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  1. #1
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    Need Pedal Help...kinda long

    I have done a lot of searches, but can't seem to find an answer to my specific problem. I'm new to cycling, so I'm still trying to get everything figured out. I got my bike a couple of weeks ago and the guy at the LBS recommended the Speedplay Light Action pedals due to my knee issues. These are the first and only clipless pedals I've ever used. I've been riding for a couple of weeks now and rode my first metric century yesterday. I cannot get used to the pedals. I have no problems clipping in or clipping out...it's just the stopping part. For example, I start slowing down coming up to a stop sign, I unclip my right foot, but leave my left foot clipped because I need to pedal a little more. I go to stop and put my right foot down, slip a little, and fall over to the left. I AM REALLY TIRED OF FALLING. After almost falling into traffic at a red light with 1 mile left yesterday...I started wondering if it was just me or would a different pedal help. I am looking at the Look Keo's and the Shimano SPD-SL. These give me a little more platform, which may make it easier to unclip both feet and still be able to pedal those last few feet.

    I am going to be doing a lot of riding and want something comfortable and "safe". Any help would be great!!!
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    Without meaning to be snide, I think it's just you. If the problem is that you clip out on one side but lean to the other, then you are going to be falling over with anything but platform pedals. It seems to me, essentially, that you have a balance problem rather than an equipment problem, and again without meaning to be snide, perhaps you should try not leaning to the left when you are unclipping the right foot. Conversely, if you simply have to lean to the left, perhaps you should try unclipping the left foot instead of the right.

  3. #3
    Senior Member brianmcg123's Avatar
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    Everyone's a roadie, they just might not know it yet.

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    Well, I do want to stay with clipless...and I know I will eventually get better at it. I was just wondering if the larger "platform" of the look and shimano pedals made it easier when stopping.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by crisi13 View Post
    Well, I do want to stay with clipless...and I know I will eventually get better at it. I was just wondering if the larger "platform" of the look and shimano pedals made it easier when stopping.
    Six jours is correct, it is a balance and technique problem, not a pedal problem. The SPDs, Looks, or other seemingly wider pedals will not help with this. Try keeping your strong-leg clipped for a smoother single-legged pedal stroke. Also, widen your stance a bit when you have a foot down by exaggerating your lean towards the free leg.

    Congrats, by the way, on the Metric Century. Good stuff.
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    So I practiced a little more today and I think I've figured out what is happening. I am pretty short (5'3) and to get off of my bike, I have to lean a lot and use my tippy toes. The metal of the speedplay cleat is what I'm landing on causing me to slip. At least this is the best that I can figure out. I'm going to practice some more to see if I can work on the things you guys have recommended. If this doesn't work..I'm going to go back to mtb shoes. Thanks!
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    Are you sure you are on the correct frame size? You shouldn't have to lean any more than a tall person, assuming proper bike fit.

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    I'm on a 49cm Lemond (wsd). I guess the frame size is right...it's what the lbs said I should get. Here's a pic.

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    Looks fine. Why do you feel as though you have to lean over a great deal? You aren't trying to put a foot down while still in the saddle?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    Looks fine. Why do you feel as though you have to lean over a great deal? You aren't trying to put a foot down while still in the saddle?

    I guess I am. I just tried it and with my left foot clipped in and I'm putting my tippy toes down before sliding off the saddle. I can barely touch the ground from the saddle so I do have to slide forward a little. I guess I just need LOTS more practice. I think I'm also a little trigger shy since I've fallen so many times and have a lot of almost falls.
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  11. #11
    Ho-Jahm Hocam's Avatar
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    The key is to lift yourself out of the saddle and move forward so you can put your whole foot down. Put your weight on your handlebars for a moment and move forward off the saddle entirely.

    Your saddle height should not allow you to easily put a foot down while your butt is still in the saddle, you need to straddle the top tube when you put a foot down to stop.

    Then, to start going again push off with your clipped in foot while lifting yourself back into the saddle.
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    What he said. And you're right, you don't have any problems that won't be cured by plenty of practice. Done right, you're lifting your weight out of the saddle with the foot that is still clipped in, then putting your unclipped foot to the ground just as you come to stop. It should look and feel perfectly graceful and should involve no real leaning at all.

    Have fun!

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    I completely agree - don't try to put your foot down while still on the saddle. Also, when you put your foot down, put your heel down on the ground first. If the heel area on your shoe is slippery, you could add some thing grippy there - tape or something. Both my sets of road shoes have little rubbery bits on the heel that are less slippery than the cleat.

    Keep with it, those are easy-to-use pedals.

    To muddy the water, however, my knee doc told me not to use the speedplays, b/c there is too much float and it makes your muscles have to work to keep the knee aligned - a pair of less-floaty pedals, positioned perfectly, is better. They told me to use Look Keos with the red cleat.
    ...

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    No experience with the Speedplay, but have a few years with the Shimano/Look style pedals. I never have a problem with them on shorter rides, but anything over 80 miles and I would really have issues unclipping. I switched to Crank Brother Quatro pedals and wouldn't even think of using anything else now. I also switched from road shoes to mountain bike shoes for the comfort of being able to walk around normally. I have other models on my other bikes which allows me to use whatever shoes I like on any bike. Very nice. I have a pair of Keen commuter sandals that have these cleats on them so I can use them on any bike as well. They are VERY easy to clip in and out and I haven't had a problem getting hung up in them, even in a panic. I haven't found a drawback to them yet.

    Edit: The reason I have problem with Shimano/Look pedals is after riding for a long ride, I get tired and the pedals get difficult for me to get out of. Never have that problem with the Crank Bros.

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    Quote Originally Posted by knobster View Post
    No experience with the Speedplay, but have a few years with the Shimano/Look style pedals. I never have a problem with them on shorter rides, but anything over 80 miles and I would really have issues unclipping. I switched to Crank Brother Quatro pedals and wouldn't even think of using anything else now. I also switched from road shoes to mountain bike shoes for the comfort of being able to walk around normally. I have other models on my other bikes which allows me to use whatever shoes I like on any bike. Very nice. I have a pair of Keen commuter sandals that have these cleats on them so I can use them on any bike as well. They are VERY easy to clip in and out and I haven't had a problem getting hung up in them, even in a panic. I haven't found a drawback to them yet.

    Edit: The reason I have problem with Shimano/Look pedals is after riding for a long ride, I get tired and the pedals get difficult for me to get out of. Never have that problem with the Crank Bros.
    This is actually the setup that I'm considering changing to. I read a lot about the Crank Bros. Pedals last night and everyone seems to like them. I'm probably going to go with mtb shoes and either the Candy or Quattro. I do realize that 99.9% of the problem is me...but I think I will feel more comfortable with mtb shoes and some type of platform. Thanks!
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by crisi13 View Post
    This is actually the setup that I'm considering changing to. I read a lot about the Crank Bros. Pedals last night and everyone seems to like them. I'm probably going to go with mtb shoes and either the Candy or Quattro. I do realize that 99.9% of the problem is me...but I think I will feel more comfortable with mtb shoes and some type of platform. Thanks!
    The Candy & the Quattros are both fine pedals & I'm sure you'll be happy with them. Confidence in your equipment is sometimes under-rated & you should go with the stuff you trust. That said, I would encourage you to keep working on your stopping-unclipping-balancing skills for safety's sake, regardless of the pedals you chose to go with. I'd hate to read about you falling over into traffic.

    Good riding to you.
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  17. #17
    Inebriated Ninja Hatters BMonei's Avatar
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    A minor tip I learned when first starting clipless; if you're unclipping your right foot and using that to balance yourself, turn your wheel left a little as you come to a stop and shift your hips over the bike to the right. This puts all your weight directly over the right side of the bike, effectively using the bike as a "left leg".

    P.S. - Get out and in front of the saddle before coming to a complete stop.

    It helped me. Hope you work everything out.

  18. #18
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    sounds like an issue with speedplay cleats slipping on the road - i got sick of wearing down those cleats so i switched to SPDs/mtn shoes and love em!

  19. #19
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    The others had some good advice - it looks like you're starting a TnT training season? If so, ask your coaches for help - that's what they're there for! They will probably have lots of experience helping inexperienced cyclists get comfortable with their equipment. I'm doing my 3rd season right now, and the coaches are a big reason why I'm able to even consider doing some of the harder rides around here.

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    I would like to thank everyone for all of the great advice. Although, I do feel a little stupid for having such a problem...it's nice knowing that I can swallow my pride, ask, and receive great advice. I talked to the guy at my LBS today. He's going to look at me ride tomorrow and see if he can figure out what I'm doing. However, the more I think about it, the more I think I'm going to go ahead and make the switch to the crank brothers. I like knowing that I would be able to use both mtb shoes and road shoes. With the Speedplay, I am limited to the road shoe only.

    B.T.W...my wrist keeps swelling from my fall on Saturday and now I'm scared I've fractured something. I HAVE to fix the falling issue!!!
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  21. #21
    Senior Member swc7916's Avatar
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    If you are truely new to cycling then you have a misconception that many new or non-cyclists have; that you can sit on the bike saddle with your feet on the ground. If your bike is sized correctly you cannot reach the ground with while seated on the bike - that's why standover height is so important. The pedals have nothing to do with it.

    Assuming that you want to put your right foot down at a stop: As you slow to a stop, coast with your left pedal down and stand on it. As you brake to a stop slide forward off of the saddle and put your right foot down. Be sure to lean ever-so-slightly to the right as you do this and make sure that the bike is not moving forward when your foot touches the ground. To start again, rotate the left crankarm to about the 2:00 o'clock position and push down to get the bike started. As you push down, lift yourself up and back onto the saddle. If the ground is flat or downhill, then you will be able to coast while getting your right foot clipped back in. If you are heading uphill, then you may have to pedal a couple of times with the right foot unclipped before you can clip in. With practice, you should be able to clip in on the first revolution.

    If I were recommending clipless pedals for a new cyclist, they would be the Speedplay Frogs. They have the same float as the Light Action pedals but they have a recessed cleat for easier walking.

  22. #22
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    Just while you're getting used to hopping off the saddle and landing on one foot, you might try getting some cheapo platform pedals and just riding in tennis shoes. The grippy feeling as you land should help you build confidence in doing the little leap off the saddle as you come to a stop.

    I ride the Crank Bros Quattro pedals with mountain bike shoes. I like the big platforms because they help with foot numbness problems. Also, it's fairly easy to do some pedal strokes without being clipped in. Double-sided so you don't have to worry about finding the right side. But ... the Quattro pedals have a big bearing housing right next to the crank arm, so you'll need to cut off some of the cleats to wear a mountain bike shoe with those pedals. The cleats are really tough, so you need a big knife and some patience, or maybe the bike store can do it for you.

    Hope you get your falling-over problem resolved. It sounds like you're on the right track.

  23. #23
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    I went to the LBS today. We have figured out two things 1.) I'm sliding on the speedplay cleat and losing my balance. 2.) I am so terrified of the cleat that I'm scared to put my foot down which is causing me to lean left. We decided that I definitely need to go to something that I hopefully will be more comfortable with. I bought the Crank Brothers Quattro and am going to try those with my mountain bike shoes. I don't get my bike back until Thursday so I won't get to try out the new setup until this weekend. I'll let you know how it goes.
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    Update: I put the Quattro Pedals on my bike and put the cleats on my road shoes to try that first. WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!! I have NO problems stopping with these cleats. I'm off the saddle with my foot on the ground without thinking about it! I love the rubber on the cleats, it definitely keeps the metal from slipping on the pavement. I also find the shoes easier to walk in with these cleats...I'm not completely on my heels when walking. I am SOOOOO happy that I went with these pedals. I think I'm even going to keep using my road shoes instead of going back to my mountain bike shoes.

    As for ease of clipping in...it's really easy once you get it figured out. It's still going to take more practice for me to get it perfect. Clipping out is so much easier. With the 15 degrees of float on the Speedplay you REALLY have to twist your foot to get clipped out. With the quattro, it's just a quick turn and you are out.

    Thanks again for everybody's advice. I can't wait to do some longer rides on the new pedals so that I can truly appreciate them!!
    Donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society... every $1 counts!!! http://www.active.com/donate/tntva/ctaber

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