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Normal to be scared of clipless pedals?

Old 06-16-11, 11:48 AM
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teresamichele
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Normal to be scared of clipless pedals?

I'm reasonably new to bikes that actually move (as opposed to stationary bikes) but I love it so far!

However, the one thing the bike at the gym has over the bike in the park is that the bike in the gym has a strap on the pedal that lets you push AND pull - rather than just push.

So my coach (I'm doing Team In Training, for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) and the other more experienced folks are telling me I need to get clips. They don't mean clips, though - they mean clipless pedals and to be honest, the idea scares me.

I've had two crashes in the last 6 weeks (one my fault, once not) and had I not been able to move my feet quickly, I think there would have been more.

Is this fear normal? Does it go away? I know it will help me be a better rider but if I become too scared to ride, then I haven't really gained anything.

Any advice for a fraidy cat?
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Old 06-16-11, 11:54 AM
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I don't like to fall either.



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Old 06-16-11, 11:58 AM
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It's fairly normal to be little worried about the idea. Before I first used them out on the road, I stayed inside and with my arms holding onto a countertop, I practiced clipping and unclipping them. I got the feel of turning the heel out, and how much force is required to do so.

When I went out on the road, I then remembered that I had to unclip before every stop sign etc. Everytime except once It happens, and you look like a bit of a fool tbh, but I didn't injure myself at all. Just pride.

Nowadays it just feels natural. I now like the idea of 'feeling' the bike more, and I think it's made me a better rider.

Hope this helps the fear aspect, and good luck!
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Old 06-16-11, 12:23 PM
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I love clipless pedals. There is nothing to be scared off. If you manage to tip over the normal twisting of your feet in such a situation will generally unclip you.
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Old 06-16-11, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by teresamichele View Post
So my coach (I'm doing Team In Training, for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) and the other more experienced folks are telling me I need to get clips. They don't mean clips, though - they mean clipless pedals and to be honest, the idea scares me.
You don't need them. They help, but they are not required. If you're not comfortable with them, I'd look into other solutions.
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Old 06-16-11, 12:30 PM
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Me too. I love clipless pedals.

It's really easy to get out of them. In fact I have had several crashes or other unplanned stops and sudden dismounts since I began using clipless pedals and every time the bike and I separate with no input from me.

I can't say the same for the old toe clips.

Old toe clips or clipless you have to remember to unclip when you stop. No difference to me.

But like you realize either way is better than just pushing.
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Old 06-16-11, 12:49 PM
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Plenty people ride thousands of miles per year without using clipless. I've used them, but have switched back to plain pedals. I may give clipless another try sometime.

There's nothing to be scared of. You'll probably fall once, while at a stand-still. Then it'll be second nature.
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Old 06-16-11, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by teresamichele View Post
I've had two crashes in the last 6 weeks (one my fault, once not) and had I not been able to move my feet quickly, I think there would have been more.
That's a lot of crashes! How long have you been really riding? If you are having other issues, I would suggest not adding clipless into the mix at the moment.

Originally Posted by teresamichele View Post
So my coach (I'm doing Team In Training, for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) and the other more experienced folks are telling me I need to get clips. They don't mean clips, though - they mean clipless pedals and to be honest, the idea scares me.
What kind of distances are you doing for your rides?

Originally Posted by teresamichele View Post
I know it will help me be a better rider but if I become too scared to ride, then I haven't really gained anything.
The issue with clipless is that the movement to release your foot is specific and not what people are used to. People get into trouble when they use the movement (pulling up) they are used to in "emergencies".

To reduce the likelihood of clipless falls, you want that new movement to be automatic. The "counter" idea mentioned earlier is a good idea. So is putting the bike on a trainer. Even practicing on grass for a bit might help.

One thing that might work is trying the pedals (on a stationary bike) to see what the specific release movement entails and then using your normal pedals with that specific movement. Then, once you are used to that movement, using the clipless pedals for real.

Last edited by njkayaker; 06-16-11 at 01:40 PM.
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Old 06-16-11, 02:18 PM
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Scared of them, not me. Use them, also not me. I've simply made a choice to use toe clip and strap pedals rather than clipless. I have some ankle ligament issues that concern me wrt clipless and am quite comfortable/secure with my toe clips & straps.

Go with what works for you, not just with something because it's recommended or what everyone else uses.
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Old 06-16-11, 02:26 PM
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Any advice for a fraidy cat?
stick to normal pedals , Im using big flat pedals , most ,
though I have a few pairs of Time ATACs in a box ,
Took them off as the rubber footwear became the norm.
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Old 06-16-11, 02:34 PM
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So _you_ don't really care for them but other people do. My usual answer is that when they start pedaling for me they can wear whatever they want

For the record, the beauty of toe clips is that you can adjust them to whatever level you want. For commuting on street shoes I leave mine lose, for fast riding on smooth cycling shoes I set them tight. If they are too tight and you forget, you can still get to eat $hit
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Old 06-16-11, 02:43 PM
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Clipless pedals =

Being "fearful" is ok. You're still not comfortable riding your bike with platform pedals. Keep riding. Once you feel at ease and relaxed on the bike, then try clipless pedals. You may want to start with two-sided clipless pedals.
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Old 06-16-11, 03:26 PM
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I like clips and straps. Run 'em loose when rollin' mellow, cinch 'em down when it's time to get serious. Beware, some pedal/shoe combinations make a tightened strap and clip harder to get out of than clipless setups.

I like BMX pedals with pins also. You don't get the up action but you get a lot better action at the bottom of the stroke than many other pedals and with the right shoes your feet REALLY stay put on the pins. This is nice where I live because 50% of rides are done in the wet.

EDIT: might as well get more pics in here:


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Old 06-16-11, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by teresamichele View Post
I'm reasonably new to bikes that actually move (as opposed to stationary bikes) but I love it so far!

However, the one thing the bike at the gym has over the bike in the park is that the bike in the gym has a strap on the pedal that lets you push AND pull - rather than just push.

So my coach (I'm doing Team In Training, for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) and the other more experienced folks are telling me I need to get clips. They don't mean clips, though - they mean clipless pedals and to be honest, the idea scares me.

I've had two crashes in the last 6 weeks (one my fault, once not) and had I not been able to move my feet quickly, I think there would have been more.

Is this fear normal? Does it go away? I know it will help me be a better rider but if I become too scared to ride, then I haven't really gained anything.

Any advice for a fraidy cat?
NEWS FLASH!

You don't need no stinking clip in's, or other foot holding pedals, to ride if you don't like them.

If someone tries to make you believe you do tell'em to bugger off!

All you need to ride a bike is platform pedals if that's what you're comfortable with.............
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I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

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Old 06-16-11, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by teresamichele View Post
Is this fear normal? Does it go away? I know it will help me be a better rider but if I become too scared to ride, then I haven't really gained anything.

Any advice for a fraidy cat?
I think it is very normal. I use them and love them, but maybe 90% of that is that I just feel more secure with my feet not moving on the pedals. They are very helpful when you go from high speed on level ground to an abrupt hill. On the big down shift, you feet can fly off the pedals.

The big issue is really initial cost. I've got pedals on one bike that cost ~ $80.00, and the shoes about the same. If you end up not liking the setup, neither one is good for much of anything. Yeah yeah, you can take off the cleat and use them on platforms, but you likely won't enjoy walking in them.
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Old 06-16-11, 04:23 PM
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Funny thing is, I'm afraid (I should say 'concern', afraid is too strong a word) to ride with just platform pedals. With clips I ride on the ball of my feet. When I pedal while standing my feet are often at a 45-degree angle. Were I to ride platform pedals, the next time I stand up I would probably slip and drive my toes into the fast moving ground...
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Old 06-16-11, 04:27 PM
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I slipped off my pedal on a bike that has platform pedals due to a wet shoe. It left a lovely geometric scar in my shin. That one incident created more pain than any I have experienced while riding with clipless that was directly caused by said clipless pedals.
Of course they are not required but they sure are sweet. That is if you ignore the clipless haters.
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Old 06-16-11, 04:37 PM
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I'm with DataJunkie: I'd much rather be firmly attached to the bike.
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Old 06-16-11, 05:22 PM
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If you like the straps on the exercise bikes then get some pedals with toe clips and straps or look into some pedals with Powergrip straps.
Don't use clipless until you decide that you really want to use them. Eventually, you will.
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Old 06-16-11, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by dcrowell View Post
Plenty people ride thousands of miles per year without using clipless. I've used them, but have switched back to plain pedals. I may give clipless another try sometime.

There's nothing to be scared of. You'll probably fall once, while at a stand-still. Then it'll be second nature.
An honest flat pedal user!

Persoanlly I prefer clipless by a huge margin. But the kind I use require rotating the heel out to unclip, a motion very like the one used to get out of ski bindings. That meant that for me, with the timing of when in my life I tried clipless it came entirely naturally. A few rides and it was ingrained.

Clipless has likely saved me a couple of very nasty crashes. All going downhill at speed and hitting something where it was difficult to stay up. If my foot had come off the pedals and hit the ground with any force the odds are it would have sent me flying.

Mine are SPDs and give me a recessed cleat in a flat shoe. There are some sections of the beach bike path where simple pedals would be slightly nicer, and traditional cleats would be a real pain.
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Old 06-16-11, 07:33 PM
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A few years ago Bicycling Magazine wrote up a study of flat versus clipless pedals that found only the most disciplined pro riders got any real benefit from the 'up' pull on clipless pedals. Most riders got no real benefit at all. So, why bother? Personally, I prefer Speedplay Drillium pedals. bk
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Old 06-16-11, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by bkaapcke View Post
A few years ago Bicycling Magazine wrote up a study of flat versus clipless pedals that found only the most disciplined pro riders got any real benefit from the 'up' pull on clipless pedals. Most riders got no real benefit at all. So, why bother? Personally, I prefer Speedplay Drillium pedals. bk
I question the validity of this statement.
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Old 06-16-11, 07:48 PM
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The quality of Bicycling Magazine is questionable at best.
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Old 06-16-11, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
The quality of Bicycling Magazine is questionable at best.
No, I question that anyone who uses them could believe such BS.
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Old 06-16-11, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
That's a lot of crashes! How long have you been really riding? If you are having other issues, I would suggest not adding clipless into the mix at the moment.
6 weeks, give or take. I think my first day on the bike was May 7th. It had been years before that the last time I was on a real bike.

The first crash was because my handlebars were really loose. I got on the bike and the wheel moved on its own...on a downhill. That one was ouchy but not totally my fault. The second time I hit a USPS mailbox. That one hurt less but was totally my fault.

Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
What kind of distances are you doing for your rides?
I think my longest so far is 8 miles but the bike portion of my triathlon is about 13 miles. Eventually I want to get up to 26 for an international length triathlon.

Everyone else: You guys rock. I think I'm going to go with my gut that I'm not ready for clipless pedals yet. I may never be. I DO want to try toe clips - and maybe when I'm more secure on the bike, I'll try the clipless pedals.

Or maybe not. Right now I just want to become a stronger rider. Plus, I'm currently using a 20 year old borrowed mountain bike that weighs as much as an elementary school student. Once I get my own pretty hybrid suitable for someone my size, I might start being a little less fearful.
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