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Clipless pedal horror stories?

Old 04-19-11, 08:24 PM
  #1  
MTBerJim
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Clipless pedal horror stories?

We had a thread yesterday, the OP was asking about toe clips, toward the end myself and a few others sort of derailed it to a rally in favor of going clipless. More that one person seemed to have some strong opinions away from clipless.

I'd like to open a story thread dealing with you're success or lack of---using clipless pedals.

My story is, I was being told by everyone I was riding with that it was the way to go, you will never look back.
Unsure I order pedals and shoes from nashbar, got the house brand combo deal. I show up at the trail parking lot, my friend that was also a LBS wrench, put them on the bike and got the cleats on the shoes. I ride around the soccer field, very cool locked into the bike ride up to the group-smile beaming and fall over. I should mention the continuous laughing for a least 5 minutes.

Welcome to clipless. That first day I must have hit the ground 10 times easy, as we pull back into the parking lot 2 hours later I remember to twist my foot and just like that I was starting to get it.

Fast forward to the following weekend, I was heading upstate with a friend. It's different there.

Long Island is well an island, flat and we got sand---lots of it.
Upstate is mountains, steep climbs and rocks---lots of rocks. It was a first for me and I was only a week on the clipless setup.

It was the best dam time and it was where I learned how being able to push/pull (pedal in circles) gave me a lot of power on the climbs, bunny hopping over nasty stuff no problem.

That's my story---next.

Last edited by MTBerJim; 04-19-11 at 08:36 PM. Reason: My english
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Old 04-19-11, 08:44 PM
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I'm normally pretty good about [strike]stopping[/strike] slowing down at stop signs.

One day about 6 months after getting clipless pedals, I'm approaching a stop sign and notice a car coming from the left. It's far enough off that I'd be able to clear the intersection before they get there so I speed up a bit. I look again and see that it's a cop, so I squeeze the brakes hard, - and fall over.

The looks on the cops faces, were umm, unsympathetic.

Last edited by tjspiel; 04-19-11 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 04-19-11, 09:28 PM
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I did some type of pirouette once at a busy intersection where I came to a complete stop clipped in then realized and quickly twisted and jumped off landed facing backwards then dropped my bike. Quite embarrassed I rode on.
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Old 04-19-11, 09:29 PM
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been riding clipless for 4 years. No horror stories as of yet.
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Old 04-20-11, 04:51 AM
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^Pretty much my experience too. I've had clipless pedals on all bikes I've ridden over the past 5-6 years, and never had an accident as a result. *KNOCKS ON WOOD*
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Old 04-20-11, 06:01 AM
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My clipless story is a bit more obscure, as it involves toe overlap. I was never really concerned about to overlap, my toe did bump into the front fender a few times, but nothing serious. One brisk morning after riding with my clipless for about a month, I had a green arrow to turn left through a busy intersection. I clipped in, stood up and began pedaling. I did not make it far, as my right toe jammed up against the front fender, and rather than my foot simply slipping back on the pedal, it shoved the fender into the tire and I went over the handlebars.

Needless to say, I am more careful about where my front tire is when I begin pedaling now.
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Old 04-20-11, 06:17 AM
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I was riding along a grade separated bike path, along the street. I needed to cross the street at the next intersection, so I stopped for the red light. I forgot to unclip and promptly fell over, partially blocking the rightmost lane of the street I was trying to cross.

It is very difficult to unclip when you're lying on your side and the bike is still between your legs. Especially when you have commuting gear in panniers, making the bike heavier. And especially when you're worried the next car might plow right over you. (fortunately for me, the next car stopped and waited instead of trying to manouver their way past)

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Old 04-20-11, 06:30 AM
  #8  
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When I bought my first set of clipless pedals, my LBS installed them and set my bike up on a trainer and had me practice for 10 minutes. The only times I have been unable to unclip were times that I was going down anyway.

Practice before you get into traffic.
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Old 04-20-11, 06:56 AM
  #9  
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I've ridden SPD for a few years, and toe clips for a few years. I've never fallen as a result of either one. I just got on and rode, never had a problem. I do make sure to clip out about 5 seconds before I'm going to stop, so if I have trouble (I haven't so far) I can bail out by getting to a wall or post or something I can catch myself against.

I really don't have a strong preference either way, toe clips or clipless. I'm riding clipless right now because the cleats were already on my current set of shoes and I found the SPD pedals first when I was swapping out my winter platforms a few weeks ago.
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Old 04-20-11, 07:36 AM
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Toe clips did major damage to my knee due to a very minor bike-wheelie related accident.

Clipless pedals have seen me through two major accidents, and have in both cases allowed painless separation from the bike (though that was the only painless part).
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Old 04-20-11, 07:38 AM
  #11  
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No horror stories here either sure I've had a few of the clipless moments and fallen over but nothing major as of yet.
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Old 04-20-11, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by MTBerJim View Post
Welcome to clipless. That first day I must have hit the ground 10 times easy, as we pull back into the parking lot 2 hours later I remember to twist my foot and just like that I was starting to get it.
Wow that's rough. I just got my pedals and my shoes are coming today, but I've already updated for the escape mechanism.

One of my friends has pointed out that, even with 5 years of every-single-day experience with one-way clipless, people still forget to clip out once or twice a year. Funny when people come to a quiet stop, teeter a bit, then just drop.

Ryan, one of my earlier biking accidents as a kid was a front tire stop! When I was like 10 or 12 I had a 12 speed bike (fished out of a pond and sand blasted/painted) that I learned would hop the back wheel if I dead stopped the front. So one day, sans helmet, I'm coming down a hill peddling my gluteus maximus off, bike computer readout around 30mph, and I jam my foot right in the front fork and dead stop the wheel.

Head directly into sidewalk as the bike orbits its front wheel. No helmet.

I didn't black out, didn't bleed, didn't even get dazed. Just got up, went, "Wow that was stupid," and rode off.

I'll be sure to watch out for any fenders I get. Maybe I should buy some narrow ones...
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Old 04-20-11, 08:06 AM
  #13  
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Clipless horror stories? Really? I don't even use mine any more, but there was no horror.

I fell once during my first few days before adjusting to them. No big deal. Why did I give them up? I'm more comfortable with flat pedals.
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Old 04-20-11, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by bluefoxicy View Post
Wow that's rough.
Admittedly, I"m not the sharpest tool in the shed.
I do have a stubborn streak that is a blessing AND a curse.
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Old 04-20-11, 08:49 AM
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What do you want to hear, that I fell in front of my kid and wife while pointing out a wild turkey, who heard the fall and skampered off, never to be seen by them? Or that I fell in my own driveway in front of my neighbor, while distracted due to the conversation and her bodaciousness?
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Old 04-20-11, 08:50 AM
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First commute with clipless was uneventful. The ride home was a little more interesting. At the time, I worked on a major university campus. Leaving work, my path was suddenly crossed by a group of students. I grabbed the brakes and stopped, but forgot to unclip. Fortunately for me, there was a cute little coed for me to grab onto, and then fall on. Talk about embarrassing. The good news is that she was on the school cycling team and laughed about it, because she remembered the first time she went clipless. Been riding clipless for almost 6 years now, no other issues after that. Public humiliation can be a good teacher.
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Old 04-20-11, 09:06 AM
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I have never had a clipless horror story. I have had some amazing flying wipeouts and my feet just come off, no problem. I have 2 bikes set up to ride w/ no retention (one 2-sided if I want to hop on w/o changing shoes, maybe toe-clips would be better but they do frustrate me, the other pure wide flat for winter boots), and I only ever miss the clipless function, I never ever regret having it when I do.
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Old 04-20-11, 09:20 AM
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Transitioned to clip-less pretty painlessly and have never fallen when stationary / stopped and was so used to straps / clips it wasn't the change it may have been for people who use flat pedals.

Was in traffic one day and pulled up behind a van and unclipped my right foot as I rolled to a stop and am not sure how I did this but caught the clip on the way down and locked my foot back in at 0 mph and could not snap it back out.

Pure reflex kicked in and since I was on my mtb I popped a wheelie and skated my back wheel across the back of the van and then rode right to the curb and hopped up on to the sidewalk.
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Old 04-20-11, 09:58 AM
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Three falls so far due to clipless pedals:

1) Forgot to unclip at a stop sign. Slow-motion fall to the side while spectators laugh.
2) Shortly thereafter, unclipped early so I wouldn't do 1) again, but accidentally clipped back in. Slow motion fall to the side while spectators laugh.
3) Unclipped the wrong foot. Slow-motion etc.

Not looking forward to #4...
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Old 04-20-11, 10:08 AM
  #20  
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My fisrt fall was while trying to track-stand at an intersection I commute through every day. This was a pleasure ride with my wife and, as I learned this day, they change the timing of the lights during the normal commute hours. I wasn't expecting to have to stay stationary that long and ended up falling over into the #3 lane. Nothing hurt but my pride.

Second was on the same street but different intersection and, again, a pleasure ride with my wife. I came to a stop in the right lane in the right tire track and expected my wife to either stop behind me or pull to my left. She went to the right and was partially in the right turn lane with cars coming up behind her. I tried to move my bike to the left so she could get out of the turn lane with my left foot still clipped in. Down I went. Nothing hurt but my pride.

Older son decided to go for a ride with my wife and I. I let him ride the old Schwinn road bike I was using as a commuter and also loaned him a pair of clipless shoes (I and both my sons wear size 13). He did well till mile 5 when we all stopped and he forgot to click out. Nice, slow-motion fall. Nothing hurt but his pride.

Younger son recently picked up an old Centurion road bike off Craig's List. It came with clipless pedals and a pair of shoes that happened to fit him. I did a quick tune up and he took it out for a ride after practicing clicking in and out a few times. At the end of the test ride, he was heading straight toward me with a big smile on his face. He came to a nice graceful stop then got this confused look on his face as he fell over. Nothing hurt but his pride.

And then my wife....well, better not go there.
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Old 04-20-11, 10:12 AM
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These days I am pretty dependent on those clip less pedals as nerve damage in my back affects my left leg and foot which does not like to stay put and will float or slip off the pedal if I am not clipped in.

Does not affect my ability to ride as much as it does walking and standing.
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Old 04-20-11, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by MTBerJim View Post
Admittedly, I"m not the sharpest tool in the shed.
I learn incredibly fast and I'm a lot smarter than everyone else around me. The secret is I screw up a lot, right in the beginning. I do things to see what'll break, sometimes even things I know are going to end badly. At work sometimes they give me a new project to start a new initiative on new technology or new products, and I'll make something horrible but workable really quick, and then tear it apart and start over from scratch. The second one around is perfect: it encompasses all the knowledge I gained the first time around to avoid pitfalls and mess and organize things properly, plus all the minor adjustments I make during a proper implementation.

You ever see people who are just completely lost, all the time? Everything in the world overwhelms them, and unless they're running the same exact cheese-maze every day they're completely bewildered? Those are the people that are afraid to try stuff and see what happens. That's why they're dumb.

If the tool is blunt, it won't work the first time you try to use it. So sharpen it. Now it works. If you just stare at a blunt tool all day, it'll stay blunt, and you won't get any work done. Don't whine to me that nobody showed you how to sharpen something; look it up, and the first 30 times you'll just make it blunter but eh, been there.

For bonus points, though, watch other people drop tools and derail grinding wheels and all, and don't do that. B)
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Old 04-20-11, 10:22 AM
  #23  
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I've had a couple of "oh shivers!" moments after forgetting to unclip when coming to a stop, but was able to unclip before falling. I had one minor spill while clipped in (tire slipped into a rut while making a slow turn, and the bike slipped out from under me), but I suspect I would have spilled even if not clipped in.

My most embarrassing clipless-related incident was when trying to clip in, missed, and lurched forward. This was taking off at a 4-way stop with a number of witnesses, but I didn't take notice of anyone's reaction.
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Old 04-20-11, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by bluefoxicy View Post
I learn incredibly fast and I'm a lot smarter than everyone else around me. The secret is I screw up a lot, right in the beginning. I do things to see what'll break, sometimes even things I know are going to end badly.
I work with people like you... we usually don't let them play with the sharp tools right away as if they mess things up the customers get really upset.

Always instruct people that is is better to ask questions and learn from the folks who have been there and done that and can help you avoid those pitfalls.

Of course, we are working with known technology with established service techniques and although I appreciate it when people think out of the box and encourage this also, sometimes you need to stay in the box.

Can see where this might work in research and if I am going to experiment on things I make sure they are not something I am going to miss if things go badly.

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Old 04-20-11, 10:39 AM
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While mountain biking I had mud freeze in some Shimano clipless pedals. It was below freezing, I was on a flat, mostly smooth fire road, and I was coming to a planned stop. My left foot came out fine, but my right was stuck. Naturally, I fell to the right. At the time, I was rehabilitating a dislocated knee, so I wasn't too happy about falling on that knee.

Since that day, I switched to Egg Beaters and haven't had a single issue.
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