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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 08-04-08, 12:57 AM   #1
HeIncreasesMe
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First time commuting Clipless...Nervous

Well, I just bought my clipless pedals and shoe set saturday. I did a couple runs saturday and today, but just around the neighborhood. However, tomorrow I have plan to go to work using clipless and I am extremely nervous. I didn't feel like switching out the pedals...so I figure might as well go for it.

Honestly, commuting is my only time really being able to ride. Weekends come and I want to hit the road, but I am pretty busy.

For those of you that pray...ugh pray for me...lol And the rest..just think good thoughts regarding my success and safety.

I got a simple system down. I know how to unclip if my foot is in the 12 position and I can even pedal a bit with the unclip foot. So I plan to always unclip a bit before the stop or when I think I may need to put a foot down. And to avoid having any emergency trying to make the light but can't BRAKE BRAKE stops. Because I can't (or I feel uncomfortable) unclip at the moments notice meaning right at the stop yet. I still need to practice.
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Old 08-04-08, 01:59 AM   #2
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Use the lights on your commute as an excuse to clip in and clip out. Don't try propping up on the pole until you've got your confidence up.
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Old 08-04-08, 04:03 AM   #3
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I got a simple system down. I know how to unclip if my foot is in the 12 position and I can even pedal a bit with the unclip foot. So I plan to always unclip a bit before the stop or when I think I may need to put a foot down.
This is exactly what I do, and it works great. Good luck and I hope you enjoy the new pedals!
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Old 08-04-08, 04:47 AM   #4
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One thing that a coworker told me to help me through the learning process is to just remember, every biker was where you are at one point or another. Just about everybody has fallen while trying to unclip, it's just the way the learning curve works. I went down twice while learning, one time right in front of a bike group of bikers at a stop sign! They all laughed and then they helped me up saying they have all been there. Unclipping before you get to a light is the best way to learn. Good luck!
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Old 08-04-08, 05:18 AM   #5
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The only thing that will get you used to clipless pedals is time. After a month or so it will be automatic for you. I fell down about 4 times while getting used to them and almost fell over probably twice that much. Now I don't even think about it. Unclipping is just automatic.

For awhile you'll need to consciously tell your self "ok.. I'm stopping.. dont' forget to unclip." And if you do stop all the way and forget, all you have to do is start pedaling again and you won't fall down. Course, if you're at a redlight that may not be possible.....
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Old 08-04-08, 05:28 AM   #6
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One thing I learned very quickly is to unclip both sides at a light. If you stand on 1 side and leave the other clipped in, Murphy says you will topple towards the clipped side.
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Old 08-04-08, 06:34 AM   #7
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The only thing that will get you used to clipless pedals is time. After a month or so it will be automatic for you. I fell down about 4 times while getting used to them and almost fell over probably twice that much. Now I don't even think about it. Unclipping is just automatic.

For awhile you'll need to consciously tell your self "ok.. I'm stopping.. dont' forget to unclip." And if you do stop all the way and forget, all you have to do is start pedaling again and you won't fall down. Course, if you're at a redlight that may not be possible.....
Good advice on the verbal reminders!


I swapped to different (crappy wellgos), pedals recently and still managed to fall over even though I've been using clipless for about 5 years The good thing about falling over whilst unclipping is its usually gentle, (timber!....)

Always try to unclip when you still have some momentum. I found most unclipping accidents I've had is slowing down to almost a stop then trying to unclip; until it becomes 2nd nature unclip when still moving at a little speed, Unclip with the favorite foot also, the one you would normally put out if stopping.


Also check cleats once in a while to make sure they are tight, I found a cleat was still attached to the pedal but the shoe had moved around by 45 odd degrees, had to stop against a fence and take the shoe off
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Old 08-04-08, 06:43 AM   #8
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One thing I learned very quickly is to unclip both sides at a light. If you stand on 1 side and leave the other clipped in, Murphy says you will topple towards the clipped side.
FWIW, I literally never clip out of my right pedal until I fully dismount from the bike. When I stop, I come out of the saddle and land on my left foot. I've only ever fallen once due to failure to unclip, and I fell to the left.

If you prefer doing it that way (unclipping both) that's fine, but one can also easily get by with unclipping just the "landing" foot.
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Old 08-04-08, 07:23 AM   #9
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Practice in a safe area.

Some of us can unclip and reclip at 20+ miles an hour ... on a fixed gear.
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Old 08-04-08, 08:41 AM   #10
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reading this thread this morning before going out (for the first time in too long) remembering my first time with clipless....hadn't had a problem in years....then this morning, final turn into the driveway and down i went......it can always happen. ;-) More embarassed than hurt.
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Old 08-04-08, 08:45 AM   #11
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I was so paranoid when first trying clipless that I did not have any issues. It took a few months after I became comfortable with it and then it happened. Not paying attention and went down. D'oh!
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Old 08-04-08, 08:55 AM   #12
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Don't worry too much about it. Like DJ said, if you are focused on it (likely from fear ) you will probably remember. Then boom, it will hit you some time when you are comfortable.

I've fallen a couple of times, but never at a light or stop sign. I stopped in the middle of the road one night to talk to some other riders who were stopped. They watched in horror as I fell to my left side saying 'Oh no!' The other time, I was taking off from a stop on tour but at the last minute decided to wait for one more car to pass. With my bike fully loaded and a little heavier on the right side, I went down. I cursed myself for about ten minutes but nothing was hurt, of course.
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Old 08-04-08, 09:05 AM   #13
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You can also set your spd pedals real loose. Unless you're doing huge sprints in real big gears, it shouldn't be a problem. I've never come unclipped accidentaly.
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Old 08-04-08, 09:28 AM   #14
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I use clipless, and yes the learning curve will get you when you least expect it, I was at a stop light track standing and the next thing I know I am flat on my back, hands still on the bar feet still clipped in, wheels pointing straight up in the air.
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Old 08-04-08, 10:21 AM   #15
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Praise the Lord! I made it y'all! doing a jig: lol

Yes, I was completely concious of clipping and un clipping. I unclip with the right leg and push off with the left. I put my right leg down even on regular pedals. The only eventful thing that happened this morning was....

I tried to take off from stop light quickly and couldn't clip in and push too hard so foot flew off pedal.

Since I am using Shimano M520 I can clip in on both sides. I never looked down to cip in and I was always getting in some how. It was great.

I stand at stop lights with left leg clipped in and right leg on the street. Well so thankful it went well and hoping for the best going home.

Thanks for the advice everyone.
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Old 08-04-08, 11:09 AM   #16
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Good for you! I'm going to guess your left handed? I unclip the left because of winter riding and rain. The slope/camber of the road goes downhill, left to right so I tend to lean in a bit.
I also fell three times in two days back on clipless after ten years. Prior to that, I had fallen in my DRIVEWAY! arriving home after screwing around all day on the mountain bike. That one hurt a bit. broke the elbow on that one but still laughing about the irony while on the ground.

Have fun! It does become second nature. I wouldn't be without my pedals now.
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Old 08-04-08, 01:41 PM   #17
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congrads. i have no tips other than anticipate when you'll need to be unclipped. My pedals have platforms on the backside so there are quite a few times I'll unclip one foot and go platform.
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Old 08-04-08, 01:45 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by jo8243 View Post
The only thing that will get you used to clipless pedals is time. After a month or so it will be automatic for you. I fell down about 4 times while getting used to them and almost fell over probably twice that much. Now I don't even think about it. Unclipping is just automatic.
Time is indeed your friend. I have been riding clipless so long that if I look at what I am doing, I mess up, but if I don't look, I am clipped in and out without even thinking about it.
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Old 08-04-08, 04:51 PM   #19
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[QUOTE=Jonahhobbes;7200321]


...Also check cleats once in a while to make sure they are tight.../[QUOTE]

This is essential advice. Loctite 'Blue' applied to the threads is pretty much fail/safe, but check the bolts on a regular basis. Are you riding single or duel-sided clipless? Spds, eggbeaters?
It makes a difference in traffic. There's 5 bikes in our bikeroom, all w/duel-sided Spd compatible. Either of us can ride any of them w/just a seatpost height adjustment.
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Old 08-04-08, 09:29 PM   #20
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Contrary to what you read over and over, you are not doomed to fall over if you go clipless; it's not inevitable and not everyone does fall over. It's not happened to me in over thirty years of cycling with clipless/power grip/toe clips. Which isn't to say that I haven't gone down a few times for other reasons.
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Old 08-04-08, 09:32 PM   #21
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It took me three weeks and 3XX miles to have my first "forgot to unclip" fall. That was about 2000 miles ago and I haven't had any more since.
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Old 08-04-08, 10:00 PM   #22
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One thing I learned very quickly is to unclip both sides at a light. If you stand on 1 side and leave the other clipped in, Murphy says you will topple towards the clipped side.
I did exactly this at an intersection and toppled over like an idiot. 1 of 3 times I've fallen with my eggbeaters. The other two were in my driveway. As I was learning, the most difficult intersections to clip out were the ones on a hill where you must pedal up to the light. You won't have much time to roll to a stop so you need to unclip at the last moment. I try to always remember to unclip before I begin braking and gearing down. Doing everything simultaneously can get a little tricky for a while.
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Old 08-05-08, 12:15 AM   #23
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Praise the Lord! I made it y'all! doing a jig: lol

Yes, I was completely concious of clipping and un clipping. I unclip with the right leg and push off with the left. I put my right leg down even on regular pedals. The only eventful thing that happened this morning was....

Thanks for the advice everyone.
Just out of curiosity - by unclipping the right leg, did you find yourself getting a grease tattoo from the chainring? I'm right handed and started by unclipping my right foot. But I found that I'd always lean my leg right onto the chainring. Then I read to try unclipping the left first, which did the trick (for the most part).

I've got the M324's which only clip on one side, but allow me to ride in regular shoes for short trips (or for distances where I won't really want to bother clipping in before I have to stop again). You can also loosen the tension so that your cleats will release easier.
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