Re: Commuting and clipping

Postby Strawburger » Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:35 pm

i do it and a lot of people i know use clipless pedals / shoes. i use the mountain bike ones (spd) for commuting and swap them over for the road shoes on the weekend rides.

You will get used to clipping and unclipping to a point where you don't even think about it. I don't find it dangerous at all and it sometimes helps avoiding the car doors / pedestrians and the like that sometimes jump out at you.

One piece of advice - it is easier to clip in as you are moving, so try to get a couple of revolutions in before clipping in.
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Re: Commuting and clipping

Postby bura » Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:44 pm

Thanks everyone, keep the tips coming! Reassuring to know that a lot of you are using them. Why use a mtb shoe for commuting? Does it not use the cleat system? I'm think of changing my route as well to use the Main Yarra Trail instead of Bridge Rd/Swan St etc - fewer lights and no tram tracks. Makes it 15km instead of 12km but I'm sure it's just as fast.

Can't wait for it to be like changing gears, at the moment I'm all wobbly and slip out on the left attempt a lot..

Should I be clipping out both feet at every stop, or do people risk clipping out only their bike stand leg..?
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Postby Bantam Roosta » Fri Aug 14, 2009 6:13 pm

I never clip out of both pedals when travelling. You should have one foot in the pedal ready to go when the lights change. There isn't much magic to stopping with one foot. Just make sure your weight is on the "right" (whether that be left or right) side, otherwise things could get interesting.
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Re: Commuting and clipping

Postby beanspropulsion » Fri Aug 14, 2009 6:31 pm

i'd disagree that it is as "easy as breathing", I still have problems orienting my foot to the right side of the pedal sometimes (maybe it's just me). However I would never go back to flat pedals or straps.

I can "slow bicycle race" while I wait for the lights to change but man I am envious of the guys who can master the track stand.
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Re: Commuting and clipping

Postby Shard » Fri Aug 14, 2009 6:33 pm

cbf wrote:Edit: Alternatively, learn to track stand! ;-)


No please don't track stand.

I want to push people over when I see them doing this. Stupids almost rocking into my bike.
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Re: Commuting and clipping

Postby xavdav » Fri Aug 14, 2009 6:39 pm

It is all about practice and soon you will be doing it naturally. Also the modern pedalswill automaticaly unclip when you will be falling of your bike. The back of my bike was hit by a Ferrari 308 some 20 years ago and I went flying out of the way while the bike was spinning in the air, without this I could be in a wheelchair today.
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Re: Commuting and clipping

Postby rustychisel » Fri Aug 14, 2009 6:55 pm

Moser's and Ferrari's - you do lead an extravagent lifestyle :D
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Re: Commuting and clipping

Postby il padrone » Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:29 pm

bura wrote:Thanks everyone, keep the tips coming! Reassuring to know that a lot of you are using them. Why use a mtb shoe for commuting? Does it not use the cleat system?

Yes, they use a different cleat and shoes that are more like sneakers (but with a rigid sole) that you can walk in much easier. Oh, and they are easier to clip back in when taking off.

bura wrote:I'm think of changing my route as well to use the Main Yarra Trail instead of Bridge Rd/Swan St etc - fewer lights and no tram tracks. Makes it 15km instead of 12km but I'm sure it's just as fast.

For me I'd stick to the roads. Safer overall, and faster too.

bura wrote:Should I be clipping out both feet at every stop, or do people risk clipping out only their bike stand leg..?

Clip out where you like. It is quite easy to get back in, once you've practiced a while. But I only ever use one leg to support me.

beaspropulsion wrote:i'd disagree that it is as "easy as breathing", I still have problems orienting my foot to the right side of the pedal sometimes (maybe it's just me).

Well, maybe easier than walking. Especially easy if you use the MTB double-sided SPD pedals. You just have to step onto the pedal and 'click'. No stuffing about tapping the pedal over.
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Re: Commuting and clipping

Postby 2WheelsGood » Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:34 pm

I commute from Kew to Prahran about 3 times a week, mainly on low traffic roads and bike paths. The path is as below:

http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/93375

With respect to cleats - I use Shimano SPD (mountain bike) cleats on lowest tension with a Shimono A530 pedal (it has a cleat on one side and is flat on the other side - unlike the A520 which also only has a cleat on one side, but has a bulge on the other side, making it hard to put your foot on it!) Now I would probably feel comfortable even in traffic with a M520 double sided pedal.

In a year of commuting had any problems with not being able to unclip - they are so easy to unclip from you can do it while you are falling!

So I say, go with the cleats...

P.S. I have just got a pair of road bike shoes and cleats for my road bike - they have a lot less play and feel nice, but I probably wouldn't recommend them for your first cleat in a commute.
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Re: Commuting and clipping

Postby bura » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:34 pm

I bought a pair of Shimano SH-RO86's and I think PD-R540-S pedals (could be wrong).. Quite hard to walk in and need a strong twist to get out. So I guess I've plunged into the deep end with a stiff road shoe.. Fantastic to hear about all the different commutes people do - seems 12km is about the sweet spot..

il padrone can I ask why sticking to the roads is safer than the Main Yarra Trail? all the other bikes?

xavdav though I have modern shoes I'm not sure my feet would come out on impact.. and Shard glad to hear I don't have to learn to track stand - always thought it looks pretty hard, and seen a few guys wobble out into the intersection..

Will keep at it!
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Re: Commuting and clipping

Postby il padrone » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:47 pm

bura wrote:il padrone can I ask why sticking to the roads is safer than the Main Yarra Trail? all the other bikes?

That's part of it. Dogs, iPod equipped walkers and kids too.

But on bike paths the surfaces are equally as dodgy as many roads, only narrower. When you do meet roads you lose any priority over cars. The greatest danger for cycling on roads is not what most people think of - the overtaking car, but rather the intersection conflicts. Ride main roads where you have right over side trafic and deal with the major roads at signalised intersections

There's lots of comment about on the accident data for roads vs paths. Generally paths are worse or no better in reality. Roads are designed for traffic. You are traffic.

http://www.bicyclefixation.com/blog/arc ... 00344.html
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
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Re: Commuting and clipping

Postby Rider123 » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:49 pm

I started using clipless pedals, I decided to use Road Shoes and Pedals (Shimano R76) about a week ago.

I went on a 50km ride today with about 10 traffic lights. Thought i was going to fall. And fall i did :shock:

I had no real problems clipping in and unclipping but i had a LOT OF TROUBLE balancing on one leg after unclipping. I dunno why but when i am say to myself 'shift your weight to left side', my body falls to the right side. The first time it was okay cause i landed on some grass. The second time i fell and i scrapped my knee. It's not that bad BUT... i bent my hangar very badly.

In 6 months of road bike riding, i've already had to replace my hangar once ($45). I told my mum today about the incident today and she's not too happy, understandingly.

Just wondering why whenever i my bike falls, my hangar always bends?? Is that not normal? Shouldn't it be strong enough to 'not bend' when i fall over even when ima not moving i.e. (stationary at the traffic light)??

Could someone give me some advice on how to keep my body weight on one side cause for some reason my body doesn't listen to my mind. Just thinking whether its a good idea to unclip both feet??
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Re: Commuting and clipping

Postby il padrone » Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:00 pm

Rider123 wrote:Could someone give me some advice on how to keep my body weight on one side cause for some reason my body doesn't listen to my mind. Just thinking whether its a good idea to unclip both feet??

When you unclip and put the foot down, turn your front wheel away from the foot you are putting down. This makes the bike lean towards your support leg. You should not need to unclip both feet.
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
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Re: Commuting and clipping

Postby wombatK » Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:38 pm

Strawburger wrote:i do it and a lot of people i know use clipless pedals / shoes. i use the mountain bike ones (spd) for commuting and swap them over for the road shoes on the weekend rides.

You will get used to clipping and unclipping to a point where you don't even think about it.

+1. Just err on the side of safety, anticipate troublespots and make sure you unclip - preferably your left foot - well before you reach any potential trouble. Unclipping on left side has the advantage of supporting a fall to the left - away from any adjacent traffic. If you need to fiddle with anything on your bike or backpack, unclip both feet first. Track-standing looks cool until something unexpected happens - it leaves little margin for dealing with the unexpected (i.e. sudden movement of your head to see that something unexpected), nor to fully look around you to assess the traffic.
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Re: Commuting and clipping

Postby 2WheelsGood » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:37 pm

bura wrote:I bought a pair of Shimano SH-RO86's and I think PD-R540-S pedals (could be wrong).. Quite hard to walk in and need a strong twist to get out. So I guess I've plunged into the deep end with a stiff road shoe..


Same road shoe I bought - I got the Shimano 105 pedal. And yes, I find you need to twist hard to get out of it. The weekend on some quiet roads is a good place to practice first I guess. Kew Boulevard is not too far from Camberwell and has some nice hills if you fancy a weekend ride - I hear it's going to be good weather tomorrow :wink:
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Re: Commuting and clipping

Postby 2WheelsGood » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:41 pm

wombatK wrote:Track-standing looks cool until something unexpected happens


Most people I see track standing at intersections look like they are about to fall into the traffic and don't even look close to cool! Also, when I am driving, it makes me nervous that they may fall in front of me just as the light goes green.
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Re: Commuting and clipping

Postby xavdav » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:46 pm

rustychisel wrote:Moser's and Ferrari's - you do lead an extravagent lifestyle :D


Back then I was ridding a Faggin, probably as decadent :wink:
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Re: Commuting and clipping

Postby il padrone » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:46 pm

2WheelsGood wrote:Most people I see track standing at intersections look like they are about to fall into the traffic and don't even look close to cool! Also, when I am driving, it makes me nervous that they may fall in front of me just as the light goes green.

When you are out in the bush having a trailside conversation with a friend - and then realise he's been track-standing while chatting for the past 3 minutes, you get to realise that some riders do it because it's the easiest thing to do :shock:
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Re: Commuting and clipping

Postby mikedufty » Sat Aug 15, 2009 12:36 am

2WheelsGood wrote:
wombatK wrote:Track-standing looks cool until something unexpected happens


Most people I see track standing at intersections look like they are about to fall into the traffic and don't even look close to cool! Also, when I am driving, it makes me nervous that they may fall in front of me just as the light goes green.

Have you ever seen someone fall off trackstanding? Never happened to me, worst is sometimes you have to put a foot down, you seem to hear a lot of stories of people falling over trying to do that without trackstands. I suspect if you practice your balance enough to track stand consistently it probably results in less falling off. I usually trackstand for traffic lights, gives me something to do while waiting.

Learning takes a while though. I found having a lot of time to do something more important like study for university exams helped.
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Re: Commuting and clipping

Postby 2WheelsGood » Sat Aug 15, 2009 9:29 am

mikedufty wrote:
Learning takes a while though. I found having a lot of time to do something more important like study for university exams helped.



Aah Gotta love the amount of (other) stuff that gets one when you have to study for uni exams - I have a sneaking suspicion that was why they were started in the first place! :D
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