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Old 02-25-08, 11:22 AM   #1
mtnwalker
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My first clipless crash

I went for a ride early Saturday to get some miles in before the rain. It was cold and windy. Climbed up Somersville Rd and got back down safely. Then I figured it was still early so I might as well turn around and climb it again. A good plan except I forgot to gear down from 50x12.

Mistake #1, as I turned on the rather narrow, sorta uphill part of the road I completely lost momentum. I could not clip out and crashed.

Mistake #2 my left knee and left wrist took most of the fall. I have no idea how the inside of my left knee got scraped because I fell on my left side. And I don't remember sticking my palm out so it must have happened instinctively. I got up thinking I should have let my shoulder and thigh take the brunt of the fall. Oh well.

So I clipped out, while pictures of the Tri guys who have fallen went to my head, and got up and cursed at myself for a few minutes. Stupid, stupid, stupid! I was about 10 miles away from home and nothing seems to be broken, on me and the bike. I figured I don't have to call the wife and got back on the bike and bled all the way home.

Fun, fun stuff. So, how was your weekend?
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Old 02-25-08, 11:32 AM   #2
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I *almost* had one of those this weekend. In my case I pulled into a parking lot where a lot of TnT riders were gathered to see if I knew anyone - I did, pretty much the entire Tucson team from last Fall is on the Tahoe or STP teams. Of course I pull up, unclip my right foot only to find I'm leaning left! I ended up catching it right on the edge of falling - I was basically trackstanding for about 30 seconds, couldn't balance enough to straighten up, but didn't quite fall either. Finally I was able to get my right foot down - I almost lost it in front of almost 100 fellow cyclists!

For me this would not have been a first - I've fallen several times without getting my foot unclipped.

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Old 02-25-08, 11:36 AM   #3
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I have yet to do that on a road bike, but it seems like I do it at least once EVERY time I go mountain biking. I have a hard time with the SPD pedals compared to the Look's.

I would guess that the inside of your knee made contact with the bike somwhere, like maybe a taught shifter cable.

That sucks. Sorry.
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Old 02-25-08, 11:41 AM   #4
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It's been a while since I did that, but most of the time, the falls are stupid. My most embarrassing was at a busy intersection, on the left turn lane, and not dismounting out of my clipless in time. High on the embarrassment factor.
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Old 02-25-08, 11:45 AM   #5
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I am not sure this is a true story - it seems to me to only happen if there is a pretty girl nearby - or teenagers - this sounds like it was without spectators which appear to be a critical component.

By the way - what do you mean, you couldn't clip out? I don't ever seem to have any problem getting out when the need arises.
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Old 02-25-08, 11:49 AM   #6
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By the way - what do you mean, you couldn't clip out? I don't ever seem to have any problem getting out when the need arises.
Very easy. If you normally clip out first on the right side, and you lean to the left .... need I say more?
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Old 02-25-08, 11:52 AM   #7
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By the way - what do you mean, you couldn't clip out? I don't ever seem to have any problem getting out when the need arises.
I've had this problem, couldn't clip out. It depends on the system used as well as the state of the shoes and pedals.

One time one of my cleats started coming loose off my shoe, I couldn't clip out even at a stop, had to unlace my shoe still attached to the pedal and then get tools out to get it off.

Another time I slipped my chain and started spinning, couldn't clip out while spinning.

mtnwalker, sorry to hear about the crash, glad it was relatively minor.
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Old 02-25-08, 11:55 AM   #8
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T, looks like you got caught in the "oh *****" zone what kind of pedals did you get?
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Old 02-25-08, 12:38 PM   #9
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Very easy. If you normally clip out first on the right side, and you lean to the left .... need I say more?
This is exactly why I trained myself from day one to clip out on both sides simultaneously. I just set my left foot on the pedal, so all I have to do is press down to clip in when I take off. The proof is in the pudding (whatever the hell that means): I've never fallen while riding.
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Old 02-25-08, 12:43 PM   #10
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This is exactly why I trained myself from day one to clip out on both sides simultaneously. I just set my left foot on the pedal, so all I have to do is press down to clip in when I take off. The proof is in the pudding (whatever the hell that means): I've never fallen while riding.
Or else always be consistent on what side you clip out on and set your foot down on.

And I found this:
According to Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, the phrase dates back to at least 1615 when Miguel de Cervantes published Don Quixote. In this comic novel, the phrase is stated as, "The proof of the pudding is the eating."

I believe it predates Don Quixote though.
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Old 02-25-08, 12:58 PM   #11
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Or else always be consistent on what side you clip out on and set your foot down on.
With my method, one is always prepared if one were to stop on an unnoticed slant or bump. It takes almost exactly the same amount of time (unclip both sides simultaneously, put one foot down, leave the other in place to be pushed back in), so I don't see what the downside is. Unless road-type cleats involve a much different unclipping dance than Eggbeaters.

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And I found this:
According to Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, the phrase dates back to at least 1615 when Miguel de Cervantes published Don Quixote. In this comic novel, the phrase is stated as, "The proof of the pudding is the eating."

I believe it predates Don Quixote though.
Huh. So the saying makes sense if you quote it correctly. Who'da thunk it?
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Old 02-25-08, 02:35 PM   #12
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Must be something in the air!! I pulled up to the front of my house on Saturday and right before the gate entrance, I came to a slow crawl and realized I hadn't unclipped yet. The panic came over me as I had just bought this bike within the last month. Visions past before me falling over and scratching the bike. Luckily, a last second twist and turn got me out in time. Whew!!
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Old 02-25-08, 02:52 PM   #13
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I think thats the only good reason to do push-ups, for accidents like this one. My strong shoulders and arms have saved me a few times from "lost momentum" falls.
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Old 02-25-08, 04:34 PM   #14
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I am not sure this is a true story - it seems to me to only happen if there is a pretty girl nearby - or teenagers - this sounds like it was without spectators which appear to be a critical component.

By the way - what do you mean, you couldn't clip out? I don't ever seem to have any problem getting out when the need arises.
The only spectators I had was a father and daughter, 20 yards away, with their backs towards me as they were walking away. They must have heard the crash because I heard them calling "Are you OK?" after I fell.

The day started out pretty weird anyway. I'm usually pretty sharp on the bike but a couple of blocks away from my house I almost crashed on the sidewalk because I was looking left at the stop sign and I guess I started drifting right. Maybe its fatigue or lack of caffeine at 7 am.

I wasn't able to clip out because like I said above, I was making a U-turn on a narrow, slightly uphill road on my 50x12. I completely lost momentum and when I realized this it was too late to clip out. I thought about clipping out but I was already on my way down.
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Old 02-25-08, 04:37 PM   #15
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T, looks like you got caught in the "oh *****" zone what kind of pedals did you get?
Its more like "holy *****" but its the same.

I bought the Speedplay Zeros and this was just my second outing with them too. I saw your speedplays and figured "if its good enough for J, its good enough for me". Definitely a big difference in efficiency and power transfer from my PowerGrips. Only thing is clipping out takes more effort compared to the commuter's Crankbrothers.
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Old 02-25-08, 04:41 PM   #16
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This is exactly why I trained myself from day one to clip out on both sides simultaneously. I just set my left foot on the pedal, so all I have to do is press down to clip in when I take off. The proof is in the pudding (whatever the hell that means): I've never fallen while riding.
I usually clip out way ahead of time too. I blame this on mental error on my part. I knew that the road was narrow and that turning will be difficult. But I figured I can make. I forgot about the chain being on my highest gear ratio though. Result, introduction to the ground. The hard way.

I'm just glad the crash did not happen when I was descending. I had some inattentive moments then too and drifted near the bank of the opposite side. Almost! Maybe I should have stayed home that morning.
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Old 02-25-08, 04:53 PM   #17
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I remember you saying you got those pedals back in October when we were on the Diablo - Morgan Territory ride. Congratulations on getting your first fall out of the way and good job on instinctively saving the bike from the impact by sacrificing your body .
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Old 02-25-08, 05:07 PM   #18
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I remember you saying you got those pedals back in October when we were on the Diablo - Morgan Territory ride. Congratulations on getting your first fall out of the way and good job on instinctively saving the bike from the impact by sacrificing your body .
You're right. I've had them for a while. But since they were my wife's "Christmas gift" to me I felt guilty installing them on the bike until after Christmas. And to tell you the truth I've been scared of the Speedplays because I've had trouble clipping in and out of them "in" the kitchen. So, most of my clipless time have been on the Candy C's, another wife's "Christmas gift", which are a breeze to clip out of compared to the Zero's.

You are familiar with the saying "Bodily injuries heal over time. Bicycle frames and parts don't." right?
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Old 02-25-08, 06:52 PM   #19
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Only thing is clipping out takes more effort compared to the commuter's Crankbrothers.
Give it some time, you'll get used to it. No No No, not the crashing
Sooner or later you'll dial in at what angle your heels need to be for the cleats to dis-engage. Sometimes the break in period is a little bit tight but I'm sure it'll loosen up.

hint: I regularly use a dab of grease on those springs that touches the pedals.
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Old 02-25-08, 09:52 PM   #20
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I commute and bike with speedplays X series--they let me clip in and out easily in traffic. I tried commuting with some regular Looks and it was quite a bit more hairy clipping in AND out.

They are nice in that they don't need a swinging momentum of the foot to unclip...you just pivot your foot far enough and that's all there is to it.

I can also relate on the falling experience of not remembering what body part hit what. I think the brain just gets it's memory wiped out from the trauma so that I don't have to relive it in my dreams.
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Old 02-25-08, 10:57 PM   #21
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Congrats -- I've had my own rite of passage this year with my Keo Sprints - one in my garage and two on the road. Stationary. Toughest part IMO is getting lines stored up for the next passing motorist who offers help when I'm doing my beetle on its back impression on the tarmac.

I'm over it now, though.

Really. I am.
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Old 02-25-08, 11:15 PM   #22
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I notice that the longer I've had clipless , the longer/louder my cursing is when I fall over.
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Old 02-25-08, 11:56 PM   #23
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I'm a huge fan of SPDs on my mountain bike. Never had a problem with them besides having them simply wear out.

Recently I got the Look Sprints for my road bike. I have them cranked down pretty tight, I feel more secure on my pedal stroke. Getting out of them is very natural. Getting into these things can be painful! Once in a while, I will think the front of the cleat is in the little hole, then press down real hard only to find my foot slide right off the pedal and destroying any chance of having kids.
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Old 03-12-08, 07:06 PM   #24
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mtnwalker, you never forget your first;-)

Mine also was a slow-mo. On a drizzly afternoon, ended up against a chain link fence in full Ciao Sophia mode. I've fallen since, but never in such an amusing position.
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Old 03-12-08, 10:26 PM   #25
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My last failure to get a foot down fall was in the late 70s. I was using toe straps and cleats and was in tight. I turned a corner that went straight up, missed my downtube friction lever shift and went over in slow-mo, tearing my new tights.

Now that I've posted this I'm sure to fall over soon....
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