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  1. #1
    Senior Member miss kenton's Avatar
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    Okay. Well, so, I want to go clipless.

    I have never tried them and I'm scared. How do you learn how to use clipless pedals? Did someone teach you or did you just slap them on and use trial and error?

  2. #2
    Senior Member retnav94's Avatar
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    I wore mine today on my new mountain bike I put together yesterday. I ordered the clip less pedals and shimano shoes about a month ago anticipating using them when I decided on a bike. Rode 16 miles on bike path/hard pack today, no problems at all. they actually made the ride much better. Now keep in mind I only stopped once, that would be when I finished the ride but it was very easy to twist my foot and release the cleat. If they freak you out you might try just one around the parking lot a few times. Awkward I know but it might make you more comfortable with the feeling of them. That way you still can put a foot down without falling over..
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  3. #3
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    I bought a pair of M520s and a pair of shoes, mounted the pedals, mounted the cleats, tried clicking in and out a bunch of times with each foot and went for a ride. I clicked out early every time I was anywhere near needing to stop for quite a while but eventually gained confidence and it is now something I don't even have to think about.

    I convinced my wife to try (bought pedals and shoes for her, mounted them up and convinced her to try). She loved them right away and still does.

    Go for it! Just practise clicking in and out while standing over the bike till you are comfortable with the motion then go ride. Make a conscious effort to click out the foot you plan to put down well ahead of each stop till it becomes easy. It really isn't that hard.

  4. #4
    tsl
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    I was terrified of the things, and intrigued.

    My LBS is part cycling coach, and works with newbies well. They set the bike up in the trainer, did a fitting of the whole pedal, shoe, cleat combination and had me practice unclipping while they adjusted the tension.

    Then it was out to the parking lot. The owner showed me the proper technique for coasting down, unclipping and stopping. Then he had me try, and worked with me until I was doing pretty okay.

    Next he looked at his watch and said, "I'll be back in a half-hour. I need you to practice, back and forth in the lot. Start, clip in, pedal up to speed, coast down, unclip, and stop. I want you to do it continuously until I come back."

    Do you have any idea how many times I started, clipped-in, pedaled up to speed, coasted down, unclipped and stopped in that half-hour? I don't either. But, it was enough times that it soon became mind-numbing, then completely automatic.

    He came out, watched me a bit, and then let me come inside to pay, before sending me on my way.

    As a result, I can still clip in faster than anyone I know who didn't start the way I did. And I have yet to join Club Tombay.

    Big tip: Decide on one side for your "landing gear". I use my left. Then always, always, always use that same side. The people I've seen who have trouble seem to randomly pick a side to unclip and land on. Since it becomes a decision-based process rather than automatic, it opens up possibilities for errors due to indecision, forgetting to make a decision, changing your mind and what have you. It needs to be completely automatic, and the way for that to happen is for it to always be the same side.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  5. #5
    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    A couple of things might help:
    1. If you have a trainer, put your bike up in it and practice clipping in and out, either foot, and from any pedal position. If you are in a health club that has trainers, see if they have clipless. The ones at mine use SPDs. Great for practice.
    2. Set the tension on the release to pretty low.
    Extra bonus tip: I was told early on to clip out about ten yards before you need to. It's good advise.

  6. #6
    Senior Member miss kenton's Avatar
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    Excellent advice, all! I now need to go out and ride to determine which side is my landing gear. Oddly enough, when I just try to mentally picture it, I'm just not sure!

  7. #7
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    Have you decided on road or mtb shoes yet? If you get mtb shoes and pedals the shoes are easier to walk in and the pedals are double-sided. You can get mtb shoes that ae as stiff as road shoes, in most cases.
    If you're going to ride a lot and hammer a lot stiff soles will protect your feet. If you're just going to putt around a bit almost anything will work.
    In my opinion the quality of the shoes is more important than the pedals, regardless of mtb or road style.

  8. #8
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    Don't let all the joking around with "Club Tombay" and the rest of the hype freak you out; it's not as difficult as you think. You'll be fine.

  9. #9
    Senior Member miss kenton's Avatar
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    Thing is this, I was having a terrible problem with foot and toe cramping. ( I believe the problem was my transition from high heel shoes for work to sneakers for riding). It was suggested that I get some hard soled bike shoes. I bought some Shimano shoes and the cramping stopped. The BSG told me I could use these shoes went I progressed to clipless. So.

  10. #10
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    I was terrified of the things, and intrigued.

    ....snip....

    Big tip: Decide on one side for your "landing gear". I use my left. Then always, always, always use that same side. The people I've seen who have trouble seem to randomly pick a side to unclip and land on. Since it becomes a decision-based process rather than automatic, it opens up possibilities for errors due to indecision, forgetting to make a decision, changing your mind and what have you. It needs to be completely automatic, and the way for that to happen is for it to always be the same side.
    That's excellent advice. I always put the right foot down myself and always mount up from the left. I suggest occasionally practicing uncliping the "other" foot just to make sure you could do it if your primary foot gets stuck, which IS possible if you lose a cleat screw.

    Miss K you will love clipless and it will become second nature pretty quickly.

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    to old age and infirmity. You first.
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  11. #11
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    miss kenton, Really, it becomes second nature... swing your heel out when you're ready to unclip. The advice to initally set the tension adjustment low is sound advice, but be aware that you may pull out of the cleat if you're used to pulling on the upstroke until you increase the tension.

    Brad

  12. #12
    Senior Member miss kenton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis View Post
    Don't let all the joking around with "Club Tombay" and the rest of the hype freak you out; it's not as difficult as you think. You'll be fine.
    Yes, Louis, everyone says, "Oh, you'll fall a couple of times, but then you'll be fine!" But, ah, there's the rub! I'd really rather not fall.

  13. #13
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    There is nothing like fear to make you do the thing you are afraid of.
    http://alcoman.railfan.net/fear.html
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  14. #14
    Senior Member MinnMan's Avatar
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    I was terrified also, but I got over it and you will too. My first day I went to a small nearby park that has a narrow asphalt path with grass on both sides, I rode around the path over and over again, going slowly, stopping, starting stopping starting. The next day I was ready to ride on the road.

    I did two Tombays early on. Both times I just fell over on my shoulder and there was no real injury.

    Advice about always doing the dismount the same way is key. I always disengage my left foot and when the left pedal is high - at 12 o'clock. In the event that I find myself losing my balance as I disengage (i.e., the bike starts tipping over to the right), I have my right pedal down low where it's easier to do an emergency disengage and where my right leg is already extended. If my right foot were sitting high, it would be harder to do a quick disengage and my leg would not be in a position to quickly get my right foot down on the ground.

  15. #15
    Senior Member miss kenton's Avatar
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    FIND MY LANDING GEAR...ONLY I WILL REMAIN.....FIND MY LANDING GEAR.....ONLY I WILL REMAIN... FIND MY LANDING GEAR... ONLY I.... Ok. I think I've got it.

  16. #16
    Senior Member miss kenton's Avatar
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    First rule of Club Tombay: There is no Club Tombay.

  17. #17
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    It was no big deal to me, since I had been riding with the old fashioned cleats and clips/straps for several years before Look introduced the first clipless. All I had to do was remember a slightly different foot motion to get out.
    Craig in Indy

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    It was no big deal to me, since I had been riding with the old fashioned cleats and clips/straps for several years before Look introduced the first clipless. All I had to do was remember a slightly different foot motion to get out.
    Yup, same with me. With that system you were truly locked in.

    Anyone who isn't familiar with the old fashioned cleats, clips and straps...you had to reach down to the pedal, flip the release buckle, lift and pull your foot out of the cage before you could "land".

  19. #19
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    I'm in the same boat with you Lady K. I ordered some Krank Egg Beaters and Shimano MT42s. I will have them in the next few days and will post pictures of mine if you show us yours.
    I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

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  20. #20
    Senior Member carlspeed's Avatar
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    I did my first ride with clipless yesterday. I didn't really find it that difficult to get OUT of the pedals. Before you put a foot down, just ratchet your heel to the outside about 15 degrees and it's released. I even forgot to do it a couple times (some stop and gos on the trail for cars) and when I tried to get my foot out it was stuck! I still had plenty of time to just swing out whichever foot I wanted and put it down. It takes some balance, but if you post up in your garage or house and just hold something while you sit on the bike and practice clipping out, I really can't think of any reason for you to not be completely fine with it in a manner of 10 minutes or less. Clipping in for me is a bit tougher, because I have a desire to try to do it too fast. When I go slow I can clip in really easy, but if I try to do it fast I'll push the pedal down and loose the mesh from the front part of the pedal and the shoe.
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  21. #21
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I've always read that "everyone falls". So far I haven't. I think getting pretty good at riding a bike very slowly first is a help there.

    I slapped 'em on and went at it, basically. The bike shop put the cleats on my shoes when I bought them, I put the pedals on the bike, and had at it.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  22. #22
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    I was using toe clips and straps in the mid-80's. When I first started riding back in 1972, we used really tight, narrow Italian cycling shoes made of perforated leather beaten really thin, and you had to find a cobbler to nail in the TA Jacques Anquetil cleats. If you had small feet you were lucky beause your shoes would fit comfortably inside the spring steel toe clips, but if you had big feet, you'd have to space out the clips or really jam your toes into the cages. By the mid-80's, cycling shoes were coming with cleats built-in, and the soles were made of plastic. But in 1985, Bernard Hinault started winning the Tour de France using bike pedals made by a ski binding manufacturer that you just snapped into. So all the racers seeking an advantage started using the white Look clipless pedals, me included. Took me about a month before they became second nature, and I remember falling once, maybe twice, when I got to stoplights and couldn't unclip. There are certain positions in the pedal stroke where it's really awkward to rotate your foot, like at 11 o'clock, for example. But now I wouldn't use anyting else. I am able to use shoes one Euro size larger and more comfortable because I don't have to accommodate the steel clips. And when I need to do some walking, I use the Shimano RT80 touring shoes, which are much more comfortable than trying to walk in the old-fashioned cleats. In a pinch, you can even just wear running shoes over clipless pedals.

    I think the key to it is to just do it. You can set the tension really low at first, but then you have to be careful pulling up.

    Luis.

  23. #23
    The Professor akohekohe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billydonn View Post
    I suggest occasionally practicing uncliping the "other" foot just to make sure you could do it if your primary foot gets stuck, which IS possible if you lose a cleat screw.
    +1
    The more you drive the less intelligent you are. - Tracy Walter as Miller in Repo Man.

  24. #24
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post
    I was using toe clips and straps in the mid-80's. When I first started riding back in 1972, we used really tight, narrow Italian cycling shoes made of perforated leather beaten really thin, and you had to find a cobbler to nail in the TA Jacques Anquetil cleats. If you had small feet you were lucky beause your shoes would fit comfortably inside the spring steel toe clips, but if you had big feet, you'd have to space out the clips or really jam your toes into the cages. By the mid-80's, cycling shoes were coming with cleats built-in, and the soles were made of plastic. But in 1985, Bernard Hinault started winning the Tour de France using bike pedals made by a ski binding manufacturer that you just snapped into. So all the racers seeking an advantage started using the white Look clipless pedals, me included. Took me about a month before they became second nature, and I remember falling once, maybe twice, when I got to stoplights and couldn't unclip. There are certain positions in the pedal stroke where it's really awkward to rotate your foot, like at 11 o'clock, for example. But now I wouldn't use anyting else. I am able to use shoes one Euro size larger and more comfortable because I don't have to accommodate the steel clips. And when I need to do some walking, I use the Shimano RT80 touring shoes, which are much more comfortable than trying to walk in the old-fashioned cleats. In a pinch, you can even just wear running shoes over clipless pedals.

    I think the key to it is to just do it. You can set the tension really low at first, but then you have to be careful pulling up.

    Luis.
    I remember those days quite well. All I can't remember is the brand of Italian shoe I had. It was pretty cheap - I couldn't afford much after buying the bike. I had to borrow my dad's little make-shift drill press (the kind that you clamp a hand drill into) to drill the cleat bolt holes into the soles of the shoes. I had to replace cleats a lot more often than I do now, too. They weren't necessarily softer than modern materials, but the slot in them where they engaged with the pedal cage was narrow enough that a little bit of walking would deform the plastic at the edge of the slot, making it almost impossible to press the cleat down onto the cage.

    I'd actually forgotten about having to reach down to snug up (and to loosen) the straps. That action alone created a whole industry - strap buttons. Remember them?
    Craig in Indy

  25. #25
    Senior Member donheff's Avatar
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    My wife and I did the trainer route and used M324 pedals (flat on one side). We are in the city and do a lot of stop and go for parts of our routes. Being able to comfortably ride out of the clips is helpful. Practicing for a few minutes on the trainer is all you need to learn. If you use something like the 324 you could skip the trainer and ride one clip in one out for a while to practice unclipping. I have been riding clipless for a couple of years now and my wife for about 8 months. I never fell due to clips and my wife fell once (when I made a sudden turn into a steep drive - she followed and came to a halt at the top of her stroke and couldn't push the pedal over - she fell into a bush)
    Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson

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