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03215325 Posts: 16
5/13/07 9:39 A

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I've been riding for several years now, but DON'T consider myself a "serious" rider (compared to my husband who's a 20mph, 100 - 150 mile a week rider).

I went through the whole path of regular pedals, clipped, and clipless and completely understand the anxiety related to each transition. I would never even consider going back - you are so much more comfortable and efficient once you get past the initial skill development (and it doesn't take as long as you think!)

Lots of good advice, I would only add a couple of observations.

I would strongly recommend you start with clipless shoes that walk like regular shoes. The clip is embedded in the shoe, so you don't have to walk like a duck when you're not on the bike emoticon . Many of the (non-recorded) accidents with clipless pedals are the falls you take walking with the shoes on slick surfaces like tile!

Also, while most people do have at least one story of falling with the clipless pedals (including me), they are almost always when you forget to clip out when coming to a stop and just "timber" over or starting and unpractice in the clip-in - little or no speed involved - so heed the advice on the earlier post! Clip out ONE FOOT ONLY when you have to slow down (for a stop or when someone ahead of you suddenly slows), and leave one foot clipped in whenever you stop.

Trying out the clip process while someone is holding the bike adds to the anxiety - try hard to move past that - it is MUCH easier to clip in and out while moving (I know this doesn't seem right, but it is true - several posts have already mentioned this) - you just have to practice and not be too afraid!

The most important thing, though - Be comfortable and have fun!!!

 
SLR0590's Photo SLR0590 Posts: 919
5/10/07 12:21 P

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My first season with clipless pedals ended with 5 falls-one really bad one! I was very afraid of my bike. Last year I had only one. My husband loosened the clips for me so when I needed to release quickly it was a lot easier. I wouldn't want to ride now without them.
Blessings

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5/9/07 11:09 A

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For you all who are new to clipless pedals, I suggest you keep one foot clipped in when you come to a stop. That will be your take-off foot. When you take off from a stop, just pedal, don’t even try to clip in the other shoe. Just put your shoe on the pedal. DO NOT LOOK AT THE PEDALS! Keep pedaling and press down on the unclipped foot, if your foot is positioned over the clip, it will just snap in. Your goal is to NOT LOOK but to learn the clip in by feel. Every time you look, or struggle to clip in, you’ll slow down which can cause accidents when riding in a group. Don’t worry about having only one foot clipped in. If the shoe doesn’t clip in, just lift your foot off the pedal and reposition.

Do not look where you fell, but where you slipped.
African proverb


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RHYNIC's Photo RHYNIC Posts: 19,646
5/9/07 8:03 A

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What a great article, thank you. I am totally new to cycling. I knew in general what these clipless pedals were but now I got a much better picture.

thanks
gail

"Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish which greatly trumps Did Not Start."

www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMGatR8SNns

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SbXgQq
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MENTAL_SURFEIT's Photo MENTAL_SURFEIT Posts: 104
5/9/07 1:40 A

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I've had clipless pedals and shoes for about 2 years, but I finally used them for the first time last weekend! LOL. I was pretty nervous about it, and never got around to trying it out.

It took me a LONG time to consistently be able to get into them. Actually it took the most time to clip in the first time, then I started getting the hang of it. But I must have tried for at least 20 minutes before I could even clip in! (With someone else holding me upright in the bike. =))

Once I got going, though, I loved it. It was easier for me to get in and out of them when actually cycling, than when I was still. I got the kind that a few people have mentioned where you can clip in on one side of the pedal or wear normal shoes and use the other side without clipping. The bike shop specifically recommended them to me because they'd be easier to get out of, which I was worried about, and they had a fair bit of play so my feet could do their angle thing. I think the drawback was that they are harder to get INTO, but that's easier to cope with!

Good luck!

"Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to, when all they need is one reason why they can." - Martha Graham


 
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5/8/07 10:57 P

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Here's some moe information on clipless pedals from: http://citybikes.com/page.cfm?PageID=212

What are Clipless Pedals?
Clipless pedals are actually a system comprised of special pedals and cleats, devices included with the pedals that attach to the soles of clipless cycling shoes. This means that you'll need to select pedals and shoes in order to upgrade to a clipless system.

Once you have the cleats bolted to your shoes and the clipless pedals on your bicycle, you simply step on the pedals to click your feet securely in place (most systems make a "click" when you're locked in). When engaged, your feet are connected to the pedals for optimum efficiency. And your feet won't come off the pedals unless you want them to. To get out, you swing your feet heels first to the outside as if you're getting ready to put your feet down, and the pedals release.

Because your feet are locked into the pedals when riding, you'll have more power throughout the pedal stroke and while accelerating and climbing. Clipless pedals also give you more control by letting you use your feet for maneuvers such as hopping pavement cracks, railroad tracks and more exciting obstacles if you're riding off road. Plus, because you can get in and out so quickly, you’re more apt to get your feet down and land safely should you need to dismount quickly.

Clips and Straps Versus Clipless
If you’re cycling short distances and casually, basic rubber pedals work fine. As you pedal more seriously, say to achieve fitness, the speed and distance that you pedal increases and there’s a risk of your feet slipping off the pedals. At the least, this is an annoyance; at the worst, it can cause a crash and injury. Also, even if you never slip off the pedals, rubber pedals allow your feet to change positions while you’re pedaling, which is very inefficient.

Ideally, you'll always pedal with the balls of your feet over the centers of the pedals. Because it's difficult to keep your feet in position, toe clips and straps were invented (shortly after bicycles were invented, actually).

Toe clips and straps bolt to regular pedals (non clipless) and form cages to hold your feet in the correct place on the pedals and keep your feet from slipping off. This is a perfectly viable solution and one less expensive than clipless pedals and the special shoes needed to complete the clipless system.

There are drawbacks, however. One is that the clips and straps may cut off the circulation to your feet when they’re fastened tightly enough to allow efficient pedaling and control. It’s also a fairly tricky two-step process to get out of the clips and straps when they’re tightened because you must reach down to loosen the strap before you can pull your foot out. Also, when you're riding off road on the pedal bottoms, the toe straps hang down where they can snag on roots or sticks causing a crash.

These are just some of the reasons that clipless pedals are now de rigueur for serious cyclists. The only real disadvantage is that they take a little practice to learn how to use (true with toe clips and straps, too), and they’re more costly.

Float And Tension Adjustment
The majority of clipless systems today feature float. This is a few degrees of built-in lateral play allowing your feet to move slightly and find the optimum pedaling position. Float ensures that you won't injure your knees by riding with your feet misaligned with your knees, which was a common problem before pedals with float were invented.

Keep in mind that even though most clipless pedals offer float, it's still important to align the cleats carefully. They must be positioned to hold the balls of your feet over the pedals and to match your natural foot inclination. Our bike fitters are experts at this.

Another adjustment many clipless pedals offer is fine-tuning the ease of entry and exit. Competitive riders often set their pedals very firm because they don't want their feet popping out in all-out sprinting efforts. Meanwhile, mountain bikers like a loose setting so that they can get out with very little effort should they need to get their feet down in a hurry. A loose setting is also helpful if you're just starting out with clipless pedals.


Do not look where you fell, but where you slipped.
African proverb


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DRC2205's Photo DRC2205 Posts: 8,845
5/8/07 10:20 P

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LOL--this is a great thread! I love my clipless. My preference is a road bike, with road shoes. It took me a couple of years with cages until I bit the bullet, but I loved them (the clipless) almost from the start. i did my "practice" rides on a trainer. And still, my biggest fear is being clipped in on a narrow stretch--through gates or narrow paths. But mostly that's just my own fear, not the pedals. I have the performance campus pedals on my backup bike, so I can loan it to others who need to use the platform, but I can clip in with my mountain bike shoes when I ride it.

FALCONFLEWAWAY Posts: 133
5/8/07 4:34 P

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Go clipless & you will never regret it. I have used cleats since the early 70's and have been clipless since the early '90s. You will get used to them in just a few rides.

Benefits are safety and confidence - it's nice to keep your feet steady when rounding a bumpy corner at speed!

Efficiency - they are the best - however contrary to common opinion, your legs actually rest on the upstroke. You will use *more energy if you try to pull up all the time.

see the posts in "funny stories about using clipless pedals' threads for a bit more info on the topic ...


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FRUITYFUL's Photo FRUITYFUL Posts: 1,009
5/8/07 2:28 P

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Hmmm...maybe I should consider them. I would definitely like to increase my efficiency when I'm commuting.

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F8TH637's Photo F8TH637 Posts: 466
5/8/07 1:59 P

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FRUITYFUL, you don't HAVE to go clipless by any means. When I first started riding (which wasn't too long ago) I was like, "I'm NEVER going clipless!" After riding more I realized I have bad pedaling form and have trouble keeping my feet on the pedals. Not only am I wasting time but I was also wasting energy. I considered clips or straps but figured I might as well take the bull by the horns. I figure once I get over the fear it'll be smooth sailing.

- Angel

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5/8/07 1:47 P

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The benefits? There are many - to me the most important being that you can use the entire pedal stroke (not just down, but up, too). They keep your feet on the pedal (especially important for mountain biking), give you a more efficient pedal stroke and the shoes provide more support than sneakers or hiking boots for biking. I love my clipless and they are so worth the pain of the learning curve. If you take spinning at the gym, try them out on the spin bikes there (if you get the standard SPD's). That fast spin that seemed impossible for all but the ultra conditioned suddenly is totally doable. I can ride faster and harder with the clipless.

Christine

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F8TH637's Photo F8TH637 Posts: 466
5/8/07 1:46 P

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Hmmm, if what you say is true I may be that fool outside today riding around the neighborhood with kneepads and wrist guards from my rollerblading days.

LOL Do you think perhaps maybe your son was MORE scared because of all the padding you put on him?

- Angel

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RHYNIC's Photo RHYNIC Posts: 19,646
5/8/07 1:41 P

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Sure you can wear knee pads on a bike. when my son was 4 and we were teaching him to ride bike he had a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads and he was still convinced we were trying to kill him. lol.

gail

"Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish which greatly trumps Did Not Start."

www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMGatR8SNns

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SbXgQq
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FRUITYFUL's Photo FRUITYFUL Posts: 1,009
5/8/07 1:40 P

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Oooh, the more I hear about these clips, the more worried I get. I am new to this and will be getting a new bike and was wondering about the clip pedals. Can someone tell em what the benefit of having those is?

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5/8/07 1:39 P

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Oh yeah, I don't know anyone who went clipless who doesn't have at least one embarrasing tale to tell! Sorry about your knees!

Mine fall was with a tandem attached to my bike with my daughter (who was then 4) on it. It was on a very crowded trail at a rest stop with quite the crowd on hand for the show. I kind of did a slow motion fall - slow enough so that my daughter had time to get off the tandem and move away (thank heavens) and I struggled to release just ONE foot valiantly, but gravity won and down I went. As soon as I hit the ground, my foot popped free. Gee, thanks! I got a round of applause for that one. So, it could be worse - and think of the fun tales you can come up with for the brush burns on your knees... :P

Christine

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BIKECOMMUTER Posts: 403
5/8/07 1:23 P

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It gets easier.
We all have to fall at least once till we get the hang of it. Its a lot more embarassing when you pull up to a stop sign and forget that your clipped in. Usually gets some pretty good reactions from the drivers around you emoticon

What doesn''t kill me, makes me stronger.


 
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F8TH637's Photo F8TH637 Posts: 466
5/8/07 1:02 P

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. . . and I haven't even taken it outside yet! I took off my old pedals and installed the new ones all by myself (yeay me!). I bought the Crank Brothers Candy in Yellow. I ended up having to move the cleats because I found I couldn't turn my heels outward enough because of the way my gimpy legs are aligned to my feet. So I practiced for a little while in the spare bedroom leaning against a wall and a doorway. And wouldn't you know I leaned a little too far to the wrong side and didn't disengage in time (ok, at all) and came crashing down onto the carpet bruising my knees and giving myself pretty bad rug burn. Sighhhh . . . I haven't even taken them out and I'm already falling over. This does get easier, right?

I also bought the Campus pedal from Performance bike which has adjustable tension as well as the option to clip in on one side of the pedal if you want. I may give those a whirl in the next couple of days and see which I end up liking better. Too bad you can't wear kneepads on a bike. emoticon

- Angel

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