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  1. #1
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    Hello,

    My question tells you that I'm quite the novice when it comes to serious road cycling. Anyway, 'ere tis:

    I just purchased my very first set of clipless pedals, the Shimano SPD-520, as recommended by my favorite local bike shop. Because it's still winter, I've only used them on my trainer a few times. They feel pretty good, and I'm anxious to use them for real as soon as the snow melts. Also, they will be used on my upcoming, multi-month tour, beginning around mid-May.

    I'd like to hear of any tips, tricks, suggestions, , etc, for learning/using the pedals properly. Also, any info regarding maintenance and especially to what extent they can improve one's performance. Any info whatsover. . ..

    Thanks!
    Wolfy
    Last edited by David in PA; 03-01-05 at 11:54 AM.

  2. #2
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Tip #1: Remember to unclip before you get to the stop light.

    Tip #2: After you forget Tip #1, pick yourself up off the ground and smile sheepishly.

    There's not much else to it. Practice clipping in and out on your trainer so you get a feel for how to line up the cleats to the pedals. Other than that, just do what's natural and remember Tip #1 above.

  3. #3
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    look around for a gym that has a spinning class. Spinning classes
    usually have pedals that take spd cleats. You can practise there.
    Show up early, the class I take always sells out.

    Supcom's Rule #1 is the biggie. Problem is, you will ride 10 or 20 miles, and pull up to a light and forget all about it. And then you will fall. So make a big point of unclipping early and often. You are fighting a lifetime of habit.

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    You can adjust the tension of the clips. Just practicing is the best way to get comfortable. I've been riding clipless for at least 15 years, but wouldn't you know it, last fall I couldn't unclip when I came up to a stop sign and, whoop, over I went. That was the first time I had managed to do that in many years. Sheepish grin is a good response.

  5. #5
    Senior Member geeklpc1985's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=supcom] Tip #1: Remember to unclip before you get to the stop light.

    Tip #2: After you forget Tip #1, pick yourself up off the ground and smile sheepishly. [QUOTE]


    VERY TRUE!!!!!!! I have had clipless for about two or three weeks now. This is the only think you must remember. Also there is no snow in the summer time to fall on to.
    Last edited by geeklpc1985; 03-01-05 at 10:33 PM.
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  6. #6
    There are no short cuts
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    Rule #1 does not always apply!!
    I've riden a trike for a few years with clipless and never fell over once. Just bought a LWB and the weather was great a couple weeks ago so mounted the clipless peddles and started down the driveway and off the curb and you guessed it - bam down I went

    Bentnail

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    Tip #1: Remember to unclip before you get to the stop light.
    supsomīs had it. even though iīve been pedalling with cleats for a while there was once i forgot to unclip and thank god there was nobody around because the bike was not moving, i just sat on the top tube and read the map with left foot on the ground, right clipped, then all of a sudden the handlebar swung to the left and as you can probably guess, the whole bike felt to the right. i was taken by surprise and tried to put the right foot down, but couldnīt.

  8. #8
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    I remember falling over my fist time with road pedals. To avoid a grain truck (I grew up in rural Illinois), I wandered into some deep gravel and fell over. A couple horse back riders going down the road asked if I needed help. I just acted like this was normal and turned a bright shade of red. I ended up having to take my shoes off. Unfortunately I did have a audience.
    Supcom said it best, just let us know how your first clipless flop goes,
    Scott

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    Thanks to everyone for your responses.

    Here's a follow up: To what extent does your use of clipless pedals increase your performance and improve your efficiency? How much do they help you on extremely steep uphill climbs? Other thoughts?

    Thanks,
    David in PA (Wolfy)

  10. #10
    Member Mel Wade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schumius
    supsomīs had it. even though iīve been pedalling with cleats for a while there was once i forgot to unclip and thank god there was nobody around because the bike was not moving, i just sat on the top tube and read the map with left foot on the ground, right clipped, then all of a sudden the handlebar swung to the left and as you can probably guess, the whole bike felt to the right. i was taken by surprise and tried to put the right foot down, but couldnīt.
    This should bring us to -

    Rule #1, Corollary #1: Always unclip both feet.

    I had a similar experience. We did a family ride to Dairy Queen and I got there just ahead of my wife and son. I stopped, unclipped on foot and was turing to warn them of a road hazard and leaned the other way just a bit and . . . . Boom down I went. I, now, always unclip both feet!

    To answer your last question, I can't give you a percentage but it's up there. The big difference is that before you could only really give full power to the down stroke. Now you can power the full circle.
    Mel Wade
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  11. #11
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    "Here's a follow up: To what extent does your use of clipless pedals increase your performance and improve your efficiency? How much do they help you on extremely steep uphill climbs? Other thoughts?"

    As soon as you get over the fear of getting stuck in the pedals there is no going back. Its hard to describe, its just better. More efficient, better going up shallow hills, extremely steep hills, downhills, over bumps, in the air (if you choose to learn how to jump road kill), etc...
    scott

  12. #12
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    indeed, my foot donīt slip anymore off the pedals, well, thereīs a downside to it as well, depends on when...

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    Thanks again to all of you for the feedback.

    Here's an update on my new experiences with my new clipless pedals:

    * I did fall the first time I used them. Unbelievable, but funny I thought for the motorists behind me at the traffic light. It must have looked like something out of a Charlie Chaplin movie.

    * What's especially weird is that I thought consciously about the possibility of falling throughout the ride that day. Maybe I'm slipping mentally.

    * I swear my avg MPH has increased a bit when using them.

    * Climbing hills does seem easier.

    * I love that I don't have to adjust the location of my feet on the pedals. They're always in the perfect place.

    Anyway, I've been initiated. I believe the clipless pedals will definitely help me in my upcoming tour.

    Wolfy

  14. #14
    dangerous with tools halfbiked's Avatar
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    So far my experience has been similar to yours, David in PA. I tried mine for the first time last night, on the way to pool. I was consciously aware of my feet being attached to the bike for the entire ride - and had no problems.

    Which brings me to Mel Wade's comment:
    Quote Originally Posted by mel wade
    Rule #1, Corollary #1: Always unclip both feet.
    Upon arriving at my destination, I did indeed unclip both feet. But I did so prior to coming to a complete stop. In the process of stopping, I managed to - unbeknownst to me - reclip into the left pedal. I didn't go all the way over, but it was a close one.

  15. #15
    Very Senior Member MikeR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David in PA
    Thanks to everyone for your responses.

    Here's a follow up: To what extent does your use of clipless pedals increase your performance and improve your efficiency? How much do they help you on extremely steep uphill climbs? Other thoughts?

    Thanks,
    David in PA (Wolfy)
    I noticed a big improvement in using clipless (over platforms) AFTER I learned to use them properly. It may seem obvious to some veterans, but just cliping in is not enough. You need to work at using your legs on the upstroke. My performance did not improve until I consciously thought about peddling in circles, pulling up on the up stroke and making like I was "scrapping mud from my shoe".

    One more thing - the leg muscles you use to pull up are not the same as those used to push down. When I first started REALLY using clipless, the muscles in the front of my upper legs were sore.

    That being said I noticed that it is much easier to climb with clipless pedals.
    It's better to cycle through life than to drive by it.

  16. #16
    Very Senior Member MikeR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfbiked
    So far my experience has been similar to yours, David in PA. I tried mine for the first time last night, on the way to pool. I was consciously aware of my feet being attached to the bike for the entire ride - and had no problems.

    Which brings me to Mel Wade's comment:


    Upon arriving at my destination, I did indeed unclip both feet. But I did so prior to coming to a complete stop. In the process of stopping, I managed to - unbeknownst to me - reclip into the left pedal. I didn't go all the way over, but it was a close one.
    You may fall when you are first learning to clip in. I practiced on the grass for an hour. While my kids laughed and took pictures. Usually beginners get so focused on getting their 2nd foot clipped in that they don't get going well and fall over. The goal should be to clip in foot 1, get going, keep going (even it only one foot is clipped), let the second foot clip in while pedaling.

    After you learn to clip in, you will not at first forget to unclip when stopping because you are still new, and it is fresh in you mind. The biggest danger comes when you get familiar with clippless and forget about it. That’s when you will go over at a stop sign, and always in front others.

    After a while longer, unclipping will become so second nature that you will not have to think of it. Once I was going slowly down a rough road. I hit a tree root and the front wheal turned suddenly, sending me sailing off the bike. As I was falling I noticed that my legs instinctively unclipped themselves.
    It's better to cycle through life than to drive by it.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Ceiliazul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeR
    I hit a tree root and the front wheal turned suddenly, sending me sailing off the bike. As I was falling I noticed that my legs instinctively unclipped themselves.
    Mike,

    Those flights are too short, and their cost too high, to pass the time thinking about your shoes! Enjoy the feeling of it all, and do try not to think about the oncoming pavement.
    Jesus Christ made me a man
    Ken Kifer made me a cyclist

  18. #18
    dangerous with tools halfbiked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeR
    After you learn to clip in, you will not at first forget to unclip when stopping because you are still new, and it is fresh in you mind. The biggest danger comes when you get familiar with clippless and forget about it. That’s when you will go over at a stop sign, and always in front others.

    After a while longer, unclipping will become so second nature that you will not have to think of it. Once I was going slowly down a rough road. I hit a tree root and the front wheal turned suddenly, sending me sailing off the bike. As I was falling I noticed that my legs instinctively unclipped themselves.
    I keep telling myself that I am accustomed to a heel-first exit from the pedals, as I used to ride with toe-clips, but without straps. We'll see if that theory has any merit!

  19. #19
    Doomsled funbun's Avatar
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    I hit a tree root and the front wheal turned suddenly, sending me sailing off the bike. As I was falling I noticed that my legs instinctively unclipped themselves.
    That happened to me, except I hit a bumps and went flying over the handlebars. It was magic: my feet unclipped fast. I don't remember becoming unclipped, but after my face hit the ground I noticed my feet weren't caught in the pedals.
    Check it out:

    Blog The Travelogue

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    something I was told and am now trying as a newbie...keep your heels down during the rotational pedal cycle. It is suppose to facilitate the pulling action. I switched to the clipless after earning my name with the stirrup type pedal gear on a MTB keep up the work Dave in Pa.

  21. #21
    Senior Member jnoble123's Avatar
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    I've introduced a few people to clipless pedals in the last few years. In each case what seems to work well is to put the pedals on the bike and have them put on the appropriate shoes. (If the clips have an easy release setting I usually start them out using that too).

    Walk the bike over to a nearby building wall and ask them to get on the bike while leaving one hand against the wall. Have them unclip thirty to forty times in a roll and through creative use of the backpedal you can have them try uncliping at various points in the pedal rotation.

    Have them dismount from the bike and turn the bike around so that they can repeat the same operation on the other pedal.

    Once those two drills are complete then get them to ride in a traffic free or low traffic area and come to a stop every thirty or forty feet alternately feet when doing so. In this way they get more used to the action of getting out of the pedals before they are in the middle of traffic or on technical singletrack.

    Personally I equate clipless pedals to giving you another gear on the bike. They seem to make a much greater difference for me then straps did.

    ~Jamie N
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Dougmt's Avatar
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    Jamie's suggestions are great. Another thing I did with my oldest boy was, as we were riding, occasionaly just yell at him to unclip. Just a sharp "unclip" and instantly he would pop his shoe out. This might not work with someone who is not your child :-) but it worked for us. It got him to the point that at 12 YO he feels very comfortable in clipless pedals.
    D

  23. #23
    Very Senior Member MikeR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfbiked
    I keep telling myself that I am accustomed to a heel-first exit from the pedals, as I used to ride with toe-clips, but without straps. We'll see if that theory has any merit!
    If you used clips then you will adjust to clopless fast.
    It's better to cycle through life than to drive by it.

  24. #24
    Very Senior Member MikeR's Avatar
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    Another thing for newbees - don't start on an uphill until you have some experience.
    It's better to cycle through life than to drive by it.

  25. #25
    Very Senior Member MikeR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ceiliazul
    Mike,

    Those flights are too short, and their cost too high, to pass the time thinking about your shoes! Enjoy the feeling of it all, and do try not to think about the oncoming pavement.
    YEp! The fall dosn't hurt, It's the sudden stop at the end that hurts!
    It's better to cycle through life than to drive by it.

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