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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 07-23-08, 09:33 AM   #1
elTwitcho
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Is foot retention safe in a crash?

Forgive the most likely obvious question, but planning out my next bike I've come across this little dilemna and was hoping for some feedback on it. Basically, the bike I'm looking at (MASI speciale fixed most likely) comes with toe straps, and I'm wondering if this presents a safety hazard being basically stuck to the bike and having to take it down with you in a crash. My limitted experience with crashing has basically involved me getting clear of the bike (streetcar tracks) and letting it fend for itself while I negotiate the pavement, and this seemed alot safer rather than worrying about getting nailed by the handlebars/toptube/whatever during a tangleup.

Am I overthinking things? Has being attached to the bike had any effect during a crash for any of you guys? Are clipless pedals any different? The bike I'm looking at does come with brakes so the need for foot retention isn't quite so bad as with a brakeless setup and I'm contemplating platforms just to reassure myself that I'm not going to go down in a death grip with the bike...
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Old 07-23-08, 09:44 AM   #2
jpdesjar
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i can get out my toe clips and straps pretty quickly, when practicing tricks sometimes i have to react quickly and put my feet down and it has never been a problem, adjust them so they keep your feet in place but not too tight where you cannot easily back out of the clip

riding with slip ons is helpful with this too since nothing gets snagged going in or out of the clips

the masi is a swell bike...i considered getting one while i was shopping around
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Old 07-23-08, 09:45 AM   #3
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Umm...I got hit by a car about a week and a half ago at fairly good speed.


I was clipped hard into a curb from the side at a hair under 20mph...No chance to slow or anything.


When I went down, both feet stayed in initially, but I don't think I incurred much more damage than I would have if I had come out.
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Old 07-23-08, 09:54 AM   #4
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Personally, I'd rather have more control over my bike with the foot retention; hopefully, this prevents a few crashes; without foot retention, what happens if your feet slip off the pedals and the bike gets away from you?
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Old 07-23-08, 10:00 AM   #5
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I went down at around 15mph on my roadbike with clipless pedals and I came out of it with some minor road rash. I figure the same would have happened with normal platform style pedals, it doesn't make much of a difference. If you have enough time to think about jumping/unclipping you have enough time to save yourself from the impending crash.
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Old 07-23-08, 10:00 AM   #6
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Personally, I'd rather have more control over my bike with the foot retention; hopefully, this prevents a few crashes; without foot retention, what happens if your feet slip off the pedals and the bike gets away from you?
you brake?


Your feet will come out in almost any crash especially since you won't be using cleats. If set up properly it should be hard to get your foot out normally though and this is where clipless is really an advantage.
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Old 07-23-08, 10:23 AM   #7
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...Am I overthinking things?...
yes you are
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Old 07-23-08, 10:25 AM   #8
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Foot retention will help prevent crashes too.
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Old 07-23-08, 10:27 AM   #9
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I use MKS pedals with clips and straps. I don't keep my straps very tight - just snug enough so my feet won't slip off the pedals - this is very important when riding fixed). By keeping them a little less snug they are extremely easy to get in and out of. I've used clipless (eggbeaters) and I prefer the "old school" clips and straps. Of course I've been using them for about 40 years because they do work so well.
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Old 07-23-08, 10:48 AM   #10
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OP, have you ridden a bicycle with toe clips? Clipless?

It sounds like you might want to spend some time on a bike with a freewheel using clips/clipless before you try it on a fixed gear, since the pedal movement does tend to complicate things.

Removing your foot from clips should become second nature in a matter of days. Crashing with clipless can be a bit rough, especially if you have your tension turned up high. Getting out of clipless also becomes second nature, but in a sudden crash (like a car running a light or a stop sign) you might find yourself on the ground and still clipped into your pedals, doing the "bug".
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Old 07-23-08, 10:49 AM   #11
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In my experience, in a crash getting free of the bike is your last concern, protecting your face and trying not to catch the ground with your hands (insta-collarbone breakage) are primary.

So, my advice is to ride faster to that you don't have to worry about getting free.
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Old 07-23-08, 11:40 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyJars View Post
I went down at around 15mph on my roadbike with clipless pedals and I came out of it with some minor road rash. I figure the same would have happened with normal platform style pedals, it doesn't make much of a difference. If you have enough time to think about jumping/unclipping you have enough time to save yourself from the impending crash.
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I use MKS pedals with clips and straps. I don't keep my straps very tight - just snug enough so my feet won't slip off the pedals - this is very important when riding fixed). By keeping them a little less snug they are extremely easy to get in and out of. I've used clipless (eggbeaters) and I prefer the "old school" clips and straps. Of course I've been using them for about 40 years because they do work so well.
Cool. I feel better about them with enough people saying they can go pretty loose so that they're pretty easy to get out of. I figure with enough experience getting in and out it should become pretty natural.

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OP, have you ridden a bicycle with toe clips? Clipless?

It sounds like you might want to spend some time on a bike with a freewheel using clips/clipless before you try it on a fixed gear, since the pedal movement does tend to complicate things.

Removing your foot from clips should become second nature in a matter of days. Crashing with clipless can be a bit rough, especially if you have your tension turned up high. Getting out of clipless also becomes second nature, but in a sudden crash (like a car running a light or a stop sign) you might find yourself on the ground and still clipped into your pedals, doing the "bug".
My only experience is with platforms and geared bikes so I'll be taking it easy for the first little while when I get the MASI. It's got a flip flop hub so the first little while I plan on riding freewheel just to get used to the geometry and the clips before I start learning fixed. I think most of my concern seems to come from having no experience with clips and it seems like most people get along just fine.

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In my experience, in a crash getting free of the bike is your last concern, protecting your face and trying not to catch the ground with your hands (insta-collarbone breakage) are primary.

So, my advice is to ride faster to that you don't have to worry about getting free.
Hah, nice

I wasn't so much implying that I was going to post up on the bike seat and leap to safety when a hazard presented itself when stopping seems like the first option to try. Rather I was thinking of my recent experience where the crash came suddenly and I ended up flying free of the bike, rather than jumping off it.

I reckon I'll be good though. Thanks alot everyone
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Old 07-23-08, 11:41 AM   #13
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just ride it fixed from the start, it wont take you long to get used to the clips
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Old 07-23-08, 12:00 PM   #14
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I wasn't so much implying that I was going to post up on the bike seat and leap to safety when a hazard presented itself
hahaha, awesome
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Old 07-23-08, 12:59 PM   #15
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Clips and straps used to be a huge cause of torn ligaments and other nasty stuff in people's feet. Clipless with the 'turn to disengage' was driven by that.

My sister (about seven years older than me) was a big roadie back in the day. She had to stop riding after a nasty leg injury from clips and straps from an otherwise minor crash. She knew a few other folks who had bad leg injuries too.

So, I'd worry less about the bike stuff and more about the potential for injury if you're tightly strapped in.

I'm personally never using clips and straps.
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Old 07-23-08, 01:11 PM   #16
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^ if this is true, she was probably using slotted cleats and road shoes, not just toe clips and sneakers, right?
A system that would require releasing the strap to disengage is different than what the op is asking about, and what most on here use.

I think staying with the bike is the best bet - normally you're feet will come out anyway. Like Aaron mentioned above, slamming and sliding with the bike, rolling, is often safer than sticking an arm out and breaking fingers, arms, collarbones.
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Old 07-23-08, 01:26 PM   #17
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When I crash, I stay with the bike, protecting it. Bodies heal. Bikes don't.
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Old 07-23-08, 02:00 PM   #18
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When I crash, I stay with the bike, protecting it. Bodies heal. Bikes don't.
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Old 07-23-08, 05:55 PM   #19
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Clips and straps used to be a huge cause of torn ligaments and other nasty stuff in people's feet. Clipless with the 'turn to disengage' was driven by that.

My sister (about seven years older than me) was a big roadie back in the day. She had to stop riding after a nasty leg injury from clips and straps from an otherwise minor crash. She knew a few other folks who had bad leg injuries too.

So, I'd worry less about the bike stuff and more about the potential for injury if you're tightly strapped in.

I'm personally never using clips and straps.
+1

The tighter your straps are, the more likely you are to tear something. Definitely the main reason clipless pedals were developed.
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Old 07-23-08, 07:47 PM   #20
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just ride it fixed from the start, it wont take you long to get used to the clips
I agree with jpdesjar. Start off fixed and take a couple of hours getting used to getting in/out of the clips. You might fall a couple of times but thats part of the learning curve (LOL). Seriously, I'm sure you'll catch on quick. Best of luck to you my friend.
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Old 07-23-08, 08:33 PM   #21
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sometimes holding onto your bicycle during a crash will save your ass as the bike is likely to take the hit rather than your body or at least soften the blow. in that split second before flipping over handlebars, it is best to hold tight and not let go and let the bicycle take a measure of the impact. obviously, it's not an act that has time for decision - you have to train yourself to do this or have the instinct much like doing a "tuck & roll" during the event of a crash. I'd say that the same idea applies to foot retention. although, this might not be the case if you get caught underneath an auto and get dragged.
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Old 07-24-08, 06:18 AM   #22
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Clips and straps used to be a huge cause of torn ligaments and other nasty stuff in people's feet. Clipless with the 'turn to disengage' was driven by that.

To parphrase Wikipedia: Citation?

Why do people post such inaccurate / incorrect stuff.
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Old 07-24-08, 06:34 AM   #23
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When I crash, I stay with the bike, protecting it. Bodies heal. Bikes don't.
This response sucks. Bikes heal. You pour this magic stuff into them when they get hurt. It's called money.
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Old 07-24-08, 06:45 AM   #24
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i got hit last night from the back/side and was able to get out of regular clips and straps without thinking about it. once you're used to them they're not restrictive at all. if you're worried about it, ride on the tops of the pedals when you're near more dangerous situations.
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Old 07-24-08, 07:46 AM   #25
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practice makes perfect...when i practice wheelies sometimes i am in the clips and when the bike gets away from me my feet react pretty quickly, keep the straps snug but not too snug and make sure you are riding with shoes that can easily slip in and out
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