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Dave tries clipless, Dave goes down.

Old 08-22-06, 08:54 AM
  #1  
DavidLee
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Dave tries clipless, Dave goes down.

So my Crank Bros Smarty Pedals and Shimano SH-MT20 shoes come in from Performance today. I install my new pedals replacing the Land-cruisers from Nashbar & get my cleats situated. Clip in & out a few times in my hallway & decide to have some fun. I head outside & try to clip in, no-go, start over. There she goes right clips in nicely & hey look at that the left goes right in as well. Click & a click & I'm in biznizz.

I'm riding around for about 3 minutes, stop & start a few times & all is well. I head into another court & turn about coming to the stop sign. Left foot unclicks, I started leaning the bike to the right. Damn, I'm falling & seems slow motion. My trekking bar hits the pavement tearing the bar tape & I'm squirming to unclick my right foot. I look around & see no one but a lone maintenance guy coming down the sidewalk. I get up & back on the saddle heading back home.

I imagine a cyclist would view & smirk about their first time clip less while the uninformed would gaze in wonder why I allowed my bike to fall on top of me?

Yep, there is no other site more ridiculous than a grown man s-l-o-w-l-y falling sideways on a bike and not able to plant a foot to stop the fall. No injuries other then the bar tape.
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Old 08-22-06, 09:04 AM
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....and they all tell me to go clipless. Glad you were okay, David. Just be proud that you were brave enough to even try. But not me. nope. nuh uh. No way. Platforms rule!
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Old 08-22-06, 09:10 AM
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Sunday was my first clipless incident.

I spent 1/2 hour on the trainer practicing last week, then did a little 1 mile trip to see how it felt on the road, then on to some group rides this weekend.

Saturday I rode about 12 miles with 4 others and had no problems. The next day after being dropped and just looking to hook up with the people I eas riding with at the lunch stop, I come to an unofficial water stop. A kind family who provides water and spray downs for hot tired riders at the top of the most challenging climb on the course... as I unclipped my right foot to check it out, I found myself accidentally leaning to the left.

A slow motion fall led to a small strawberry on my left knee and a couple of minor bruises (which I discovered only during my shower), here to remind me...

So, I managed over 40 miles without doing the clipless tip over, and managed to save it for when I had four people watching me... since I was the only cyclist in sight.

At that point I was too embarrassed to accept their offer of water... they asked me a few times if I was ok... and I could just say that I was fine, and rode away.

I had hoped that with reading to everyone's warnings I would pay close enough attention to never do a clipless fall... but, I was not the exception to the rule.
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Old 08-22-06, 09:18 AM
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Threads like these scare people off from clipless. Siu is a good example. Ask the OP how bad it hurt when he fell. These low speed tip overs are more humorous than painful. I'v had a couple and was so amazed at how little they hurt. You don't hit the ground hard because the bike slowly tips over from a near stand still.

I think just about any type of crash is worse. And I can assure you that it hurts less than hitting your shins on some massive platform pins.
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Old 08-22-06, 09:20 AM
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two words: Speedplay frogs

I've only been riding clipless for a total of maybe 3 weeks. Until recently I was *deathly* afraid of going clipless specifically because of all the falling down and other difficulties associated with an inability to clip out. I watched countless cycling partners who had been riding clipless for anywhere from 6-12 months topple over again & again. I even saw a few A riders who've been clipless since the early 1990's get a stuck cleat & go down. I wanted none of that.

But the more I rode, the more I became aware of how toeclips/straps were limiting my riding potential. So I did a bunch of research, spoke to my LBS guy extensively, looked around at what the highly skilled riders in my club use, and took the plunge.

Speedplay frogs. I cannot believe how easy, effortless, intuitive, in fact practically instinctual it is to clip out of these things. You basically take your foot off the pedal...the only thing different than getting off the platform pedal you rode as a 7-year-old is the slight outward twist of the heel. These have to be the easiest pedal to get out of on the market.

Haven't fallen yet. Haven't even come close. Really don't ever expect to, barring completely unforseen circumstances.
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Old 08-22-06, 09:24 AM
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You'll get use to it guys!

No, you don't HAVE to go clipless and don't feel as if you do. But I recommend it. My first clipless pedals I had I fell over twice and I hated them the first week. That was over 16 years ago and I've never looked back.

There's nothing that I can tell you that will help other than keep trying and fer Gawds sake, if you're a mountain biker going clipless for the first time, stay off the technical trails and ride on road for awhile.

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Old 08-22-06, 09:27 AM
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if you're tipping over the wrong way, jerk your handlebars the opposite way...

so, if you're tipping right but want to go left, suddenly wrench your handlebar to the right.

it works sometimes.

keep your pedals lubed and clean too, use dry spray on lube
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Old 08-22-06, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob Ross
two words: Speedplay frogs
.

Yup, that's what I have on my touring, road and MTB bike....all frogs. I haven't fallen in them either, BUT that wasn't the first pair of clipless I had.

The problem (other than being a newbie to clipless back then) was the springs in the pedals seem to stick, or I didn't apply enough force to release my foot, takes getting use to. But the Frogs have no springs to deal with.

Frogs are a little pricey, but they last.

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Old 08-22-06, 09:57 AM
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The greatest pain in my fall was to my pride... it definitely wasn't the almost non-existent bruising I didn't notice for hours.

I thought I had read enough to avoid the clipless fall, and it was simply embarrassing to fall. I knew at some level that I wouldn't be the exception to the rule, but I still hoped...

With my very limited use of clipless, I would definitely urge anyone to try them. Even though I am not even using the full pedal stroke yet (I only pull up occasionally on climbs so far), just the solid secure feeling seems beneficial. I feel like I am more solidly in control of the bike... It adds to the feeling of control I gained by moving to a rigid fork. And I expect to get to the point where I am in control even when stopped.
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Old 08-22-06, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Portis
Ask the OP how bad it hurt when he fell. These low speed tip overs are more humorous than painful. I'v had a couple and was so amazed at how little they hurt. You don't hit the ground hard because the bike slowly tips over from a near stand still.
+1 I didn't even manage to get a scrape anywhere, a totally painless fall. Hopefully that fall will be my only one & its now out of the way.
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Old 08-22-06, 10:16 AM
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Hello,

In April of 2005, I used clipless for the first time. And yes, like you, I went down a few times, even when I was only riding to practice using them! It seemed I would go down when multiple things grabbed my attention simultaneously. Like the traffic light turns red, a car comes too close to me, and a pedestrian almost walks in my path--all at the same time. All of the input makes room for little else in my reptilian brain, so I "forget" to unclip and then down I went.

But . . . I hung in there, and in May of 2005 started a 2,500 mile tour using clipless. Eventually, I came to love clipless, and now wouldn't have it any other way. Unclipping is now ingrained in me; I do it without thinking, like reaching for the brake levers when I need to stop.

I get many benefits from clipless (more power, best foot position even when I'm tired, for example). I hope you'll continue with them until unclipping becomes second nature for you.

David in Florida
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Old 08-22-06, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by DavidLee
Yep, there is no other site more ridiculous than a grown man s-l-o-w-l-y falling sideways on a bike and not able to plant a foot to stop the fall. No injuries other then the bar tape.
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Old 08-22-06, 10:50 AM
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Everyone falls at least once. Usually you only hurt your pride. After a short time, it all becomes automatic.
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Old 08-22-06, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by DavidLee
No injuries other then the bar tape.
And ego... but that'll heal quickly.

As most everyone else has said, more or less: been there, done that, tore the T-shirt.

I too fought with SPDs for a while (whole summer in my case) before making the move to Frogs. That was 8 years ago and I'm still using them. Have one pair of shoes and Frogs on both the roadie and mtb.

Siu... get some Frogs!
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Old 08-22-06, 11:13 AM
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The only time I've ever had a problem with clipless is when I used to switch out my Eggbeaters and BMX platforms all the time. If you get used to one or the other no problem, but it is embarassing to think you're riding a platform and remember it's clipless when you hit the ground.
The only time I've ever taken a tumble on them out in public, (and not getting used to them in my driveway,) was a couple weeks ago when I made a total noob mistake and tried to shift to a larger chainring on a steep hill-my chain slipped off, I came to an immediate stop and couldn't clip out fast enough. The only thing I did was bruise my elbow and scratch my bartape up a little.
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Old 08-22-06, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Portis
...Ask the OP how bad it hurt when he fell. These low speed tip overs are more humorous than painful...
Unless you're next to a heavily-travelled, fast-moving lane of traffic... There are two types of clipless riders - those who have fallen (and will again) and those who are going to fall.

Riding in traffic is hazardous enough without buying more trouble from falling over when you don't want to. Platform pedals for me, please.

Unless you're racing or climbing (neither of which usually involve close proximity to fast traffic), there is minimum benefit to being attached to the bike in any way. Being attached, however, DOES significantly increase the risk of injury if you fall. The "clipless Nazis" on the forum will insist that ALL serious cyclists should use clipless - it just aint so!
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Old 08-22-06, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by FarHorizon
there is minimum benefit to being attached to the bike in any way. Being attached, however, DOES significantly increase the risk of injury if you fall
Care to cite a reference?

The "clipless Nazis" on the forum will insist that ALL serious cyclists should use clipless - it just aint so!
See you on the sidewalk...........
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Old 08-22-06, 12:37 PM
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I climb a lot on my commute, that's why I use clipless on my commuter. I've got other bikes with toeclips and platform pedals, though. Depends on my mood.
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Old 08-22-06, 12:45 PM
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Here are some hints that help me the first few weeks of clipless riding.
1. unclip both feet when you stop, or think you need to stop, that way you can lean either way, even if it the wrong way
2. it is easier to unclip if you adjust the tension to its lightest setting, you can always make it tighter later when you feel more comfortable. I loosened mine when I first put them on, haven't touched them since.
Remember, with toe clips you have to move your foot back, with clipless you twist your foot. After a while it becomes second nature, and leave you wondering why you didn't do it sooner.
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Old 08-22-06, 12:46 PM
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You fall a few times, it mostly doesn't hurt and then it becomes second nature and you can't even remember how you ever rode without clipless pedals.

You can do it!

Last edited by JohnSFO; 08-22-06 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 08-22-06, 12:57 PM
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I use Power Grips so I don't fall off. Works like a seat belt, only better. Can clipless pedals ever do as well?
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Old 08-22-06, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by FarHorizon
Unless you're next to a heavily-travelled, fast-moving lane of traffic... There are two types of clipless riders - those who have fallen (and will again) and those who are going to fall.

Riding in traffic is hazardous enough without buying more trouble from falling over when you don't want to. Platform pedals for me, please.

Unless you're racing or climbing (neither of which usually involve close proximity to fast traffic), there is minimum benefit to being attached to the bike in any way. Being attached, however, DOES significantly increase the risk of injury if you fall. The "clipless Nazis" on the forum will insist that ALL serious cyclists should use clipless - it just aint so!
Nobody is telling anyone to go clipless. There are just a whole bunch of people, me included, that went from platform to clipless and found it to be greatly beneficial to their riding abilities. When people ask about clipless pedals, people who use them tend to share their experience. Is this not how a forum should work? Just because people give friendly advice, tips and encouragement does not make them Nazis you know...
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Old 08-22-06, 01:09 PM
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As for the OP, keep at it! I too went down once, but I managed to stay upright since

I really love my SPD-SL pedals now. Like others have said, it really takes a short while to grow accustomed to clipless. After that, clipping out is second nature. Like shifting, braking, etc.
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Old 08-22-06, 01:43 PM
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I gave up on clipless after 2-3 years. Tipped over too many times...the ~last~ time was into traffic. It must be my tweaked legs, I have a really hard time twisting out.

Toe clips seem to work just great for me
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Old 08-22-06, 01:48 PM
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I went clipless in the late 80's. I fell down a few times in 1989 but I'm pretty sure I was drinking at the time...Haven't fallen since...I can't imagine ever riding platforms or toe straps again...try them out and don't be afraid to fall...i guess that makes me a 'clipless nazi'...
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