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  1. #1
    Waaay Newbie! HelenHeart's Avatar
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    Clip-less pedals 101

    Me again.....god I love this!!!!
    I'm about to embark on my first journey with clip-less pedals, with a speedy pulse and faint stomach. Is there any one piece of advise you wished you had known about, on your first day. Or one crumb of wisdom you can throw my way?

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    Of all of the failures that I have seen at the side of the road...the real pill was the lost cleat screw....no one seems to carry spares and that can turn a trip into a real test of fortitude. Everything else we could fix with duct tape, zip ties and various other tactics.....loose cleats eeeuhhhh! (the other thing is that the missing cleat screw was usually discovered when the rider could not clip out....bump de bump)

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    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HelenHeart
    Me again.....god I love this!!!!
    I'm about to embark on my first journey with clip-less pedals, with a speedy pulse and faint stomach. Is there any one piece of advise you wished you had known about, on your first day. Or one crumb of wisdom you can throw my way?
    If there is even a remote possibility that you might be stopping, clip out of one pedal. When I did my obligatory fall the first day I rode clipless, I was trying to decide if a car was close enough for me to stop prior to cross an intersection. Just when I decided (at a very, very slow speed) that it was okay to go, a fast car from the other direction reared its ugly head, I started to stop, suddenly realized that I was clipped in, and then suddenly realized I was unable to unclip either pedal. Man, is that a helpless feeling as you fall down clipped in! Be careful!
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  4. #4
    Badger Biker ctyler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skydive69
    If there is even a remote possibility that you might be stopping, clip out of one pedal. When I did my obligatory fall the first day I rode clipless, I was trying to decide if a car was close enough for me to stop prior to cross an intersection. Just when I decided (at a very, very slow speed) that it was okay to go, a fast car from the other direction reared its ugly head, I started to stop, suddenly realized that I was clipped in, and then suddenly realized I was unable to unclip either pedal. Man, is that a helpless feeling as you fall down clipped in! Be careful!
    I'll second that. At the end of my first ride with clipless, I rode up to my car and stopped. Fell right over. So if you think you might have to stop, unclip.

  5. #5
    Long Live Long Rides
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    Try turning the tension adjustment screw out to a very light tension. This will make it easier to get out. The bigest problem I had the first few times I used clipless is getting out in time (before falling over!). It takes a little used to. Definetly worth a try.

    I wear clipless pedals unless it is snowing. It only takes me a few minutes to change them out. I've fallen too many times in the snow! Besides, I wear a clunky warm pair of boots when I ride in the snow.

    Have patience. Good luck!
    Jharte
    Touring...therapy for the soul.

  6. #6
    ride on.... dan kehlenbach's Avatar
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    Once you get used to clipless, you'll wonder how you managed to deal with the traditional cage system. Practice clipping in and out, preferably on a soft surface. You will be surprised how natural disengaging you foot from the pedal becomes.

    Most pedal systems have an adjustable release tension. You may want to experiment with a lighter tension until you feel comfortable engaging/disengaging.

    Just my 2 cents....coming from someone who HAS failed to un-clip and took the infamous tumble!! It was a long 2 seconds!

    Dan
    "Aut inveniam viam aut faciam"
    -I will either find a way or make one.

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    Hey HH,
    I've been using clipless pedals for many years and never had a cleat screw come loose. Just have someone strong tighten them. If you don't feel comfortable with them you can always go to something like Power Grips. I use them on my mountain bikes.
    Rick(Pa)

  8. #8
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    I went clipless a year ago. During the first few months I fell two or three times. I think that falling is part of the learning, sort of a rite of passage into a world of more efficient pedaling. I now err on the side of safety when stopping, and always disengage one (and usually both) cleats from the pedals. I have also taught myself to disengage earlier rather than later, especially when I am feeling at all tired. I have not fallen in a long time.

    My next hurdle is to figure out how to disengage quickly and reliably in an emergency. A few times I have wanted to bail in a hurry, but could not. I have not had an accident as a result, but there have been some close calls. I think disengaging quickly is a skill that one can practice, at least to a point. I am much better at this now than in the past.

    I do believe that using clipless pedals increases the risk of being unable to part company with your bike, and this can lead to a loss of control. I would be interested to hear from people who have tried different clipless pedal systems, and whether certain designs make it easier to disengage in a moment of panic.
    Last edited by acantor; 06-19-05 at 09:00 AM. Reason: The first sentence conveys the opposite of what I intended!

  9. #9
    Aut Vincere Aut Mori Snuffleupagus's Avatar
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    MTB style clipless pedals offer much greater ease of ingress and egress. They're a little heavier, and offer a smaller platform - but, with good racing style shoes they're nearly as efficent as road pedals while allowing you to walk around somewhat normally.

    SPDs, Egg Beater Candys, and Time ATAC pedals are all good choices.

  10. #10
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    When riding in a town with slow traffice or in a pedestrian area, ride with your strong side foot unclipped. I only clip both in when on long stretches. of course, I have the pedals with the cleat attachment on one side and normal platform on the other.

  11. #11
    sth
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    The really neat thing I am finding about this forum is how much we all have in common as cyclists. We have similar needs and questions, similar experiences. Experiences to pass on etc.

    So I chuckled at your questions about going clipless and then at reading the answers.

    My two cents:

    1. You will love riding with clipless pedals and you will wonder how you ever road without them.

    2. You are going to fall a couple times. No spectacular crashes to brag about latter. No, you will fall from a near stand still either at a traffic light or when your companion stops and you pull up to do the same. And most importantly, you will feel like a complete idiot and of all the people who turn to look, the ones nodding in sympathy are the ones who have been there too, bro.

    sth

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    Great info from you all. My .02 cents is to make sure you're not in too "stiff" of a gear after unclipping and coming to a stop. Starting up from a 52/11 gear ratio while trying to clip in is another good way to fall over; done that a couple of times.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Rogerinchrist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jharte
    Try turning the tension adjustment screw out to a very light tension. This will make it easier to get out. The bigest problem I had the first few times I used clipless is getting out in time (before falling over!). It takes a little used to. Definetly worth a try.

    I wear clipless pedals unless it is snowing. It only takes me a few minutes to change them out. I've fallen too many times in the snow! Besides, I wear a clunky warm pair of boots when I ride in the snow.

    Have patience. Good luck!
    Yup, Been there done THAT!

    Thought I'd mastered the pedals some 10+ years ago. Got my then 6 yr old daughter her first 20 inch bike ( slightly too big for her) went for a family ride on a trail system. Then, thinking that I was ready for more tension, I tightened the release tension a bit too much. Picture it, she's in front & the only way she can stop & put her foot down is to fall off her bike, which she does really well. (Can you see it coming?) Sooooooo she stops, & falls without a problem, I however, stop, can't unclip, track stand for about 5 seconds, then fall over on my back still holding the brakes & now the bike is in the air above me & i STILL have to unclip!!! Man, talk about a good laugh!

  14. #14
    CPW
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    Just went through the "initiation" period w/ my first SPD pedals on my mtb. Several falls, all at low speed. Thought I had it figured out on the street but when it came to using them "in anger" it proved "surprising".
    I'd also advocate extra cleat screws. I'm told they'll screw into unused bottle cage braze-ons. With the distances your looking to cover, you may not have any "unused" cages!
    I'm jealous of your impending adventure. You sound well prepared; just remember:"Water is Life."
    CPW
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    Riding partners wanted: anyone know CPR?

  15. #15
    My Duty to Ride dwightonabike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acantor
    I do believe that using clipless pedals increases the risk of being unable to part company with your bike, and this can lead to a loss of control.
    Seems to me if you're tyring to bail from your bike, you're already out of control.

    Really though, I use Crank Bros Egg Beaters and when I've crashed or almost bailed, I look down a second later and realize I'm already clipped out. After you get used to it, it happens almost automatically.

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    I am building a bike, and I have decided to go with a pair of clipless/platform pedals, like the Shimano M545 or CrankBrothers Mallet C. As my LBS put it, it would be nice to be able to run to the store in your camp shoes/sandals. This would also help the potential lost screw problem. I am leaning toward the M545's.

  17. #17
    Spoked to Death phidauex's Avatar
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    If you do fall, try to land with your shoulder, and roll. If you pull your bike up above you, you get bonus points. If you manage to make a few 'air pedals' while on your back with the bike above you, it cancels out all the embarrassment of falling in the first place.

    peace,
    sam

  18. #18
    Waaay Newbie! HelenHeart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phidauex
    If you do fall, try to land with your shoulder, and roll. If you pull your bike up above you, you get bonus points. If you manage to make a few 'air pedals' while on your back with the bike above you, it cancels out all the embarrassment of falling in the first place.

    peace,
    sam
    Ummmm..thanks Sam. Great advise, can't wait to incorporate it in my routine. Anyway, I'm not bothered anymore, I've discovered Foo and I'm looking for dates!!!!!!!!!!!!Maybe I can just get someone to drive me to San Fran in October.
    Just kidding, but I sure wish I could keep off these damn forums for at least half a day!

  19. #19
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walshclimb
    I am building a bike, and I have decided to go with a pair of clipless/platform pedals, like the Shimano M545 or CrankBrothers Mallet C. As my LBS put it, it would be nice to be able to run to the store in your camp shoes/sandals. This would also help the potential lost screw problem. I am leaning toward the M545's.
    The cage on the 545 is not for riding with normal shoes. It simply offers a wider surface when clipped and when unclipped. It is possible to ride with normal shoes but it's a bit uncomfortable as the clip digs in the soft sole. I've done it a few times but I much prefer using the bike shoes.

    I love riding with clipless but I have a dilemma. I also like to hike and while the SPD shoes are good for walking, they are very poor for serious hiking. I was just getting water from a creek and walking on the rocks was tricky at best. I can't imagine running and hopping from rock to rock on a trail (ironically, I have "Rockhopper" shoes). Often, the only place that comes in contact with the rock is exactly where the cleat is. I'll have to bring hiking shoes or give up clipless on my next trip.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  20. #20
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    If you want to get used to the motion of clipping out, position yourself on the bike, between the jambs of a doorway, hold yourself steady with one hand, the other hand on the front brake lever, and clip in and our 100 times. Swap to the other side. But you will find that one or the other foot to clip out first will feel more natural.

  21. #21
    CPW
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    Just had a nasty experience in a non-critical situation:
    I was on the way down my street after a long ride (with a climb I'd never done before- yeaay!) when i couldn't release my left pedal. It finally came loose at the last second but the crank came 'round and took a big divot out of my right shin. It's still bleeding right now. Damn!
    CPW
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  22. #22
    Waaay Newbie! HelenHeart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan
    If you want to get used to the motion of clipping out, position yourself on the bike, between the jambs of a doorway, hold yourself steady with one hand, the other hand on the front brake lever, and clip in and our 100 times. Swap to the other side. But you will find that one or the other foot to clip out first will feel more natural.

    That is great advise. This forum is proving to be indispensible. I am so thrilled to have found it. Thank you everyone for being around. Problem is, I'm becoming just a little addicted!!!!!!!!! Today, I went for a ride and then came in, sweaty, helmut and gloves on, and signed straight in. God help me.

  23. #23
    Waaay Newbie! HelenHeart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPW
    Just had a nasty experience in a non-critical situation:
    I was on the way down my street after a long ride (with a climb I'd never done before- yeaay!) when i couldn't release my left pedal. It finally came loose at the last second but the crank came 'round and took a big divot out of my right shin. It's still bleeding right now. Damn!
    CPW
    Ummmmmm, thanks for the input, but I was asking for advise on how to avoid stuff like that!! Last thing I need to hear about is long term riders bleeding whilst writing.
    I forgive you tho, and well done on that new hill!!!

  24. #24
    CPW
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    Quote Originally Posted by HelenHeart
    I forgive you tho, and well done on that new hill!!!
    Yeah, thanks. That hill was a *****. Unfortunately it's a hill that will be required everyday on the way home if I start commuting buy bike on a regular basis. I'm a little curious about that left pedal now. Maybe a tension thing or just some lube. I was on my MTB which is a little crusty at the moment.
    CPW
    Here I come!
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  25. #25
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    CPW, how old are your cleats and do you do a lot of walking in them? Check the little "wings" on them. If they wear off, I understand unclipping becomes problematic.

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