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  1. #1
    Junior Member level76's Avatar
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    I'm tired of falling!

    So I've been riding fairly consistently lately. Averaging around 25 miles per ride, 4 days a week. Mostly flat paved trail rides. But one thing that I have yet to full conquer is falling while using clipless pedals. I've fallen about 5 times now. 4 times while riding around my neighborhood, and once yesterday on the trail.

    I think it's all mental, as I seem to panic when slowing down and somehow forget to unclip both legs. The fear of falling is so great that I'm hesitant to try and take on serious hills as I'm afraid of losing momentum and ultimately losing my balance.

    Any advice for me on how to get over this. My body and my bike are tired of the scars.
    "I just want to innovate and stimulate minds, travel the world and penetrate the times"
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  2. #2
    Senior Member sojourn's Avatar
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    Just keep at it....practice practice practice.....it was discouraging for me as well BUT I just kept trying and eventually....success! I couldn't imagine riding clipless, now I can't imagine riding any other way.
    Hang in there, it will come.

  3. #3
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    Loosen the setting on the pedals to a loose as they will go. It'll be way easier to pop out of them when you need to or panic, yet still hold you in without any problems.

  4. #4
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    You don't normally need to clip out both feet. One is generally enough unless your getting off the bike then one at a time works, unclip a foot, stop, unclip the other foot.

    I have been riding clipless for years now, I just put a new set of ultegra pedals on my bike and the adjustment was too tight. Now I always unclip on the left side first, in this case I couldn't get the left foot unclipped and it is so habitual for me to unclip left that my brain could not conceive of unclipping the right foot so I promptly fell over at my front door. It happens to everyone once in awhile
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large

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  5. #5
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    Keep practicing! That's what I did and I stopped falling down with my bike.

    Try to anticipate when you might want to unclip as well. I tend to unclip when I start braking for a stop.

  6. #6
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    Decide if you want to put your left or right foot down when stopping.
    Always use the same foot so it becomes a reflex.

    Practice clipping and unclipping. Here's how I learned: I clip my right
    foot in, lean my right shoulder against a wall. Clip my left foot in, spin
    the pedals backwards then unclip. Repeat over and over.

    Over 4 years of commuting in NYC using SPD's, haven't fallen yet.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by level76 View Post
    Any advice for me on how to get over this. My body and my bike are tired of the scars.
    What type of pedals are you using? Back when I was using Crank Brothers pedals on my mountain bike, I fell over a lot. For me, they required too much heel movement before they'd release. I switched to Shimano SPD pedals, specifically the M520, and have far fewer problems. They have adjustable release tension as well as the SH-56 "multi-release" cleats which make them very beginner friendly. Another nice thing about SPD pedals is that you can unclip early, shift your foot on the pedal slightly (so that you don't clip in again), and still pedal pretty effectively.

    On the street, I find that it pays to unclip early and often. If you're just riding down the road, stop pedaling for a second, unclip, clip back in, and keep going. I always put my left foot down when I stop, so that's the one I practice clipping and unclipping the most. When riding on the street, I tend to unclip early and coast to a stop. There's nothing that says you have to roll to a stop clipped-in, do a track stand for 20 seconds, then unclip just as you're about to fall over...

  8. #8
    Senior Member brockd15's Avatar
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    ^^^
    What they said...
    There's normally no need to unclip both feet (maybe if you're crashing and trying to bail out??). That probably causes more problems actually. When you're coasting to a stop just unclip the foot you want on the ground (right foot for me) and put your other foot at the bottom of the pedal stroke, so that both feet are down. Then when you're actually stopping, don't keep the bike vertical, that makes it too easy for it to fall the wrong direction. Just lean it a little to the side of your unclipped foot. And of course you want to be off the saddle when you're leaning and putting your foot on the ground.

  9. #9
    Junior Member level76's Avatar
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    I'm using Shimano Ultegra PD-6700 SPD-SL Pedals.

    Yesterdays fall was particularly frustrating in that I had already come to a stop and was balancing on my right, unclipped foot. My left foot had yet to come out but for some reason I decided to lean to my left and of course I fell. This is why I think it's mostly a mental thing. I need to start focusing better. I was kinda exhausted when I stopped so I think my brain just wasn't where it should've been.
    "I just want to innovate and stimulate minds, travel the world and penetrate the times"
    - Common "The 6th Sense"
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  10. #10
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    As vdeck said, anticipation is key. Every time you have a planned (non-emergency) stop, you should be preparing to unclip well before the bike comes to a halt. If you make a point of concentrating on that, it should become second nature in pretty short order. Consistency in choosing which foot you will plant helps a lot too. It removes at least one variable from the equation. I like to release my right and keep the left clipped in when at stoplights and intersections, but that's just me.
    Craig in Indy

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by level76 View Post
    I'm using Shimano Ultegra PD-6700 SPD-SL Pedals.

    Yesterdays fall was particularly frustrating in that I had already come to a stop and was balancing on my right, unclipped foot. My left foot had yet to come out but for some reason I decided to lean to my left and of course I fell. This is why I think it's mostly a mental thing. I need to start focusing better. I was kinda exhausted when I stopped so I think my brain just wasn't where it should've been.
    Were you still sitting on the seat when you leaned over?

    http://sheldonbrown.com/starting.html

  12. #12
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    My two cents: If you're fairly new to riding, just switch back to platform pedals a while and be done with it until you get lots more miles in. Clipless pedals are good and all that, but they're not such a huge improvement that you can't do without them, either.

    I recently switched to clipless and have yet to fall. There have been two or three times when I almost fell but flailed my legs enough to unclip before doing so. Loosening up the tension might help you there.

    Some things that I think helped me were learning to ride a unicycle and practicing slowing down, stopping or almost stopping, and taking back off with platform pedals, without putting my feet down. And riding real real slow in a parking lot. I didn't intentionally do those things with clipless pedals in mind, just sort of goofing off while riding.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  13. #13
    Senior Member Nola_Gal's Avatar
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    I bought my Look Keo's not long after buying my Cannondale and it wasn't long until I gave up on it before I got hurt! I spent almost a year riding on and off with platform pedals until I was really comfortable with the bike itself. At that point I went to spd's the 'multi-release' cleats that are beginner friendly. Some people say they don't make a difference. I find them easier to unclip. I've been riding for months now without falling. I think part of it was just developing the muscle strength/experience to be able to balance the bike without having to think about it. The other is that I think the spd's are easier and the set-up does allow me to clip out a little early and take a couple of pedal strokes to my stopping point.
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