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  1. #1
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    These darn clipless pedals

    So I finally make the jump to Speedplay clipless last month on my road bike and now officially have TWO non displaced fractures of my upper forearm. Did the first one to my left arm Labor Day weekend and then fell on my right side last Friday! Both were almost at complete stop with foot out of one side and then spilled to the other. Should I be clipping out of both when coming to a stop?...is the tension too high? Is there a "right" way to crash at low speed? I'm looking for any advice to stop this, after all I'm all out of arms to break!

  2. #2
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    I'm really sorry to hear that.

    FWIW, I unclip BOTH feet almost instinctively when approaching a stop.

    Only you can say if your tension is set too high. But, if you can't get out of the pedal and you are trying to, I would say that the tension is too high OR your motor skills have not learned to obey your will in this matter.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the info. Recent history has certainly showed my brain does not catch up with my fall fast enough so when I get this right arm healed I think it will be in my best interest to clip out of both when stopping. I can't let my new nickname(Crash) stick!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Xtrmyorick's Avatar
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    I used to unclip both, but got over it a long time ago. You just learn to keep your weight leaned to the side that's unclipped. One thing you can try is to slide forward off your saddle so you're over your top tube. This'll keep you from having to stand on tip-toe with your unclipped foot, which can be precarious.

  5. #5
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by azgolfer
    So I finally make the jump to Speedplay clipless last month on my road bike and now officially have TWO non displaced fractures of my upper forearm. Did the first one to my left arm Labor Day weekend and then fell on my right side last Friday! Both were almost at complete stop with foot out of one side and then spilled to the other. Should I be clipping out of both when coming to a stop?...is the tension too high? Is there a "right" way to crash at low speed? I'm looking for any advice to stop this, after all I'm all out of arms to break!
    I don't quite see how you fell over other than one thing I did early on. I also had one foot unclipped and was actually stopped. However, I shifted my weight without thinking to the other side. Without clips, this is no big deal as you just put your other foot down. But since it was clipped in, I couldn't do that (note that as you start to fall over, the angle of your foot, body, etc, all change so the way you would normally be twisting out doesn't work too well because it isn't designed to be done at just any angle - at least not on mine).

    I guess less tension would give more leniency to this problem.

    Anyway, I just make sure I'm always leaning well to one side.

  6. #6
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    Speedplays do not have a tension adjustment. If you install them with the screws really tight, they can be hard to get out of. My experience has been that these are the easiest to get out of any pedals.

    As to falling, do NOT throw your arm out to catch your weight. Usually the load will go right into your shoulder and break your collarbone. You can throw your arm out and up and land along your whole side spreading the load. You can also hold onto the handle bar and tuck your arm in still to spread the load. You want to curve your body up to get your head out of the way and spread the length of time of impact. The best thing is to figure out your pedal problem, if you have time to fall at a stand still, you have the time to pop your foot out.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
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    In the course of a couple months, I've done the "turtle" about 4-5 times. Most of those were when I was going uphill, and didn't have quite enough momentum (or reflexes) to unclip in time. Fortunately, it was only my pride that was hurt. Somewhat remarkably, the falls seem to be painless. It's nothing that I've (intentionally) practiced, although I think being relaxed helps. Compared to playing soccer, falling over is gentle.

    What I'm learning is that pretty much everything is a skill that you have to practice or just absorb through brute repetition; it takes a while. In the first month, I realized that even though I could ride 50 miles, I didn't really understand shifting or braking as well as I thought I did. But learning the subtleties is part of what makes it fun.

    I'd suggest some elbow pads until you get acclimated which you will eventually.

  8. #8
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    We all have our clipless stories. I only unclip my left foot when coming to a stop.

    As rev wrote, learn how to break a fall.
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  9. #9
    Meow! my58vw's Avatar
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    I have lots of clipless stories from work too. I manage to fall in water all the time (usually trying to turn at high speed in water. Now I instictivly unclip the foot that is inside the turn in these situations. Learning to fall is the best thing to do. I can remember the first week I ever did secuirty patrol I feel hard and sprained my wrist and was off the bike for a week. Now I fall and besides some road rash or cuts I am fine (or course my butt and hip sometimes hurts the next day...
    Just your average club rider... :)

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    You can practice falling on damp grass. Keep your hands on the bars, your head and elbows tucked in, and take the impact on your shoulder.
    Have you considered a tricycle. These dont fall over when you stop.

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    Senior Member larue's Avatar
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    Clipless got me today as well. I was traveling on a narrow path and as I was going downhill another rider was approaching uphill. I knew there was enough room but I guess I couldn't make up my mind what to do and fell over. I always land on my darn knees but luckily it was my left knee for once.
    I realize when I first saw the guy going uphill I should have stopped and waiting for him to pass. Oh well, lesson learnt.
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  12. #12
    World Champion, 1899 Maj.Taylor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev.Chuck
    As to falling, do NOT throw your arm out to catch your weight. Usually the load will go right into your shoulder and break your collarbone. You can throw your arm out and up and land along your whole side spreading the load. You can also hold onto the handle bar and tuck your arm in still to spread the load. You want to curve your body up to get your head out of the way and spread the length of time of impact.
    Yea, what he said.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dexmax
    As rev wrote, learn how to break a fall.
    That's a terrible pun to use on a guy with two broken arms.

  14. #14
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW
    Have you considered a tricycle. These dont fall over when you stop.
    You must never have watched Rowan and Martin's "Laugh-in" show!

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    You are lucky the ground broke your fall. If it hadnt been there, you would still be falling.

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    Thanks for the advice, Rev. I just have been instinctively breaking the falls with an outstretched arm, and my ortho Doc said it's amazing I didn't break the wrist. So if there is a next time I will hopefully find myself holding onto the tops and fall on my side. Until then, training on a LifeCycle at the gym will have to do. There hasn't been any reports of boken bones inside! Cheers.

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    What's the object of these clipless pedals? Are they something of use to a pro but actually bad for the casual cyclist?

    It sems to me that if the object of these devices is to increase efficiency (I'm assuming) they aren't working for many people and are actually creating inefficiency rather than efficiency. Like broken arms, that's pretty inefficient.

  18. #18
    Senior Member squeegy200's Avatar
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    I've learned to instinctively unclipped my right foot at each stop and lean in that direction. Only fell over in the opposite direction once when I first learned to use Clippless pedals.

    Clipless pedals offer greater efficiency over long distances and greater speeds. They also make climbing more efficient. On the road bike, clipless is much safer than the old strap type pedals. You can actually take your foot out at a stoplight rather than acquire track standing skills.

    On a mountain bike, in addition to the efficiency benefits, I've found clipless pedals effective in maneuvering the weight of my bike.

  19. #19
    World Champion, 1899 Maj.Taylor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boilermaker1
    What's the object of these clipless pedals? Are they something of use to a pro but actually bad for the casual cyclist? It sems to me that if the object of these devices is to increase efficiency (I'm assuming) they aren't working for many people and are actually creating inefficiency rather than efficiency. Like broken arms, that's pretty inefficient.
    It's not inefficiency, it's inexperience--both with using the pedals/cleats and as a cyclist overall. As I always say to someone just starting out, "You will fall. Count on it. And if you're afraid to fall, sell your bike now--before you fall and scratch it."

    But to answer your question, they do increase efficiency dramatically. And what some people forget is there was a time when pulling out of a pedal could be far more disastrous than not being able to unclip. I've seen that happen too many times during a race's final sprint. It's happened to me, but not ever with clipless. (Whew! Good to get rid of that menace.) With a little practice (and a couple of falls), you'll find today's pedals easier to both get into and out of than toe clips. Moreso, getting out of them in an emergency is far easier and faster than with the old toe clips.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member AlanK's Avatar
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    I agree with the major. After a couple years using only clipless, I got my a set or standard pedals with toe clips. At first I hated the toe clips, but I'm gradually getting used to them. I still prefer clipless overall, but sometimes standard pedals are more convenient. If I'm only traveling a short distance, and will be doing quite a bit of walking, I use the standard pedals. I've also started using them for commuting since I don't have to carry a separate set of shoes for work. I haven't done any overnight trips, but I'll probably go with standard pedals for the same reason.

    Stick with the clipless pedals though. When I first got them, it took some time to adjust, and yes I fell on my butt, though I just got a couple bruises. Once you get used to them, it's much more fun to ride than standard pedals, with or without toe clips.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Avalanche325's Avatar
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    I remember the day that I decided to get clipless pedals. I had regular platform pedals on my MTB. I hopped over a log. The rear wheel caught, my feet came off of the pedals, and I smashed my "goods" on the top tube. I'd rather fall over on my side any day.

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    I am always looking for ways to make riding a bike more comfortable, and less "efficient". In the course of a day, I might be riding one of my bikes in tennis shoes, bike shoes, or wingtip dress shoes. On summer week-ends, I enjoy riding with sandals. A couple months ago, I bought an old bike that used big, flat platform BMX pedals. I discovered that this particular pedal design was confortable with sandals, and any kind of shoe, both for short rides, and for all day rides. These pedals are almost as wide as the sole of my shoes...the entire ball of my foot fully supported...who could imagine such "inefficiency"?

    A friend of mine won't ride her bike 14 blocks to work, because of the hassle/embarrassment of riding up to her job with her clip-in bike shoes, and then changing into her dress shoes. With flat platform BMX pedals, she could ride with her high heeled shoes.

    Most people who drive to work have no desire to commute driving in an Indy 500 race car. When bike riders decide that they don't have to "be like Lance", folks will be able to select pedals and other equipment based only on their own unique personal tastes and preferences.

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