Beating the system - the cycling commuting section
I don't know what the best way to fall is but stationary falls are worse than a fall at speed. From my experience you fall much harder when you're not moving.
Either way the concrete is harder than me and there was gonna be damage somewhere but arms and shoulders are buggers to get right when they are damaged and you need them a lot.
Unfortunately here in Tasmania we have an incompetent government who's priorities are to line their own pockets rather than give us decent health care.
I could wait up to 2 years for surgery on my shoulder, even longer if they try to 'manage' the injury for a while. They just wouldn't see my desire to paddle and ride as a high priority.
If you wait for warm conditions down here before you get out paddling or riding it will end up a long time between drinks. It's just a matter of having the right gear to guard against the elements.
First rule of fight club is do not stop while clipped in, EVER, if you are not expecting to trackstand intentionally. Have a foot out and ready, and if you favour one leg, DO NOT CHANGE THE PATTERN.
I realised that I normally leave my left leg forward or down because of an imbalance in my hips/back. It's a minor imbalance, but holy moly I nearly stacked at 25 clicks trying to experiment with a right leg leading for a one inch gutter lip hop. I was so unstable! I usually have my right leg unclipped because my left side obliques are much more stable and I naturally lean the bike to the right to dismount. The other secret is to be be prepared. If you think you might need to stop, being unclipped and having to clip in is much less of a pain in the RRRs than picking your retarded carcass off the ground. Also, be VERY aware of the standover (?) distance for your front wheel. Nothing slows a bike down like stomping on the tyres
Guess who clipstacked a few nights ago
My take: if you need to plan ahead to unclip, you're already gone. It'll work until the unexpected happens and then you're in trouble. For that reason, I have my release springs set as loose as possible when I ride on the road. I found that a good way to learn to unclip in a hurry was to practice trackstanding (in long grass for when, not if, I fell over). I still can't trackstand worth a lick, but I got plenty of practice at unclipping in a real hurry.
Toe overlap, that's fun. Wait till you try it on a fixed gear bike. You can get your foot stuck. Party time. I gather that's why trackies start left foot forward: to avoid that whole right foot forward, turn right, jam foot, fall down banking thing.
touch wood, but to date my falls have been while still or moving slowly to a stop.
my view on falling to minimize injury is to spread the impact along as much of your body as you can.
So don't put your arm out at a right angle when falling to the side, but put it out further and try to take some of the weight on your elbow, forearm and hand. This will allow your leg, pelvis, and trunk to take some of the deceleration impact before your upper limb. I've fallen like this 5 times now and have come away amazingly intact.
The fall that scares me most is falling to one side and you take your trunk the opposite way. I saw a guy fracture his ankle badly doing this. If you can't decleat, better to go the same way as the bike. Easier said than done I know.
The other thing to do to reduce injury is reduce bodyfat and do some bodyweight resistance exercise for your upper body and limbs - push ups, horizontal pull ups.
I always clip out before I come to a stop, can't see any point staying clipped in while not really pedaling. In the time I've had clips I have had one real emergency and the fact that I am now very used to clipping out meant that was my automatic reaction. In fact the worst situation I have had was almost overbalancing the wrong way while stopped, problem is I have always put my left foot down, never the right, so the right foot does not unclip very well. I managed to balance the bike and avoid a fall but trying to unclip the "other foot" in a hurry is a real challenge.
Cannondale Quick Speed 2, Allegro T1
I've only been using clipless pedals less than 2 months. No fall yet. Touch wood.
I always unclip if I think I might need to stop or if I suddently have to slow down.
A couple close one when I had my left foot unclipped but my body weight went to the right.
Once was when I had to ride between road detour signs on a pavement, luckily I managed to rebalance.
I also set my SPD clips to the lowest setting (on both sides of each pedals).
Like most people, once you use a clipless you won't go back to the flat pedals.
I've just had my first short ride with Speedplay Zero's on my bike and found them much improved over my Ultegras. Setup and installation was a breeze and I found them easier to get out of and more comfortable to pedal than the Ultegras but I need to get used to getting clipped in a little better yet. Definitely recommended going on first impressions.
They should get easier to clip-in after the cleats bed in.
The slightest bit of dirt can make cleat in a non event. I've got zeros in the shed and should get them out and run em with a new pair of cleats, just to see if my view has changed. Excessive and very loose float was the biggest issue for me. Felt like pedaling on ice but they say you adapt to it.
My Speedplay X2s will be harder to clip in if I have stepped in loose gritty soil, but a little bit doesn't affect clip in. Speedplay Zeros might be more sensitive to dirt as they have a more complex cleat/pedal interface. Sensitivity to dirt is a negative, but can be avoided (usually )
There are many reports of the pedaling on ice feeling from new users. It feels weird, but it goes away once your legs get used to holding their preferred angle (rather than having the toe in/out angle imposed on them). My right foot 'toes out' a fair bit at the start of a ride, then it returns to just a few degrees toe out when I am warmed up properly. That is accommodated with some float.
The Zero's are getting easier to clip in each time I do so and I have given them a touch more float. Having extra float agrees with my knees, being the sort of rider that naturally varies toe in and toe out throughout a ride. I was raised with clips and used them tight but have done a fair amount of riding au naturale since. Once over the intial slippery skate sensation the float is a plus for me.
I've just started with clipless pedals. Brand new bike after the last one got wrecked in a car prang when on a bike rack.
Anyway, after about 3 days use, I was leaving my work underground car park. It's a decent uphill ramp with a boom gate that has to be raised by a guy in the booth. I thought he had seen me and would raise it, but then I realised he hadn't and was about to unclip. Then he spotted me and raised the gate, which gave me a moments hesitation and was enough to land on my side. Beautifully embarrassing The only good news is that I took the fall directly on the point of bone just below my left knee, which while it hurt like hell for a week or so there were no scratches/dents on the bike
Still getting the hang of clipping in first go, and occasionally look like a muppet taking off from the lights, but I'm getting there.
I went hard core....
Clipstacked two or three times, in peak hour, in some of the busiest intersections in the biggest city in the country. Oh, and on a decent looking bike (Cervelo time trial bike). Ah well, all I could do was laugh from the tarmac, 'cause there was no doubt I looked like the biggest dork in Sydney. Thank god for doing sports that teach you how to fall!
After the third time I finally decided that while winding the tension up high may work for time trials, it's not the best for commuting. Quick learner, NOT!
The really annoying thing is that my wife has never clipstacked (or so she says).
Kestrel Talon road 2007
Como Vivente road 2009
Principia track track 2014
Cervelo P2K TT 2003
Merida CX4 2010
First time I tried clips at the bike store, I stacked The pedals were so damn tight, I clipped in no worries, took off for a gentle trundle, tried to do a tight turn back to the shop front, stalled, then found I could not twist out. I did the classic "slow motion" fall. Rather embarassing. The bike rep had to back them WAY off to make the unclipping practical!
After that I've had a few close calls due to emergency braking, but have managed to clip out in time thank goodness.
When you are driving your car, you are not stuck IN traffic - you ARE the traffic!!!
I'm new to road-bikes and clipless pedals, and managed to do only 2 clip stacks, the first one because I was totally new to it, the second one because I didn't clip out quickly enough and over I went (no damage done).
I''m feeling better about the clipless pedals now, they don't feel as tight as they first did - and it does give you a good connection with the bike.
This message I must admit gave me a few good, knowing, chuckles as I read it before signing up. Makes you feel less stupid knowing that other people have been there, done that as well.
Giant TCR SL1
Specialized Langster Pro
Wohoo... nearly had my first clipstack EVAH yesterday. Trying to track stand on a group ride (anyone else's alarm bells ringing?)... I unclipped the left foot... and rested it on the pedal. I gave up and started to go left... but the unclipped foot got stuck. Luckily it came out about 3 milli seconds before I went down!
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill.
Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day.
It's the panic you get when you feel yourself starting to go over - it's like no... noooo, damn, damn damn...
I still have some trouble occasionally getting the other foot clipped in once I've got going - but I keep pedalling unclipped and often it just clips in as I get going. It's probably not that elegant but I'd prefer to be moving at some reasonable speed rather than dawdling along at low speed where I'm most likely to go over.
Giant TCR SL1
Specialized Langster Pro
I bought new Sidi Ergo2 shoes a few weeks ago and can't believe how much easier I'm cleating in. 9/10 times it is effortless and instant. This confirms my suspicions my very worn non carbon sidis had a flexed sole that was bending Shimano and Look cleats when tensioned up.
I don't know if anyone else has noticed this, but with Shimano and Look cleats, I find when my pedal is between 9 and 3 o'clock, if I twist my heel inwards slightly, before twisting heel out, it helps make an easy de-cleat. Sometimes I'll twist heel inwards a bit firmer and de-cleat that way. People say not to due to the risk of putting your heel into your spokes, but I've never done this.
I have been riding clipless now for about 12 months and am still quite cautious - have had a couple of clipstacks and my third one this morning! Love riding with my feet clipped in as it's way more efficient but still hate going at low speed especially round pedestrians. I have the Shimano spd pedals with one side clipless and the other flat - when I ride over Pyrmont Bridge for example I have one foot clipped in and the other not - still not confident with my abilities to unclip - it may be just me but I still don't trust them. This mornings' effort was in traffic queue at the lights - I actually had one foot out but balanced the wrong way and couldn't get the other foot out and over I went. Fortunately I didn't hit any cars but a guy jumped out of the car in front to see if I had damaged his car!
well I had my first clip stack this morning...felt like a complete ass. I've only recently started using clip in pedals so I guess it was only a matter of time. I've been generally cautious and clipping my self out well before but I guess I just forgot this time.
my advise from the very little experience I've had is to clip your self out well before, at least till you are use to them...and then making sure you stick to that rule.
One thing that struck me as a little odd was that no one asked if I was ok. I had two riders go past me with not even a hello. The first guy would have been about 50 meters behind me so he would have seen me fall. I'm a little surprised as I certainly would ask if I saw someone have an accident. I can understand people not wanting to lose their concentration on busy roads but on bike path is surprising. Not expecting someone to come dashing to my aid, but a simply "you alright mate?" would have been nice. I've only started commuting recently so maybe this is normal.
I had my first clipless pedal stack today. Forgot about them came to a stop and bam straight onto my arm and shoulder and bike on top.
Only on grass in my backyard though.
2011 Malvernstar xcs 1.0
2012 Oppy a5
2011 fm 015
Sorry to take so long to respond to this question (hope it's still relevant).
There is a way to minimise the risk. Assuming that you are still clipped in, that you are stationary, that you are not going to be hit by a car, and that you're not going to hit anything on the way down:
Curve your body by leaning away from the fall. Try to roll along the outside of your bottom leg, i.e. ankle - calf - knee - thigh. This dispels the force over a much larger area, which significantly reduces the risk of a fracture. Roll on the soft bits (i.e. your muscles) and not on the bony bits (knee, hip, elbow, shoulder or wrist). Keep your bottom arm almost straight (very slightly curved) so that you don't land on the point of your shoulder, the point of your elbow, or the heel of your hand. If you've started falling and are past the point of no return, then don't fight it. Do it slow and go with the flow.
The good news is that this will happen almost automatically if your feet are still clipped and your hands are still on the bars. The bad news is that it isn't instinctive. It takes practice. Don't try it unless you have a good coach, plenty of space, a soft landing spot, and a disposable bike. It's better (and quicker) to learn not to fall off in the first place.
(Maybe this should be in the "Safety" forum?)
Today's effort = Tomorrows reward.
2010 Oppy C6
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