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Old 05-24-06, 01:36 AM   #1
blackDoggy
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Share your ideas on how [not] to fall with clipless

I ordered the entry level Eggbeaters from Performance Bike, they ended up a lot more expensive than expected due to taxes, but now I'm gone clipless. Yesterday was my first ride. I had read the all the topics on how folks have crashed/falled over/etc, including the famous 'unclip one side, fall to the other', 'come to traffic light, forget you're riding clipless'. So I thought that I am pretty prepared Anyway, I would like to present a new way of falling with clipless... Beware of letting your jeans too close to the front chainring. The jeans become stuck, and the I could not move my foot, which resulted in a spectacular crash. This was like the 3rd crash in the last 3 years of cycling. Not that it's a good idea to ride with jeans anyway.

Could you share your clipless experience? How not to fall, what to do when you're sure you ARE falling, what's the strategy when going over a very technical parts of road/singletrack (mud, very steep hills), etc.
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Old 05-24-06, 04:01 AM   #2
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Being new to clipless, I occasionally appear to be also clueless, especially while looking up from the ground. I've tipped over twice now. The first time was rather unremarkable but the second time I was with a group of social level riders who happened to be especially clownish.

At the end of a scheduled rest stop, we were slowly saddling up to leave. As I was somewhere in front, I yelled something idiotic like, "Get the lead out!" and promptly fell over. The sound was distinctly like that of a sack of wet, heavy lawn clippings being tossed out to the curb. There was another sound that was distinctly like laughter.

How not to fall? Un-clip, you fool, un-clip.
What to do when you're sure you are falling? Go, "AAARRRRGHHHH!"
My stategy for Technical Stuff and mud? Don't Go There.
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Old 05-24-06, 04:41 AM   #3
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I'm not very coordinated; but I've never fallen because I didn't unclip. I am extremely habitual which is probably why I have never fallen because I didn't unclip. I take my foot off the pedal exactly the same way every time. At this point it isn't a concious process;I just lead with the heel by instinct. In a split second I place my foot on the ground. When you think about it you had to learn to do someting very similar without clipless pedals because a "regular" pedal is under your foot and to put your foot down you had to learn to move it off to the side of the pedal and onto the ground (you didn't just push down through the pedal). This new (clipless) method just involves leading with your heel; everything else is the same.
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Old 05-24-06, 06:00 AM   #4
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First of all, roll up those jeans, or get a chainring cover.

Otherwise, just practice. Practice both sides, over and over.

Or join the horizontal trackstand club!
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Old 05-24-06, 07:59 AM   #5
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It came pretty natural to me. My first time (only time) to fall was on my mountain bike as I had no road bike at the time. I had just put my eggbeaters on the day before so this was my first ride of any distance with clipless. So I'm riding through some trails here in Memphis and I come to a real tight u turn around a fence line. As I ride up to the end of the fence I look ahead and right in the path is about a 5 foot snake sunning himself in my path. In that split second I consider trying to jump him, run over him or try to stop in time. First day with the clipless so probably not a good idea to practice jumping and running over him might get me bit. So I brake as hard as I can, come to a stop and slowly fall right over. Thud. About 5 feet from the snake. Well he just slithers away and all I can do is laugh and thank God noone else was around to see my graceful fall. Since then I've had maybe a couple of close calls on the trails but none on the road bike.
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Old 05-24-06, 08:06 AM   #6
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Ditch the jeans and unclip before you stop. There,its all good.
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Old 05-24-06, 08:35 AM   #7
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Put your jean legs inside your socks.

ALWAYS, whenever there is any possibility that you might have to come to complete stop, unclip at least one foot. The second to reclip is nothing compared to the time spent recovering from a fall.
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Old 05-24-06, 09:39 AM   #8
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Countersteer. I notice that when I'm just about to stop and clip out my right foot, I slightly countersteer by turning the handlebars left / pushing down on the right. This ensures that after I clip out, I will be leaning over on my right side.
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Old 05-24-06, 10:15 AM   #9
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Loosen the tension on the pedals until you get used to it. I did, and I never fell because of forgetting I was locked in.
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Old 05-24-06, 10:27 AM   #10
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I think the biggest mistake beginners make with clipless is they don't unclip forcefully enough. I agree with setting the spring tension loosely (if it's adjustable on your pedals), but the main thing is, don't be shy about unclipping. Unclip with gusto when you stop! I've heard people say, after a fall, "well I think I tried to unclip, but I just didn't get my foot out in time." I'll say this, too: like most everything else, repetition is the key. Just keep on doing it, and eventually you'll have a hard time remembering the last time you fell. I fell a few times at first, but I can honestly say I haven't toppled over because of a clipless "incident" in several years.

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Old 05-24-06, 10:33 AM   #11
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Eggbeaters are fairly easy to get out of. The release is set by which shoe you put the cleats on. Read the instructions and start with the easier one. I have never had a problem with my 'beaters. The eggbeaters are nice because my shoe will usually grip the pedal somewhat even if I miss the clip in. This is big when coming out of a stoplight. With some systems I have used, if you miss the clip your foot slides off and can cause some problems.
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Old 05-24-06, 02:12 PM   #12
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My best trick was to fall over once. After that I haven't forgotten .
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Old 05-24-06, 02:59 PM   #13
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Just like Carnegie Hall: Practice! Practice! Practice!

On a more realisitc note: Probably the best skill anyone can develop is slow speed handling skills. You should be able to come to a complete stop with both feet on the pedals and still remain upright for at least a second or two. Generally when I come to a stop, I am barely moving and unclipping at the same time. Even after I am disengaged from the pedals, I am not moving as I put my foot down.

Which way do you move your heel to unclip? Most people I see move their heel outward. I've always found this to be a very awkward movement. I prefer to pull my heel inward and I seem to disengage quicker and easier.

When I do fall over (and it happens more often on a mountain bike then a road bike) I try to keep ahold of the bars and present my gluteus maximus to the ground as well as my shoulder and upper back. Try not to throw your hand out to catch you since that's a great way to meet orthopedists Again, if you have mastered slow speeds, the fall is more of a pride hurter than anything else.

And, finally, as others have told you, lose the pants! Okay, let rephrase, don't ride in pants! The reason that cyclists ride in tight fitting clothing isn't becuase it shows off our assests We ride in those goofy black tights and shorts because you don't wanna have lots of stuff flapping around and getting caught in the machinery! It ain't about style - it's function!
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Old 05-24-06, 03:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michigander
Loosen the tension on the pedals until you get used to it. I did, and I never fell because of forgetting I was locked in.
+1

I found that having a very low tension on the pedal for the first few rides helped a lot. The natural force of falling should make you unclip if the tension is low enough.
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Old 05-24-06, 03:10 PM   #15
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BMX pedals. Pros use clip in pedals for a number of reasons. They often ride for three or four hours without stopping, and don't need to take their feet off the pedals until the end of the stage or the end of the race.

Urban riders with bike shoes and clip in pedals look silly. Every hundred yards, they need to put their foot down at a stop sign or red light (or they can run the red light, to avoid putting their foot down).

Then, they get to Starbucks, and look as if they are iceskating, as they slip and slide across to the cash register.

Not racing? Ride in the city? Just get a good pair of MKS BMX style pedals (for places such as Rivendell.com...the owner of Rivendell uses BMX pedals on a $3,000 bike). As a bonus, you can wear any shoes you want. Dress shoes. My favorite for riding, skate board shoes. Or even sandals. Get where you are going and WALK into the store instead of sliding.

Of course, if you ride in a group, and everyone in your group using racing pedals, you will get called names. Last time I posted on this topic, the most common name was "moron".

But, you will be the "moron" who is standing up straight at the red light, while your buddy picks himself up off the ground.
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Old 05-24-06, 09:09 PM   #16
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I think this whole "sliding around" thing is pretty funny. It occurs to me that anyone that can ride with clipless pedals ought to be coordinated enough to walk in the shoes. I've never had a problem, but the SPD-SL cleats do have those nifty rubber outriggers so maybe I'm missing some of the excitement.

It also occurs to me that anyone that is serious enough and their riding style is appropriate for them to go clipless would have invested in comfortable riding shorts before they spent the money on pedals and shoes. Just sayin'...
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Old 05-25-06, 06:07 AM   #17
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Don't stop.
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Old 05-25-06, 06:45 AM   #18
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I think this whole "sliding around" thing is pretty funny. It occurs to me that anyone that can ride with clipless pedals ought to be coordinated enough to walk in the shoes.
I saw something that is typical in my neighborhood. A guy was going out just to ride by himself. But, he put on full racing gear. Racing shoes. Because he was just going to be riding a few miles, he did not take an extra tube with him. Got a flat. Ended up walking five miles home in racing shoes. When I saw him, he was almost home. Maybe racing shoes are easy to walk in for fifty feet. But, this guy looked rather pathetic after struggling five miles in those shoes. He was limping and walking sooo slooow.

When I saw him, I was riding along wearing cut-off jeans, a tee-shirt, and sandals. I may not have looked "like Lance"...the mandatory "look" for many cyclists, but I was enjoying my ride more than he was enjoying his ride.

I was reading about an early RAAM where the leader got from California to Texas when he could no longer stand another hour of racing shoes and racing pedals. He switched to regular pedals and loafers. He won RAAM and set the RAAM speed record. He discovered something that ought to be obvious: the best pedals and best shoes are the ones that feel good on your feet.
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Old 05-25-06, 06:51 AM   #19
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I would just fall a few times in the grass from the start, that way you don't have to continually say "I have never fallen" and jinx yourself when you're out on the road.
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Old 05-25-06, 07:01 AM   #20
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I read that somewhere. Ride around the park and pratice. I just keep the tenison loose as somebody above said. Walking around in the shoes,i dont go for walks in them,just around the garage and its not a problem if your careful.
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Old 05-25-06, 07:08 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
ALWAYS, whenever there is any possibility that you might have to come to complete stop, unclip at least one foot. The second to reclip is nothing compared to the time spent recovering from a fall.
Seconded -- get used to pre-emptive unclipping, even when you don't need to, and you'll do it by force of habit when you need to.
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Old 05-25-06, 07:32 AM   #22
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You know what happens to us vet clipless. You wait longer to unclip and then it sticks that one time and you panic for that split second.
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