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  1. #1
    Senior Member TrekmanDan's Avatar
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    When was your first "spill" with clipless pedals?

    I've had clipless pedals for about 3 weeks now and since I've had them, I've ridden about 60 miles total. Anyway, my wife and I went on our usual 15 mile ride and right around the 8 mile mark, I really had to do "number 1." Mind you, I've been holding it since 3 miles out.. and yes, I DID go before we left. Well, all I could think of was where I can go without being seen. And there it was... some sort of utilities plant that was fenced in. Part of the fence was recessed (about 15ft), so it was a good spot to park my bike and do what I had to do. So, I immediately slowed down but when I stopped, I forgot to clip out! The only thing on my mind at the time was the feeling of relief... so, needless to say, I took a spill. It wasn't too bad... I have the multi-directional cleats, so I was able to clip out at the very last minute, but I still ended up dropping my bike and the top tube hit my shin.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    that's the thing about clipless pedals.
    people tend to fear them as if being stuck to the pedal will cause a crash.

    but in real life - the first few times you ride, you forget that you're stuck in them, and then you fall extremely slowly to one side and get embarrassed.

  3. #3
    Senior Member lookinUp's Avatar
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    Several years ago, riding up to an intersection, lady in a car at a stop sign want's to turn right. I'm riding on the sidewalk towards at this intersection since my car was just a block away on this side of the road, and I slow way down and motion for her to go. She motions for me to go on across the intersection.

    I slow some more and wave her on. She rapidly waves me on. I'm at a snail's pace at this point.

    Finally, I decide to cross the road... and she decides to turn. I come to a stop and do the slow, embarassing (Artie Johnson of Laugh in) fall to the ground - unable to clip out. She watches me fall and then turns the corner and drives down the road totally unaware or uncarring of what just happened. Other than a scraped elbow and a ding on the handlebar tape of my 'new to me' Orbea Onix, it was too funny. I unclip at every intersection now.

    Trek Madone 5.2 wsd

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    I didn't have any catastrophic or funny falls (thankfully) but my fiancee did.

    she bought a Kestrel Evoke SL, very nice 16-lb bike. She got a set of Look Keo's and tried them out.
    First ride - fell when she came out and a car was double parked. bent her RD hanger.
    Second ride - fell at a stop sign. bent her RD hanger, had to get a new one.
    Third ride - rode the whole time (42 miles) with one foot unclipped.
    Fourth ride - said "screw this" and bought a set of platform pedals with toe clips.

  5. #5
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    It took me 3 weeks and 300 miles. Figured I had it down pat and would be one of the few who never fell. Came to a complete stop behind a car at a light and realized that I was still clipped in and couldn't get out in time. Both feet came unclipped when I hit the ground... I jumped up instantly. Zero injury and zero damage to the bike. There were lots of motorists behind me who got a good show though!

    7000+ miles later this remains my only clipless fall.
    Have Bike, Will Travel

  6. #6
    Senior Member CNY James's Avatar
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    It was my first summer riding... I had just gone on one of the more intense rides I had ever done and was within a mile or so of home. I came to a stop light after a good sprint and as I was stopping, unclipped my left foot. I was in the left (turning) lane and a car pulled up next to me in the right lane. After a second or so I felt my self "falling" toward my right so I picked the bike up with my right leg to counterbalance. Too little too late, I fell right into the car. No damage to him, bike was fine, and I only had a couple of minor scrapes/bruises. Major ego bruise, I just wanted to disappear. Really glad I didn't damage the vehicle and the driver was really cool about it (probably afraid that I was hurt) That last mile home was hard as hell to finish.

    The only other time I fell relating to my pedals, I was out for a ride on my single speed shortly after I got clipless pedals for it (rode platforms for a few weeks) I passed a good looking girl out for a jog (I'm married but that's not the point...) I rode another couple of miles and looped through a neighborhood to head back home. When I came to the intersection where I would turn left, I slowed down and expected to roll through. Of course, just as I got to the line, I see a van crest the hill. Hit the brakes instinctively and forgot it was still clipped in. the bike went straight backwards and I landed square on my ass. The bike made a crazy PING! sound as I came out of the pedals. I looked up and wasn't that girl that was out for a run going past at the same time. Again, no real injuries, no significant damage to my bike (just a scratch on the brake lever) but sore ego.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Caspar_s's Avatar
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    I've had one "learning" fall and two crashes whilst clipped in. The learning one I was close enough to the stop light pole that I fell against that - so no embarrassing slow fall to the ground but I did manage to hit my knee against the pole.

    The two crashes I don't remember unclipping and didn't hurt my knee/ankle or anything so the people who think they're dangerous in a crash are mistaken. The latest one I broke my hand and got all scraped up as I slid down the gutter, but either I unclipped or my foot released itself as I was going down or something.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Mr. Embrey's Avatar
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    I haven't fell down because of my clipless pedals yet. But I did fall while using the platform side though. I was riding home at night, didn't see a fallen tree branch hiding within a patch darkness. Somehow it found it's way into my spokes. It brought me to a dead stop. I shifted foreward, the bike flipped foreward and scraped the fronts of my brand new Tiagra brifters across the pavement. I never hit the ground, but something smacked my shin pretty good and the seat stabbed me in the back so hard I thought I broke a rib. I wonder how that would've went down had I been clipped in. I bet my knee would've taken most of it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member jgjulio's Avatar
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    I fell three times in the first 5 rides after I installed clipless pedals. As much as I thought about it and worried about it I fell because I had to stop fast and forgot to unclip.
    I have been riding now over a year with the clipless pedals and have not fallen again (knock on wood).
    It seems that my knee and my shin have communicated well with my brain so that I now unclip before I stop....
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  10. #10
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    I forgot to clip out! The only thing on my mind at the time was the feeling of relief... so, needless to say, I took a spill.
    I bet you almost peed in your pants, right?

    Anyway, I fell on the 2nd ride (into a lane of the freeway), and again a bit later. But I haven't fallen since (about a year now). The key for me was practicing clipping out literally hundreds of times, at all pedal positions, both feet.
    My Book: Drive, Ride, Repeat: The Mostly-True Account of a Cross-Country Car and Bicycle Adventure

  11. #11
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    I got my first clipless pedals in "85" look style, never fell in these. I started using spd's in the late 90's and fell a couple of years after I started using the spds. I was crossing a road when a car roared by and I had to suddenly stop. Fractured my elbow.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
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  12. #12
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    You Arte Johnson types are again trying to convince the rest of us that a clipless fall is inevitable.
    I ain't buying it - but I do feel your pain (not literally).
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  13. #13
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    I rode about 2000km clipless before my first "spill", it was into a snowbank so it was no big deal. You can lose momentum faster than you expect riding in the snow. I had a few close calls in the fall due to the wind giving me a little push towards my clipped in foot as I was coming to a stop.

    I got used to them quickly and now feel much safer with them, than without. I had platforms on two weeks ago and my feet would slide around a bit.

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    When was your first "spill" with clipless pedals?

    About 2 weeks after I got clipless pedals.

  15. #15
    Riding twobadfish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    When was your first "spill" with clipless pedals?

    About 2 weeks after I got clipless pedals.
    Cool story. Would read again.

  16. #16
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twobadfish View Post
    Cool story. Would read again.
    Glad you liked it.

    Did you read any of the others?

  17. #17
    Riding twobadfish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Glad you liked it.

    Did you read any of the others?
    Yeah...they were ok.

  18. #18
    Senior Member cruisintx's Avatar
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    Mine was August 17, 2010 but I wasn't trying to get out of them at the time. I only started using spd pedals about mid July and I inadvertantly hit some sand & gravel that blended into the asphalt where I was turning around and those skinny little road tires flew out from under me so fast I didn't have to say OH S#/T; much less unclip. End result; I landed with my full weight on my left shoulder. It hurt like the dickens but I was determined (or stupid) to finish my ride. I was only 4 miles into a planned 20-mile ride. I finished the ride in great pain and had to use my right arm to get the water bottles out of their cages. A few days went by and the pain only got worse so I went to the doctor. To shorten this very long saga; I had a severly torn rotators cuff and had to have surgery. Didn't get to do much riding the rest of the year but have logged 60 miles so far this year in an effort to make my goal of 1500 for the year.
    Last edited by cruisintx; 01-24-11 at 06:18 AM.
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  19. #19
    Fat Guy Rolling dcrowell's Avatar
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    My first clipless fall happened as soon as I was comfortable with the pedals, and didn't think I would ever forget to unclip.

    It happened right at the front door of the bike shop. No injury, no damage, fell from rather low (recumbent).
    Car-Free IT Geek
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  20. #20
    Bicycles are for Children Jose Mandez's Avatar
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    Beware the old skool toeclips

    I've never had a spill with clipless pedals (that I can recall). However, my Trek 520 came with the good ol' 1980's vintage plastic toe clips, that I decided to leave on there and use. I've found that I can go just about as fast with them as I do SPDs (provided I have them adjusted right), and it saves me the time of not having to change shoes when I get to work and when I leave work.

    Anyhow, it was a little after Christmas and I was just getting off work from my 7a-7p shift. I still wasn't entirely used to the toe clips (having sported SPDs on my other bikes for years), and I slowly eased the bike to a stop at a stoplight near the hospital. As my speed approached zero, I realized I was losing my balance and falling to one side. I was still kind of used to the SPDs, where you just rotate your ankle and unfasten your foot from the pedal with great speed and "catch" yourself on a dime; you can't do this with plastic toe clips. There wasn't enough time for me to back my toe out of the clip and catch myself, and so I gracelessly (and almost as if it were happening in slow motion) tumbled down onto my left side, my feet still attached to both pedals. Despite a dull ache in my left hip for the next few minutes, nothing was really hurt except for my pride, and I looked around; apparently, there had been no one there except me and the good Lord to witness this occurence.
    -Jose Mandez

    "I want to matter. I want to count. When I hear the children sing, 'Jesus Loves Me,' I hope he does. I really hope he does."-Ben Haden
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  21. #21
    rck
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    Senior Member rck's Avatar
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    Like many others mine happenend at an intersection. Stopped the bike and had a brief moment of puzzlement wondering why my foot wouldn't back out of my toe strap. I rembembered why just as I hit the road. The sad thing was that I'd been riding clipless for a couple of seasons at that point.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    My first spill caused by clipless pedals happened about, oh- thirty seconds or so after I clipped in and had reached the first stop sign. There wasn't any traffic, but I thought it was a good opportunity to practice unclipping in a low traffic environment. I put on the brakes, come to a stop and then try to put my foot down to catch myself- and then I realize that I need to unclip BEFORE I stop. I tried to get myself moving again, but I wasn't i the right gear to do that. So I'm there, trying to track stand and unclip, as the bike slowly tilts over to one side and I land on my arm.

    There was an old lady (like in her mid 70s I'd estimate) cutting her grass with an electric lawnmower at the time. As I came to a stop, she happened to be pushing the lawnmower in my general direction- so she saw the whole thing unfold. I imagine it looked really funny as I tipped over- a grown man on a bike, comes to a stop sign, and then falls to the side.

    My next 'spill' happened about 2 minutes later (I was just riding around on side streets)- at the same intersection. This time, I had managed to unclip the pedal before I hit the brakes, but as I started to put my leg down- I (don't know how I managed to do this) re-engaged the pedal. So I fell again, almost exactly the same way it happened the previous time. Again, in front of the same old lady cutting her grass.

    My only other near spill happened when I was trying to track stand at a stop light. It worked, more or less- but I looked like a bloody fool doing it. Right beside a pick up truck full of girls.

  23. #23
    Senior Member CNY James's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhdavis1978 View Post
    There was an old lady (like in her mid 70s I'd estimate) cutting her grass with an electric lawnmower at the time. As I came to a stop, she happened to be pushing the lawnmower in my general direction- so she saw the whole thing unfold. I imagine it looked really funny as I tipped over- a grown man on a bike, comes to a stop sign, and then falls to the side.

    ....

    So I fell again, almost exactly the same way it happened the previous time. Again, in front of the same old lady cutting her grass.
    she must have thought you were fcking with her

  24. #24
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CNY James View Post
    she must have thought you were fcking with her
    Hahah, yeah, it was pretty funny. It occurred to me that it'd make for a pretty funny flash mob.

  25. #25
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    I usually adjust my spring tension on my clipless, so that it will be easy to be "Unclipped" during emergency time. I fell twice and almost fell twice. The two times i almost fell:

    I unclipped my left leg, and somehow, i didn't balance myself properly, so i lean towards the right. I was scared and at the end, so during emergency, i wiggle and i just yanked my clipless out of my right foot, no falling. Since then, i had ridden about 200miles without any problem.

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