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Thread: Clipless Wrecks

  1. #1
    RAGBRAI. Need I say more? Steele-Bike's Avatar
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    Clipless Wrecks

    I have had clipless pedals on my bike for many months now, but I have yet to biff while using them. My fear is that my feet will rip off my ankles if I flip.

    Is this a legitimate fear?

  2. #2
    Little Debbie Fiend Club KevinG's Avatar
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    A friend of mine broke her ankle a few months ago in a race. She fell over and could not get out of her Times. She said she felt/heard a pop and assumed it was the cleat coming out of the pedal. WRONG! It was her ankle. Ouch!
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    Carfree since '82. Grrr! JonR's Avatar
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    No, no reason to fear. Even if you don't come unclipped, which is highly unlikely, the worst that would be liable to happen is that a big piece of your shoe sole will be torn out. That's what happened to me the one and only time I didn't get unclipped. If you didn't unclip and your feet stayed on the pedals and you landed on the right side, instead of the left, you might get gouged by the chain ring (like in that pretty photo that Rich posted a while back). But that could happen with clips and straps, too.

    P. S. I hadn't read Spic-Mick's post yet when I wrote that. Obviously there are exceptions! But that, too, could happen with clips and straps.
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    Ich bin ein Lowlander! toolfreak's Avatar
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    Steele-bike, your fear is right twisted ankles are no exception
    Just kidding, set your torque adjustment screws to light and take your bike to a quiet place.
    Practice at low speed, become natural with the spd`s, it`s important to see in front of you, look at the points where you have to step off, take the time to release your feet.
    Riding with these things is much comfortable, i can`t ride without them (how bad! ),

    Good luck,
    Mark







    Dancevalley 2th of august 2003 -> JXL, Laidback luke, Sasha, John Digweed, Monica Krusse.....and on!

  5. #5
    Ich bin ein Lowlander! toolfreak's Avatar
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    I didn`t read the post of Jon and Spic-Mick, but they`re right, if your torque screw is set to "tight" , you can brake your ankle due a fall, if you set the screws to more comfortable stand, your feet wil pop out during a crash (talking about my own crashes)
    Mark







    Dancevalley 2th of august 2003 -> JXL, Laidback luke, Sasha, John Digweed, Monica Krusse.....and on!

  6. #6
    Senior Member HuffyMan's Avatar
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    After about a month of successful rides with clips. I had a " get-off" at a local railroad crossing. The train was going by and I came to a full stop and gracefully unclipped my right foot and held my ground like a pro. When the train left I waited for the traffic to clear and unwittingly turned my wheel to a bizzar angle and proceeded to start off. Within milliseconds it was apparent that this particular choice was not going to work and the combination of my clipped left foot and right foot loose became a recipe for disaster. Most road shoes are designed for bike use only with no thought of off-bike traction so I went down...HARD. The only presence of mind that I retained was to keep my BIKE from getting scuffed so as I fell I lifted my left foot up, raising my bike over me. This caused no end of entertainment for the engineer driving a second train behind the first. I could barely hear his muffled golf-clap while I was writhing on the blacktop. Maybe this means that the initiation for me is over and I'm in the club.

  7. #7
    Senior Member nebill's Avatar
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    Well, I agree with those who stress the proper adjustment of the tensioning device on the pedals. Back in the old days when I snow skied, I was fanatical about having the bindings correctly adjusted. As a result, I survived many spectacular crashes without ever sustaining an injury. The same idea holds true with the pedals. Even though I have only been using clipless pedals for a little over a month, my feet come out of them without hardly thinking about it. I am glad that they do, too. The other morning on the way to work, as I approached an intersection, I did not see any vehicles approaching. I had my right foot off the pedal in case I had to stop, and was just about to stand on the left pedal when a car suddenly appeared from behind a huge bush. Of course, I had plenty of space to safely stop, but the rapid halt put me off balance, falling to my left, of course! I unclipped my left foot and got it down without really falling....and then gave a jaunty wave to the motorist, as if to say "Me and Lance and the rest of the guys always stop this way!" And, the place where I skinned my knee on the end of the drops is almost all healed now!
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  8. #8
    riding a Pinarello Prince orguasch's Avatar
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    No, you won't have a broken ankle even if you have an endo, coz' as soon as you twist your shoes on the clipless pedal the cleats will disenggaged itself from the pedal, so the body would be flying with out your bike, and just pray that the bike doesn't land on your head or you will have a broken head, I am telling you this because I have personally experience it (although I have a Look Clipless pedal)
    "Racso", the well oiled machine;)

  9. #9
    Dances with Rocks Dirtgrinder's Avatar
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    Steele-bike, I've endoed with my SPD's before. Ended up about six feet past the bike and don't even remember coming out of the pedals. When I first got the pedal I took 3 turns off the tensioners and haven't changed it since. Worked fine for me.
    I wouldn't worry about coming out of 'em. You will! DG
    If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough...

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  10. #10
    Member Stumon's Avatar
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    I've never used clipless pedals... There's probably a support group for that, like Luddites Anonymous... "My name is Stu, and... sigh... I'm afraid of new technology...sobbb."

    I used to date a girl who rode a lot, and had a clipless bike (no, I have no idea what kind of pedals or shoes, but the bike was a Cannondale.) She used to needle me about my Reebok walking shoes stuck into their Performance Bike plastic clips & straps... even though I did at least have the fashion sense to wear BLACK Reeboks. She also didn't think that my U2 concert tee was appropriate roadie wear. (She'd have smacked me if she'd known that I had FoTL briefs on under my bike shorts!)

    Anyway, this girl... we'll call her Christina Marie... was rocketing back to base after a fassst dawn patrol, and a yappy little rat-dog gave chase... Now, this was on her home street, and she knew the dog and its owners. It was harmless, really. Except that this time, it ran out in front of her, and under her front wheel. She went over the bars, and, still clicked into the pedals, took a mailbox off of the post with her face, and endoed into a utility pole next to said mailbox.

    The result? Two compression fractures of adjacent thoractic vertebrae, one broken jaw, one broken nose, two very very black eyes, one fractured ankle, and one dislocated hip, which later turned out to have a hairline fracture.

    That was in August of 1993. She was in various braces and casts until Spring of 1994, has undergone numerous facial cosmetic surgeries, still limps noticeably... and, most importantly, swears she'll never get on a bicycle again. She sued the dog owner... and collected $14,000. Medical care, however, has cost more like $200,000.

    I see her from time to time, we have dinner or catch a movie. When talk turns to bikes... which it rarely does, she first admonishes me for continuing to ride (women have this "common sense" gene that us guys seem to lack) then strongly advises me to NOT go clipless.

    I NEVER say "Told ya so."

  11. #11
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    I have to agree with everyone about the tension adjustment. I have Looks and SPDs and set the tension to the point where I don't pull out when climbing hard, but can easily unclip if a quick stop is required.
    I've fallen twice with the SPDs and came close to falling once with the Looks. Curses, now I'm doomed to fall again. I guess its like talking about the last time you had a flat.

    I've never known anyone who had any serious problems with a fall, other than bruises and scrapes. Maybe I'm just lucky. :thumbup:

    Ron
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  12. #12
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    I probably shouldn't say this right now, but I have never crashed on my clipless pedals because of being unable to unclip. Having said that, I'll probably die today!

    Chris
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  13. #13
    riding a Pinarello Prince orguasch's Avatar
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    ChristL, knock on wood....
    "Racso", the well oiled machine;)

  14. #14
    Senior Member technogirl's Avatar
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    Boy, do I have that same fear of breaking limbs and such with using clipless pedals. I figure I'm still trying to ride my bike, and so far so good. I have managed to learn to chew gum and ride at the same time. Again, so far, so good.

    I have tried, once, to pull my water bottle from it's little frame on my bike, and decided against it, since I couldn't do the technique without super-concentrated effort. I will attempt again!

    Alas, at least I DON'T have training wheels on my bike...but who knows...

  15. #15
    Carfree since '82. Grrr! JonR's Avatar
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    I guess it's been a few posts since I said it, so time to say it again: I think fear of clipless pedals is ungrounded in fact. You can just as easily come to serious harm with clips and straps. If you want total freedom of your feet, you will have to put up with platform pedals and no restraints.

    Clipless pedals properly adjusted are far easier to get out of than clips and straps even modestly tightened. I know this from many miles using both systems, although I can only vouch for SPD's. I see no reason why Look or Time pedals or others couldn't be adjusted just as properly.

    It really puzzles me how the hysteria about clipless pedals got started.
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  16. #16
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Stumon and Technogirl,
    I have had a couple of slow motion falls when my weight shifted at the last minute and I couldn't get the correct foot down but no harm done (OK, TG, I know it's more than a couple, but do I have to admit to all of them?). That was the first couple of months. I think I have the hang of it now. Tell you what - once you try clipless you will never go back to bare pedals. The feeling of security and extra power is wonderful. I now feel SAFER with my feet clipped in. Kind of like wearing seat belts.
    FWIW,
    Raymond
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  17. #17
    riding a Pinarello Prince orguasch's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RainmanP
    Stumon and Technogirl,
    . I now feel SAFER with my feet clipped in. Kind of like wearing seat belts.
    FWIW,
    Raymond
    Raymond,
    I could have not said it more adequately..
    "Racso", the well oiled machine;)

  18. #18
    It's only a hill. Weasel's Avatar
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    Now that everyone has mentioned the pros and cons of clipless pedals, just imagine the results of clipless gloves......

    You heard it first here!

  19. #19
    0^0 fubar5's Avatar
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    I haven't had any clipless wrecks,but that is because I don't have clipless!!!!! I am going to get some shoes from my LBS in the next month or so. I already have the pedals(Ritchey Logic)so I should be set to go clipless in no time. And set for my first crash!!
    Booyah!!

  20. #20
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by fubar5
    I haven't had any clipless wrecks,but that is because I don't have clipless!!!!! I am going to get some shoes from my LBS in the next month or so. I already have the pedals(Ritchey Logic)so I should be set to go clipless in no time. And set for my first crash!!
    Your LBS might be able to give you some tips on using them, like the technique for clipping and unclipping. They helped me in that regard and I have consequently NEVER had a clipless wreck in three years of using them

    Chris
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  21. #21
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Fubar, in case no one has told you, the best way to practice clipping in and out is on a trainer. Little chance of falling there. But I've heard that some people are really talented and can accomplish anything.
    After practicing on a trainer, try clipping in and out where a fall will be slightly padded, like in the grass.
    Road rash can be painful.

    Ron
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