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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 08-26-10, 11:53 PM   #1
CptjohnC
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Clipless pedals

After several months of commuting, I finally decided it was time to upgrade to cycling shoes and clipless pedals. I didn't want to invest a lot of money, so I bought used stuff off of Ebay - a pair of lightly used Shimano PD-M520 pedals, and a pair of used mountain bike shoes (I cycle for only part of my commute, and use mass transit for the balance, so being able to walk is important to me.)

I got the shoes first, and they made a pretty remarkable difference when compared to cycling in old, soft running shoes. But I added the pedals yesterday, and so far I'm very pleased. After two days, and I'm very glad I made the switch.

I'm curios, though: I've read a lot about people having trouble learning to clip in and out, but so far it seems quite natural. Of course, I've ridden with toe clips for many, many years, so the idea of anticipating the need to free my feet is second nature. I had one moment of brain glitch, where I unclipped the wrong foot for what I was doing, so I can see the potential for an issue, but honestly, I find unclipping from the pedals much less challenging than toe clips, esp. back in the day when I actually strapped in (99% of the time I leave my clips loose enough to slide feet in and out, at this point...) Are most of the people who have issues learning to clip/unclip folks who rode without toe clips or other foot restraints? or am I just over confident, and I'm going to get my come-uppance any day now?

One other thing: Because I was nervous about the whole clipping in and out thing, I bought two sets of cleats, one single release, and one multi-release. I presently have a single release on my right foot, and the multi release on my left (weird, I know). I feel like the single release cleats are more secure, stable and comfortable, and I don't really feel the need for the multi, but again I might just be overly confident.

This feeling of less stability could also be because I picked up the wrong multi-release cleats (SPD-55 instead of 56?) but it seems as thought there must be some compromise, right? TANSTAAFL.

I feel like if the correct multi release cleat were just as stable as the single, there'd be no reason not to get a correct set of them eventually, right? Is there anyone who has ridden enough with both, who can tell me whether my real problem is the 55 or whether multi release cleats are just inherently less stable? Also -- I have the cleats pretty well adjusted, but I think there's room for a little more fine tuning. How picky do I need to be about the cleat position? There seems to be enough 'float' to allow quite a bit of moving on the pedals when something doesn't feel right.

Tomorrow is my 'long-ride' day, so I hope to get much more time with the pedals, and I should be better able to judge whether they really make my commute more comfortable. I'm looking forward to it.
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Old 08-27-10, 12:56 AM   #2
mtalinm
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I'sounds like you're on your way. I had a similar experience; after an hour or so of practicing on my trainer, I started riding with them and haven't had a fall in about 1,000 miles. (a couple close calls though).

I leave the clips as loose as possible so that I have no trouble getting out. when I crashed a copule weeks ago, the shoes came off just fine. have never had problems with falling out of the clips though ymmv.

and all my clips / shoes are craiglist specials
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Old 08-27-10, 01:15 AM   #3
K'Tesh
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Fell only twice, coming to stops. More damage was done to my ego, than my physical self. However, both times, I fell onto the sidewalk, and not into traffic (which was stopped anyway).
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Old 08-27-10, 08:51 AM   #4
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Rode my longer (just over 8 mile) route today, and it went well, but now I know I need to adjust my right cleat -- it is a little too far forward for long term pedaling comfort. I also think my perception of instability with the multi-release cleat was wrong -- it performed beautifully over the course of the ride. It just releases a little sooner, which could be the cleat, or could be the way the pedal is adjusted (I think they're both on their lowest tension, but I haven't checked that too carefully -- the tension feels fine to me for now.

The best part is that I really feel like the in/out motion is very natural. Easier than getting my clunky MTB shoes (or, for that matter, my running shoes) into the toe clips/straps I was using. I'm very pleased :-)
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