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Old 02-05-08, 02:28 PM   #1
banjomamas
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pedals with clips or not????

I am a 67 year old female who is participating in her first triathlon this August. I have done all of the sports in the past, but, at this age, nothing works as well as it used to. During one of my former bike riding phases, I fell off my bike and broke a rib. Now that I am training for the triathlon, my son thinks I should use the pedals which attach to the pedals with clip on shoes. I do not have any goal except to finish the event. The triathlon is a Sprint, so it is not long. Should I stay with the regular pedals or try the clip on shoes? I am afraid of falling again ....Help
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Old 02-05-08, 03:06 PM   #2
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That's a tough question. I find it much easier to ride a bike for any distance with pedals that clip to my shoes, known as "clipless" pedals. I don't find them difficult to use, since I learned to use pedals with toe clips about 35 years ago which had to be strapped to the shoe.

From reading your question, it seems that you are very uncomfortable with the idea of having your shoes attached to the pedals. I believe that if you are afraid of using these, you have a greater chance of falling and hurting yourself. If you really just want to complete the triathlon, and you are comfortable with your current setup, I would say you shouldn't change anything.

If you want to try clipless pedals, you might see if you can try them on a stationary trainer first. Practice attaching your shoes to the pedals and unclipping from them until you are comfortable with the idea before you get on your bike to ride with these pedals. Don't go for a ride until you are completely comfortable with the feel.

Good luck on the triathlon!
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Old 02-05-08, 03:10 PM   #3
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If you get clipless pedals now and begin practicing, you will have it mastered by August. Most people do have a fall when they are first learning how to get in and out of clipless pedals. One of the easiest to get in and out of are Crankbrothers, Candy pedals. Those are actually mountain bike pedals but Crankbrothers does make a road pedal now. I personally think that clipless pedals definitely help in the overall pedaling. If you think you would be more comfortable in the current pedals you are using, use them and don't let anyone else talk you into anything you aren't comfortable with. I know how painful a broken rib can be. Good luck in your triathlon!!!
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Old 02-05-08, 03:15 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by tedshuck View Post
If you want to try clipless pedals, you might see if you can try them on a stationary trainer first. Practice attaching your shoes to the pedals and unclipping from them until you are comfortable with the idea before you get on your bike to ride with these pedals. Don't go for a ride until you are completely comfortable with the feel.

Good luck on the triathlon!
Good advice.

One additional point -- this may sound like a simple point, but -- think through in advance *which* foot you want to be your "free" foot that you put down when you stop.

I know this sounds dumb, since you're already used to coming to a stop on a bike and having a favorite foot to put down. But the first time on a bike w/clips your brain (well, at least my brain) gets a little bit unwired and you spend a couple tenths of a second thinking to yourself, "both of my feet are trapped, now what do I do?" ...that makes you uncomfortable, you start to wobble, etc. I still go through this just a a little bit every time I switch shoes or pedals and things feel a bit uncomfortable.

So just be super in clear in advance -- with me, it's right foot stays (in pedals), left foot down. I almost never, ever vary from that.
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Old 02-05-08, 04:13 PM   #5
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One of the problems with going clipless is the old fall from a dead stop. It is sort of like the tricycle fall on Rowan & Martin's laugh in. I think nearly everyone does it. It is not any big deal if you are under 50. But contact with the pavement is not as fun as it used to be now is it?

There are ways to avoid this. One is to go out and start, ride about 20 yards, clip out, and stop and do that for about 100 reps until it gets hard wired.

The advantage of clipless pedals is they give your feet a nice steady contact with the pedal and they increase your pedalling efficiency. It is a small but noticeable effect.

But on the minus side, why take any chances if you don't have to? If you are comfortable with your present set up, maybe you might not want to even fool with it.

I think this is a personal choice. Just how much risk do you want to run for a small but noticeable improvement in performance?

I run on clipless pedals. But I do not seek performance enhancers like super light bikes. If my heart and lungs and conditioning don't do it, tough. No one is going to pay me anything no matter how fast I go.
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Old 02-05-08, 06:24 PM   #6
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I think it is likely that you will fall at lest once learning to use clipless pedals. They're not hard to get used to, but there is a learning curves for even the easiest. When you get older, even that one fall may be too much. I think you'll be happier with clipless once you get used to them, but getting from here (new to clipless) to there (expirienced) is the problem. It's a tough call.
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Old 02-05-08, 06:27 PM   #7
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I have used old school toeclips and straps for 40 years and have no plans to change. Now if I could just find some of those cool old Avocet touring shoes with the steel shanks and the transverse grooves on the rubber soles -- they were the best for general purpose riding and transportation.
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Old 02-05-08, 06:43 PM   #8
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I have been thinking of trying "clipless pedals, also. Like others here, I learned to ride with toe clips 50+ yrs ago on my hand-me-down Griffon road bike when I was 13. Haven't used anything but standard pedals since, but would like to give them a try.

HOWEVER, the cardinal rule for athletes is: NEVER try out something new for the first time in competition! Always go with what you know.

If you want to try "clipless" pedals, great, but do it AFTER the triathlon.

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Old 02-05-08, 07:31 PM   #9
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First of all, congratulations on training for a triathlon at age 67! Good advice given above. If going "clipless" (i.e., special cycling shoe and pedal) seems daunting, try adding toe clips (i.e., cage and strap) to your current pedals. You will achieve similar advantages and generally be able to slide out of the toe clips in time to avoid a ground vs. body collision. The cost is way cheaper, you can stick with your running shoes when you bike, and it may give you that extra edge in the bike portion of your race to put you on the winner's stand!
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Old 02-05-08, 09:25 PM   #10
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I would ask someone else who has done the tri thing. We have a lady in our group who does tris and have not seen her in a while. I always wanted to ask how you did the transition with the shoes already clipped to the pedals? Amazing.

Good luck which ever way you go. Been thinking about trying a 5k run again this year after a long layoff from running. Beleive it or not I kind of miss it.
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Old 02-05-08, 09:31 PM   #11
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Congrats on training for the tri- good luck to you! And I hope you'll keep us posted on your progress. Personally, I'd go clipless. You have plenty of time to get used to them (which should take maybe an hour or two). Couple of words of advice: 1. Practice on a low-traffic street or paved path. 2. Practice clipping in and out with BOTH feet- separately, and then together. You should feel equally comfy and confident clipping out either foot first. 3. Yes, you will probably fall, but- these falls are 99% of the time at low-speed (often 0mph) and are probably the most embarrassing fall you'll ever have. There's some sort of law that says clipless falls always take place in front of a large group of people. Do not let this discourage you. There's no guarantee you'll fall, and if you do, you'll have plenty of time to fall the right way. It's not like a collision or anything!

Best of luck!
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Old 02-05-08, 09:57 PM   #12
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I use old style toe clips with straps and wear running shoes. This eliminates stopping to change shoes when switching between biking and running. You also eliminate the possibility of your running shoes being stolen or "moved" by a competitors team. This can shave more minutes than that given you by clipless shoes and pedals, especially if someone has sabotaged your stuff if they think your faster.
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Old 02-05-08, 10:17 PM   #13
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There is always the chance you will fall with clipless pedals. If this is an unacceptable risk for you, skip 'em.

If you would like to try them, my advice would be to practice clipping out over grass. Most people seem to pick a foot and make that their default clip out side. My feeling is you should clip out both feet all the time well in advance of coming to a stop or even well in advance of any situation where you might have to put a foot down. This is what Shimano recommends. I've learned the hard way to take this recommendation to heart.

It can be difficult sometimes to recognize some of the situations where you might go down in advance. Once you are into those situations things can get a bit hairy. It's best to err on the side of caution.

Again, if you really do not want to go down because of a failed clip out, if it's just not an option, I'd recommend against using them.

I use them. I like them. I am comfortable with them. They really are better for my knees. Having said that: I probably go down at least twice a year.

Last edited by jwbnyc; 02-06-08 at 12:24 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-05-08, 10:18 PM   #14
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I think it is likely that you will fall at lest once learning to use clipless pedals. They're not hard to get used to, but there is a learning curves for even the easiest. When you get older, even that one fall may be too much. I think you'll be happier with clipless once you get used to them, but getting from here (new to clipless) to there (expirienced) is the problem. It's a tough call.
You are not doomed to fall over if you try clipless: I've never fallen over with toe clips, Power Grips or SPD clipless.
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Old 02-05-08, 10:29 PM   #15
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I have been using Shimano SPD clipless pedals for years and have never fallen because of them.
The trick, for me, is to set them at the lightest setting possible. There will be an adjustment screw which you can use to make getting in and out of the pedals easy.
Good luck..
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Old 02-06-08, 06:25 AM   #16
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I was using toe cages for a while before I went to clipless. It was not much of a jump as I was already used to having to free my foot to stop. It was just a matter of changing the movement. However it did make a big difference in power. I practiced by riding up and down the sidewalk with grass on either side, if I fell it would be on grass. You may also try a spinning class, as most spin bikes have one side cages the other spd clips. That will also give you an opportunity to see if they give you a power boost.
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Old 02-06-08, 06:41 AM   #17
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You are not doomed to fall over if you try clipless: I've never fallen over with toe clips, Power Grips or SPD clipless.
Whew! I was beginning to think I was an oddball. I've never had a clipless fall either.

And why do people call it a clipless fall anyway? It's not the pedals that cause the problem, but the brain. Shouldn't it be called a brain fall instead? Or a bad memory fall?
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Old 02-06-08, 07:56 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banjomamas
I am a 67 year old female who is participating in her first triathlon this August.
Now that I am training for the triathlon, my son thinks I should use the pedals which attach to the pedals with clip on shoes.I am afraid of falling again
I'm 63 and have used clipless pedals since 2000. I've never fallen because I couldn't get my shoe unclipped.
Try Eggbeaters, Candys, or Smartys. They super simple to clip into and out of.
BTW: I use Eggbeaters on my commuter bike and Quattros on my road bike.
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Old 02-06-08, 11:31 AM   #19
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I have been using Shimano SPD clipless pedals for years and have never fallen because of them.
Good luck..

Now I have fallen beacuse I have not been using clipless. Pulling up on a pedal without grip is an easy way to lose balance.

You either like clipless or you don't. Only person that can find that out is you- But from a person that cannot ride comfortably unless I have clipless pedals- Listen to the other side- before you make a decision.
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Old 02-06-08, 04:05 PM   #20
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I have used old school toeclips and straps for 40 years and have no plans to change. Now if I could just find some of those cool old Avocet touring shoes with the steel shanks and the transverse grooves on the rubber soles -- they were the best for general purpose riding and transportation.
I'll never go back to clips and straps, but those shoes were really, really good!


For the OP - if you're racing, get clipless. It's not hard to learn, and will help you to be faster in your tri's.
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Old 02-06-08, 06:43 PM   #21
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Don't forget to put multi release clips on your shoes and then you shouldn't have any problems. They make it very easy to clip out when you need too.
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Old 02-06-08, 06:54 PM   #22
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Discovery advised that being attached to the pedels helped Lance less than 1%. So you may gain 36 seconds in an hour race. If you do not have a good peddle stroke clipless will no give it to you.
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Old 02-06-08, 07:07 PM   #23
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I am a 67 year old female who is participating in her first triathlon this August. Now that I am training for the triathlon, my son thinks I should use the pedals which attach to the pedals with clip on shoes. Should I stay with the regular pedals or try the clip on shoes?
I try not to do advice. I only offer information.

I've yet to meet anybody who, once they got acclimated to using clipless pedals, wanted to go back.
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Old 02-07-08, 08:30 AM   #24
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Thanks to all of you who were interested enough in my little problem to reply and offer advice. I really am overwhelmed. I still do not know what I will do, but, I think I am going to try to use the clipless pedals. I have a LONG time before my event (next Ausust) to prepare. I have a good bike store nearby, and I need to get my bike fitted again anyway, so I will try to ride a bike there with the clipless pedals to see how they feel. If I can tell that my pedaling stroke is much better and smoother, I will invest in the dreaded clipless pedals. Again, thank you for the excellent advice I was given.
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Old 02-07-08, 09:30 AM   #25
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If your goal is just to finish the triathalon, and it's a short one, I'm not sure what benefit clipless is going to give you, compared to the hassle of having to get used to them. It's not like you need them for cadence or anything....
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