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Riding clipless
CREATED: 04/03/09 by amiehwoods REPLIES: 10
amiehwoods's ravatar amiehwoods    JOINED: 3/2/09    POSTS: 19
Riding clipless
POSTED: 4/03/09 7:38 AM

Hey all,
Anyone else out there new to riding clipless? I've taken a few diggers and am none the worse for wear, but wondering if there are any clinics planned for this or anyone looking to practice and, uh, maybe fall a few times. :-)

- Amie

bcfrank's ravatar bcfrank    JOINED: 3/23/09    POSTS: 1098
RE: Riding clipless
POSTED: 4/03/09 8:07 AM

I'm just learning to ride clipless (I did my first tri last year using toe cages on the pedals), and while it won't prevent falling, one thing I've been doing is just riding with one foot clipped in and a regular tennis shoe on the other. That's helped me get used to riding clipped in, but gives me the free foot to catch myself. And each time I go out, I switch up which foot is clipped in.

Just beware when you have your dominant foot clipped in. Like I mentioned, it's not fall-proof. :)

amiehwoods's ravatar amiehwoods    JOINED: 3/2/09    POSTS: 19
RE: Riding clipless
POSTED: 4/03/09 8:50 AM

Wow...that's a really interesting idea. I never thought of that. Can you still pedal relatively easily with the sneaker on the clip? I guess it's a bit clumsy but works?

siehndel's ravatar siehndel    JOINED: 11/25/05    POSTS: 1104
RE: Riding clipless
POSTED: 4/03/09 9:26 AM

Unfortunately, sometimes taking a couple of falls is just the way it goes when learning clipless pedals. There are a couple of tricks and Bryan's idea was great.

What I did when I switched over was ride around the block several times (make sure there's not a lot of traffic). As I was riding, I just clipped my right foot out 10 times and then my left foot 10 times. Then I alternated feet. Do this all while riding (Think 10-15 mph) and not stopping. It's much easier to practice first while you're moving forward and letting physics help keep you up on your bike.

Once you're comfortable getting both feet in and out, work it into coming to a full stop. If you're not comfortable stopping, please don't do this at a stop sign or stop light the first couple of times so you don't slide out into traffic. When you're preparing to come to a complete stop, pop your foot out of the pedal EARLY EARLY EARLY. You want to get your foot out while you're still moving forward so that when need to get your foot down, it's ready to plant on the ground.

If you wait until just before you stop to pull your foot out, you will fall. You won't have any centrifugal force helping to hold you up.

I've only fallen a couple of times and it was because of one thing. I'd pull my left foot out but lean my bike to the right. Not much help there. So be aware of that as well.

Finally, we are having a group ride on April 11 and we'll be there to help with any problems you might be having. Be safe!

tycottrill    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 100
RE: Riding clipless
POSTED: 4/03/09 9:31 AM

It does take some time to build your comfort level with clipless pedals, and even experienced riders sometimes fall-over at stoplights (not me, of course). Practice riding, clipping and unclipping someplace safe (Hains Point; empty parking lots), check the spring tension to make sure it's not set too tight, and keep the cleats clean. You'll be a pro in no time.

alya72's ravatar alya72    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 49
RE: Riding clipless
POSTED: 4/03/09 9:40 AM

A piece of advice I got when learning to ride clipless and still use was this-pick one foot and always clip out of that side first. You get used to leaning to that side to clip out, and I tend to clip out of that side much earlier than I really need to to make sure I do it safely. And yes, we have all fallen...


bcfrank's ravatar bcfrank    JOINED: 3/23/09    POSTS: 1098
RE: Riding clipless
POSTED: 4/03/09 10:00 AM

It probably depends mostly on the type of clipless pedals you have as to how clumsy using a regular shoe on them is. I have the Keo Looks and they work fine with tennis shoes. It's a bit awkward but nothing unmanageable.

The only time I fell doing that was when I had my left foot (my dominant foot) clipped in and I was stopping and I thought I felt my left foot clip out and went to put it down. Apparently it wasn't clipped out, so down I went. :)

amiehwoods's ravatar amiehwoods    JOINED: 3/2/09    POSTS: 19
RE: Riding clipless
POSTED: 4/03/09 12:57 PM

These are great suggestions. Thanks to everyone who posted!

vatriathlete    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 685
RE: Riding clipless
POSTED: 4/06/09 9:19 AM

honestly you are basically going through the normal learning curve of clipless pedals.

probably everyone here has fallen in the first couple of weeks of using them.

let me guess you have fallen multiple times when coming to a stop or literally when you have stopped, or when you are just clipping in?

dont' worry everyone goes through this. I'd bet that even if you did none of the suggestions that people here have given you would be proficient with the pedals in about another week, guaranteed.

best advice i can give is make sure your pedals are set to a very easy release tension if they are adjustable so that you can get out a little faster if needed but this is not essential if they are not adjustable pedals.

good luck.

xena's ravatar xena    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 138
RE: Riding clipless
POSTED: 4/06/09 2:20 PM

You can practice with your bike still in the trainer, or in a doorway at home.

You've probably already figured this out, but there are points were it's easier to clip in and out.
Clipping out at the bottom of the stroke (6:00).
I like clipping in at around the 9:00 position so I have some forward motion to press down and in with.

I distinctly remember going on a ride with Joe through Capitol Hill and falling over at a stoplight.

It's like the Matrix, everybody falls the first time.

amiehwoods's ravatar amiehwoods    JOINED: 3/2/09    POSTS: 19
RE: Riding clipless
POSTED: 4/06/09 5:10 PM

So again...huge thanks to everyone's suggestions because...I did it!! 5 laps around Hain's Point today...clipped in, no falls!! I was definitely motivated by everyone's encouragement. Thanks for helping me get out there. :-)

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