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Rookie Clipless Mistake

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Rookie Clipless Mistake

Old 01-19-07, 06:49 AM
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gpwrider
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Rookie Clipless Mistake

I finally took the plunge and went clipless. I read all of the posts here about being careful, practicing before you hit the road, etc. I was sure that I could handle it.
As I approached the bus stop this morning, I slowed the bike and twisted my right foot to remove it from the pedal. It wouldn't come out. I tried my left foot. No luck there, either.
As I'm going down, I'm thinking, "I can't believe this is happening the very first time that I've tried to stop!"
Fortunately, there was no damage to either me or the bike.
The ride home should be interesting.
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Old 01-19-07, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by gpwrider
I finally took the plunge and went clipless. I read all of the posts here about being careful, practicing before you hit the road, etc. I was sure that I could handle it.
As I approached the bus stop this morning, I slowed the bike and twisted my right foot to remove it from the pedal. It wouldn't come out. I tried my left foot. No luck there, either.
As I'm going down, I'm thinking, "I can't believe this is happening the very first time that I've tried to stop!"
Fortunately, there was no damage to either me or the bike.
The ride home should be interesting.


I'm glad you're okay and have a good sense of humor about it. You may want to make the release tension on the pedals verrrry low to start out with, that should help. And the great thing is that now that you've had this fall, you'll probably never do it again. Anyway, have a safe and fun ride home.
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Old 01-19-07, 08:25 AM
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welcome to the world of clipless.
you have just went through the initiation

me, just waiting on my 1st clipless pedals and i'll be with ya
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Old 01-19-07, 09:13 AM
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I've been using SPD's and Looks for a while, but I still make a mistake every once in a while. I was crossing a street recently, and unclipped my right foot just in case. I rode up on the sidewalk to navigate the turn across traffic (major intersection, cross with PED light)...and was riding towards two women walking towards me. I started to move to the right, but they moved to my right (their left) as well. I leaned slightly to the left to avoid them, and before I knew it, I was past the point of no return....and went down. That was embarrassing.
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Old 01-19-07, 09:34 AM
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One more piece of advice when going clipless: Wear gloves if you didn't already. But you probably just learned that one the hard way....
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Old 01-19-07, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Itsjustb
One more piece of advice when going clipless: Wear gloves if you didn't already. But you probably just learned that one the hard way....
Lucky for me it was about 30 degrees F. this morning. Had my Trek lobster gloves on. There was also a bit of snow on the ground, which probably helped cushion the fall. So, I guess there are advantages to winter cycling.
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Old 01-19-07, 10:12 AM
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Definitely reduce the tension on the pedals, and don't forget to do both sides at the same time, or you could get a surprise...
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Old 01-19-07, 10:13 AM
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Lower the release tension and practice unclipping while out of the saddle w/ the pedals at 6 and 12. It should be easy to twist out w/ your foot at 12. Unclipping at 6 (for me) requires a slight "hop and twist".
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Old 01-19-07, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by gpwrider
Lucky for me it was about 30 degrees F. this morning... There was also a bit of snow on the ground
which brings up the possibility that there was a bit of snow in your cleat. At thirty degrees it hovers between water and ice and could possibly have frozen you into the pedal. This doesn't prevent you getting out but can delay it just enough to cause panic.

In winter I tend to tap my pedal with the cleat once or twice before I snap in to knock out any snow or debris.
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Old 01-19-07, 10:19 AM
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One final suggestion - make sure the cleats are tight. A loose cleat can just twist around on the shoe. It's very difficult to unclip when that happens.
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Old 01-19-07, 10:45 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone. Something that sounds so simple (clip in, clip out) shouldn't be this complicated.
We'll see how the ride home goes. Then I'll have a better idea of where the problem(s) lie. Right now, I'm going with "user error."
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Old 01-19-07, 10:58 AM
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Its like learning to walk without falling over. Once you have learnt you do it without thinking, and you cant give a satisfactory explanation of how you do it.
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Old 01-19-07, 11:07 AM
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It's a counterintuitive feeling. You're tilting left, further left...and the only way to stop it is to twist your left foot further to the left. It feels like leaning into a punch. But you get used to it. I don't fall anymore, at least not for forgetting to unclip. But I do have those little microbattles of balance every once in a while, where I sense what's about to happen, and I quickly and desperately unclip before the tilting goes too far. It must look like my shoe is administering very sharp, very sudden electric shocks for 3 seconds.
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Old 01-19-07, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by dalmore
One final suggestion - make sure the cleats are tight. A loose cleat can just twist around on the shoe. It's very difficult to unclip when that happens.
That happenned to me with some new shoes. Second day riding in those shoes, I couldn't unclip one side. One screw had come loose and the cleat was just pivotting around the other screw. I stopped with the other foot down, took off my stuck shoe, and stood beside the bike while freeing it from the pedal.
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Old 01-19-07, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by gpwrider
Thanks for the suggestions everyone. Something that sounds so simple (clip in, clip out) shouldn't be this complicated.
We'll see how the ride home goes. Then I'll have a better idea of where the problem(s) lie. Right now, I'm going with "user error."
Hehehe... it's definitely something that most people go through when they first try clipless.

Speaking of "user error", have you heard of the abbreviation PEBKAC? "Problem exists between keyboard and chair" Supposedly used by tech support people to refer to customers who are too dumb to help? Well I guess when it comes to bikes you could say PEBHAP "Problem exists between pedal and helmet". My youngest sister definitely has that problem: she was so uncoordinated that she couldn't learn to ride until she was about 10.
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Old 01-19-07, 11:21 AM
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Has anyone ever gone clipless and NOT fallen once? (from not unclipping in time)

I have the pedals but have not yet installed them. After reading about everyone taking a dump, I intend to beat the odds. We'll see!
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Old 01-19-07, 11:38 AM
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I'm up to three falls. >.< The worst of the three was right before a group ride started. It was my first time there.
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Old 01-19-07, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by squeakywheel
That happenned to me with some new shoes. ... I stopped with the other foot down, ...
I stopped with my elbow down.

Originally Posted by moxfyre
... Speaking of "user error", have you heard of the abbreviation PEBKAC? "Problem exists between keyboard and chair" Supposedly used by tech support people to refer to customers who are too dumb to help?...
I usually refer to that as a loose nut on the keyboard.
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Old 01-19-07, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick
Has anyone ever gone clipless and NOT fallen once? (from not unclipping in time)

I have the pedals but have not yet installed them. After reading about everyone taking a dump, I intend to beat the odds. We'll see!
Damn it! I've been reading all of these posts about falling with clipless pedals for years trying to keep myself from posting -- and I know there are lot's more of you out there who've been holding back -- but I'm going to do it....

In 4.5 years of riding clipless, I have not fallen from being able to unclip in time.

There. I wrote it. I'm sure I'll be posting in the next week about how badly I ate it from not being able to unclip...
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Old 01-19-07, 12:15 PM
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PEBKAC- yes, that's real. A few more:
PICNIC = problem in chair not in computer
ESTO = equipment superior to operator
LART = luser attitude readjustment tool
ID 10 T error = ID10T (Used to give a generic error to pass on to the next tech support person, ie "Tell them you've got error number ID 10 T")
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Old 01-19-07, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by rykoala
PEBKAC- yes, that's real. A few more:
PICNIC = problem in chair not in computer
ESTO = equipment superior to operator
LART = luser attitude readjustment tool
ID 10 T error = ID10T (Used to give a generic error to pass on to the next tech support person, ie "Tell them you've got error number ID 10 T")


I especially like the ID 10 T error!! Do you work in tech support?
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Old 01-19-07, 01:02 PM
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Yes, I do. Have been doing it for about 10 years I'm a systems administrator at a web hosting company and I also do a load of tech support. Believe me, it gets fun...
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Old 01-19-07, 01:40 PM
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So you took the plunge, then you took the plunge.

A salute and tip of the cap to you! Welcome to the club!
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Old 01-19-07, 01:43 PM
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The important question, did anybody see you fall? I've always been quick to look around the couple times I've taken the spill wondering if I entertained anybody.
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Old 01-19-07, 01:56 PM
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I've fallen once with feet bolted to the pedals. Stopped successfully at bottom of hill (stop sign). Started moving and clipped in. Realized I'm in too high a gear. Unsuccessfully shift to small chainring and lock up cranks with chain. Decelerate quickly due to steep incline. Fall over.

I felt like that guy in the raincoat who used to fall over on a tricycle on the circa 1970 TV show "Laugh-In". In fact, I was wearing a yellow raincoat. I'm proud of myself for doing the tuck and roll type landing. The usuall mistake is to stick your hand out to catch yourself and consequentially breaking a collar bone. Don't ask how I know that.

Edit: OK, I'll come clean. First falling over event was with clips and straps. That was the broken collar bone experience. Second time was with SPD pedals as described above.

Last edited by squeakywheel; 01-19-07 at 02:56 PM.
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