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Falling down

Old 07-26-20, 12:05 AM
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OldBrokeReCycle
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Falling down

The last time I fell was one of those 0 mph things where I unclipped the wrong side on a gravelly hill (hey! it was the side I always unclip) and landed on my other knee. It resulted in a total knee replacement, probably due in large part to 50+ years of running, riding, roller-blading, karate, backpacking, and tennis without religiously doing the requisite stretching, strength training, or diet that was the received wisdom of the moment.
I recently switched my Cross Check to flat pedals and they are a wonder. I ride slower, but can go anywhere, more or, in fact, less, but better. It is really fun. I was recently riding some walking trails near home and ended up on a pretty steep downhill. In the drops, squeezing the cantis so that they were screaming. I scared the h*ll out of a couple who were at the bottom of the hill. I also scared me.
Which caused me to wonder. Most of my falls are of the 0 speed variety: I was really good[bad] at them on roller-blades; I can still get to the edge unclipping the SpeedPlays on my road bike at a stop sign. From experience, I believe that there is usually this life-passes-before-your-eyes moment or two before the fall when time seems to slow down and one (I) might configure myself to minimize the self-harm that is to come.
Other than my personal Prime Directive: "Don't Lead With Your Knee", does anyone have good advice about falling on your bike?
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Old 07-26-20, 10:24 AM
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Good advice? Don't know. All my falls from unclipping were those things that sort of seem to happen in slow motion where you are hyper aware of everything. Particularly the grins forming on the faces of the witnesses.

I think I did tend to swing my leg out, but the pedal hits first and I sort of just let the ground contact point roll up my entire leg to my hip and then finally my upper arm and shoulder. Then you unclip quick, get up and put your hands up in the air like Rocky Balboa at the steps and jump up and down. <grin> (last part optional)

I'm supposing you were already well on your way to needing a knee replacement. Was it that you first hit on your knee or was it a twisting of it as your fell progressed up the leg?
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Old 07-26-20, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by OldBrokeReCycle View Post
The last time I fell was one of those 0 mph things where I unclipped the wrong side on a gravelly hill (hey! it was the side I always unclip) and landed on my other knee.

I recently switched my Cross Check to flat pedals and they are a wonder. I ride slower, but can go anywhere, more or, in fact, less, but better.

Which caused me to wonder. Most of my falls are of the 0 speed variety:
Sounds like you found your solution.

Originally Posted by OldBrokeReCycle View Post
From experience, I believe that there is usually this life-passes-before-your-eyes moment or two before the fall when time seems to slow down and one (I) might configure myself to minimize the self-harm that is to come.
The nearest I've had to a life passes before my eyes moment is after a crash or incident has already happened and I had some sort of head injury. I've had several concussions from a variety of "sources".

Time slowing down? Definitely. I've experienced that a few times. Didn't make a difference in the outcome of what was going to happen, as events put in motion were going to keep going until they finished. Which were probably only 1 to 3 seconds long if I had to think about it.
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Old 07-26-20, 11:31 PM
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I use platform pedals for anything other than my road bikes for (hopefully good) pavement. That includes gravel and city rides. I don't want foot retention for those situations.

And there's no significant difference in my power, speed or pedaling style. Last year I switched from spinning 90-100 rpm to a slower cadence and bigger gears, which improved my efficiency (I no longer have the cardio to be efficient at high cadence). So there's even less difference between clipless and platform since I'm mostly mashing and rarely pulling up on the pedals.

If I haven't ridden clipless or platform pedals for awhile it might take me 15 minutes to get accustomed to it again. No big deal.

I still fall occasionally but less often and it's much easier to recover from zero-speed tombays at intersections, etc., without foot retention.
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Old 07-27-20, 06:18 AM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by OldBrokeReCycle View Post
The last time I fell was one of those 0 mph things where I unclipped the wrong side on a gravelly hill (hey! it was the side I always unclip) and landed on my other knee. It resulted in a total knee replacement, probably due in large part to 50+ years of running, riding, roller-blading, karate, backpacking, and tennis without religiously doing the requisite stretching, strength training, or diet that was the received wisdom of the moment.

I recently switched my Cross Check to flat pedals and they are a wonder. I ride slower, but can go anywhere, more or, in fact, less, but better. It is really fun. I was recently riding some walking trails near home and ended up on a pretty steep downhill. In the drops, squeezing the cantis so that they were screaming. I scared the h*ll out of a couple who were at the bottom of the hill. I also scared me.

Which caused me to wonder. Most of my falls are of the 0 speed variety: I was really good[bad] at them on roller-blades; I can still get to the edge unclipping the SpeedPlays on my road bike at a stop sign. From experience, I believe that there is usually this life-passes-before-your-eyes moment or two before the fall when time seems to slow down and one (I) might configure myself to minimize the self-harm that is to come.

Other than my personal Prime Directive: "Don't Lead With Your Knee", does anyone have good advice about falling on your bike?

1st bold -- to "CLUB TOMBAY" I am a Life Member having been down numerous times with some resulting in the Armadillo Road Kill Orientation >> still clipped in with wheels facing up to the sky.


2nd bold -- Have NEVER experienced a slow down - life flashing before my eyes moment during my TOMBAY events..

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Old 07-27-20, 07:28 AM
  #6  
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I always make it a point to fall off my bike at 0 mph when stopping at a red light on a busy intersection with as many people as possible watching. Helps me maintain a strong sense of humility - highly recommend it.
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Old 07-27-20, 09:33 AM
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You’re on the right track: don’t ride clipless. The science says there is little if any mechanical advantage for any but the elite and, as you know, the downside is bad. We stay upright due to the gyroscopic effect of riding. As soon as you stop that effect is gone. Speed (within reason) is our friend! So, concentrate on planing and putting a foot down on the uphill side of the trail and pass on the added, unnecessary complication of clipless pedals (unless you’re an elite racer). Enjoy the ride.
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Old 07-27-20, 11:05 AM
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Canti's. I've got canti's. They leave a lot to be desired for stopping power in my experience

took the bike to the LBS within instructions "change the brakes to v-brakes". They had the bike at least 6 weeks maybe 7. When I went to get it, it was much cheaper than the price we had discussed, and they had only repaired the existing canti's. So yeah, rocking canti's not great (not saying they contributed to your 0 mph crashes)
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Old 07-27-20, 03:44 PM
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Pinned flat pedals keep me upright. The only thing I miss from 'clipless' is the ability to pull up when accelerating. In every other respect, I like the pinned flat pedals better than both clipless and toeclips and straps (and cleats).
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Old 07-27-20, 05:46 PM
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There is a large advantage to riding clipless. That's the reason every single serious road cyclist uses them. On a 200k brevet I was once stuck at the back of a long line of slow riders who varied in speed a lot. I finally decided I was plenty rested and went up front to see what was going on. It was a young man riding fixed with flats. We had a long 8% hill coming up. I asked him how he'd handle that. He said he'd walk. If I'd been riding fixed with clipless, I would have ridden it just fine and I was more than twice his age.

But to answer the OP: hold onto the bars. That's the key. Take the impact on the whole side of your body, so it's distributed. That's what they teach to the bike cops and I can tell you that it works. After you're down and your spinning along down the road, pressing your helmet into the road, hard, will cut down on the upper body road rash. You'll need a new helmet anyway. The biggest bummer is ruining a lot of expensive cycling gear. Riders heal, Campy doesn't. Tegaderm applied over Povidone liquid is the best for road rash. If you do it right, it'll heal with no scarring. Have to scrub it with a brush until clean first. That's worse than the crash.
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Old 07-28-20, 10:40 PM
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Holding on to the bars to distribute the pain makes a lot of sense even if the some of the recent clown show bike cop maneuver videos preceding the tear gas and baton assaults on protestors were pretty embarrassing to all riders.
I will keep to keep that advice in mind, which is all I can hope for. Dragging my helmet not so much; in the downhill, switchback, wet road power slides I have been involved in, all I hope for is not having the spoken word bit of Jan & Dean's "Dead Man's Curve" ricochet through my brain.

ETA: And I do love riding clipped in, even though I don't pull up, or even push down that much, truth be told. I just love the feeling of being one with the bike.

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Old 07-29-20, 08:57 AM
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“Feeling one with the bike” is a valid reason for clipless - until the bike is falling over!

Efficiency is not a valid reason. Anecdotally many people who have bought in to the clipless method feel it gives them more power. The science generally says otherwise: https://img2.timg.co.il/forums/1_168859045.pdf
“Our results shed doubt on the notion that evenly distributing crank torque across the crank cycle will improve efficiency. By encouraging riders to maximize the evenness of the crank torque distribution, one encourages an active pull during the upstroke, which decreased gross efficiency in our subjects. Similarly, our data do not support the notion that pedaling in circles would improve efficiency, as gross efficiency did not differ between the preferred pedaling and the circling conditions.”

But, whatever you enjoy is the main thing. Just figure out what’s best for you and ride!
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Old 07-29-20, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by OldBrokeReCycle View Post
The last time I fell was one of those 0 mph things where I unclipped the wrong side on a gravelly hill (hey! it was the side I always unclip) and landed on my other knee. It resulted in a total knee replacement, probably due in large part to 50+ years of running, riding, roller-blading, karate, backpacking, and tennis without religiously doing the requisite stretching, strength training, or diet that was the received wisdom of the moment.
I recently switched my Cross Check to flat pedals and they are a wonder. I ride slower, but can go anywhere, more or, in fact, less, but better. It is really fun. I was recently riding some walking trails near home and ended up on a pretty steep downhill. In the drops, squeezing the cantis so that they were screaming. I scared the h*ll out of a couple who were at the bottom of the hill. I also scared me.
Which caused me to wonder. Most of my falls are of the 0 speed variety: I was really good[bad] at them on roller-blades; I can still get to the edge unclipping the SpeedPlays on my road bike at a stop sign. From experience, I believe that there is usually this life-passes-before-your-eyes moment or two before the fall when time seems to slow down and one (I) might configure myself to minimize the self-harm that is to come.
Other than my personal Prime Directive: "Don't Lead With Your Knee", does anyone have good advice about falling on your bike?
Putting your hand out to catch your self & fracturing a bone in your wrist does not help either..

Low speed, hitting the brake and having the bike stop, but you continue moving forward, is a confirmation of Newton's first law.




...

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-29-20 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 07-29-20, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Mountain Mitch View Post
“Feeling one with the bike” is a valid reason for clipless - until the bike is falling over!

Efficiency is not a valid reason. Anecdotally many people who have bought in to the clipless method feel it gives them more power. The science generally says otherwise: https://img2.timg.co.il/forums/1_168859045.pdf
“Our results shed doubt on the notion that evenly distributing crank torque across the crank cycle will improve efficiency. By encouraging riders to maximize the evenness of the crank torque distribution, one encourages an active pull during the upstroke, which decreased gross efficiency in our subjects. Similarly, our data do not support the notion that pedaling in circles would improve efficiency, as gross efficiency did not differ between the preferred pedaling and the circling conditions.”

But, whatever you enjoy is the main thing. Just figure out what’s best for you and ride!
My browser says that's a dangerous link and won't open it.

However your quote shows that the "study" is biased and BS. The first thing I'd say is that it's long been recognized in the cycling research community that any changes made to a rider's preferred pedal stroke for the purposes of the study make the study invalid. Why? Because it takes months of training with a different pedaling style to get good at it or even to say yes or no as to continuing with that style.

There is one good study out there, but unfortunately it's recently been taken behind a paywall with only the abstract left: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21507064/ There are two factors which made this study stand out:
1) The exercise period was long enough and hard enough to significantly tire the riders.
2) One group pedaled their preferred pedal stroke. The second group used a visual biofeedback device which showed them how much of the pedal effort was tangent to the pedal circle and were instructed to try to make as much of their pedal force as possible tangential to the circle.

The feedback group were more efficient and fatigued less at the same power level when using the feedback device. And of course tangential force application can only be done with clipless pedals. They were not instructed to pull up on the backstroke - no one does that in real life except when sprinting or accelerating or riding hills fixed. They were instructed only to make their force tangential.

I mean . . . just wow. I've never ridden in a group ride, and I've done maybe 1000 of those, and seen someone with flats riding with us. So we're all, ALL, idiots for thinking clipless is better? One of my mottos is "The vast majority of people are not fools."

In the long run and for sport and racing, clipless is safer and increases comfort and endurance. Flats are a perfectly good choice for for people on bicycles who are using their bike for errands or short jaunts. I used flats until I got my first toe clips in 1963. That was a revelation. Finally, I could pedal! I'd try to do power wheelies on little bumps in the road. Clipless is so much safer and more comfortable than toe clips.
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Old 07-29-20, 11:21 AM
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Knock on wood but I haven't fallen much and that might be because I am always conscious of it and slow down before intersections and start to unlock before actually stopping. The idea of climbing a steep hill and having to bail but not being able to unclip terrifies me to point that I don't climb such hills!! One thing I did discover when I had an accident a few years back is the impact seems to automatically unclip your shoes from the pedals so that you are separated from the bike while your lying on the ground. A good thing I guess.

I have 2 newer road bikes and they are both with Shimano SPD pedals but one set are way easier to unclip then the other for some reason. I adjusted them to be both be as loose as possible but the one pair are still a real chore to unclip from. That bike has been moved to the basement and used only for riding my trainer so no longer a worry.
I also have an 80's vintage road bike which I have the metal toe clips or "rat traps" as we used to call them and I will admit, they are my preference when riding. I think when I get too old to clip and unclip I'll just install these on my bikes.
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Old 07-29-20, 11:38 AM
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I've had good luck hands on the bar the few times something's happened. I have flat pedal and clipless. I've 'lost' my pedal a few times at speed over rough patches with flat pedal, but occasionally it's nice to ride somewhere without gearing up.
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Old 07-29-20, 12:28 PM
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The big motivation for going clipless to me was that at cadences greater than somewhere around 80 RPM, it was just too hard to keep my feet on the pedals. Especially when hitting bumpy sections of road and maneuvering.

So any study about whether you can put out as much power with just platform pedals is just a moot point.

I don't use clipless because I think they'll make me transfer power better. I use them because they keep my feet on the pedals securely even over 120 RPM. Smooth or bumpy roads, it matters not.
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Old 07-29-20, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
Knock on wood but I haven't fallen much and that might be because I am always conscious of it and slow down before intersections and start to unlock before actually stopping. The idea of climbing a steep hill and having to bail but not being able to unclip terrifies me to point that I don't climb such hills!! One thing I did discover when I had an accident a few years back is the impact seems to automatically unclip your shoes from the pedals so that you are separated from the bike while your lying on the ground. A good thing I guess.

I have 2 newer road bikes and they are both with Shimano SPD pedals but one set are way easier to unclip then the other for some reason. I adjusted them to be both be as loose as possible but the one pair are still a real chore to unclip from. That bike has been moved to the basement and used only for riding my trainer so no longer a worry.
I also have an 80's vintage road bike which I have the metal toe clips or "rat traps" as we used to call them and I will admit, they are my preference when riding. I think when I get too old to clip and unclip I'll just install these on my bikes.
"Bailing" is not a problem. Just use the same method you always use: stop pedaling with your favorite pedal down, unclip the other foot and it down. it's easy. The hard part is getting going again. Put your bike in what would be a hard gear for that hill, to slow down the pedal revolutions. Clip in one foot and push down hard, If you can't get the other foot clipped on the first revolution, keep pedaling until you get it, then gear down. I actually can't remember ever stalling out on a hill. Stopping to rest, yes. You do that before you stall.
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Old 07-29-20, 09:24 PM
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My last wreck was in Lajitas, Texas on the MTB trails. Experience in wrecking paid off I knew just to roll with it and don’t stick out an arm to break the fall. Was a few years ago at age 49 and I was rusty but after a few hours the MTB in me was coming back. Lost some blood to some cactus but I sure had fun.
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Old 07-30-20, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
My browser says that's a dangerous link and won't open it.

However your quote shows that the "study" is biased and BS. The first thing I'd say is that it's long been recognized in the cycling research community that any changes made to a rider's preferred pedal stroke for the purposes of the study make the study invalid. Why? Because it takes months of training with a different pedaling style to get good at it or even to say yes or no as to continuing with that style.

There is one good study out there, but unfortunately it's recently been taken behind a paywall with only the abstract left: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21507064/ There are two factors which made this study stand out:
1) The exercise period was long enough and hard enough to significantly tire the riders.
2) One group pedaled their preferred pedal stroke. The second group used a visual biofeedback device which showed them how much of the pedal effort was tangent to the pedal circle and were instructed to try to make as much of their pedal force as possible tangential to the circle.

The feedback group were more efficient and fatigued less at the same power level when using the feedback device. And of course tangential force application can only be done with clipless pedals. They were not instructed to pull up on the backstroke - no one does that in real life except when sprinting or accelerating or riding hills fixed. They were instructed only to make their force tangential.

I mean . . . just wow. I've never ridden in a group ride, and I've done maybe 1000 of those, and seen someone with flats riding with us. So we're all, ALL, idiots for thinking clipless is better? One of my mottos is "The vast majority of people are not fools."

In the long run and for sport and racing, clipless is safer and increases comfort and endurance. Flats are a perfectly good choice for for people on bicycles who are using their bike for errands or short jaunts. I used flats until I got my first toe clips in 1963. That was a revelation. Finally, I could pedal! I'd try to do power wheelies on little bumps in the road. Clipless is so much safer and more comfortable than toe clips.
i disagree; you can’t dismiss a study based on one brief quote unless you are the one: “biased and [full of] BS”.

But the real point is, don’t just follow the crowd...as I said, figure out what works for you and enjoy the ride! Clearly, clipless isn’t working for the O/P. That’s really all that matters. If it works for you - great!
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Old 07-30-20, 02:29 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by OldBrokeReCycle View Post
does anyone have good advice about falling on your bike?
One word: "Catrike" it worked for me.
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Old 07-30-20, 05:01 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Mountain Mitch View Post
i disagree; you can’t dismiss a study based on one brief quote unless you are the one: “biased and [full of] BS”.

But the real point is, don’t just follow the crowd...as I said, figure out what works for you and enjoy the ride! Clearly, clipless isn’t working for the O/P. That’s really all that matters. If it works for you - great!
Sure, fine! I have not and would not have a negative word about the OP, his post, or any of that. I have had perhaps the only helpful words on that in this whole thread.

My objections are only to false characterizations of various techniques, positions, methods, and equipment which sometimes become gospel among certain groups, and especially characterizing certain opinions as "science." Which is a general policy for me, and one which I felt obligated to bring up w/r to your post, not the OP's. We are writing history here which we hope will well serve those who come after us. Try googling a bike issue: you get BikeForums.

Of course you can do what you want as long as you don't crash in front of me, and a lot of that is also my responsibility to avoid, my reason for going to the front of that line and then dropping those riders.

I dismissed that study, and in fact almost all pedaling studies, due to faulty methodology, Perhaps I didn't explain that sufficiently, though I tried to? As we have noticed, the majority of nutritional studies, about 70% IIRC, have been dismissed due to researcher bias.
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Old 07-30-20, 07:38 PM
  #23  
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Any low speed crash where I don’t stick the landing I make sure I jump up and raise my hands in the air like I’m Kerri Strug at the Olympics.

There are two types of cyclists: those who have fallen off their bike in a painful and humiliating way and those whose time is coming.
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Old 07-30-20, 10:43 PM
  #24  
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This thread makes me feel concerned, even strike fear, since I rode all my life in toe clips and just bought my first clipless SPD pedals for my new (secondhand) bike.

I bought shoes that have both systems mount holes and smooth undersole, because there were deeply discounted and looked nice. Otherwise I was shopping for knobby sole that you can walk on but decided to buy this pair in case those were unavailable in the current market. BTW four shops I visited while shopping for the shoes looked like they were getting out of business of selling bike shoes, which seemed to me quite separate issue from the covid thing it seems.

At home, I was curious how it clips in and adjusted the pedal clip-in force to minimum and clipped the shoe in while holding it in hand. Problem was unclipping because I didn't tighten the screws properly and the clip on the shoe was swiveling on the smooth sole... I scratched the sole while pivoting the shoe in wide angle until it released but it left me thinking... suppose I tighten it properly and ride it for some time, but in some colder weather or in wet condition, what if the clip will slide on that slick undersole again anyway and I will not be able to unclip. It wouldn't happen with the other kind of road clip since that has three hole mounting.

Later I bought a second pair of shoes with knobby sole and that one has a 'guide' in the sole that would prevent significant pivoting even if not properly tightened, which strikes me as safer. I didn't ride it yet but I imagine when I do, the unclipping will come naturally but since I would continue to also ride my old toe clips bike, there is a danger of forgetting oneself... I will be taking this new bike out for sporting rides only on open roads and keep the old one when I would go to town, so I wouldn't do any frequent stopping with those clipless pedals.
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Old 07-31-20, 07:31 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
The biggest bummer is ruining a lot of expensive cycling gear. Riders heal, Campy doesn't.
Maybe for you. I'd sacrifice expensive cycling gear over my body any day. Gear can be replaced, a body can't.

Last edited by ride_furthur; 07-31-20 at 08:15 AM.
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