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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

New to Road Cycling

Old 02-11-21, 06:48 PM
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sjammer
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New to Road Cycling

Finally a group I fit into....

Just got the first road bike of my life. Do not know why I waited to hit the 50 mark to do it. I have had a hardtail mountain bike forever, but wanted something that was meant to ride on the road. I have really enjoyed riding and have been averaging about 20ish miles per outing so far. I want to try clipless pedals and was wondering what would be the best way to learn/get comfortable riding clipped in.
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Old 02-11-21, 08:16 PM
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Welcome!

Personally I would recommend mtb style SPD pedals and shoes so you can use them on your HT too. In fact, you might want to practice clicking in and out on dirt or grass.
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Old 02-11-21, 08:50 PM
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Now you know why so many of us have both a mountain bike and one or more road bikes.

I am not the right person to ask about pedals, because I am a die-hard toeclips-and-straps fan.
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Old 02-11-21, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Welcome!

Personally I would recommend mtb style SPD pedals and shoes so you can use them on your HT too. In fact, you might want to practice clicking in and out on dirt or grass.
SPD pedal are what I plan on starting. It is funny you mention grass, I just saw something that said the exact same thing.
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Old 02-11-21, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
Now you know why so many of us have both a mountain bike and one or more road bikes.

I am not the right person to ask about pedals, because I am a die-hard toeclips-and-straps fan.
I get what you are saying about multiple bikes. I remember the first mountain bike I ever bought had toe straps on it, man have things changed since then.
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Old 02-12-21, 07:09 AM
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If you have access to a gym that holds spin classes, sneak in the spin room when no classes going on and you can safely practice clipping/unclipping. If not, if you can put your bike between two cars you can kinda do the same thing.

When you get started, you will surely at least once stop and forget to clip out and fall over! That tends to accelerate learning how to get out...

But, learning how to clip in quickly is really just as important - good to practice stationary if you can do it.
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Old 02-12-21, 08:34 AM
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I use SPD on a road bike too. My advice is to always clip out anytime you are coming to an intersection where you might have to stop. Even if you have the right-of-way. You don't want to find yourself having to make and emergency stop and finding you can't put a foot down.

For those times you do forget, don't try to break your fall with outstretched arm. Just keep your hands on the handlebars. Let your lower leg hit the ground first, rolling that force up to the upper leg then wind up on your side.

Once you're free, stand up and dance like Rocky Balboa at the top of the steps so everyone else will just think you are a nut and forget the fact you don't do clipless very well, yet.
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Old 02-12-21, 08:41 AM
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There are lots of videos on YouTube showing how to step in and release from clipless pedals. I suggest that it may be worthwhile to watch a few. The idea of going into an unused spinning class is also a good one. I first got used to using clipless pedals when my bike was mounted on a trainer during the winter. When that Spring arrived, my first few rides were a bit anxious but I soon got used to clipping in/out and it is now second nature. Keep in mind that virtually everyone that uses clipless pedals has taken at least one fall when using them, including me. Many times those falls happen because you forgot you were clipped in as you are coming to a stop, and you start panicking....but it’s too late! Fortunately, they usually happen at very low speed and are harmless other than to your ego!
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Old 02-12-21, 09:11 AM
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Some clip less pedals come with a tension adjustment where you can adjust the force it takes to unclip. The unclipping motion is simply twisting your heel outward to unclip. To clip in you center the cleat over the pedal and then push down. It doesn’t take a lot of force and makes a noticeable sound when you’re clipped in. It’s a very noticeable sound when you’re starting a ride with 1500 other cyclists!!!

I suggest always using the same foot to unclip first. Like others have said, just unclip ahead of stopping. Regardless at some point you will eventually topple over at zero speed. It has happened to all us and on this site it even has a name.....”TomBay”. There’s even been a thread or two about it. Just try and avoid it in front of a lot of people.......unlike me!

There are also cleats with varying amounts of “float” or twist the pedal allows before it unclips. To start out I’d suggest going with a cleat with the most amount of float to help avoid knee or ankle issues from an incorrect bike fit or pedal motion. I’m not that familiar with pedals other than Look models so others here can help with that.

A decent video on clipping and unclipping:
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Old 02-12-21, 09:56 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I use SPD on a road bike too. My advice is to always clip out anytime you are coming to an intersection where you might have to stop. Even if you have the right-of-way. You don't want to find yourself having to make and emergency stop and finding you can't put a foot down.

For those times you do forget, don't try to break your fall with outstretched arm. Just keep your hands on the handlebars. Let your lower leg hit the ground first, rolling that force up to the upper leg then wind up on your side.

Once you're free, stand up and dance like Rocky Balboa at the top of the steps so everyone else will just think you are a nut and forget the fact you don't do clipless very well, yet.
Are you using the 3 bolt or 2 Bolt clips. The pedals I got with my bike are 2 bolt pattern, which I guess is more suited for mountain biking but can be used on road. I am curious if the 3 bolt would be just as easy to learn with and it seems most road shoes are 3 bolt patterns.
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Old 02-12-21, 10:08 AM
  #11  
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SPD or SPD like, to my knowledge is always 2 hole cleats for 2 hole shoes.

3 hole cleats and shoes are SPD-SL or LOOK type cleats.

Some call them mountain bike or road bike cleats. But I feel those terms pigeon hole them into something they are not exclusively for. Certainly most mountain bikers will probably want 2 hole cleats that tend to work better when caked with mud and for times they might have to used their feet on the ground. And conversely pure roadies that need the maximum performance for and at the finish line will be better served by 3 hole cleats.

I've only rode road bikes my whole life since becoming self aware. But for me a 2 hole cleat gives me what I want.

I've seen more people slip and fall in road bike shoes and none in mountain bike shoes. The most spectacular was a guy that passed me on a ride and when getting a ways down the road he stopped to take a picture of a cow. As soon as he got off the bike, straightened up to point his camera, both his feet went out from under him and he very dramatically busted his butt. Very much wish I'd had a sport cam on my bike recording that.

Probably served him right for passing me. I asked as I passed, he said he was okay.

I can't tell you anything about 3 hole cleats from experience. I've only used SPD. So I am biased.

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Old 02-12-21, 10:52 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by sjammer View Post
Are you using the 3 bolt or 2 Bolt clips. The pedals I got with my bike are 2 bolt pattern, which I guess is more suited for mountain biking but can be used on road. I am curious if the 3 bolt would be just as easy to learn with and it seems most road shoes are 3 bolt patterns.
I think using the 2 hole mountain bike shoes/pedals would be easier to learn. Not just because of the walkability of the shoes but the whole clipping in part is easier. First, mtb pedals are the same on both sides (usually) so you don't have to be on the correct side. Second, you can just stab at the pedal and search around until it engages. Try that with Look pedals and you will slip off.

Personally, I prefer Look pedals for the road and SPD for the dirt. I used SPD with mtb shoes for a few years on the road and I think that contributed to foot pain and numbness, which seems to run in my family. I switched back to Looks because the wider cleat-pedal gives more support. Of course, the stiffness of the shoe is important here.
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Old 02-12-21, 11:26 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
I think using the 2 hole mountain bike shoes/pedals would be easier to learn. Not just because of the walkability of the shoes but the whole clipping in part is easier. First, mtb pedals are the same on both sides (usually) so you don't have to be on the correct side. Second, you can just stab at the pedal and search around until it engages. Try that with Look pedals and you will slip off.
Agree. The ability to step and go without having to look down is really a benefit, especially when you're starting up at a stoplight.
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Old 02-12-21, 02:22 PM
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Regarding SPD-SL pedals (and maybe similar others), wonder why they don't add some counterweight so that the pedal stays flat instead of vertical before clipping in? That would help with engaging the clips and maybe eliminate the need to look down and flipping the pedal at a stop.
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Old 02-12-21, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by rovis View Post
Regarding SPD-SL pedals (and maybe similar others), wonder why they don't add some counterweight so that the pedal stays flat instead of vertical before clipping in? That would help with engaging the clips and maybe eliminate the need to look down and flipping the pedal at a stop.
Because no one wants to add weight to a road pedal.
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Old 02-12-21, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by rovis View Post
Regarding SPD-SL pedals (and maybe similar others), wonder why they don't add some counterweight so that the pedal stays flat instead of vertical before clipping in? That would help with engaging the clips and maybe eliminate the need to look down and flipping the pedal at a stop.
You'd have to add a lot of weight for little, if any, benefit. The weight would probably have to be spaced away from the pedal which could result in pedal strikes when turning.
Really, once you get used to it, clipping in is not (normally) a problem. I can clip into Looks easily without looking down most of the time.
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Old 02-12-21, 03:11 PM
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Let me just add my 2 cents here. I have spin shoes with SPD and road shoes with SPD-S. As others have said, the SPD is OK for MTN bikes and spin class but I prefer the SPD-S for road. Two sets of shoes for me.

Now, the good news is you want to go that route. The bad news is, you will fall. I personally do not know a single road rider that did not fall at some point while initially learning or forgetting to unclip. It is just the nature of the beast. I fell twice. Once in my driveway coming home for a ride and the wife was waving at me and I was going way to slow and could not get unclipped due to the distraction. I simply fell over going about 1mph. Better to fall in the driveway with no one around than in a group ride at a stop sign. That also happened to me. Approaching the stop sign if was like a rolling stop. Going slow, slow, then hoping no cars coming the opposite direction. Car literally jumped out and I had no choice but to totally come to a stop. Over I went. No big deal.

My daughter on her first ride in cleats was trying to turn around in the road and was not going fast enough and went over. It is more embarrassing that hurtful. The point here is that no matter how many times you practice getting in and out of the pedals, you will go down at least once in the first few weeks. But like many other things, once you fall over, it probably won't happen again because you will remember.

Like others have said, unclip about 50 ft before the stop sign on one side. After stopping and getting going again, give yourself a good push off with your free leg and get a little speed going so you can look down and flip the pedal and insert your shoe. Sort of like pushing yourself on a scooter. It really just comes down to doing it over and over again.

To practice, you can hold yourself up on your bike next to a wall with one hand on the wall and then clip out and clip in a few times just to get used to the mechanism. On the SPD-S pedals like shimano, there is an adjustment for how loose or tight you want the cleat to hold. Adjust that in the beginning for a loose fit and then increase it a bit over time if you want. Mine are like half way. It is like the binding on a ski to hold the boot in place. If you crank it all the way, your foot might never get out.

I did have on accident where I ran over the person in front of me when they fell. I did a complete roll in the air, came down on my side but my feet never came out of my cleats. Don't know if that was good or bad but I only had a cut on my knee since we were only going around 14mph at the time.

So, journey on but just figure you will fall at some point, but like riding a bike, just get back on and go. No big deal. It happens and has happened to every road rider. Kind of like a rite of passage.

john
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Old 02-12-21, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by rutan74 View Post
Let me just add my 2 cents here. I have spin shoes with SPD and road shoes with SPD-S. As others have said, the SPD is OK for MTN bikes and spin class but I prefer the SPD-S for road. Two sets of shoes for me.

Now, the good news is you want to go that route. The bad news is, you will fall. I personally do not know a single road rider that did not fall at some point while initially learning or forgetting to unclip. It is just the nature of the beast. I fell twice. Once in my driveway coming home for a ride and the wife was waving at me and I was going way to slow and could not get unclipped due to the distraction. I simply fell over going about 1mph. Better to fall in the driveway with no one around than in a group ride at a stop sign. That also happened to me. Approaching the stop sign if was like a rolling stop. Going slow, slow, then hoping no cars coming the opposite direction. Car literally jumped out and I had no choice but to totally come to a stop. Over I went. No big deal.

My daughter on her first ride in cleats was trying to turn around in the road and was not going fast enough and went over. It is more embarrassing that hurtful. The point here is that no matter how many times you practice getting in and out of the pedals, you will go down at least once in the first few weeks. But like many other things, once you fall over, it probably won't happen again because you will remember.

Like others have said, unclip about 50 ft before the stop sign on one side. After stopping and getting going again, give yourself a good push off with your free leg and get a little speed going so you can look down and flip the pedal and insert your shoe. Sort of like pushing yourself on a scooter. It really just comes down to doing it over and over again.

To practice, you can hold yourself up on your bike next to a wall with one hand on the wall and then clip out and clip in a few times just to get used to the mechanism. On the SPD-S pedals like shimano, there is an adjustment for how loose or tight you want the cleat to hold. Adjust that in the beginning for a loose fit and then increase it a bit over time if you want. Mine are like half way. It is like the binding on a ski to hold the boot in place. If you crank it all the way, your foot might never get out.

I did have on accident where I ran over the person in front of me when they fell. I did a complete roll in the air, came down on my side but my feet never came out of my cleats. Don't know if that was good or bad but I only had a cut on my knee since we were only going around 14mph at the time.

So, journey on but just figure you will fall at some point, but like riding a bike, just get back on and go. No big deal. It happens and has happened to every road rider. Kind of like a rite of passage.

john
I am mentally trying to prepare myself for the inevitable fall the best I can.
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Old 02-12-21, 08:13 PM
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In my experience, those riders who started out with toe clips and straps don’t fall after changing to clipless. Instead of having to take your hand off the bar, reach down, loosen the strap, and then wiggle your foot out, with clipless all you do is rotate your heel and your foot pops out. Easy peasy. Just takes a little practice.
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Old 02-12-21, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by sjammer View Post
I am mentally trying to prepare myself for the inevitable fall the best I can.
I know people who claim they have never done it. I have no reason to doubt them. I did it this last summer at a coffee stop when a friend stopped short. It was the first time in over 20 years.
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Old 02-13-21, 07:44 AM
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Congratulations on the new bike- enjoy!
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Old 02-13-21, 08:29 AM
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Consider your fall, or two, inevitable and part of the indoctrination and education for joining the clipless community. As many stated, other than a bit embarrassing, almost all of these falls are harmless. Once they are experienced, chances are very slim, that more will occur.
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Old 02-13-21, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
I think using the 2 hole mountain bike shoes/pedals would be easier to learn. Not just because of the walkability of the shoes but the whole clipping in part is easier. First, mtb pedals are the same on both sides (usually) so you don't have to be on the correct side. Second, you can just stab at the pedal and search around until it engages. Try that with Look pedals and you will slip off.

Personally, I prefer Look pedals for the road and SPD for the dirt. I used SPD with mtb shoes for a few years on the road and I think that contributed to foot pain and numbness, which seems to run in my family. I switched back to Looks because the wider cleat-pedal gives more support. Of course, the stiffness of the shoe is important here.
I definitely think I will consider the mountain bike style to start with, mostly because of the walking factor. If I get really comfortable being clipped in I may try SPD-SL style cleats, pedal, and shoes.
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Old 02-13-21, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by oldwinger14 View Post
Consider your fall, or two, inevitable and part of the indoctrination and education for joining the clipless community. As many stated, other than a bit embarrassing, almost all of these falls are harmless. Once they are experienced, chances are very slim, that more will occur.
Guess it will be like learning to walk. I will definitely practice clipping in and out before I go outside. Once I go outside it will be to grass first.
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Old 03-05-21, 02:58 AM
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Welcome to the team - enjoy!
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