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  1. #1
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    Rode another hill, but I fell

    three times!

    I guess this is one of those good news, bad news posts.

    First the good news. I thought my hillclimbing abilities had progressed to the point where I could go on a scheduled group ride. 24 miles on a variety of hills and flats, about 1500 ft climbing total. This was a ride I had taken many times back when I used to ride a lot, maybe 25 yrs ago, before I stopped riding for 20 yrs. There was a large group that was split into 3 groups fast, intermediate, and slow. So the fast group (about 20) took off, then the intermediate (about 20) leaving the slow (4 of us!). But I did it, and did it with reasonable comfort. I remain grateful that when I was specing out my new bike I went with the triple, I ground about 3 miles of the route in the lowest gear.

    Then the bad news. I've been riding for about 3 weeks now with my new shoes and clipless pedals. When I mentioned this to other cyclists, first question is: 'have you fallen yet" and I smiled and said no, as I knew I was far too capable a cyclist to fall. But the response always was: "everyone falls".

    So on the first uphill of the route I try to drop down to the granny ring and the chain slips off to the inside. I've got no momenum, no power, and I tumble off to the right, land in brambles and thorns with the bike still attached to me, I'm like a big beetle flipped on its back with legs waving in the air. Cyclists come by, help me clip out and get up.

    I go maybe 1/4 mile more and we're on a one way section of the road due to construction. Staying very close to the edge because of oncoming traffic. One car seems like it's heading straight at me, I veer even closer to the edge, and I'm down again!

    But I take this all in stride, realize now I've gotten my initiation, that's that. 10 more miles, I'm on an uphill again, shift down to the granny again, chain off again, I'm down again. This time I'm hurt a little, I think I must have put my hand out to stop the fall as my wrist is hurting. Also, my confidence is now shaken, I think I've had more than my quota of falls.

    Net result: I'm proud I did the ride, I'm banged up and hurting and wearing a wristband today, I've scheduled to bring my bike into my lbs to check the derailleur settings, chain and cable tensions, etc., I'm chagrinned that I fell yet I have a strange pride that I've now had my formal initiation into the band of clipless pedal wearers, and most of all I'm very greatful that the damage to my body, bike, and ego wasn't any worse.

  2. #2
    Senior Member KeithA's Avatar
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    Gee, and I've been thinking that I too was immune from falling as I've not taken a spill with my first foray into the world of clipless and less than 100 miles ridden with them.

    I fell yesterday, but wasn't riding my clipless pedals.

    Glad you're okay...well relatively speaking. Still, your day was a memory maker and part of the total package that makes the world of cycling a new experience every time out.

  3. #3
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Have heart, None of the falls mentioned were due to the fact that clipless pedals were involved. Putting in power and losing drive will send most people to the ground, without any reaction time to unclip, and finding the edge of the road is just as quick so you had no chance on any of these falls.

    If you really want to make it spectacular, and do it in the way that most of us fall off with clipless pedals. Give it about 3 months, just enough time to stop thinking about how you unclip as it has become natural, and brake to a stop in the middle of a town with plenty of people about. That is when the brain fade will hit you, and a sideways fall will happen so fast, that you just hope that no-one you know saw you fall.

  4. #4
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    so I thought I've had my quota of falls, and you're saying these really don't count and you're offering me more?? thanks

  5. #5
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    As far as Im concerned a fall is a fall.. So you dont really have anymore coming to you..I had a fall similar to your first 3 weeks ago, I was traveling uphill and changing gears when the drivetrain started making funny noises froze and down I went.. And it has me somewhat gunshine about changing gears on steeper hills.But I took that as my intiation fall and Im not looking for more to come..

  6. #6
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about the spills but I hope it doesn't dampen the renewed enthusiasm for cylcing! The chain dropping off the smallest chainring is an easy fix-the derailer is simply shifting too far towards the seat tube and hopefully the LBS has the folks with the right skills to properly adjust a triple. I've had very mixed results with several shops and have found one that really know what they're doing.

    Good luck with the wrist. Let's just hope it had too much action for one day.

  7. #7
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    I have confidence the shop can fix it, it's a good shop, and I'm suspecting that as this is a new bike it's time for its routine 500 mile checkup for cable adjustments, etc. Actually a little short of 500 miles, but I'm not waiting!

    One of the other riders in our small group had a plastic gadget mounted on the bottom of her seat tube specifically designed to stop this kind of mishap -- sort of like a rear dork disk in concept, but very unobtrusive. I don't know what it's called, but I'm curious whether anyone's familiar with it -- I'm interested in trying because I admit I'm a little skittish at this point about uphill shifting on the front chainring.

  8. #8
    Senior Member KeithA's Avatar
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    Until you get your tuneup, try nudging the shifter until it gets to the gear you want.

  9. #9
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    I've had similar problems with my chain. I found that I was shifting just a little too late. Try to anticipate the hill and shift into an easier gear before you have so much pressure on the chain that it pops off.

  10. #10
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    Well, nice recovery!! I fell 7 times last season-wrong cleats for my clipless--and it was up this bada$$ hill for most of the falls--as well as the obligatory right in town the world saw me I feel stupid fall that tore my meniscus!
    How nice that you are back at it--this is my second season (alas, I am hanging out in the wrong forum, am only 47 ), and no falls yet (as I say this, I feel one coming......) but I believe it goes with the territory.

    I would never leave my clipless behind--the power and speed that comes from my pulling is more than worth any potential falls (....?)

    Keep riding!

  11. #11
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    Hey, we've all had the same experience, so take heart. Just remember not to stick your arm out to catch yourself. Hold onto the the middle of the handlebar, raise the pedal high on the side you are falling, and lean away from the ground. The bike will absorb most of the shock that way protecting your bones.

  12. #12
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    you'd think after 2 falls, I'd get it right for the 3rd, but that was my worst.

    good suggestions, hope I never have to use them.

  13. #13
    Burnt Orange Blood Longhorn's Avatar
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    Okay, this is exactly why, for me, clipless aren't worth it. I'd rather lose speed and efficiency than fall. It's as simple as that. I fell once with the clipless and it was basically painless but I've had some near misses that would have been worse because I was actually moving at the time. I don't like the worry and I don't like the panicky feeling when I almost fall.

    Since I put mountain bike pedals with good grip on my bike, my feet haven't slipped and I've been happy as can be. I don't fault anyone for using them, nor disagree with their results -- they're just not for me.

  14. #14
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    The Roubaix Comp Triple I bought in July is my first bike with clipless pedals & I've had several close calls already but luckily I was able to pull a save in each situation. I'm sure my time is coming, especially when I try to pause at an intersection. I also was having trouble with the chain dropping off the small chain ring about once on each long ride. I complained about this when the shop had the bike in for its first check up last week & had no problems on a 45 mile ride Saturday so it looks like its fixed. My wife's Dolce Comp has one of those plastic chain stops mounted on the frame tube next to the small chainwheel but the chain still managed to slip off once. It did catch it so I didn't have to dig the chain out of the crevice but I wouldn't count on it to keep the chain on.

  15. #15
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John B.
    I'm sure my time is coming, especially when I try to pause at an intersection.
    That is one big mistake right there.

    Always unclip one foot (or remove the toe from toe clips) - long before you get to an intersection, or children on the MUP, or sand or whatever.

    I am likely the most cautious and defensive riding unclipper around. I fell twice 6 years ago, but never since for any reason - probably more than 18,000 miles.

    Waiting till you get to an intersection is a sure invitation to disaster.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 09-17-05 at 07:58 PM.

  16. #16
    On the road again
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    Agree with DnvrFox, got to get the clips out early at all intersections and in slow traffic where you may have to wait. With respect to falls, most of mine have come in fast group rides where everyone is wheel to wheel in a pace line. Even before clips, I went down once with toeclips where I had them tight and couldn't get the foot out at a quick unexpected stop. Everyone riding will go down at some point it is one of the universal truths.

  17. #17
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    BackInSaddle....you've got a lot of heart. Same thing happened to me a few weeks ago...dreaded chain suck on a climb. Not clipless; instead strapped in tight to my platforms-- with clipless I could have twisted out, put a foot down. Anyway, we're asking a lot of a chain under tension to fly off one ring and land precisely on another. Little devils get frisky and, aiming to please, jump too far and end up wedged against your bottom bracket. Loss of propulsion is immediate. Go down to your LBS and ask for a little gizmo that prevents "throwing your chain". Believe one such is called a Shark's Tooth....but mostly they work if you don't mind a bit of clutter down there. Front shifts under load have to be subtle....which is always hard for me normally let alone when my motor skills are fried on a hill.

    Just payin' your dues.....but we all wish they came cheaper LOL!

  18. #18
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    For what it's worth, I remember people saying the same thing about toe clips and straps when I started riding in college in the late '60s. A friend of mine used to call it a "Mensa fall," because you had to be a genius to forget to loosen your straps in traffic....

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