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  1. #1
    Senior Member Lolly Pop's Avatar
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    Thinking of removing SPD and cleats

    I keep falling off my bike at intersections. Last time it happened, last weekend, I had unclipped coming to a t-junction, and then somehow got my cleat caught as I put my foot down.

    I have been riding with SPD (basic-release type, on loosest setting) for more than ten years, but still, I seem to be a bit clumsy with them.

    So, I am considering removing my SPD system.

    Will I lose much of the advantage it supposedly offers? What should I put in its place? I typically do 30-50 mile rides in hilly terrain.

  2. #2
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lolly Pop
    I keep falling off my bike at intersections. Last time it happened, last weekend, I had unclipped coming to a t-junction, and then somehow got my cleat caught as I put my foot down.

    I have been riding with SPD (basic-release type, on loosest setting) for more than ten years, but still, I seem to be a bit clumsy with them.

    So, I am considering removing my SPD system.

    Will I lose much of the advantage it supposedly offers? What should I put in its place? I typically do 30-50 mile rides in hilly terrain.
    I think going back to clips would be a good idea, or you could just go with flat pedals and no clips. I'm a bit strange as I use spd on my right foot only and I ride without any attachment to the pedal on my left foot.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Lolly Pop's Avatar
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    Hey! That's an idea!

    Thinking back, I mostly fall to the left, so maybe my right foot is more reliable than my left with the spd.

  4. #4
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lolly Pop
    Hey! That's an idea!

    Thinking back, I mostly fall to the left, so maybe my right foot is more reliable than my left with the spd.
    Before you ditch them, try a set of multirelease cleats...the silver ones. They might help.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Lolly Pop's Avatar
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    Cycco thanks for the tip. I checked and they will work with the 540 pedals I use.

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    A few questions:

    1) Which foot do you unclip with? Do you unclip consistantly with the same foot? Before I learned to use clipless pedals, I was dropping my left foot at intersections (no idea why), but when I started using clipless pedals, I was told that I would have to learn to unclip my right foot because I am mainly right-handed and my right foot would therefore be more "accurate" than my left. So, with some difficulty, I made the switch. Now I ALWAYS unclip with my right foot.

    2) What kind of shoes do you wear? I wear mtn bike shoes, so when I unclip at an intersection, I rest the toe of my shoe, which has a lot of tread, on the pedal. The tread keeps the shoe from slipping back into the pedal, and I can still pedal those last few strokes to the intersection with my toes.

    3) Have you considered the pedals that are platform on one side and SPD on the other side? I am very seriously considering those myself. I don't have a problem at intersections because of the system I use above, but my problems start when I climb very steep hills. I guess I struggle mentally going up those hills ... halfway up I figure I can't make it and I start to panic, but I can't unclip either because I'm only doing about 4 km/h, and a couple times I have just fallen over. I have done entire climbs with my right foot unclipped, pedalling with my toes like I do at intersections ... but that causes a lot of strain on my feet and legs. I'd love to be able to unclip at the bottom of a potentially steep hill, flip my pedal, and pedal up on a platform pedal. So .... I may order something like that.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Lolly Pop's Avatar
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    Hi Machka! I normally unclip my right foot first. I wear mtb shoes, and those spd sandals as well.

    I have fallen over (thankfully usually into hedges, sometimes into nettle) at low speeds, often when climbing hills, but usually it has been as a result of mechanical failure (chain stuck, chain broke, chain into spokes. . . you get the picture).

    I have hardly any miles on these new pedals (540s) so I think I will try the multi-release cleats (SH56) which are about £10 before I switch the pedals. I considered them last year when I was getting new pedals, but they were out of stock so I got a new pair of the regular cleats (SH51) to go with the new pedals instead.

    Doing a search on them, these cleats seem to have helped a lot of people on the forum who were losing faith in clipless, so maybe they will save me too.

  8. #8
    Member Zommaz's Avatar
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    At intersections, amidst careless stupid drivers, or on snow and ice, I uncleat and flip at least one of the pedals over to the flat side. This sort of happens automatically when you learn how the pedals behave relative to the crank. This works for me.

  9. #9
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    I'm kind of new to cycling, and I realize this might be scoffed at here, but I use Power Grips. I love them, but then I've never used clipless pedals or toe-clips either. They let me use regular shoes and they are easy to get out of, while still securing my foot from dangerous slips. The only complaint I have is that they are a little bit difficult to get into after a stop. The reason is that the grips usually make the pedal rest so that the grip side is down. I have to spin the pedal over and then insert my foot, which usually involves glancing down. Even so, this is a problem that would only be solved by those clipless pedals that work on both sides (sorry, I don't know what they're called). Overall I enjoy this setup quite well.

  10. #10
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zommaz
    At intersections, amidst careless stupid drivers, or on snow and ice, I uncleat and flip at least one of the pedals over to the flat side. This sort of happens automatically when you learn how the pedals behave relative to the crank. This works for me.
    My scheme too, I'm not racing and I've never had my left, uncleated foot come of the pedel. I'm not really sure that clipless pedals are really appropriate for tourists, I can see that advantage
    for racing, but why do you need then when touring?

  11. #11
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    I just use old school; toe clip and straps. Worked for me since the 70's
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  12. #12
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nun
    My scheme too, I'm not racing and I've never had my left, uncleated foot come of the pedel. I'm not really sure that clipless pedals are really appropriate for tourists, I can see that advantage
    for racing, but why do you need then when touring?
    Because ..... once you've gone clipless riding platforms is almost impossible. The few times I've used platforms in recent years I keep "pulling up" (because that's half of the clipless riding process) and of course then my feet come right off the pedals. Very disconcerting.

  13. #13
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Hey Lolly Pop, after I read your thead, and cyccommute responded, I knew I couldn't go wrong. I went and bought multiple release pedals and they are great. I was having the same problem as you and I was ready to go back to toeclips and straps. You wont believe how easy these things are to get out of. I can get out of these easier than my wife can with her platform pedals. I thought on my upward stroke that my shoes would come out, but no they did everything my 520s did, but better. Good luck and I know you'll like them. Thanks cyccommute, and safe riding.
    George

  14. #14
    Senior Member john bono's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Because ..... once you've gone clipless riding platforms is almost impossible. The few times I've used platforms in recent years I keep "pulling up" (because that's half of the clipless riding process) and of course then my feet come right off the pedals. Very disconcerting.
    When I rode my mtn bike over the winter(which has platforms), the hardest thing for me was coming to an intersection, kicking my heel to the outside to unclip, and nothing would happen. I'd unclip, nothing. It was only when I started to lean over like a falling redwood that I would remember that you don't need to unclip platforms.
    Ride a bike. It makes your legs stringy, and less tasty to our Kanamit friends.[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  15. #15
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by john bono
    When I rode my mtn bike over the winter(which has platforms), the hardest thing for me was coming to an intersection, kicking my heel to the outside to unclip, and nothing would happen. I'd unclip, nothing. It was only when I started to lean over like a falling redwood that I would remember that you don't need to unclip platforms.
    I've been there!! Nothing like nearly falling over at an intersection because you can't unclip your feet from your platform pedals!!

    I'd been riding with my clipless pedals for several years when I borrowed my father's mtn bike for a little ride one summer ....... that was a tough ride. I had to actually think about what my feet were doing the whole time.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Lolly Pop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George
    Hey Lolly Pop, after I read your thead, and cyccommute responded, I knew I couldn't go wrong. I went and bought multiple release pedals and they are great. I was having the same problem as you and I was ready to go back to toeclips and straps. You wont believe how easy these things are to get out of. I can get out of these easier than my wife can with her platform pedals. I thought on my upward stroke that my shoes would come out, but no they did everything my 520s did, but better. Good luck and I know you'll like them. Thanks cyccommute, and safe riding.
    That is great to hear George! I should have my new cleats in a few days.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Lolly Pop's Avatar
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    Update: have been away most of the summer and just got the new SH56 multiple-release mode cleats. Installed them on my regular mtb shoes and took a short test run.

    Excellent! What an improvement! I would recommend anyone going to SPD to *start* with multi-release cleats. If you are anything like me, it will save you loads of bruises and bumps!

    Have now installed them on my spd sandals as well. Looking forward to getting back on the bike. All that falling was putting me off!

  18. #18
    succumbs to errata jaypee's Avatar
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    Agreed. I've been an SPD user since way back and the multi-release cleat is key to this system. One problem I initially had was that I was so used to manhandling my way out of the old pedals/cleats, I kept popping out of the new ones at inopportune times.

    Now everything is just golden. Glad they're working out for you, Lolly Pop.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Lolly Pop's Avatar
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    Thanks jaypee, and thanks also to everyone who helped me to solve this problem.

  20. #20
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lolly Pop View Post
    Thanks jaypee, and thanks also to everyone who helped me to solve this problem.
    Me as well, the mult. release are the only way to go.Thanks cyccommute.
    George

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Because ..... once you've gone clipless riding platforms is almost impossible. The few times I've used platforms in recent years I keep "pulling up" (because that's half of the clipless riding process) and of course then my feet come right off the pedals. Very disconcerting.

    It's rare I've done the "almost impossible," so I must brag that I gave up clipless cold turkey. I liked them on long open distances, but using them on my short commutes was just a drag or a brag. I even tour on platforms now, and sometimes don't use straps of any kind, even touring. I don't think pulling up is half the process (the downstroke is far more powerful, at least for me), though I think using clipless is significant over the long haul--even 5% helps. What is nice about clipless is the feeling of a full revolution, being part of the bike. What's nice about platforms is range of motion and not feeling tied to the bike.

    I would try this kind of multi release spd mentioned here, though, just to see what it's like for a non-touring distance.

    I don't like clipless for touring because even the best shoes are not that functional for me off bike. Too much hardware under the ball of my foot for comfortable hiking. I know others have different experiences. I'd rather trade the weight of the spd shoes to bring another pair of regular shoes. Also, with platforms you can vary your biking footwear easily.

    That said, I think spd sandals are the best spd way to go because you can use regular socks, goretex socks (stuff you can use off-bike) etc rather than bike booties.
    They told me to wear more lycra, and I said "no, no, no."

  22. #22
    Senior Member DuckFat's Avatar
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    Try moving the cleat to the farthest point forward on the shoe. Get it as close to your toes as possible. That way you'll have more leverage and a small movement of your leg will translate to more twist at the toe. If your anatomy doesn't allow enough twist then the multi-release cleats should be better.

    However, to answer your question, you won't lose much function by going to toe clips as long as you have them just loose enough to slide out. You should still be able to pull up on the backstroke with them. If not then they are too loose.

  23. #23
    Got an old Peugeot kipibenkipod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DuckFat View Post
    Try moving the cleat to the farthest point forward on the shoe. Get it as close to your toes as possible. That way you'll have more leverage and a small movement of your leg will translate to more twist at the toe. If your anatomy doesn't allow enough twist then the multi-release cleats should be better.
    I have very bad experience with moving the cleats forward. My toes fall a sleep when timetriling for about 50 minutes. But in timetrile there is a constant pressure on the toes. Moving the cleats back helped a lot.
    On the bike I feel like a conqueror ;)
    4 months touring trip from England to Spain http://www.underadometent.com

  24. #24
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    I'm not racing when on my touring bike so I don’t do clipless when I'm on it. I don’t even do old style clips. I use those strapless ATB clips that just keep me from slipping off the platform pedals. I've never had any problem switching between clips, clipless, or platforms but then I'm 51 yrs old and have had years of experience with all three types.

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