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  1. #1
    Senior Member jp173's Avatar
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    Getting Use to Clipless Pedals Again

    After 20 years of riding with flat pedals, I finally took the plunge and put clipless pedals on my bike.

    I was scared of them. Really really scared.

    But I put about 600 miles on them without any accidents (except the one time I fell over while I was starting up from a traffic light and fell ONTO the car next to me -- which cushioned my fall and scared the ever-lovin c*** out of the driver who thought he had hit me). By September I guess I was "okay" with them.

    I put that bike away at the end of Sept and have been riding my old flat bar, flat pedal, hybrid tire Specialized Sirius for the winter (helps with leaves in autumn, black ice, gravel, sand, etc.).

    I'm planning on a 30 miler with the clipless tomorrow. I took it out for about 10 miles to day just to get back in practice with it.

    I'm scared of them again. Really really scared. Help!!!

  2. #2
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Are you able to unclip fairly easily (tension not too tight and no physical issues that makes it too difficult to unclip)?

    Just relax. All of us have gone through the anxiety period. Go ahead and select which foot you want to unclip first-and always use that foot. If it makes you feel safer and more comfortable, go ahead and unclip sooner prior to intersections and stop signs.


    After a while it will become second nature. If your anxiety continues to get in the way, ditch the pedals and go back to platforms. It doesn't need to get in the way of enjoying the riding.

  3. #3
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    I love them. After a 20+ year hiatus, I came back to riding last summer and started right in with the clipless. After more than 4,000 miles, I haven't fallen or even come close.

    Just take it easy, relax, and enjoy.

    John

  4. #4
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    You may try the multiple release cleats for your shoes, they work great, and are cheap.
    George

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    I had a humilating, rather than bad, experience with toe clips. I didn't feel much more comfortable when I swapped them for SPD's. There are some bits of road on which your feet cry out to be nailed to the pedals, and those that don't - short steep hills in traffic or 'freeway' type riding when that 'one slip and you die' tape starts playing.

    Shimano M-324's have a platform on one side and an SPD on the other - and multipoint cleat attachment. I'm trying them at the moment.

  6. #6
    Senior Member jp173's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George
    You may try the multiple release cleats for your shoes, they work great, and are cheap.
    What are multiple release cleats??

  7. #7
    Senior Member jp173's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abarkley
    I had a humilating, rather than bad, experience with toe clips. I didn't feel much more comfortable when I swapped them for SPD's. There are some bits of road on which your feet cry out to be nailed to the pedals, and those that don't - short steep hills in traffic or 'freeway' type riding when that 'one slip and you die' tape starts playing.

    Shimano M-324's have a platform on one side and an SPD on the other - and multipoint cleat attachment. I'm trying them at the moment.
    What is a multipoint cleat attachment?

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    I think this may be specific to MTB clipless pedals. The shoe cleat is shaped such that it will release with a lateral movement of the heel as well as an inward one. It's also said that generally flailing your foot around whilst shrieking with terror will pop you too.

    AFAIK, Look, Speedplay and other manly pedal systems don't do this.

  9. #9
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Multiple release cleats are sold at just about every bike shop, or order them online. They cost $20 and you can kick your heel out, up, in, anyway you want and can get out of them. They work pretty well when your pedaling along, but if you have to climb a lot of hills you should probably adjust the tension on the pedals. I have my pedals on the easiest release and they haven't released by accident yet.
    George

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jp173
    "...I was scared of them. Really really scared. I'm scared of them again. Really really scared. Help!!!..."
    Just keep in mind that pedals don't have a mind of their own or freewill. They're not like the car Christine, nor can they hold you against your will if you really want out. They're pieces of metal that allow your legs to transmit power to a crank, no more and no less. There is nothing about which to be frightened.

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    Senior Member CrossChain's Avatar
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    It's pretty obvious, but practice in front of your house: clipping in, clipping out repeatedly. When it gets to a point where you no longer really worry about it or think about it while waiting for the light to change....when it gets to be automatically "push off/flip up/step down with authority"........then it really is a no-brainer. And, as you begin to use them again, and experience the inevitable times you don't make it...you also will reach that confident automaticity. Remember to push down when twisting to unclip.

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    Senior Member CrossChain's Avatar
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    Another thought. When I first started using clipless pedals, I had been used to using clips&straps pedals. But I still felt "nervous" being clamped to the bike. And I'd been using downhill skiing bindings for years and was used to that clamping in. Still, I was nervous. A month of so after I'd first screwed on the clipless, I was out fooling around on a cruiser bike with just platform pedals. I hit a chuck hole, my foot slipped off the pedal, and I went forward. Hit the top tube, nards first; worse, the pedal chewed up the back of my ankle like a rabid gopher. Food for thought for me. Today, I feel a little insecure if not attached to the pedal...where the bike goes, I go.

    With enough miles, JP73, it will become that way for you, too. Be patient and keep stepping down.

  13. #13
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    I believe that the multi release cleat that goes with your pedal (the 324) is the Shimano SH-56. It is gold in color.

    This allows the foot to release by twisting outward at the heal, or inward at the heal or by pulling the heal in an upward direction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jp173
    ... By September I guess I was "okay" with them.

    I put that bike away at the end of Sept and have been riding my old flat bar, flat pedal...

    I'm planning on a 30 miler with the clipless tomorrow. ...I'm scared of them again. Really really scared. Help!!!
    I don't understand what is to be afraid of - sounds like you were doing great with them? Do you have trouble getting out of them? If so, practice in a safe comfortable place, and / or loosen the tension.

    As a matter of curiousity, why not use your clipless pedals (or another set) with your winter bike? That way you won't have the spring transition and fear.
    Last edited by Camilo; 04-30-07 at 01:31 PM.

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    Senior Member SaiKaiTai's Avatar
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    Yep, the M-324/SH-56 combo. I use that myself. After years of fears, I took the plunge about 6 months ago and threw a set of clipless on my Kaitai. Pretty much loved from the get go. So much, in fact, I had a set put on my Reno before I took delivery on Saturday. No regrets. Go for it.
    '13 Felt Z3 - '08 Jamis Aurora Elite - ('07 Giant OCR C2)

  16. #16
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    The Bene Gesserit Littainy against Fear.
    Pg 19 of Dune by Frank Herbrt

    I must not fear.
    Fear is the mind-killer.
    Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
    I will face my fear.
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
    And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
    Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
    Only I will remain.

    or as every little redneck kid I grew up with would put it
    I ain't skeered!
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  17. #17
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    JP, I use SPDs. I purchased every pair of cheap used SPDs in my area and outfitted our three roadies and our three MTBs with a set (my son uses them too). This way we don't get out of practice.
    Roccobike BF Official Thread Terminator

  18. #18
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    Take a second and think about what you are afraid of? If you ae riding at speed you have no need to unclip and it is very hard to accidentally unclip and crash at speed. If you do crash at speed do to other reasons getting your feet unclipped is generally the least of your problems and in most cases just happens as the bike goes down and if it doesn't happen, so what, it is not going to make the crash easier. So really the only issue with clipless is falling over when you come to a complete stop and forget to unclip which might be embarassing but most likely will not cause injury. So there is nothing really to fear.
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large

    2013 Noah RS

  19. #19
    Senior Member freeranger's Avatar
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    I never thought I'd like clipless, but I finally tried some. Bought Shimano M-520's (spd pedal) and put them on my road bike. Thought for sure I'd have problems clipping in and out from all I'd heard, but no problems so far. Not that I've said this, I'm sure to "stall and fall".

  20. #20
    Senior Member jp173's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies.

    My fear is mainly the situations where I have to stop quickly and don't get unclipped in time. Example: the old car door opening right in front of you, or a car suddenly turning across your path, or the person ahead of you on a group ride suddenly stopping (oh god, there was one woman on a group ride last year whose idea of stopping at a red light was to gently glide up to the group and then suddenly stop short about 15 feet from the person ahead of her -- I almost wiped out twice when I was just behind her).

    Then there's the almost fall last year when I was slowing into a stop sign. Unclipped on my left side because that's the foot that I put down first. Everything fine until just as I stopped, when the bike started falling off to the right side. Not sure what I did or why it started falling off to the right. Fortunately, I was able to unclip in time, but it was close.

    It's not as if I'm a newbie to riding a bike. With a couple of breaks, I've been riding since I was a kid (I'm 57 now). My last break in riding was over 10 years ago, but this is the first time in my life that I'm trying clipless pedals (never did the toe clip/basket thingies either).

    I'm also scared of the situation where I am started up from a stop. Last year, while clipped in, I fell over as I was starting from a standing stop and fell onto a car to my right (scared the hell out of the driver). I've fallen like that one or two other times, but never when clipped in. I don't know what I'm doing wrong; I just lose my balance and kerboom.

    I have the mechanism adjusted for light tension so that I can get out of the clips easily. I've once in a while had trouble getting out if the foot I was trying to unclip was at the top of the upstroke, but that's about it.

    I just hate the feeling of being "tied down" to the bike.

    I ride flat pedals on my winter bike because I'm concerned that I'm going to suddenly need one or both feet on the floor because of leaves (autumn), dirt, ice, gravel, whatever. That bike is also my "town" bike that I use to ride errands, go to Starbucks, etc., so I want it to have flat pedals so I can ride it in regular shoes.
    Last edited by jp173; 05-01-07 at 07:25 AM.

  21. #21
    New Commuter briank's Avatar
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    Great thread and advice, I have been on the fence for a while about switching to clipless pedals and believe I will take the plunge and try the..
    Yep, the M-324/SH-56 combo.
    Thanks jp173 for the thread...

  22. #22
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jp173
    Thanks for all the replies.

    My fear is ...
    I'm also scared of ...
    I just hate the feeling of being "tied down" to the bike.
    because I'm concerned that ...
    Either take your fears head on and defeat them or just keep riding on platform pedals.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by jp173
    I just hate the feeling of being "tied down" to the bike.
    if you just hate that feeling of being tied down, that's not fear, that's preference. just don't use them! not mandatory to use them. you won't be banned from the group rides, if you have a nice group you won't even be laughed off them

    but try old school toeclips with loose straps and no cleats, that will give maybe 40% of the benefits of old fashioned cleat/clip systems or newfangled clipless without the lockdown factor or the fear factor

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