Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

Scared to commute with clipless pedals

Notices
Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

Scared to commute with clipless pedals

Old 02-28-10, 05:52 PM
  #1  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 26
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Scared to commute with clipless pedals

Hi guys,

Not too long ago I swtiched to clipless pedals. Generaly I am handling the new adjustment pretty well, but my commute involves 5K of uphill some of each is pretty steep. The other day while I was getting up the hill I tried to swtich to a lower gear but for some reason the chain got jammed and prevented me from pedaling forward. As you can imagine I came to an abrupt , unexpected stop, isnstant panic came over me since my feet were stuck to the pedal and only by a great deal of luck one of the pedals came off and I was able to sustain my balance.

This incident really scared me though because if none of my feet came off I would have had a bad crash and being on a relatively busy street god knows what would have happen to me. I could have broken my arm and be run over by another vehicle.

I am really thinking of going back to toe clips or nothing at all. Has anyone experiences such a scary event and do you have any suggestions for me?

Cheer,
Jerry
bikingjerome is offline  
Old 02-28-10, 06:38 PM
  #2  
Very, very Senior Member
 
JPprivate's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Chicago
Posts: 1,224

Bikes: 2012 Surly Troll, 1999 Hardtail MTB

Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
sounds scary, glad everything turned out ok. I am really a safety-nanny (embarrassing to admit) so you can guess what I'd suggest. Trying out clipless some time ago was fun, but it did feel kinda weird. I can imagine that it's really an asset if you cycle for miles without having to stop etc. It depends on what your route looks like and how many stops you have to make on the way (urban vs countryside). For myself riding mostly in urban areas, clipless (or anything that keeps my feet stuck on the pedals) is a non-starter.
JPprivate is offline  
Old 02-28-10, 06:44 PM
  #3  
Bike addict, dreamer
 
AdamDZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Queens, New York
Posts: 5,165
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Although many people swear they can unclip in a billionth of a second under any circumstances (although I've seen some that couldn't...) and would call me a p*ssy I just don't trust clipless pedals in traffic.

Adam
AdamDZ is offline  
Old 02-28-10, 07:12 PM
  #4  
Just one more mile.
 
LewisAClark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Buena Park, CA
Posts: 49

Bikes: Look Team Replica, Novara Buzz, Scattante CFR Team

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Here is one possible solution. A set of something similar came with the bike I bought off a co-worker. There is a clipless side and a flat pedal side. They're heavier than a regular clipless, but you'll have a lot more confidence tackling that hill. Nice thing about them is if you want to hammer with bike shoes, you can do that too.

https://www.performancebike.com/bikes..._20000_1501501

I remember my first crash with clipless. It was like my third ride with them and I overcooked a corner. I did the panic unclip by pulling straight up. Of course they did not release. I hit a curb and went into a pile of very coarse gravel bruising my hip and shoulder. Now, the best part. The first thing I did, was not check myself or my bike. No. My first reaction was, "Did anybody see that?"

Later when I got back to the car after 60 miles of riding I made sure that I unclipped well before the stop. I came to a nice even stop and then proceded to get off the unclipped side. BAM! Down I went again on the same hip and shoulder. After checking again to see if anyone else saw that, I let fly with some colorful remarks about the advantages of the clipless pedal.

Even though I ride 80 miles with these pedals I still haven't changed them out after seven years. I find that I don't want to use the shoes if I'm going to the store or getting my car worked on. I think that you will find these pedals to be a nice compromise, that is, if you use SPD.
LewisAClark is offline  
Old 02-28-10, 07:18 PM
  #5  
Senior Member
 
DVC45's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 3,334
Liked 14 Times in 9 Posts
Yup, been there... that's why I only use dual sided pedals on my commuter. I only clip-in when I'm on a little traffic, to no traffic area.
Where I live now, I can't even remember the last time I used the clip-in side of my pedals on my commute.
DVC45 is offline  
Old 02-28-10, 07:37 PM
  #6  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 26
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by LewisAClark
Here is one possible solution. A set of something similar came with the bike I bought off a co-worker. There is a clipless side and a flat pedal side. They're heavier than a regular clipless, but you'll have a lot more confidence tackling that hill. Nice thing about them is if you want to hammer with bike shoes, you can do that too.

https://www.performancebike.com/bikes..._20000_1501501

I remember my first crash with clipless. It was like my third ride with them and I overcooked a corner. I did the panic unclip by pulling straight up. Of course they did not release. I hit a curb and went into a pile of very coarse gravel bruising my hip and shoulder. Now, the best part. The first thing I did, was not check myself or my bike. No. My first reaction was, "Did anybody see that?"

Later when I got back to the car after 60 miles of riding I made sure that I unclipped well before the stop. I came to a nice even stop and then proceded to get off the unclipped side. BAM! Down I went again on the same hip and shoulder. After checking again to see if anyone else saw that, I let fly with some colorful remarks about the advantages of the clipless pedal.

Even though I ride 80 miles with these pedals I still haven't changed them out after seven years. I find that I don't want to use the shoes if I'm going to the store or getting my car worked on. I think that you will find these pedals to be a nice compromise, that is, if you use SPD.
Actually I use exactly that type of pedal, it's a hybrid. But for uphill cycling I usually like to be clipped in because that's where I require the maxumun efficiency. So if I have to keep swtiching to the flat side to avaoid danger than I might as well go to a regular pedal.

And i know there is tons of people who think the clipless is safe even safer. But I just don't "feel" safer , never have even before my incident.
bikingjerome is offline  
Old 02-28-10, 07:43 PM
  #7  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 4,700
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 4 Posts
OK, the real problem may be you trying to shift while the chain was under heavy load. Yeah, the newer chains/shifters/cogs are supposed to be able to handle that. Maybe. If you tried to shift from a smaller to a larger rear cog in order to downshift under load, that's almost certainly the problem.

FWIW, I had to learn that the hard way, too. Now by habit I never shift small-to-big (chain ring or cog) under load.

As for being scared of this happening again, you just survived what's pretty much a worst-case scenario.
achoo is offline  
Old 02-28-10, 07:52 PM
  #8  
Not safe for work
 
cyclokitty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 2,123

Bikes: KHS Town and Country 100 & Jamis Durango Femme 1.0

Liked 8 Times in 4 Posts
I have a set of clipless pedals and shoes sitting in the hallway closet.

I understand how you feel.

Every spring is "the year I go clipless". Then I put them back in the closet.

Crazily, the pedals I picked are perfectly suited for clip-in shoes and regular skateboard shoes. One day I'll go clipless.
cyclokitty is offline  
Old 02-28-10, 07:54 PM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
sonatageek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Cleveland,Ohio
Posts: 2,766
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
I just started using clipless on one of bikes late last year. Had the requisite couple (okay 3 falls) during the first few weeks of use. They are the Shimano model that have the platform on one side. I do the platform thing when in stop and go traffic areas and that has worked well.
sonatageek is offline  
Old 02-28-10, 07:55 PM
  #10  
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Posts: 27,267

Bikes: See my sig...

Liked 134 Times in 99 Posts
The only places I go clipless is when I am mountain biking and touring... the rest of the time I usually use clips and straps or toothy flat pedals.
Sixty Fiver is offline  
Old 02-28-10, 08:06 PM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
mtalinm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Westwood MA (just south of Boston)
Posts: 2,215

Bikes: 2009 Trek Soho

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
thanks for the link to the cheap double-sided pedals. my LBS wants $80 for a Shimano version of those.

I've had no trouble getting out of the clipless pedals, though I've not yet had that tested in an emergency.

I did hear from a friend about a friend of hers who got run over and then dragged hundreds of feet b/c he couldn't unclip. lost half his foot, she said.

stuff like that makes me think I should maybe not use clipless pedals on my commute, but it would be hard to give them up. and toe straps are soooo much harder to get into.,
mtalinm is offline  
Old 02-28-10, 08:15 PM
  #12  
rebmeM roineS
 
JanMM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Metro Indy, IN
Posts: 16,217

Bikes: Bacchetta Giro A20, RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

Liked 349 Times in 227 Posts
"only by a great deal of luck one of the pedals came off" Well, now, that doesn't sound very lucky!

My use of clipless, all the time, is proof that it's not really that hard.
__________________
Bacchetta Giro A20, RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer
JanMM is offline  
Old 02-28-10, 08:20 PM
  #13  
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 39
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I just built a bike and considered clipless pedals for it. I've always hated toe clips, so I definitely wasn't getting those. Then I heard about the clipless/flat combo, but I heard that as a clipless pedal, theyre not the best...and as a flat pedal they werent the best either. You're paying for flexibility, but mediocre versions of each pedal @ best.

They probably look tacky to some people but I ended up getting these...you have to twist your foot in to 'engage' the strap kinda like a clipless. They work pretty good actually.

j_deLaBay is offline  
Old 02-28-10, 08:21 PM
  #14  
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Posts: 27,267

Bikes: See my sig...

Liked 134 Times in 99 Posts
I have been using clips and straps since God was a baby and don't even have to think about getting in and out of them... and have had one sketchy moment when I was using clipless in traffic.

Pulled up behind a car in rush hour and had un-clipped as I rolled up behind a minivan and when I went to put my foot down somehow managed to hit my pedal on the way down and accidentally clipped back in at 0 speed.

Did not go down but out of pure reflex, popped a wheelie and grazed the back window of the van as I pulled the bike right and over and then bunny hopped the curb to get up on the boulevard.

I got applause from some bystanders so guess my cool factor was not affected.
Sixty Fiver is offline  
Old 02-28-10, 09:28 PM
  #15  
bored of "Senior Member"
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: MD / metro DC
Posts: 2,947

Bikes: Cross-Check/Nexus commuter. Several others for various forms of play.

Liked 622 Times in 475 Posts
We all like what we are comfortable with. That doesn't mean it is best. But it may require some discomfort to move over the absorption hump into the new / better (?) zone.

Sixty Fiver loves his clips and straps. For many folks, if the strap is tight enough to be doing a darn thing, it is harder to get out of than most clipless pedals. Not for him. But for many. And it took some getting used to, even for Sixty Fiver, at least at some point (way back). He is in a good spot for him now.

Everyone falls down once, or a few times, in making the transition to clipless. But the fact that most mountain bikers use clipless is proof that they are, in the net, better for efficiency and still allow you to put a foot down before you dab. The hybrid or platform pedals do have places here and there (DH, some trials), but mountain bikers (XC) have far more need for a quick release than commuters, and they overwhelmingly use clipless.

If you are unwilling to burn through the uncomfortable period of getting used to clipless, then platform pedals are your happy place (at least for now). But do NOT make the mistake of thinking they are inherently inferior or dangerous for commuting. They just take some getting used to before you get to that better place. It is a better place.
slcbob is offline  
Old 02-28-10, 09:52 PM
  #16  
SERENITY NOW!!!
 
jyossarian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: In the 212
Posts: 8,738

Bikes: Haro Vector, IRO Rob Roy, Bianchi Veloce

Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Downshift before you get to the hill and stay clipped in. There ya go.
__________________
HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!
jyossarian is offline  
Old 02-28-10, 09:59 PM
  #17  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 26
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by jyossarian
Downshift before you get to the hill and stay clipped in. There ya go.
the slope on the hill is not the same all the time. So you got to gear up and down depending on where you are.

Last edited by bikingjerome; 02-28-10 at 10:06 PM.
bikingjerome is offline  
Old 02-28-10, 10:05 PM
  #18  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 26
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
So we are all on the fence with this one. I guess it's a matter of personal preference.

Now I am curious about one thing. Is there anyway one can learn to pedal with a platform pedal in a way that comes close to a clipless in terms of efficiency?
bikingjerome is offline  
Old 02-28-10, 10:07 PM
  #19  
Senior Member
 
CACycling's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Oxnard, CA
Posts: 4,571

Bikes: 2009 Fuji Roubaix RC; 2011 Fuji Cross 2.0; '92 Diamond Back Ascent EX

Liked 16 Times in 12 Posts
I've been commuting on SPDs for a couple of years without problem. That said, if you aren't comfortable, don't do it.
CACycling is offline  
Old 02-28-10, 10:16 PM
  #20  
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: S.E. Tennessee
Posts: 32

Bikes: Trek 1000, Surly LHT, Bianchi Pista, Specialized Roubaix

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I put a set of those "Power Grip" pedals on a fixed gear I have and they work great. That might end up being a good compromise. FWIW, I commuted about 1800 miles last year with SPDs with no problem. Plenty of hills (Chattanooga) and plenty of stop and go. Thing is, I started with clipless pedals when I returned to cycling in 2005 but didn't commute until last year. The more time (miles) you have with them, the more clipping in/out will become second nature.
RC
d18rc is offline  
Old 02-28-10, 10:47 PM
  #21  
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Posts: 27,267

Bikes: See my sig...

Liked 134 Times in 99 Posts
Originally Posted by bikingjerome
Now I am curious about one thing. Is there anyway one can learn to pedal with a platform pedal in a way that comes close to a clipless in terms of efficiency?
Develop a smooth pedaling stroke and you will be nearly as efficient on a platform as you are with clipless pedals... maintaining traction on the pedal is key here.
Sixty Fiver is offline  
Old 03-01-10, 12:14 AM
  #22  
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Outside of Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 196

Bikes: Tumbleweed Prospector 29+, 1991 Schwinn High Plains resto-mod, 1998 Schwinn Homegrown resto-mod

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by j_deLaBay

My commute is short but I am using the same pedals pictured above. The strap is adjusted snug enough that my foot feels secure but you can still get out fast. I have clipless as well and I still fall over on occasion. The best was when one of the 2 screws fell out of the cleat on the bottom of the shoe. The shoe could spin 360* without disengaging (had to take the shoe off to get off the bike). Fortunately it wasn't an emergency situation. Now I use LockTite on the threads and no clipless for me while commuting.
zanq is offline  
Old 03-01-10, 12:24 AM
  #23  
Single-serving poster
 
electrik's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 5,098
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
So don't... all these cyclist/shop guys are going to pressure you into it for what? Are you in a race?

Just rock your platforms, and if you ever feel like it some other day try a clipless shoe.
electrik is offline  
Old 03-01-10, 01:06 AM
  #24  
Fresh Garbage
 
hairnet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 13,190

Bikes: N+1

Liked 27 Times in 18 Posts
I've never had issues clipping in/out in the middle of traffic. With double sided MTB pedals, I don't even have to try. It's a little sketchy with road shoes because the sole is smooth and if you miss the correct side of the pedal then the shoe can slip and you may go down(how hard did you push down) or just be really slow to start. But if you don't like them then don't use them, don't feel pressured.
hairnet is offline  
Old 03-01-10, 01:22 AM
  #25  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 6,432
Liked 44 Times in 38 Posts
Originally Posted by slcbob
We all like what we are comfortable with. That doesn't mean it is best. But it may require some discomfort to move over the absorption hump into the new / better (?) zone.

Sixty Fiver loves his clips and straps. For many folks, if the strap is tight enough to be doing a darn thing, it is harder to get out of than most clipless pedals. Not for him. But for many. And it took some getting used to, even for Sixty Fiver, at least at some point (way back). He is in a good spot for him now.

Everyone falls down once, or a few times, in making the transition to clipless. But the fact that most mountain bikers use clipless is proof that they are, in the net, better for efficiency and still allow you to put a foot down before you dab. The hybrid or platform pedals do have places here and there (DH, some trials), but mountain bikers (XC) have far more need for a quick release than commuters, and they overwhelmingly use clipless.

If you are unwilling to burn through the uncomfortable period of getting used to clipless, then platform pedals are your happy place (at least for now). But do NOT make the mistake of thinking they are inherently inferior or dangerous for commuting. They just take some getting used to before you get to that better place. It is a better place.
Yes...exactly.

If you feel unsure about clipless, by all means you may wish not to use them. I've been using them for a long time and unclipping is second nature for me by now. I would agree with the other guy - it's usually not "good luck" that's the reason people unclip in an emergency. It's what the shoe was designed to do.

On the other hand, I spent a lot of cautious time learning to clip and unclip when I first got the shoes/pedals. I've never had a bad fall because of clipless - when I was learning I just fell over once or twice when I had brought the bike to nearly a complete stop, then went to put my foot down but hadn't quite unclipped in time. I just looked stupid and scraped my handlebar tape.

But a much less cautious friend of mine decided to do clipless last year, and he's had a hell of a time with it. He just jumps into things...hasn't been the best for him. I mean, he hasn't broken anything or anything, but he's seemed to have a lot of trouble.

I certainly wouldn't suggest using clipless in difficult conditions if you're uncomfortable with it. Either spend more time getting comfortable clipping in and out, or if you're more comfortable use platforms.

But personally, and this is just my opinion, I can't imagine how straps would be anything but more dangerous. If they're tight enough to make a difference, you may have trouble getting your foot in and out. If you don't, getting your foot out in an emergency is still inherently more time consuming than it is with clipless or bare pedals.

The motion to put your foot down is to push it to the side. Not coincidentally, this is also the primary motion you use to unclip. With straps, you have to move your foot backwards first to get out of the straps, then move it to the side to put your foot down. It's farther for your foot to travel - it's not as fast. The only way straps seem better than clipless is if you had used them for years and years already and were completely comfortable with them already.

So I think either taking the time and effort to learn clipless and ingrain clipping in and out habits, or just using bare platforms would be the way to go.
PaulRivers is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Your Privacy Choices -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.