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Old 09-26-12, 01:30 PM   #1
Frankfast
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Two Steps Back

Just when I was gaining confidence in my clipless pedals, over I went. Some guy pulls way out at an intersection and completely disregards me. Luckily it was a slow and soft landing but still I'm discouraged. I rode with my son through 55 miles of NYC traffic recently and he was wearing clipless with no problem. I was not. I don't know how he does it. I'm beginning to think age has a lot to do with it. His reaction times are a lot quicker than mine.
I've been in two accidents with cars and a couple of other close calls in the past six months so I've thought about packing it in but a stronger force keeps getting me back on the bike. It's become a big part of my daily routine. I've concluded that there is no reward without some sort of risk.
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Old 09-26-12, 02:22 PM   #2
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I can sympathize with you. There can never be perfect safety but it is possible to move the odds more in your favor. My solution to the danger from idiot drivers is to be less of an idiot. To that end I plan way ahead to anticipate potential trouble spots and people. I also ride on the quietest, least busy roads I can find. Good luck.
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Old 09-26-12, 02:33 PM   #3
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One other suggestion, assuming you can adjust the tension in your pedals: set one one 'really loose' - whichever foot you prefer to pull out first. Won't solve all your problems, but may help some while you're getting used to 'em.
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Old 09-26-12, 02:55 PM   #4
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We don't have the traffic that others get living in big towns but I still find traffic on the weekend rides. Living by the coast attracts a lot of tourists that don't know the roads. I can ride with traffic and my danger time is on the back roads when I switch off mentally and cars suddenly appear. I have just got the mind sense to realise that every one is out to get me and am ready for them.

On the pedals and you ride what you are comfortable with. I use clipless as it make me part of the bike so I get better control but if you are not 100% happy with them- loosen the tension as far as you can and persevere for a wwhile longer.
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Old 09-26-12, 02:56 PM   #5
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Practice unclipping both feet at the same time. When you have to do a panic stop, unclip both feet. And set the tension to the lightest setting, increase it when you are more confidant.
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Old 09-26-12, 02:58 PM   #6
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One other suggestion, assuming you can adjust the tension in your pedals: set one one 'really loose' - whichever foot you prefer to pull out first. Won't solve all your problems, but may help some while you're getting used to 'em.
Yes they are adjusted to the lightest tension. That's not the problem. I haven't reached the point where I can automatically twist my foot in an emergency stop. That should be done almost unconciously. Unfortunately I have to ride in some traffic before I can get to the uninterrupted part of the ride.


I'm learning to be more cautious and I've found that you can not assume what a driver is going to do. Maybe it's best to unclip at all intersections.
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Old 09-26-12, 03:20 PM   #7
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Yes they are adjusted to the lightest tension. That's not the problem. I haven't reached the point where I can automatically twist my foot in an emergency stop. That should be done almost unconciously. Unfortunately I have to ride in some traffic before I can get to the uninterrupted part of the ride.


I'm learning to be more cautious and I've found that you can not assume what a driver is going to do. Maybe it's best to unclip at all intersections.
I do unclip my right foot before all stop lighted intersections unless I know that I'm going to make the green. Same for stop signs, except when I can see there's for sure no cross traffic, then I just come to a full stop then start up again before I fall over... sort of a 1 micro-second long track stand. That's probably not something you want to try till a bit further on.

And you're right - you can really not assume anything about what a driver will do - much better to be safe than sorry.
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Old 09-26-12, 04:18 PM   #8
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I tend to unclip but keep the front lip still in place if I feel like I may need to stop quickly.
I can still pedal "toe down" but remain unclipped until I feel safe to snap back in .

Of course, a panic stop situation gives you no warning.
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Old 09-27-12, 03:08 PM   #9
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Spend some time on a mountain bike. Unclipping quickly will become natural very quickly ;-)
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Old 09-27-12, 03:29 PM   #10
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Spend some time on a mountain bike. Unclipping quickly will become natural very quickly ;-)
So will landing on your back so your arms don't get all scratched up!
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Old 09-27-12, 03:43 PM   #11
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Spend some time on a mountain bike. Unclipping quickly will become natural very quickly ;-)
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So will landing on your back so your arms don't get all scratched up!

Surprising how many times things happen so fast on MTB's offroad that you find yourself on your back with the bike above you still clipped in. Can never call the falls Tombay though as I do not realise I am going over most of the time so no attempt made to unclip.

Did a ride today down to the town and found a lot of traffic and all the lights seemed to be set at red. Slow down for the lights and hope they will change. I do not unclip in these situations but I had to stop at every light. The left foot unclipped easily and found the kerb every time----just as the lights changed. I don't even think about unclipping--it just happens but that has taken a fair amount of riding to become natural.

Have the beater set up with pedals that are Platform one side and SPD the other. Just a short trip and I don't change out of normal shoes and just ride the bike with platforms. I always regret it as my foot keeps coming off the pedal and I have to reposition the crank to enable me to pedal away when I do stop.
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Old 09-27-12, 05:15 PM   #12
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Run a training session: fast stop, go, fast stop until you don't think about it. Have someone stand by/ride by you and holler "panic stop". After 30 cycles, this should be automatic
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