Not falling with clipless pedals

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Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby fras67 » Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:23 pm

When I first bought clip in pedals all the shops told me I would fall.

Aged 42, when commuting to work, the notion of falling in traffic wouldnt' be fun and when you are 40 and solid things tend to break.

I asked around for hints not too fall on my daily commute with clip in pedals. Alas these tips worked:

*when your pedals are first fitted, I made the pedals a lot looser by undoing them about 3 notches.

* I got mountain bike pedals where you can clip in on one side and they are flat on the other side. This means in traffic you can have your left leg clipped out and you are ready to stop easily.

* I put a drop of oil on my cleats in the mornings so they would come out more easily.

In essence, if you follow these tips you should be ok. I would initially always clip out in traffic with your left leg and leave your right clipped in. Its very easy to stop in a hurry. I found out the hard way that if you dont do that, a car suddenly gets in your way and you panic and nearly fall.

After about 6 months of riding clip in pedals it becomes pretty much intuitive.

So the moral of the story is you don't have to fall if you get clip in pedals.

By the way for lazy people like me clip in pedals really do make a drastic difference to your daily commute.
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by BNA » Sat Oct 23, 2010 10:05 pm

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Re: Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby MattyK » Sat Oct 23, 2010 10:05 pm

+1 for clipless pedals, though really, unless you're a complete moron you have no more chance of falling while clipped in than you did previously. Just remember to unclip before you come to a stop and all is well.
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Re: Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby elStado » Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:49 am

Aside from the cost and impracticality for where I am commuting (Uni) of clipless, I have always been worried about this exact thing.. and getting killed/injured.

I'm light and young, but that doesn't mean crap if you stuff up at an intersection and get hit by a truck doing 70kmph.

Thanks for the tips. If I ever take the plunge into clipless I'll keep your advice in mind.
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Re: Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby gdt » Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:27 pm

If you look through manufacturers' cycling shoe ranges for "touring" or "trekking" shoes you'll find road-weight shoes which take recessed SPD cleats. So if you want to ride in and swap shoes you won't have to lug about those monster MTB SPD shoes.
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Re: Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby il padrone » Mon Oct 25, 2010 8:54 pm

elStado wrote:I'm light and young, but that doesn't mean crap if you stuff up at an intersection and get hit by a truck doing 70kmph.

Everybody has a clip-stack at least once, but usually then not much more :P . But it won't happen like this - if you're stopping at the intersection the truck won't be doing 70.

Most likely it will be a tumble, 'insect-on-back' style in front of peak period commuting motorists at the intersection. Or a roll on the grass as you pull up at the cafe in front of your riding mates. Or a stack on the garage floor while trying out your new pedals to check the release is OK (Don't laugh - this was one of mine and it hurt! :oops: ).

Virtually everyone I know, after trying out clipless has never gone back to regular pedals for longer rides.
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Re: Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby Crittski » Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:11 pm

Learning to ride clipless is easy, just be prepared to practice. I haven't fallen off on the road bike because of being clipped in, but have fallen offroad when I stall going over obstacles.

You would have to be pretty careless to fall off on the road with clipless, mind you I am sure that plenty reading this have been careless enough to fall off...

The advantages in the extra power are significant, and the way that it evens out your pedal stroke has to be felt to be believed. Not many people go back to non-clipless...
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Re: Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby Downhill » Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:35 pm

If you're new to clips, try turning the cleats toe-outward just slightly. This will make them release with less of a foot movement. You can always straighten them up again when you become used to them. After a while you won't even think about the release, it will just become an automatic reflex whenever you're about to stop.

You only need to be careful of a clip stack at very low speeds. Make sure that you're in the right gear, especially when tackling a steep hill or negotiating obstacles (e.g. pedestrians). Watch out for those right-angle traffic barriers on the cycle ways too. They're easy enough to cycle through if you slow right down, but at low speeds you should always have at least one foot out of the clips.

Don't worry too much about not being able to clip in quickly when getting under way again either (that will come with practice). If you have one foot clipped in it's much easier to get the pedals into the "power" position before starting. You can still pedal well enough to pick up speed with only one foot clipped in if need be (and it's good training too)!

Unclip early as you're slowing down and you shouldn't have too many problems. Just before you come to a complete rest, try looking towards the "free" side (usually the kerb side). This will naturally tip you towards towards your free foot.
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Re: Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby grimbo » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:57 am

My experience was that in the first 4-6 weeks, I was so concious of being "locked in" that I unclipped metres before coming to a stop and never had any falls. And after 3 months, I never even consciously thought about it any more, and have no recollection of clipping or unclipping. The dangerous time was after 6 weeks when I had started to relax about being clipped in but it hadn't become automatic to clip and unclip yet. There were a few panicky moments (usually at an intersection) but no falls. My one fall was on a tight corner on a footbridge, trying to do it without unclipping. Embarrassing.
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Re: Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby PortableDave » Wed Oct 27, 2010 6:07 pm

I was pretty nervous about this when I went to clipless, I pretty much went out for 30 mins each night for a week or two and practised unclipping and clipping when it was quiet. Sounds like overkill but I think it was worth it, have never had a problem unclipping in hairy situations since.
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Re: Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby othy » Wed Oct 27, 2010 6:31 pm

I predict fras67 will clipstack soon..

Perhaps you should tell everyone how long its been since your last puncture too.
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Re: Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby Dastirum » Thu Oct 28, 2010 4:21 pm

Just started commuting about 4 weeks ago and decided to update the toeclips and straps with clipless pedals and shoes that I bought from the Wiggle site. It's taking me a while to adjust to clipless - and it's basically the unclipping bit - still paranoid that I will have a clip stack in traffic at the lights. Last night I had my 3rd clipstack - this time it was on a paved section that is used to block a road - despite the signs saying "shared path" and quite a few bikes going through, a guy was playing with his 2 year old and a ball and of course the toddler was all over the place - in hindsight I should have unclipped, but I thought that if I went slow and went around it should be OK. Of course, the kid does the big run right in front of me just when I thought it was safe. jammed on the brakes, stopped and then toppled over!! The guy didn't even say anything, nor did he do anything to try and prevent his kid getting skittled by a cyclist. There was another bike right behind me and he asked if I was OK. Like I said, I think it's going to take a while to get used to clipless.
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Re: Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby fras67 » Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:23 pm

who said i was going to fall using clipless pedals.

Been doing it for a year.

I was simply trying to offer some suggestions on how to get used to clipless pedals for commuting.

Basically they are fantastic.

Its much more comfortable as you are connected to the bicycle in a firm fashion and your speed is much better.

I'm simply encouraging people to use clipless and you don't have to fall
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Re: Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby sagara0510 » Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:04 am

hey thanks for setting up this thread.

i've only just bought a road bike and opted for the clipless pedals right away under several recommendations. i've been practicing with them in a stationary position at home and then for a few laps up and down the driveway practicing clipping in and out. still need to look down to get the first foot in but trying to 'feel' my way into the second foot. i seem to have most trouble clipping the 2nd foot in without looking as sometimes the pedal is upside down >.<

i've already fallen once in the stationary position as leaned the wrong way and fell over >.<

its reassuring to know that most have been through it and that it will eventually become second nature. also thanks for the advice on loosening the pedals to make it easier to clip in and out :)
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Re: Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby il padrone » Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:21 am

sagara0510 wrote:still need to look down to get the first foot in but trying to 'feel' my way into the second foot. i seem to have most trouble clipping the 2nd foot in without looking as sometimes the pedal is upside down >.<

Try to avoid looking down and learn the correct placement to clip in.

If you have SPD-SL road pedals they tend to hang horizontally so the trick is to swipe your foot across them from behind to catch the lip on the front. If you're still having problems you could consider SPD or Time mtb pedals as they are double-sided - much easier to use. They are a totally different cleat (and maybe shoes) however.
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Re: Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby Uncle Just » Fri Oct 29, 2010 8:22 am

+1 to not looking down as you try to clip in. Practice does make perfect and for advanced users of clipless you can learn to do track stands without unclipping. It is a worthwhile skill to master and is useful on and off road.
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Re: Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby sagara0510 » Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:12 pm

i'm getting a bit better with not looking while clipping in but still having trouble with the pedals being upside down at times. my pedals fall to a vertical position naturally but sometimes when i try to slide my foot in, i'm on the upside down of the pedal. anyway i'm sure it'll all come together in time. i just got shimano 105 pedals - didn't know you could get double sided pedals as they sound like a treat!

i'm trying to get into the habit of clipping out with the left foot when i apply brakes. will be taking the bike out for a first go around the neighbourhood tonight. will update on any stacks (if any ;)
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Re: Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby mikedufty » Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:15 pm

I think the mountain bike SPD pedals must be a lot better than the road pedals. I've been using them for about 14 years without a clip stack. I got all the stacks out of the way with toeclips and straps, I find the spds much easier to get out of in a hurry. Toeclips are pretty much impossible if you get stuck with your weight on the foot you need to get out.
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Re: Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby il padrone » Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:53 pm

I have SPD-SL cleats and Shimano 105 pedals on the road bike, and Time Alium doulble-sided pedals with the two-bolt cleats on all the other bikes. The Shimano/Time mtb cleats are much easier to get out of then the 105s with SPD-SL. The road cleats are wider and much more positive with no sideways flex. It has taken a while to get used to the tighter release on them, but I have not had any clip-stacks with the road bike. MTB riding is a much more quick action sport and clipstacks happen very easily, usually at very low speeds on steep climbs or tricky log-hops.

My two worst injury falls have happened on MTB cleats - one at 25-30kmh and one at 0kmh.
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Re: Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby sagara0510 » Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:08 pm

just got back from my first ride on the road bike.

totally different experience from a mtb as you feel every single dip and bump in the road. was a bit worried about the clipless pedals at first but i took a route that didn't require too many stops. gota admit cycling with the clipless pedals felt great and smooth but had to make a conscious effort to remember to clip out while slowing at round abouts or when cars start reversing out of driveways as a precaution.
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Re: Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby Downhill » Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:55 am

sagara0510 wrote: i seem to have most trouble clipping the 2nd foot in without looking as sometimes the pedal is upside down.

Remember to check the alignment of the cleats now and then also. Repeated unclipping can cause them to twist off-center if the screws aren't tightened firmly. This can make one side or the other more difficult to clip in. Normally it happens to foot that you unclip most frequently.
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Postby Quinns Rocks Roadie » Fri Nov 05, 2010 2:22 am

I bought a pair of cheap Wellgo dual use SPD/Mtb pedals (SPD one side, rubber other side).
I have since fitted clips and straps to them - Mtb shoes for road riding/commuting/shopping, and sandshoes/thongs for trips to the local beach cafe.
With the clips and straps there is NO WAY of accidentally pulling an SPD shoe out, in fact a foot will come out of a shoe before pulling a shoe out of a pedal.
I find this combo gives the best of both worlds. 8)

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Re: Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby sagara0510 » Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:30 pm

had my first clip stack on the weekend.

went for a group ride and at one set of lights i was too busy talking to another rider and i fell over!

what happened was as we were slowing for the red light, i unclipped the left foot, came to a complete stop, turned my head to the right to talk to another rider, lost balance and fell over to the right.... didn't get the right foot out in time. a bit embarrassing but the other riders were sympathetic and many said they've all been there before.

lesson learned i guess is to look to the side you unclip or unclip both feet!

a bit of scuff damage to the shifter and i tore a small gash into the side of the saddle as well as skinning one knee a bit but other than that, its all good.

looking back, i'd probably would have laughed at myself if i saw it on video or something :)
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Re: Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby Oxford » Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:39 pm

Bit of a grave dig, I found this when looking for something else. There's a technique I recommend to all new clipless pedals owners:
  • Step 1, find a place where you can support yourself on the bike so you can have both feet on the pedals, then do the following, clip in an out of your pedals about 100 times with each foot, you may need to adjust the tension depending on the brand of pedal. This will achieve two things:
    • First of all it will remove any manufacturing catches that are present on the pedals or the cleats and bed the cleats and pedals into each other; and
    • It will begin to help your legs develop muscle memory on the actions required to clip in and out of the pedal as well as assist you in doing it without looking at the pedals. Muscle memory is the subconscious mind remembering actions that it will automate.
  • Go for a ride on a flat grassy area again practising the clip in/out methods while rolling along slowly, it will give you confidence as well as again developing muscle memory.
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Re: Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby Ares81 » Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:35 am

As soon as I installed the pedals and unboxed the shoes I had a test in my room:

"Ok, couch on my left and bed on my right...let's clip the right foot...it works! Let's clip the left one as well...good!" at this point I slightly lost my balance and I gently tried to put the right foot on the ground...clipped...fell on the bed. I tried once again, still failed to unclip, fell on the couch and bounced on the ground, ouch xP

I'm still in the "unclip 30 seconds earlier that it's actually needed" phase xD
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Re: Not falling with clipless pedals

Postby ALAN Roadie » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:22 am

Hi

I have Wellgo pedals and cleats and dont usually have too many problems clipping out, even though sometimes they catch at the front but I am sure that is probably something I am doing. I do however have some issues clipping back in from lights and have almost stacked twice. This seems to be more issue when I am taking off up hill. Anyone got any suggestions to help out on this?

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