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Old 05-20-03, 06:40 PM   #1
fujibike
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clipless at last!

Well I finally broke down, got some look 396s after reading so many threads and reviews of many many pedals, and same with the shoes. So tonight I install the pedals and gingerly cruise the neighborhood making frequent stops. Practicing the clipping and unclipping not to mention coming to a stop and putting my foot down to get the feel of the shoe/cleat's stability on asphalt. Now I know all this takes practice, and I think I've found where in my pedaling stroke the unclipping is most comfortable. My biggest problem (and probably due to my impatience) is the clipping in. It takes a few strokes on the crank before I feel comfortable with my speed and line of travel before I can concentrate on getting the free foot clipped in. Am I approaching this correctly? Making too big of a deal of it? Any subtle tricks to insure pedal orientation for fluid clip in?
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Old 05-20-03, 06:45 PM   #2
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Just like getting to Carnegie Hall. Practice, practice, practice. And, you will have a few "clipless" moments and will fall over a couple of times. Part of the learning process. But, as time goes on you will to all of this without thinking about it, assuming that you ride three or four times per week. Becomes second nature and you will be very pleased with the results. Took me thirty years to make the change. But well worth the learning curve. Enjoy!!
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Old 05-20-03, 06:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by fujibike
. My biggest problem (and probably due to my impatience) is the clipping in. It takes a few strokes on the crank before I feel comfortable with my speed and line of travel before I can concentrate on getting the free foot clipped in. Am I approaching this correctly? Making too big of a deal of it? Any subtle tricks to insure pedal orientation for fluid clip in?
I think you're doing fine. As another poster mentioned, it just takes more practice to instinctively position your cleats the first time you step on the pedal. Even then you'll end up missing your fair share of initial engagements. Ask an experienced carrier pilot how many times he/she has been able to hook that number three wire. Just remember that whatever happens, never sacrifice momentum for attempting to clip in. If you don't engage right away, just keep pedalling while moving your foot around slightly. The cleats will eventually grab.
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Old 05-20-03, 06:53 PM   #4
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Clipping in will come naturally with time. Here is a general advice: If you haven't fallen, you haven't learned. So don't try too hard not to fall
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Old 05-20-03, 07:02 PM   #5
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Here is a general advice: If you haven't fallen, you haven't learned. So don't try too hard not to fall
Wow! I must be a friggen genius by now! or at the very least I deserve a special diploma.
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Old 05-20-03, 07:54 PM   #6
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I fell twice with clipless. First time was riding up a steep hill, got VERY slow and decided to stop, but by the time I remembered to unclip, I was already tilted over - the clips don't release so well when you are at an angle!

The second one, which you might not normally think about, was while simply sitting at a traffic light waiting for it to change. It's a long light and at one point I simply shifted my weight to lean to the other side. No big deal normally as you simply put your other foot down. But since it was clipped in, once again by the time I realize I was in trouble, I was already leaning and couldn't get them to release quick enough.

It is the old habits that will get you! After that fall, I started leaning to the side of the foot on the ground much more than normal so I would be more conscious of any shift of weight.

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Old 05-20-03, 08:08 PM   #7
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Windy yesterday. I stopped at a junction, unclipped my left foot, a gust of wind blew me to the right and I toppled over. Luckily noone was there to laugh.
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Old 05-20-03, 08:09 PM   #8
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It is the old habits that will get you!
I have some toe-overlap going on due to the small size of my frame. Every once in a while, if I'm not careful, I can get my toe locked in against the front wheel in such a position that I cannot twist out in the correct direction to keep me from falling over onto my side. This is the most embarassing type of crash for me and naturally occurs when I'm going slow and making a tight turn. I usually don't hurt myself too badly unless of course I happen to fall only something other than flat pavement or grass. I once fell over exitting out of a parking lot and had my elbow bang onto the curb. That smarted and left me bleeding quite badly. I was halfway through a century and the injury annoyed me all throughout the second half of the ride and into the next day's back-to-back century.
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Old 05-20-03, 08:11 PM   #9
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i have fallen a few times already, the other day i fell when i was riding a wheelie for fun... i lost balance and fell backwards on my booty (and hurt) and bent my seat post aswell.
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Old 05-20-03, 08:13 PM   #10
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Be sure to retighten your cleat screws after a few days and check them every now and then.
I like to track stand and my new frame has an overlap issue, it can be embarassing.
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Old 05-21-03, 03:20 AM   #11
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Thanks all for the advice. Real concerned about the falling part though - taking an anticoagulant and don't need any bleeding. Even carry a supply of antiseptic wipes and variety of bandages. So you can imagine I am highly focused on of clipping and unclipping - not only the process but the potential for needing to do so.
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Old 05-21-03, 06:54 AM   #12
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Fujibike,

Given the anticoagulants I might suggest practicing on
a grassy field, that way when you fall (and it will happen)
you don't hit macadam (or concrete or whatever).

Marty
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Old 05-21-03, 07:49 AM   #13
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In the beginning I had my share falls due to unclipping.

Last week I had a small spill due to something else. It made me realize my clipless system is ingrained well. While road riding, I took a small detour down a dirt road - looking for a private tree. The road was very soft from previous rains, so I was going slowly. My front wheel hit a tree root and turned sharply. This sent me sailing off the bike to my right. As I became airborne I was glad to notice that my feet instinctively twisted to unclip themselves. I cleared the bike nicely and rolled on the soft ground. I was glad to see that my feet knew what to do.

There are two kinds of knowledge (at least). Knowledge of the mind (reading, theorizing) and knowledge of the body (juggling, riding a bike, playing an instrument). The body knowledge takes more repetition to acquire but the knowledge is much more deeply ingrained and it stays with you longer. I wonder if any scientists have studied this type of knowledge?
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Old 05-21-03, 08:09 AM   #14
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Welcome to the world of clipless, I converted about 5 years ago and my roadbikes will always be clipless. Don't worry about falling too much, one time in the driveway the first day broke me!
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Old 05-21-03, 08:51 AM   #15
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I landed sideways at a Starbucks once...one of those pesky cars came from nowhere and I had to move out of the way..I wasn't planning on moving sideways clipped to the pedals but I did and survived. That was the only time I have "fallen and can't get up". Despite that, cliples is the only way to go!
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Old 05-21-03, 09:29 AM   #16
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Fell over, off the road and upside down into a ditch full of stinging nettles. That was my "break in". I thought I'd really got the hang of it, and was ready for a bit of track standing..... No lasting harm done.

I still can't balance though.

Good luck and welcome to the clipless world,

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Old 05-21-03, 11:53 AM   #17
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Fell over in my garage. Twisted my knee. Smashed my finger. Put my rear derailer into my spokes. Had to buy a new hanger. I can't wait for this weather to break and get out there again! . Make sure you adjust the tension screws on those pedals! You might clip in and can't clip out!
Welcome to the wonderful world of clippless!
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Old 05-21-03, 12:38 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by fujibike
My biggest problem (and probably due to my impatience) is the clipping in.
I have been using clipless for only a few months but is has become second nature already. I havn't fallen YET, but I have looked real stupid several times trying to get my foot out at the last minute and catch myself. It is usually something stupid like when I look back over the my shoulder on the side that is still attached. My weight shifts and the scramble to get out starts.

If you are getting out ok the clipping in becomes automatic with time. Like another poster said, if you miss on the first try just keep pedaling and readjust your foot on the pedal and within a few strokes it will clip in.
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Old 05-21-03, 11:02 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by MikeR
As I became airborne I was glad to notice that my feet instinctively twisted to unclip themselves. I cleared the bike nicely and rolled on the soft ground. I was glad to see that my feet knew what to do.
I have always been able to magically unclip from the pedals without thinking during a high-speed accident. It's those slow-speed falls where I find myself still attached (often comically struggling and thrashing my leg about to release) and looking rediculous.
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Old 05-29-03, 06:47 AM   #20
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I have been using clipless for two years now and haven't fallen yet, though I have had a few close calls. I consider myself a moderately coordinated individual and I haven't had much trouble. If you have difficulty releasing, don't panic and try the other pedal. Engaging the first time comes with practice. I still don't locked on the first try all the time. I try to plan ahead. I usually ride the same paths around town and there are some intersections that are on a slight incline. I will stop in a higher gear than norma so it will be easier to start if I miss the first time.
Remember to tighten the cleat before each ride and keep the pedal clean.
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Old 05-29-03, 09:26 AM   #21
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I have fallen three times in the last week as I get used to clipless. Two times have been in my driveway coming home after a ride. All three times have been will crawling uphill to a stop. My biggest lesson so far, make sure the screws are tight, loose cleats will not unclip.
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