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  1. #1
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    Fell and busted my knee :). First ride on new carbon bike with SPD pedals!

    So I was riding my road bike for the first time and my clipless pedals for the first time. I had planned on swapping them over to my hybrid and learning to use them on that in case I fell [as I was assured by everybody I almost certainly would]. I couldn't find my pedal wrench [wife 'cleaned' the garage recently] and I was excited to get out on the new bike so I just went ahead and rode the new one.

    I did spend about 15 minutes leaning against my garage wall clipping in and out and getting used to the process, how it feels, what's involved, etc. It took me a minute to get clipped in the first time but once I figured it out it was cake.

    I assumed that if I were going to fall it would be due to forgetting I had clipless pedals and forgetting to unclip or not unclipping early enough/during an emergency or quick stop... I didn't fall in a way that I thought I would.

    I was having some issues with my Garmin so I decided to stop and give it a better look. I unclipped as I was slowing down and was getting ready to put my foot down - I was next to a curb so I had my foot a bit high. When I was almost all the way stopped I put my foot down to put it on the curb but I just so happened to put it down over the pedal and clipped back in. At this point since I was already on my way over due to expecting to stop myself with my foot there was no time to unclip and stop myself.

    Since I just picked up a Cannondale Synapse 3 Carbon and I was right next to a big nasty curb I did what I could to save the bike - I fell a little harder and my knee took the brunt of it. The bike's rear derailleur [Shimano Ultegra] did get some light scratching once I was down and I let the bike down so I could unclip and get up. When I fell I actually kept the bike in the air and off the ground/curb with my right leg since I was clipped in and my left leg was unclipped.

    At any rate - I definitely learned a valuable lesson when it comes to clip-in pedals. In my case I, when coming to a stop, now unclip my foot I'm going to put down and then I put my heel or the middle of my foot on the pedal. This allows me to apply pressure if needed to get moving again and it also makes sure that when I slide my foot to reach the ground I won't be pushing it down onto the clip by mistake.

    It's certainly a novice mistake to make [and I don't claim not to be a novice] but in all of the reading I've done about SPD pedals they just mentioned unclipping early and being ready to step down - I can't say I came across anything that said to use the middle or heel of your foot on the pedal which would have been exceptionally useful advice in my case. That said - I'm sure I was bound to fall over at some point in time or another.

    Thankfully the only real damage is my pride. My scuffed knee will heal and the cosmetic scratches on the derailleur are barely visible - no actual damage to the mechanism at all.

    Here are some pictures...

    The derailleur scratches without flash - it's very hard to see them and if you didn't know they were there and you weren't working on the derailleur you likely wouldn't know:


    Here it is with flash used [makes the scratches obvious]. It's anodized aluminum and I basically scratched the anodized finish:


    And here's my knee [I can't post a picture of my injured pride, obviously haha]:


    I actually didn't realize that I was bleeding because it was dark so I got back on after inspecting the bike to make sure there was no serious damage and I kept riding. I felt something warm on my leg so I reached down and it was wet - smelled it and it was blood. Headed home to get cleaned up, put a bandaid on it, and went back out and rode a total of 10 miles.

    I averaged 17 miles per hour and did a max of 26.3. I didn't really push it as I was mostly wanting to get familiar with the bike, the shifters, the brakes, etc. I spent most of my time riding back and forth across my neighborhood so I spent a fair bit of time turning around/slowing down around corners due to unfamiliarity with the bike.

    No serious damage to the bike or myself and an excellent lesson in respecting the clipless pedals. All of that said I love the pedals - it feels like I can pour a lot more power into the bike without worry about slipping off of a pedal and it's just flat-out comfortable.

    All of my friends told me it was only a matter of time before I went down and I didn't take that seriously. Guess they were right!

    All of that being said - hopefully another novice will happen across this and not make the same mistake I did.
    Last edited by MikeDVB; 05-21-14 at 12:14 AM.
    2014 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 Ultegra
    2010 Trek 7100

  2. #2
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    Doh! Good thing it wasn't in front of a crowded cafe. Lucky that the bike wasn't hurt and the worst is a scraped knee.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeDVB View Post
    At any rate - I definitely learned a valuable lesson when it comes to clip-in pedals. In my case I, when coming to a stop, now unclip my foot I'm going to put down and then I put my heel or the middle of my foot on the pedal. This allows me to apply pressure if needed to get moving again and it also makes sure that when I slide my foot to reach the ground I won't be pushing it down onto the clip by mistake.

    It's certainly a novice mistake to make [and I don't claim not to be a novice] but in all of the reading I've done about SPD pedals they just mentioned unclipping early and being ready to step down - I can't say I came across anything that said to use the middle or heel of your foot on the pedal which would have been exceptionally useful advice in my case.
    I think that's because most people don't keep the unclipped foot on the pedal? Just keep it completely off; the unclipped pedal is at top of stroke, free foot is hanging down and even with your other foot that's still clipped in, until you are ready to lean the bike over and touch down. The free foot is not even close to the unclipped pedal surface so there is zero danger of accidentally re-engaging, it's dangling way below. If you need to regain more momentum, just use your other foot, the one that's still clipped in. I always unclip the left, for a couple reasons - one I like to start my first pedal stroke with my dominant right foot, and second having my left foot on the ground makes me lean the bike so that the chain is away from right leg and I'm less likely to get a chain tattoo. When I unclip, my right pedal is down, left is at the top, then my left foot goes completely off the pedal. Most of the time I don't need any additional momentum, since I'm experienced and delay unclipping until the last possible moment when almost stationary. If you are unclipping early (good idea until you are past the falling stage), and braked too much and need more momentum, you can just pedal backwards 1/4 rev with the clipped in foot (which was at bottom of stroke), then pedal forwards 1/4 rev, repeat as needed with one-footed pedaling, which is fine when just needing a little speed for maneuvering to a point where you want to stop.

    The time I use the heel on the pedal is not when clipping out, but sometimes when clipping in when getting going again. If I miss the clip-in on the first go around, and I want to clear the intersection quickly because of traffic, then sometimes I will pedal with my heel for a couple revs then clip in after getting through the intersection. This works better with treaded MTB shoes & SPD. Road shoes, with hard plastic sole, no tread, and road pedals, more or less have to be slower & more careful with the entry, or resort to one-legged pedaling if you miss & don't want to be stuck in the intersection because of cars or riders behind you.

  4. #4
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    Well this is a coincidence, I also fell for the first time today;
    spd pedals - check
    new cannondale synapse hi-mod ultegra - check
    hurt pride - check
    for me it was my left foot that would not come out of the pedal. Glad you are physically ok and the bike was relatively unharmed.

  5. #5
    SpIn SpIn SuGaR! FIVE ONE SIX's Avatar
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    if you want/need practice clipping in and out of pedals, do it while pedaling around a baseball diamond at a local park. the sand is pretty packed, so it will feel somewhat similar to riding on the road, and if you fall either way you will fall on grass...

  6. #6
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    I did have my foot fully out of/off the pedal but when I went to put it down I managed to clip back in. I had my foot up to be higher than the curb and I happened to be higher than and over the pedal ;-).
    Last edited by MikeDVB; 05-21-14 at 07:37 AM.
    2014 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 Ultegra
    2010 Trek 7100

  7. #7
    Senior Member Yankeetowner's Avatar
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    Stuff always happens, but "clipless" pedals are still worth it. I ride nearly every day, but still fell last Friday evening. I was riding an unpopulated trail when I came to a stop sign at a cross street where there is usually no traffic. As I approached and slowed down there was nothing left, but a slow moving, white car to the right. I started to blow the stop sign and cross when I noticed the white car was a Sheriff's Deputy. I had a moment of hesitation, then decided to stop suddenly, but couldn't get my right foot out in time to stop myself from falling into the grass. The Deputy rolled down his window and asked if I was O.K....I replied that I was, except for my ego. No physical damage to me or the bike.
    ECCLESIASTES 10:2

  8. #8
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Just rub some dirt on it and keep pedaling.


    The above is meant for general information and does not constitute specific medical advice.

  9. #9
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    Problem was most likely that OP unclipped with the pedal at 6:00. That is done by many, but perhaps it is not the best plan for the OP. He might do better unclipping at 12:00 so that his free foot will be much lower than the pedal and not likely to reconnect.
    Robert

    "Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then." (Bob Seger, "Against the Wind")

  10. #10
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    Indeed. It was at 6:00 - coming from regular platforms for years if my foot hit the pedal I just slid it over and off. I didn't think it was an issue as it takes a fair bit of pressure to clip in but I managed to clip in quickly and fairly easily!

    Thankfully the only damage is my pride but I learned the lesson. Could have been more expensive I could have nailed the frame on the curb or bent the derailleur if I didn't think fast as I was going over.
    2014 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 Ultegra
    2010 Trek 7100

  11. #11
    Just Plain Slow PhotoJoe's Avatar
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    Well, you got the first scratch. Now you can relax and enjoy riding it without worry.

    Oh, and sorry about the knee. Yah, it has happened to a lot of us.
    Last edited by PhotoJoe; 05-21-14 at 08:51 AM.
    If at first you don't succeed, Skydiving is not the sport for you!

  12. #12
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    Most of my clipless incidents happened in front of crowds of people and at stop lights in traffic so your story doesn't sound too bad
    http://www.pedalroom.com/members/rms13

  13. #13
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    There was nobody around to see it happen. I am going on a group ride on Monday soooooooo ;-).
    2014 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 Ultegra
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Nachoman's Avatar
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    Been there. Done that.
    .
    .

    Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.

  15. #15
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    Welcome to the club (of clipless pedal fallers). Just practice and get used to un-clipping at 12:00 and all will be well. Enjoy the bike and pedals.
    Mal

  16. #16
    Senior Member Black wallnut's Avatar
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    In my first month of clipless I think I fell daily, several times a day. Almost nothing worse than scabbing over and tearing the scab with the ground. If that is all you do you'll be doing fine. However shave them guns.......


    Mark

  17. #17
    Senior Member JBerman's Avatar
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    I don't know if there is much difference between pedals, but I love my 105 SPD SL pedals. From day 1 of cycling, I had no issues with clipping in/out. I didn't really think about it, it just seemed natural. I still haven't made the leap to clipless on mountain biking however, mostly because on the trails I ride, my foot seems to always be off the pedals intentionally around turns/rocks/roots...

  18. #18
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    Mine are Shimano M520 pedals. (Just looked at the receipt).

    They're by no means hard to unclip unless you're already in the process of falling over haha.

    As far as shaving - too much work considering I'm not racing ;-). I'm wearing cargo shorts when I ride - they're bike shorts inside but cargo on the outside.
    2014 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 Ultegra
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  19. #19
    Senior Member danmc's Avatar
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    Sacrificed your knee to save the bike...if you ever see a truck barrelling down on you, make sure to throw your body in the way to save the bike!

  20. #20
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Ouch! Glad both you and your bike are (relatively) okay. I let my new Carbon 3 Ultegra fall on the drive train side once myself. (I was trying to take a picture of my bike... stupid...) Got the rear derailleur hanger bent a bit. Luckily the LBS tech guy was able to correct it for me...

    Hope you can get back in the saddle soon.
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  21. #21
    blah blah blah milkbaby's Avatar
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    Glad you got away with only a flesh wound.

    Do check your rear derailer to make sure you didn't bend the derailer hanger inwards. If you did, you risk trashing it, your derailer, and the wheel the next time you shift into the largest cog sending it into the spokes in the rear wheel. This happens with simple falls on the drive side of the bike. It's also worth checking periodically since you never know who else might have knocked over your bike and put it back up when you're not looking (kids are good at that).

  22. #22
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    Definitely make sure the derailleur / hanger is not bent. Make sure to fall to the non drive side next time ;-)
    http://www.pedalroom.com/members/rms13

  23. #23
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    Thanks OP for this thread. Starting clipless next week and it is good to learn that one needs to unclip at 12 O'clock position.

    -maadfw

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
    Definitely make sure the derailleur / hanger is not bent. Make sure to fall to the non drive side next time ;-)
    It's not bent - shifts beautifully and there's no obvious damage other than the very light scratches . I visually inspected it very closely and shifted through all of the gears up an down without me on the bike while I watched it before I got back on it and kept riding. Largest to smallest cog work great and the derailleur isn't bent at all.

    Scratched it getting up, not on my way down .

    It will be hung from the ceiling in the garage as soon as my bike hanger comes in to avoid the whole kid knocking it over thing .
    Last edited by MikeDVB; 05-21-14 at 04:54 PM.
    2014 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 Ultegra
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by danmc View Post
    Sacrificed your knee to save the bike...if you ever see a truck barrelling down on you, make sure to throw your body in the way to save the bike!
    A scraped knee is no big deal - I'll heal. When it comes to heavy bodily injury I'll throw the bike in front/destroy it if it will save me .

    I actually fell into the grass - just my knee hit the pavement.
    2014 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 Ultegra
    2010 Trek 7100

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