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Problem with clip-in road pedals, looking for advice

Old 01-03-20, 01:32 PM
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Anto33
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Problem with clip-in road pedals, looking for advice

Hi,

I did my first ride with road clip-in (look) pedals today, and I should say that it was helping especially when I was going uphill. But, I did not really felt safe. Although I loosened the locks as mush as possible, I was feeling that it would be hard to free my feet at the case of an accident, especially that I mostly ride in roads with heavy trafics.

So, at first place, I am looking for any helping advices and hints to better and safer use of clipless pedals.

Also, I am thinking about to use my flat pedals again, but am not sure if I could use them with my new road choses which are clip-in compatible.

Many thanks for sharing your experiences.
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Old 01-03-20, 01:51 PM
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Plan ahead, practice and persevere.
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Old 01-03-20, 01:55 PM
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I unclip as I approach stops & dangle that loose foot, so when I have to stop I'm ready. just have to remember which foot is out! :-)
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Old 01-03-20, 01:56 PM
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The best advice I can offer is to practice in a safe place like an empty parking lot or a grassy area. Just ride, unclip, reclip, unclip, etc.. Once you're on the road, think ahead. I think it's obvious that it's better to unclip too early than too late. You'll likely fall once or twice but after a while, it becomes second nature.

Last edited by MAK; 01-19-20 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 01-03-20, 01:58 PM
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Practice is the key. Early on, you might want to keep one foot out until you really get the hang of it.

For me, I did not use clipless pedals until I went recumbent, so I was learning several new things at the same time (riding a SWB recumbent can be a bit...challenging). Only one of the falls I had early on was due to not get unclipped quickly enough. I fell over ~6 times in the first 10 miles riding the bent, then every thing sorta clicked in my brain and just started working.

Here's the somewhat counter-intuitive part: Leave the foot you generally don't put down as the unclipped one. Then practice unclipping the foot you will generally put down. The other will be free in a pinch, but you get to practice more with the way you'll eventually ride.

Last edited by Notso_fastLane; 01-06-20 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 01-03-20, 02:35 PM
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Don't worry. When you crash with the bike still attached then you can unclip after, realize you are unhurt, then look around embarrassed to see if anyone saw. If no one saw its all good.
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Old 01-03-20, 05:07 PM
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the first time I clipped in, I rode about 15 miles without having to stop. I saw an old friend of mine and decided to say hello, came to a stop and in slow motion I fell over. Embarrassing but hopefully I’ll never do that again.
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Old 01-03-20, 05:12 PM
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On my commute bike I still use flat pedals. Clipless just don't make sense to me in an environment where I'm constantly on and off the pedals. Beyond that, just know that you'll gain confidence with continued use; the fear of not being able to clip out in this or that situation will eventually disappear.
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Old 01-03-20, 05:18 PM
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Practice the good old track stand. I never thought it was a benefit and just plain old showing off till I started using it.

I never have to unclip at stop signs and can usually stay up for nearly a minute at red lights till the light turns green. A little thinking ahead at stop LIGHTS makes it more effective. If the light is long like 3 minutes, then yes I unclip.

BTW, practicing the track stand may help you learn to unclip quicker as well.
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Old 01-03-20, 05:31 PM
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Start out with running shoe on one foot and get used to having the other locked in. After a ride switch and lock in other foot. Third ride all should be good.
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Old 01-03-20, 06:00 PM
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Jim from Boston
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Problem with clip-in road pedals, looking for advices
Originally Posted by Anto33 View Post
Hi,

I did my first ride with road clip-in (look) pedals today, and I should say that it was helping especially when I was going uphill. But, I did not really felt safe. Although I loosened the locks as mush as possible, I was feeling that it would be hard to free my feet at the case of an accident, especially that I mostly ride in roads with heavy trafics.

So, at first place, I am looking for any helping advices and hints to better and safer use of clipless pedals.

Also, I am thinking about to use my flat pedals again, but am not sure if I could use them with my new road choses [?shoes] which are clip-in compatible.

Many thanks for sharing your experiences.
Just today, including a few minutes ago I posted to this thread,”
SPD Pedals for Commuting”:
Originally Posted by bpcyclist View Post
”Do you disregard traffic laws during your commute?”

...Almost all Stop signs I come to a complete stop at, because, where I ride, these are places motorists routinely blow through....

I don't like clipping out and in 5000 times on a two-hour ride. It seems unnecessary. But I do it. Am now very proficient at clipping in. It is a ton of starting and stopping in town. But it is required most of the time.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Indeed it is a pain to clip / unclip/ clip / unclip

When I occasionally do a multimodal commute, bike ~ 2 miles to train in the city, train to an outlying suburban station, then cycle ~ 5 miles to work , I wear regular running shoes for the urban segment though the downtown, and bring my cycling shoes for the suburban segment.

Otherwise the full cycle commute of about 14 miles through MUP, residential, and early morning light commercial routes does not require many, sometime no stops.

BTW, I previously posted:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
"Clipless pedals or not"'

On further reading, I noted the right vs left unclipping discussion. We have plenty of curbs and I unclip right. In fact, when I'm on the left side of the road, left foot unclipping seems awkward.

I first to thought about it when I started riding with a regular companion, and he always unclipped left.
After a few early falls when learning to ride with clipless pedals, I now unclip the right foot when there is the least anticipation of stopping.
and
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...I’m not particularly conversant with all the pedal types discussed, but mine clip only on one side. Clipping in and out are easy with one foot only.

Sometimes though on an incline upwards, from a stop with both feet free and unclipped, it can be a problem to get enough forward momentum to rotate the pedal and clip in, and the cleat is slippery on the wrong side of the pedal. On a couple of occasions I banged my shin on the pedal.

I tried riding with cleat covers for traction on such short distances, but I’ve lost two separate cleat covers doing that, and I prefer the “old soft shoe” routine.
Otherwise, I learned by trial and error, though on this thread are a few suggested techniques I think are good.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 01-03-20 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 01-03-20, 06:55 PM
  #12  
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If you're worried about it, ride around on and empty grassy field for a while. You'll get the hang of it.

The only place I don't use clipless is on my way to work. It's 2.5 miles, not even worth the shoe change.
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Old 01-03-20, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Notso_fastLane View Post
Practice is the key. Early on, you might want to keep one foot out until you really get the hang of it.

For me, I did use clipless pedals until I went recumbent, so I was learning several new things at the same time (riding a SWB recumbent can be a bit...challenging). Only one of the falls I had early on was due to not get unclipped quickly enough. I fell over ~6 times in the first 10 miles riding the bent, then every thing sorta clicked in my brain and just started working.

Here's the somewhat counter-intuitive part: Leave the foot you generally don't put down as the unclipped one. Then practice unclipping the foot you will generally put down. The other will be free in a pinch, but you get to practice more with the way you'll eventually ride.
I think this is really good counsel. What you want to do when you are just starting out is to simplify things. So, figure out which foot you are going to leave clipped in and which one you are going to unclip/clip back in. Then, spend most of your early practice time clipping and unclipping the one you are going to be clipping in and out of the most. Practice 8 million trillion billion times. Over and over again. It is a skill and like all skills, flying a jet, reconstructing a cheek, shooting a free throw, the people who are best at it are the ones who do it every day. All the time. Sawing through the sternum is scary--unless you do it twice a day every day. Then. it's easy. So, practice every day.

When I was getting started, I found a wall where I could see the TV and still be stable. I would watch a game or the news or whatever and just sit there clipping and unclipping a zillion times. Eventually, like almost all skills, you won't have to think about it and it will just happen. But don't think you are going to get this down in 3 days. You aren't. Just keep after it. Put in the time. And you will be rewarded.

Personally, I just don't enjoy riding without being clipped in now, even in town. I feel naked riding any other way. Who woulda though this guy that could barely clip in now won't ride without his Sidi's on?
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Old 01-03-20, 07:26 PM
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I used clips for about 15 years. There were only two or three times I couldn't unclip in time, which resulted in falls, never with serious injury. (Bike gloves prevented scrapes on my hands.) Most of those falls happened during my first two or three seasons.

After a few close calls, I began to weigh the pros and cons of being clipped in:

Pros:

1. It feels good to be connected to the bike while pedaling.
2. There may be mechanical advantages.

Cons:

1. It feels safer to not have my feet "welded" to the pedals.
2. It's a nuisance to switch between bike shoes and regular shoes.

About two years ago, I decided to trade in my SPD pedals for flat pedals. I don't regret my decision.

I don't shy away from hills. I have climbed many hills, both before and after the change-over. I don't miss being clipped in, and don't really notice benefits of SPD. I still manage to get up hills.
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Old 01-03-20, 08:03 PM
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If you have a trainer, use them on it. Or borrow a trainer. If you have access to a gym with a stationary bike, use that. Or find an area with soft ground and practice.
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Old 01-03-20, 09:46 PM
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Anto33
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Originally Posted by Notso_fastLane View Post
Practice is the key. Early on, you might want to keep one foot out until you really get the hang of it.

For my, I did use clipless pedals until I went recumbent, so I was learning several new things at the same time (riding a SWB recumbent can be a bit...challenging). Only one of the falls I had early on was due to not get unclipped quickly enough. I fell over ~6 times in the first 10 miles riding the bent, then every thing sorta clicked in my brain and just started working.

Here's the somewhat counter-intuitive part: Leave the foot you generally don't put down as the unclipped one. Then practice unclipping the foot you will generally put down. The other will be free in a pinch, but you get to practice more with the way you'll eventually ride.
Thank you for your message. Actually, I tried to keep my right foot unclipped, but when it is unclipped, it was not easy to pedal. The shoes are so slippery on the pedals when not clipped-in.
I think I need to practice much more to get used to it.
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Old 01-03-20, 11:24 PM
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They are slipperier than dog snot! Does Shimano make a road pedal with clips on both sides. I know some mountain pedals have them, but do any road pedals have them?

Thanks.

Glenn
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Old 01-03-20, 11:49 PM
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Jim from Boston
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Originally Posted by Anto33 View Post
Thank you for your message. Actually, I tried to keep my right foot unclipped, but when it is unclipped, it was not easy to pedal. The shoes are so slippery on the pedals when not clipped-in.

I think I need to practice much more to get used to it.
Originally Posted by GAtkins View Post
They are slipperier than dog snot! Does Shimano make a road pedal with clips on both sides. I know some mountain pedals have them, but do any road pedals have them?
Originally Posted by daoswald View Post
"SPD Pedals for Commuting"

I've tried several styles of pedals:
  • SPD-A530 - Large but slippery platform on one side, clips on the other. Just ok.
  • SPD-M324 - Smaller but thicker and still slipery platform on one side, clips on the other. Even worse
The dual purpose pedals just never did it for me. The ones I used were a little too slippery on the platform side, and whether I was using regular shoes or SPD shoes, the pedal would always find the wrong side up. Just too inconvenient, for too little gain.

The single sided SPD pedals (A600) seemed about the best road-style SPD pedals out there. And I used them for years on my road bike. I don't prefer them for commuting. But for road cycling they're pretty easy to get into. ...but SPD-SL are more comfortable on long rides.

The SPD-SL pedals have won me over for road cycling. On long rides they do a better job at avoiding hot spots. They're pretty easy to get into. Sometimes they find the wrong-side up, but I'm pretty used to them now…
Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
I use these on my "commuter" bike, plus the metal caged one on my MTB. I use the single sided 234s (?) on my touring bike. I always ride in cleated shoes, however.

My thoughts exactly, SPD-SL for any performance-type road bike. I really like them

As to the "butter on the wrong side", one only has to rotate the crank 180 degrees and meet that pedal in the new spot, and the cleat will be up. Easy.

Earlier on this thread I posted:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...I’m not particularly conversant with all the pedal types discussed, but mine clip only on one side. Clipping in and out are easy with one foot only.

Sometimes though on an incline upwards, from a stop with both feet free and unclipped, it can be a problem to get enough forward momentum to rotate the pedal and clip in, and the cleat is slippery on the wrong side of the pedal. On a couple of occasions I banged my shin on the pedal.

I tried riding with cleat covers for traction on such short distances, but I’ve lost two separate cleat covers doing that…
On the various clipless pedal threads I have read over the years, I don't recall reading about slippery pedals until recently.

When I'm on an incline upwards my usual solution to proceed from a stopped completely unclipped position is to turn around and descend to engage the clips, then do a U-turn upwards, usually at the flat road surface before the hill.


BTWFYA, on the 50+ Cycling Forum is an honorary society for those learning clipless pedals, Club Tombay (link).

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 01-04-20 at 12:06 AM.
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Old 01-03-20, 11:53 PM
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Also, I am not sure and not wanting to read through every post, but I think somebody brought up mountain bike pedals and mountain bike shoes. Many look like road shoes and many would not even know one was wearing them with the nifty styles that are out.

But the pedals are 2 sides so easy to engage after a stop. Better walking since the cleat of the shoe is recessed as well.

I've been using them for 23 straight years and love them. I tried LOOK pedals. Hated them, gave the pedals and cleats away. I like the spd system much better!
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Old 01-04-20, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by GAtkins View Post
They are slipperier than dog snot! Does Shimano make a road pedal with clips on both sides. I know some mountain pedals have them, but do any road pedals have them?
Shimano's road pedals all seem to be single-sided. Speedplay and Crank Brothers "Eggbeater" road pedals allow clipping in from any side. If you really need to have a Shimano pedal, there's no reason why you couldn't use their off-road pedals on a road bike.
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