Thanks to all the organizers for the group clinic and ride on Saturday. Even though it was cold, wet and miserable, and seemed to become even more so as the morning went on, I really enjoyed getting out and seeing everyone, and look forward to the next group ride.
Can a tri veteran give me some assurance that I will get more comfortable riding while clipped in to the pedals? I was riding for the first time on Saturday with my new shoes and pedals, and it felt ok while I was actually riding, but anytime I had to slow down I got nervous (as evidenced by my fall). A BIG THANKS to Will, Sandy and Julia for all the help they gave me and for babysitting me during the ride. I really appreciated it. I went out and practiced yesterday around my house and it was better. I almost fell at one point but got clipped out in time, and I plan on practicing again tonight before tomorrow's training ride.
A friend who is a cycling coach and who helped me buy my bike stuff told me that eventually I'll be able to clip in and out without looking down and that it will be a mindless endeavor, which I can't even imagine right now. I guess hearing someone else's success story of getting used to clipless pedals and doing well and loving riding that way now would be a huge help for me and all the other folks who are getting used to riding while attached to the bike! Any advice on how to practice and get better would be welcomed as well.
Thanks! See everyone Saturday at the Brick-nic! Steph
You will get better and your friend is correct. It just takes time. You will probably fall at some point or a few times. But you'll get up and back on and be ok. You can practice in a parking lot to avoid cars or even get on your bike in a doorway in your house and clip in, out, in, out...
The more you do it, the more comfortable you will be using them so just find a place where you can practice. When I first used them I had difficulty and then I got a new pedals (different platform) two years ago and it was like learning all over again. Just remember....you are not alone.
steph - just keep practicing. you will get better, i promise. i first practiced on my trainer at home, and then moved to a grassy yard so it wouldn't hurt so bad when i fell.
You looked good out there! Remember, if you see a stop coming up and get nervous, you can always clip out a little early and just keep that foot on the pedal until you are ready to put it down. There's no need to wait until the last possible second.
Also, here's something I wish I had known when I started: if you know that you will have to stop ahead, shift into an easier gear before you clip out. That way, when you get going again it will be much easier to start pedaling and get the forward momentum you need to clip back in.
I fell twice during my first training ride, almost called myself out of the water during my first race due to sheer panic. It's tough at first but keep practicing & training... it will become muscle memory before you know it!
Julia has a good point with the clipping out early. When I first got my pedals I would clip out waaayyyy before the stop and gradually did that less as I got more comfortable. Also if your pedals are adjustable be sure you have them set so it is easy to clip in and out.
I'm so happy to see this thread again this year (too bad you can't see the forum discussion on this from NTP '08). My two early lessons learned with the clipless pedals:
1) If you are clipped in with one foot, you need to start pedaling forward before you clip in the other foot - otherwise you fall over in your own driveway;
B) If you clip out your left foot, lean left when you stop, otherwise you fall over waiting at a busy intersection.
Seriously though, I found that practicing on a stationary bike (spinning studio at gym) is a great way to get used to it.
Thanks, everybody, for all the advice. It is so reassuring. I am keeping the faith that this is going to get easier and easier for me!
I rode last night and did ok, although I only rode with one (alternating) foot clipped in for the majority of the ride, and I'm still riding fairly slowly. My goal for Thursday's ride is to ride with both feet clipped in for at least most of the ride. I'm practicing clipping in and out of the pedals in my yard this week on the nights that I'm not riding. Even so, I am a little anxious about the brick this weekend.
Like the commercial said ... fall down 7 times, get up 8
and speaking of commericials, maybe the NTPers should also start preparing for the open water swims:
that is the funniest commercial for triathletes there is out there. love that one.
glad the clilpless pedals are working out for you, dont' worry its like the first time you drove a car, it was a bit daunting at first but eventually you got to the point now where you can change the radio station, text, talk on the phone, and do at least 12 other things and its easy.
Loved the commercial!
After two very successful rides, I fell off the bike again tonight when I slowed down and didn't clip out fast enough. One step forward, two steps back. Sigh...
don't worry it happens to everyone. anyone that says they didnt' fall with clipless pedals "ever" is lying. sounds like you weren't hurt and that is the important thing.
The first time I rode with clipless pedals I did fine the whole ride. Then I got home and rode over to my mailbox to check mail like I always did. Only I forgot about clipping out and while the mailboxes were on my right, I came to a stop and fell slowly to my left.
The first time I rode with a new clipless pedal system, I couldn't get clipped in for half the ride, finally managed to, and then fell while in the middle of a crowded picnic area at a park. Because if I'm going to fall embarrassingly, it should be in a very public place.
In fact, I almost fell on Saturday when my nephew came running over to give me a hug. I'd unclipped the right foot when he ran into me from the right. Thankfully I was close enough to grab onto something for support before taking him down with me.
We all fall, but as long as you start getting more comfortable, don't get hurt, and fall to the non-drive side, eventually it will become second nature.