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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 04-11-10, 09:13 PM   #1
magohn
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Clipless Pedals and Newbie - Tiiimmmbeerrrrrr...

So I have been enjoying my shiny 3 week old Specialized Roubaix Comp and today thought I would try going "clipless". Years ago my brother gave me a set of SPD pedals and shoes. I never used them but thought I would give it a go today as my bike seems to demand clipless shoes - looks weird with standard pedals on.

I started off with just one SPD shoe clipped in and was doing great. Then I got over-confident. i clicked in the second shoe and performed slow rotations around the driveway. However, on one lap I began to slowly turn around and through pedaling too slow, began to wobble. I instinctively went to throw down my right foot and by the time I realized i was locked in, I was falling - all 305lbs of me. It was actually quite funny but I did scratch my SRAM derailleur and a brake lever - no biggie though.

My question is - is it worth keeping on trying clipless? Should i go to "cages"? If so, can anyone suggest a decent shoe/cage that though not SPB, still give support etc for the foot?

Opinions please....
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Old 04-11-10, 09:24 PM   #2
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Keep 'em on. I've fallen 3 times now in the last 6 weeks. But it gets better as you go. Practice on a MUP. That way if you do fall you can hopefully land on grass.

I flopped Saturday at a country intersection, I was clipped in and ready to go when my riding buddy wanted to pause longer, I forgot I was clipped in, leaned the wrong way and bam.

I was told to always un-clip the same foot first each time, making it a reflex and not a decision.

Also don't put you arm out to stop, just curl up and roll with it. At least that's what I do.
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Old 04-11-10, 09:38 PM   #3
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Stick with it. I flopped last night pulling up to the gym for weight training. I was on the raised sidewalk and flopped it off the sidewalk onto the pavement down, so I got to fall an extra 4 inches or so. Whoops, not going to give up though! Just brush the dust off your pride a little bit, and get back on!

My biggest benefit is my feet being in the same position, no slipping and sliding on the pedals at all. It's not even about pulling at the pedal so much as that simple fact. Clipless pedals allow my personally to develop a refined stroke that I otherwise find myself slipping around on platforms.
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Old 04-11-10, 10:54 PM   #4
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Doing slow circles in your driveway is not really a normal cycling experience and is unstable feeling at the best of times. As gitarzan mentioned, develop a routine and always unclip one foot (or both)... and by all means, plan ahead and unclip well before you need to.

Stick with it, they're so much better than toe clips it's not even worth discussing.
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Old 04-11-10, 11:00 PM   #5
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always err on the side of unclipping and agreed pop out the same foot everytime. You don't to pop out both- that is a bother. Just ride in a straight line at speed and pop out first and then brake. Do this a couple times and you'll get the hang of it.
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Old 04-11-10, 11:15 PM   #6
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Everything takes some time to get used to. I'm sure that if I quit riding after falling off my bike the first time I wouldn't be riding today.

I have spd's and look type pedals for clipless and the spd's are a lot easier to get into, but both are about the same to get out of. I prefer the spd's because they are used with mountain bike shoes and are walkable if necessary.
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Old 04-12-10, 03:53 AM   #7
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Stick with them like everyone else has said , ive had clipless pedals about 6 weeks as well now and ive only fell twice , first time was on the first ride when i had unclipped my left foot but the bike wanted to lean to the right and i didnt get the right foot out in time . second time was when i was travelling through a slightly gravely area and i hit some mud that was wet and the bike just stopped in the mud i had my left foot out already but the bike went right again .
Now im becoming more confident in the shoes/pedals as well and not unclipping unless i really have to whereas when i first got them i would unclip as i aproached any junction so in time im sure you will get used to them and become more confident .
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Old 04-12-10, 08:43 AM   #8
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A least you fell in your own driveway. I was at the popular park at the lake in front a group of nice looking ladies playing volleyball. I stopped to watch and just fell over in front of about 50 people. I did get a phone number out of the incident and I haven't fallen since. If I go a week without riding the first thing I do is clip in and out a few times when I get back on the bike.
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Old 04-12-10, 08:48 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by magohn View Post
So I have been enjoying my shiny 3 week old Specialized Roubaix Comp and today thought I would try going "clipless". Years ago my brother gave me a set of SPD pedals and shoes. I never used them but thought I would give it a go today as my bike seems to demand clipless shoes - looks weird with standard pedals on.

I started off with just one SPD shoe clipped in and was doing great. Then I got over-confident. i clicked in the second shoe and performed slow rotations around the driveway. However, on one lap I began to slowly turn around and through pedaling too slow, began to wobble. I instinctively went to throw down my right foot and by the time I realized i was locked in, I was falling - all 305lbs of me. It was actually quite funny but I did scratch my SRAM derailleur and a brake lever - no biggie though.

My question is - is it worth keeping on trying clipless? Should i go to "cages"? If so, can anyone suggest a decent shoe/cage that though not SPB, still give support etc for the foot?

Opinions please....
Keep 'em. But you might want to loosen the tension on the pedal a little.

As for scratches, those just add character. Like scars, they are just tattoos with better stories
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Old 04-12-10, 10:03 AM   #10
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Thanks for all your positive suggestions. Now that I have slept on it I believe that I will stick to the clipless mode. Before falling, I did enjoy the feeling of my feet being locked into one place instead of roaming all over the pedal. I guess, my only surprise is that though I was being as careful as possible and trying to anticipate a "stumble", I still fell!

Half the problem is that as these were my brothers old shoes, and merely meant for practice, they are a size too small and so just "dont feel right". Perhaps a correctly fitted pair of shoes would boost my confidence again ;-)

Thanks all for your encouragement...
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Old 04-12-10, 11:04 AM   #11
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Yeah, keep on keepin' on. It will get easier and more instinctual.

EVERYONE falls at least once. I've fallen a few times, in front of pedestrians . . . who instantly ask if I'm okay. I always tell them, "It's not a good ride unless I've fallen at a stop light/sign." I really don't fall "that" much but at least once every season. The earlier the better because it helps me not to take things for granted. Dude, as they say in hocky, "No blood, no foul." Most often it's more hurt pride than anything else.
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Old 04-12-10, 11:47 AM   #12
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+1 on keeping at it. I think you went about trying them out in the worst situation you could have.

I would start by setting the tension as low as it can go (I have all my clipless pedals set at lowest tension and have never had an accidental release); then straddle the bike and clip your left foot in and out a bunch of times; when that feels normal, do the same with your right foot; left foot a few more times; right foot a few more times; now go ride. As you come to a stop, unclip whichever foot you've decided to put down and lean that way (using the same foot for this every time is a good habit to get into).

My big fall was into the #3 lane at a red light. I had just started using ARC compatibles instead of SPDs and was trying to wait out the light without unclipping. I started to lean left just as I unclipped right. Thousands of miles riding clipless and that's the only clipless fall I've had.
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Old 04-12-10, 12:22 PM   #13
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EVERYONE falls at least once.
sigh
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Old 04-12-10, 12:34 PM   #14
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Keep 'em, loosen the tension a little if they are hard to get out of. My first day in clipless was mountain bike riding. I feel about 30 times when by the time the ride was over. Fought the first trying to stay balanced, the rest I just hit and roll. Never fell road riding though. As most have said, plan ahead, if you know you are stopping start unclipping at least one side. The spd pedals usually require a slight twist to unclip, just rotate your heel outward and it will unclip easier. Once you get the hang of it, it just becomes habitual. Good luck with it.
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Old 04-12-10, 12:42 PM   #15
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sigh
+ sigh
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Old 04-12-10, 01:17 PM   #16
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also doing tight turns at low speed is really good way to lose balance and fall over. If want practice using the clipless without falling over, either practice on an indoor trainer or on a ride at a normal riding speed. You want to anticipate a stop and release ahead of time.
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Old 04-12-10, 02:12 PM   #17
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Unclip.
Lean on unclipped foot.
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Old 04-12-10, 06:52 PM   #18
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I getting ready to learn how to clip in. I ride 50% dirt. I tore up a cage recently and am breaking in a new set or cages. It is so much hassle getting them reflaxed for my clyde sized shoes. As much as I hate changing and buying them funky looking shoes, it is the future. Hey, I fall even with cages, a good camelback is great on a fall.
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Old 04-12-10, 09:54 PM   #19
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A least you fell in your own driveway. I was at the popular park at the lake in front a group of nice looking ladies playing volleyball. I stopped to watch and just fell over in front of about 50 people. I did get a phone number out of the incident and I haven't fallen since.
I'd fall all the time if it got me phone numbers. :-)
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Old 04-13-10, 03:39 AM   #20
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I'd fall all the time if it got me phone numbers. :-)
ha ha yeah me too

on a more serious note, keep the pedals as everyone has said and you will get used to it. toe clips are alot worse than clipless in my experience. practice taking your foot out while stationary holding onto a wall or something til you get the hang of it.
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Old 04-13-10, 08:35 AM   #21
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keep them, everyone falls. you will love them after a week
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Old 04-13-10, 02:33 PM   #22
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practice along a curb, get used to clipping in and clipping out. It becomes habit after a while.
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Old 04-21-10, 02:11 PM   #23
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it's still better than toeclips and straps
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Old 04-21-10, 05:39 PM   #24
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I've been using cages for years and years and years, so I find the clipless system very intuitive ... I'm right at home in them. I got mine on Sunday.

With cages, I fell twice, both at red lights. After the first fall, I learned my lesson, and never made the mistake again. Then, a few years ago, I jinxed myself, having a conversation with a friend, checking the mental map, watching a pretty girl jog by, and coming slowly to a stop. In that case I'd pulled the strap too tight and forgotten, so when I went to pull out, I didn't quite make it in time. If I'd not been distracted, I would have remembered while I was going fast enough to balance without thinking about it, and loosen the strap a bit. Anyway, the thing about clipless is that you don't tie yourself in, and so never find the strap too tight. It's just the bolt/latch mechanism, and it works the same every time. For that reason, I think it's actually a bit safer.

So, you've learned what happens if you forget to free your foot, and nature has made it a pretty salient lesson. Now that you've paid your dues, I bet it will be much easier to remember next time ... that was my experience anyway.

It might make sense to practice with cages, though, if you aren't comfortable. So long as you don't strap yourself in too tight, they can be easier to get out of, but still get you used to thinking about your feet being attached to the pedals when you come to a stop.
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Old 04-21-10, 06:05 PM   #25
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I wouldn't clip the 2nd one in until your moving at a decent pace. I was told by my LBS don't touch the brakes hard until you have at least one foot unclipped it's working for me. I can still make 4 or 5 revolutions pretty easily without both feet clipped in.

Stick with it!
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