I am determined to learn to use clipless pedals – because I love the feel and the efficiency while clipped in. It's getting out that is keeping the skin off my knees. You should know I am 62, and returning to the bike after 45 years off.
The first set were Shimano’s, and while they are no doubt quality items – I could not even get into them much less out. After a few hundred miles with standard pedals, I got a set of Look’s. Getting in is a breeze, and for that matter so is getting out – except that I seem to get a mental lock. Its right about that time the knees take another hit.
Secrets anyone? Should one always clip out at the bottom of the stroke? How much in advance of a planned stop? If you clip out a bit early, assuming you’re on the flats, is it OK to power with the still clipped in foot and just rest the other on the pedal?
Also, for those familiar with Looks, the red cleats are supposedly “floating”. How exactly do they float?
When I first got Look pedals, I fell after the first ride. Came back to the car, stopped, and realized I couldn't put my foot down. The next day, I clipped out three times for every block I rode to practice and remind myself that I had clipless. Haven't fallen again.
I usually clip out on the downstroke, always the left foot. I always clip out before a stop so I'm ready to put my foot down. I also keep my left foot on the pedal and continue pedaling to the stop sign.
Float refers to the ability to move your foot back and forth while clipped to the pedal without clipping out.
The longer you ride with clipless pedals, the less you have to think about what you're doing and it all becomes automatic.
bbosely: I wish you had mentioned the model number of the Shimano and Look pedals you were referring to, and if you are talking about road or MTN pedals. My Shimano R600 road pedals and the Look road pedals are all wide platform pedals and I find them very easy to get into and out of without looking down. You should twist out of your pedals at the bottome of the stroke or suffer a bad stress on the knees. If your reference to red pedal means that you are using the Look A5.1 Road pedal, it has an adjusment on it so that you can make the "float" (foot rotation) anything from 0 to 9 degree before you engage the release mechanism. This later flexibility is another feature that prevents stress and injury on you knees.