Thursday, April 19, 2012

Clipless Miracle

Yes, it's a miracle. I have finally learned to ride clipless. It was almost anti-climactic really, considering the failures that have characterised my previous attempts.

For the past two years I have been riding roadbikes with Power Grips and could not master clipless pedals. Finally I had a fitting session where I started from scratch and tried several different systems. The Crankbrothers felt the least terrifying. Determined to finally learn how to do this, I ordered pedals and shoes from the Ride Studio Cafe. They arrived, and yesterday I went to get them installed.

Strapping an empty saddlebag to my bicycle in which I would later carry my sneakers and old pedals, I expected things to go like this: I would get the pedals and cleats set up, practice riding on the nearby Minuteman Trail, then change back into my street shoes to ride the rest of the way home in traffic. I would then practice every day on a quiet street in the neighborhood until I felt ready to go on a real ride.

Instead what happened was this: We got the pedals and cleats set up. I clipped in and rode home without incident, including the last portion through traffic. I guess there is no need to practice on a quiet street at this point.

The main difference between this experience and my previous attempts was the lack of anxiety. Unclipping from these pedals is so gentle and intuitive, that I am not afraid of getting trapped in them. And I think overcoming this fear was really 90% of the battle for me. Some complain that Crankbrothers pedals require that you twist your foot too much in order to unclip (15-20° release angle, depending on how you set them up), but this does not bother me. The important thing is that the release itself is easy. Putting my foot down at a stop is not any more difficult or scary than with my Power Grips.

I do need some practice clipping in. The right cleat goes in quickly, but for some reason I fumble a lot with the left one. I'm sure I'll get quicker at it; I just have to not be lazy and practice by intentionally clipping and unclipping my left foot when riding the bike.

I will write more about the shoes and pedals once I gain some experience with them; I don't want to speak too soon. I am just ridiculously happy that I finally did this.

The entire way down the Minuteman Trail I had an altered version of Ice Cube's "You Can Do It" playing in my head, with all the trees and flowers sexily swaying to the beat...

You can do it, clip you shoe inTO it!...
You can do it like there's nothing to it!...


Oh yeah.

The end.

88 comments:

  1. Way to go!

    Jim Duncan

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  2. (golf clap)

    a paraphrase::

    "...Let that girl boogie woogie
    it in her
    and it got to come out."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ai93A9M8YOE

    Did Peppy ever get her shimano SPDs back?


    CK

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  3. I knew it! I saw the photos on Instagram and thought: "I bet she's mastered the clipless pedals at last!" Good work! It's always nice to conquer a fear.

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  4. First time I rode clipless I took a fall at a red light: I unclipped my right foot to rest it on the curb of the sidewalk to wait for the green light, but used too much strength and my weight started shifting to my left, and I was unable to unclip my left foot while it was holding all my weight,the result was a 0 mph fall (with a lot of pedestrians right in front of me, really embarrassing)...

    You should practice this scenario on a trainer (unclipping your foot when it is holding some of your weight), It's not really hard, and IT IS POSSIBLE, a quick jerky movement will do it (similar to some dancing steps)followed by a light jump to land on that same foot, its a really useful skill to learn.

    BTW, I love your blog, following recently from Guadalajara, Mexico.

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  5. Congrats! Looking forward to your verdict on clipless vs. power straps.

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  6. Applause: clap clap clap :)

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  7. I don't unclip my left foot when stopping(unless I'm getting off the bike). Generally speaking, the more you ride the easier the clip/unclip. Congratulations.

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  8. You are now, literally, on your way! Congrats.

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  9. Great news, You'll never look back once acclimatised.

    My tip, practice starting with one foot only. Very useful for remounting on steep paths where the surface is a bit loose.

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  10. Merely the beginning. Wheelies, bunny hops, track stands, slow races on fixed... (none which I can do btw)

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  11. Sounds like how I learned to ride no-hands. When I was a kid I could never do it and was always envious of everyone who could. One day, about a year into my adult bicycling career I suddenly found I could ride no-hands with no problem whatsoever. I wish that sort of thing happened more often. Congratulations!

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  12. Woot! Congrats! I'm glad that the CB pedals inspired enough confidence that you were able to ride home without any large incidents.

    Here is a trick that I used when I switched over to clipless pedals. I would always come to a stop and put my left foot down. My reasoning was twofold; I had always used my left foot at stop lights and since my right leg was stronger, I should keep that one clipped in so I could get the fastest starts at the lights.

    But my left foot really is an idiot. I can still be caught fumbling with my left pedal even after I have drifted through an entire intersection... and I've been riding clipless for 10 years!

    Ok, the trick (Which is pretty obvious). Leave your 'dumb' left foot clipped in at lights and land on your right. It was a bit difficult for me to force this habit, but since my right foot has so much more coordination than the left, I can clip in in under a second every time, rather than the ten seconds I used to leave with my left.

    I have experimented by trying to use my left every once in a while, and I am still a baffoon.

    HTH,

    Jay

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  13. I don't think that this is any type of miracle. Instead, I hope you now understand why so many people in the past had told you that riding clipless was easy. I predict that you will soon understand the arguments you previously dismissed about the benefits of clipless pedals over power grips.

    As a service to any of those who may have been scared off by your experiences testing out clipless pedals on a trainer, they are much more difficult to use on a trainer than they are while riding. I have been using spd-sl's and Time ATAC's for years and I still find it easier to get into and out of them while riding than I do on the trainer. It has to do with weight distribution and balance. Stuff you don't think about while riding but seems awkward on the trainer. Checking them for float and performance may be fine, but trying to determine which will be the easiest to use is almost pointless. Trust the opinions of more experienced cyclists for this. And be ready to possibly dislike the first pair you buy.

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    1. I never dismissed arguments about clipless pedals and have been trying to learn for a while now. Not on a trainer, outside. I already owned a pair of SPD pedals and shoes, and I tried my best with them. The problem with opinions of more experienced cyclists is that they are all different. I was told that the SPDs I couldn't master before were "the easiest" system, so if I couldn't do it that was as good as it got. For me that proved to be incorrect. I am very glad I finally tried a number of systems to compare.

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    2. My problem with "the opinions of more experienced cyclists" is that they are often so far removed from the beginner cycling experience as to sound condescending and dismissive. (Much like Anon 4:55 above.) Instead of just saying that something is easy -- and making me feel like an idiot -- how about acknowledging there's a learning curve and not everyone has the same comfort level and/or natural abilities on a bike. We all progress at different rates and what's "easy" to you may take me months or years to perfect -- if ever. That doesn't make me stupid or any less deserving to be part of the cycling experience.

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    3. There is a learning curve for riding clipless and it could be steep, or not. I fell a couple of times in my first month of riding clipless pedals (on grass of all places) but haven't since. You always need to plan when stopping but that should not be an issue. It's similar to planning to downshift as you approach a light.

      Reading ahead, I see that you are riding clipless on a fixed gear. I find fixed gear scary and just the idea of clipless on fixed terrifying. You must be far along the learning curve at this point.

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  14. Pretty cool. The argument about whether clipless is helpful or which ones are best will rage on but the question of whether or not Velouria is a Fully Qualified Foo Foo Roadie is pretty much settled.

    I put Crank Bro's Egg Beaters on my new bike and find they are less drama than the SPDs I took off. I also like the fact that they look like a piece of restaurant eqpt. that just happened to find it's way on to my bike.

    I still think if I was honest with myself I'd admit that my old Looks or Campy pedals/cleats were better for the road than anything I've ever used on my mountain bikes, but I don't want to have 6 pairs of shoes laying around(summer and winter road and offroad and a pair of "race"(as if what I do resembles racing anymore) shoes for each)so I hope these are a good cross-over system. The pedals you have look like maybe the best choice yet for clipless pedals that actually work with civilian shoes. I'll be interested to see what you think.

    Spindizzy

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  15. I'm glad for you. I found switching to clipless pedals to be the single biggest thing I've done to improve my cycling experience.

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  16. I've been riding various forms of Eggbeaters on my road bikes for about eight years, both with platforms and without, and I don't want to change. Sometimes I wish they wore better or didn't have so much float, but for getting in and out at intersections, they're the best.

    Surprisingly, the shoe can also make a huge difference in your ability to hit the clip on the first try. I have a pair of Pearl Izumi mountain/commuter shoes, in which the cleat is inset into the tread, and in those I almost never miss. With my fancy Specialized road shoes, I miss about 1 time in 5.

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    1. What do you mean by wishing they were better? The only thing I don't like about them so far, is that there is no distinct and precise "click" when they are in; they are just in.

      Agreed about the shoes. There is a huge difference between the ones I got now and the ones I tried to ride in previously.

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    2. I think he meant WORE better, as in lasting longer in use. I assume he means the cleats. I've actually been pretty happy with the crank bros cleats, still on the same pair after three years. And since I've purchased four pedal sets for four bikes, I've got lots of extra cleats lying around. Let me know, Carl, and I'll send you a pair...

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    3. I found the cleats to be bombproof personally - but the bearings - aye, yae, yae... Those are some cheap bearings...

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    4. Yes, I did mean the wear factor. I find the cleats are soft and do get worn out -- I ride in cities and clip in and out a lot, and find that it gets loose and sloppy. Couldn't say exactly how long that takes, it's more than 1000 miles for certain. Also yes, the bearings wear and get noisy.

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  17. I just overcame the same anxiety. I had my clipless shoes and pedals for a year before trying them. Now I cannot believe that I took so long to do it. Yayy, high five!

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  18. I'm glad for you too. I found switching back to bare pedals from clipless the single biggest thing I've done to improve my clycling experience.

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    1. For me it is not a matter of switching; it's a matter of being able to do both. I do not like my choices to be limited by ability.

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    2. Very good point! I switch between clipless pedals and flat pedals on my road bike, depending on how much walking I intend to do when I get where I'm going.
      It's great to see you getting the hang of it! If it makes you feel better, I almost always unclip my right foot when I come to a stoplight, mostly because I tend to stay in the saddle and put a foot on the curb when I can. I do it often enough that it feels a bit weird to put my left foot down at a stop.
      Besides, unclipping the right foot first is a necessary skill in cyclocross ;-)

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  19. V, congratulations, but allow me to offer a couple suggestions....

    Make sure as you're learning to ride with clipless pedals that you practice clipping out, respectively, not only the foot you feel most comfortable with but also your other foot when you're stoping. It would also be useful to practice starting with, respectively, your left and your right foot.

    Most people are more comfortable starting and stopping with either the left or right foot, and learn to favor the preferred foot. However, there are any number of situations which can come up when riding that more or less require that you unclip with the opposite foot, and re eliminating anxiety, you don't want to be learning to use the opposite foot at that point.

    I'm sure that you already know this, but when you're coming to a stop, lean the bike to the side that you've unclipped your foot--this will completely eliminate the risk of toppling over on the opposite side--the side in which your foot is still clipped in.

    If by chance you are at risk of toppling over on the opposite side, there is ALWAYS an extra nanosecond or two sufficient to do a panic unclip--you don't have to lamely topple over. Again, I hope that I'm not belaboring the obvious. I've seen this high side topple quite a few times among those who are learning clipless pedals.

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    1. If by chance you are at risk of toppling over on the opposite side, there is ALWAYS an extra nanosecond or two sufficient to do a panic unclip--you don't have to lamely topple over.

      Ha! This is what I'm famous for. I haven't once fallen while riding clipless, but several times I've toppled over when I've stopped, unclipped one shoe to balance, and THEN tried to do something like "walk" my bike out of the way of a fallen tree, or through a narrow gate, with one foot still clipped in. When we stop and become used to unclipping the same foot each time, we also become used to using our body mass to shift the center of gravity over to the side of the unclipped foot. If, by trying to move the bike with one foot clipped, the center of gravity shifts to the other side (even for a moment)-- watch out! Down you go. Happened to me just last weekend. Thankfully, this almost never results in injury.

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    2. After my wife and I each toppled over while stopped and unclipped with one foot (you actually fall to the clipped side) a friend suggested turning the wheel away from the foot on the ground. That way you can't lose your balance and go over the other side. We've never had a problem since.

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  20. So what do you think of the Shoes Ruse now, eh?

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    1. Exactly the same as I thought of it 3 years ago when I first read it. It is an opinion and an interesting one. I am not qualified to know whether GP is correct or whether those who hold the opposite opinion are correct.

      I have no opinion about the effect of foot retention on "power transfer" and what not. For me the draw is that my feet don't slide around on the pedals and don't slip off. Once I got used to Power Grips (which I have adjusted pretty tightly), I found it extremely unpleasant to ride a roadbike without foot retention. Clipless feels the same, except the binding mechanism is different.

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    2. I love GP and I think the world is a better place for having people like him in it. But clipless pedals are like every other kind of non-essential bike luxury (e.g. gears, brifters, bike shorts, jerseys, dual-pivot brakes): When I first got into biking I swore I'd never use them, but once I tried them they were so freaking awesome I never looked back. Bikes are like cheating at walking. Clipless pedals and brifters are like cheating at biking. As Freddie Mercury admonished us: don't stop me now!

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    3. With the caveat that I do not race, though I never had any trouble at all using clipless, I never felt any enthusiasm for them either.

      Half clips* fit my commuting, touring and fun ride needs perfectly. The fact I don't need to wear a different shoe on the bike than everywhere else is gravy.

      *King Cage recently began selling a beautiful clip that works equally well with or without a strap. Installed a pair on White Ind. pedals on one of my bikes last weekend. Amazing.

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    4. When you get out of the saddle and really start charging up a hill, racing or not, true cycling shoes and clipless pedals are a dream.

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    5. My take on the whole "shoes ruse," based on my own observation, is this: when you pedal on flat pedals, you tend to exert a bit of back force against the rising pedal, in order to keep your foot in contact with it.

      With some sort of foot retention, you don't have the feel of the foot separating from the rising pedal the way it does on a flat, because of this, you exert less back pressure, and have a smoother, "round" pedal stroke. This is more efficient.

      Add to this not having to worry about sliding around or slipping during standing climbs and damp weather, you certainly feel, and go, faster while clipped in.

      The upshot is that my own experience seems to show that the smoother pedal stroke you can develop while clipped in carries over to your unclipped riding after a while, teaching you to pedal more efficiently overall.

      (disclaimer: this is all speculation and opinion)

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    6. Re: speculation and opinion

      Speaking as someone who has gone from clipless to riding in flipflops and clogs (yes, I DO do it to annoy), you are correct in guessing that the pedal stroke improvements from being clipped in carry over to unclipped riding.

      And I somehow stepped in something slippery this morning before riding to work, and it was really a pain to have such a slippery shoe on the pedal.

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  21. It seems to me that you had a photo of some somewhat retro lace up clipless shoes in a beautiful brown leather a while ago which you were planning to buy if you ever went clip less. Assuming that I'm not imagining this, why did you change your mind?

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    1. Dromati shoes. I was going to reward myself with them if and when I finally learned to ride clipless. Which I thought would take a month maybe! Now it doesn't seem like I really "deserve" the reward, since the whole thing was so easy. Also, turns out they are out of my size. And finally I am just not sure about the shoelaces - they worry me a little. I still think they are gorgeous, but I'll stick with the Mavics for now.

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    2. Quoc Pham recommends this lacing technique:

      http://www.quocpham.com/lt/index.html

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    3. So I get to retain my unique title as the gal in the cool brown leather shoes for a wee bit longer then :-)

      I am so excited that you have overcome this fear. Next up ...bunny hopping no=handed while drinking from a water bottle and taking a panda shot of it all!

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    4. Say, do you actually have to buy those Dromartis from GB, or is there a US supplier?

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    5. Don't worry FixiePixie I was going to get the black ones!

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    6. Well, in that case, get your order in!

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    7. I want brown, but I live on the other coast, so I doubt we'll run into each other Miss FixiePixie. Unless you come back to ride in SF with us, that is... :)

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  22. Congrats! So does this mean you'll be riding clipless on your next big ride?

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    1. Definitely. I am already riding with them de facto. Still working on getting the left foot clipped in faster, but otherwise there are no problems.

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    2. Yeah, I've found I can't ever predict when the clip-in will go quickly and when there will be fumbling. For my single-sided pedals, it depends on rotation. For yours, that should not be an issue.

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  23. Miracle? Kinda dramatic, maybe, but I guess overcoming obstacles of any sort is reason to raise a glass....And now, on to the next one :)

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    1. This was a big deal for me; you have no idea!

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    2. Indeed, I know it was a big deal, been reading this blog for awhile. And, I DO have an idea, you'll have to trust me on this ;) We all have our obstacles but it's always nice to read about someone who has overcome one -- it's affirmation for those of us who continue to struggle. Persistence pays off. Good job!

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  24. Anybody need a free pair of power grips, high five to ya!!!! Glenn in NM

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  25. Many will disagree with me but IMO clipless pedals/shoes belong on the race track and never, ever, on the street.

    It is a sad state of affairs when adults fall over on a bike 'cause they can't get free of the clips then joke about the fall or the injury from the fall. IMO that's just sick.........

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    1. I agree with you that falling over due to clipless pedals is not funny; could be pretty dangerous if it happens at the wrong place and time. It is best not to fall.

      Road cycling in itself is dangerous. You ride fast and you are on an aggressive bike, things can happen. It is not for everyone. Clipless pedals, once mastered, are only a tiny part of that danger in my opinion.

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    2. Sorry, but what you describe hardly ever happens with clipless pedals. Millions of cyclists use them every day without incident. At this point, I've needed to put a foot down during countless rock gardens while mountain biking and every time my foot pops out of the clipless pedal before I even know what happened. And guess what? Slow-speed falls are even more likely with cinched-down clips and straps. Thankfully, most adults aren't as afraid as you, Walt. They'll fall a few times, but just like riding a bike, they soon get the hang of it and never look back.

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    3. If you are really pushing yourself on the road, clipless pedals (or just being attached to the bike at the pedals) is less dangerous than not.

      I don't see the utility in clipless for commuting and it makes no sense to bring a spare set of shoes to work, but in road riding where you are really putting power down on the pedals, clipless are a godsend.

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    4. A long time ago, my experience with clipless pedals was limited to heckling my racer roommate for using them, along with what I called his "action-sports shoes". After hearing a lot of ppl recommend them, especially for riding trails, I became kind of resolutely opposed to trying it. I guess I'm kinda O.D.D. that way.

      Then, I read "The Shoe Ruse". Now, I'm willing to admit that I agree with a lot of what GP says about components in general, even though I find much of his copy to be kind of patronizingly offensive. I scarcely think he "invented" most of these notions, with the possible exception of the notion that uglier handlebars=better handlebars (http://www.rivbike.com/product-p/hb12.htm). I consider most of his views on cycling to be "conventional wisdom" that existed before Riv did.

      So, when I read "The Shoe Ruse", my oppositional/defiant side kicked in again, and I decided to try clipless. A pair of shimano spd m540s went on my geared mtb. At first, it seemed like heaven. Things did, in fact, seem more efficient. Early on in rides, I felt like superman. And, I learned some valuable skills by staying clipped in thru rough stuff, where i might normally "dab" on my quill pedals. I got kinda into it; put a set on my singlespeed mtb, and some flip-style platform/spd pedals on my more roadish bikes.

      Looking back, though, GP was right again, even if he was kinda smug about it. My time spent on SPDs was kind of like the time i spent with marijana; it seemed awesome for about a year, but then I quit it quick and wondered "what was i thinking?" The truth is, it is annoying to have to wear action-sports shoes to the pub or restaurant after the ride. It is annoying to have to change shoes at work after the commute, or risk ridicule by co-workers about your action-sports shoes. (click-clack-click-clack-clickclickclick) Even more annoying are the "hot spots" one gets after truly long rides. SPD zealots claim that you simply need to adjust cleat positioning to minimize this; i did, and it did improve...but hot spots still occurred. And I spent a lot of time adjusting position for trial-and-error. Fact is, i can avoid hot spots on quill pedals without any tools, trial and error, or even conscious adjustments.

      So, yeah, I learned to ride clipless. I never even had an actual "spd crash", although I've watched countless others do it, and I had a few scares. I gave up the clipless b/c I don't race, and I'm generally not in a hurry on my bike unless I'm late for work. I can go plenty fast (for me)in normal shoes, and I'm not worried about optimal efficiency b/c I'm not competing. For road-racers, xc mtb racers, and bicycle LARP enthusiasts who obsess about efficiency needlessly, I can see the appeal.

      I don't rock clipless anymore b/c, for me, they kinda suck, by way of cramping my style (such as it is.) But safety? I've heard that argument before, but I cannot see how anyone with >1hour of clipless experience is going to be "endangered" by them.

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  26. Good for you! It's really inspiring to see your determination on this. I just recently gave up on clipless. (I found them far easier than Power Grips, even.) I just realized it freaked me out to be attached to the bike, and the freak-out slowed me down. Plus, I'm not interested in going super-fast so it was a pretty easy thing for me to give up.

    Now you'll have to let us know if it really does noticeably increase your speed. I'm curious.

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  27. You clip in and out of them.

    But they're clipless.

    Funny world, innit?

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    1. Drive on the parkway, and park in the driveway,etc.

      But, yeah, I always thought it was a misleading moniker to the uninitiated, too.

      -rob

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    2. No toe clips. I am old enough to have used them in the 1970s.

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    3. Yeah, I get it...hence the reference to the "uninitiated".

      I've definitely tried toe-clips, and i definitely despise those more than any other pedal option.

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  28. You can adjust the rotation needed for release by filing the cleat. If you do you're petty much on your own, I doubt a shop would volunteer to do this work. Or even a friend. But you can.

    Congratulations. So glad you did it without falls, and demonstrated the falls are not mandatory.

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  29. Glad you overcame the fear. Clipless pedals are over-rated but so, as you well know, is a lot of other cycling gear. If you haven't taken a zero miles-per-hour fall while clipped in, preferably on a group ride so you have plenty of spectators who perhaps capture it on video, you haven't experienced the thrill of clipless pedals.
    Love your blogs and your recent article for Bicycle Quarterly. It got me thinking about my next bike which I thought was going to be a 20er mountain bike but maybe not.

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  30. Congrats! Doing it at your own speed is always the best.
    Last week I spotted from the bus a young woman in full kit on a fancy bike falling over at a stop and not being able to unclip. She was "saved" by a matcho looking boyfriend in same outfit. The whole thing gave me a strong feeling that she did not choose her outfit or her bike or anything else. I wonder for how long she wil keep trying..
    badmother

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    1. Why would you assume he was her boyfriend? They sound like teammates to me. If I fell over, I would expect my teammates to help me.

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    2. I doubt that by the time someone is on a cycling team, they are prone to falling over due to clipless pedals. Just speculation of course.

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    3. Ive seen it happen. And I'm not speculating

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  31. Thank you for the inspiration! I recently went clipless also after reading your first post.

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  32. It's great to learn a new skill and I commend you. I rode "diamond" framed bikes with drop bars and toe clips beginning in the 1970's. I never did get interested in clipless. About 5 years ago I had my first lifetime fracture during a sideways fall from my bike when I did not have time to get out of the clips, a radial head fracture which often results from trying to break a fall with an outstretched arm. I imagine that the same thing could happen with the clipless system. That caused me to reassess whether I wanted to be attached to the pedals at all and have switched to the type of riding espoused by GP.I also now ride a mixte frame since it just feels safer to me.There is less risk of the top tube knocking me over in a sideways fall. I don't see the safety issue raised very much in regards to bicycle design. I am in my 60's now and plan to keep riding a long time so am starting to think about some of these factors.

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  33. After a lifetime of cycling, I am now with you, Linda. I want to keep spinning those pedals but in my late sixties I think a lot more about safety. Two of my bikes are converted to upright bars and 'touring' pedals without toeclips. The drop bar bikes now have higher stems. (I also congratulate Velouria on learning to use clipless pedals. When I rode with them, the release differed so much depending on dirt on the cleat that I eventually gave up - but that was early in clipless pedal development.) A friend in her 80s used a recumbent stationary exercycle to prepare for knee replacement surgery. NOW SHE WANTS A RECUMBENT TADPOLE TRIKE! Keep on pedalling, with whatever pedal.

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  34. Next: down tube shift levers.

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  35. I have the same candy pedals and for some reason I fumble with me right pedal, but not with my left. I then practiced with the different engaging options and the option that works for me is option 2: step down with the cleat behind the pedal, then shimmy forward. I have to think about it for a second. But I never have a problem with the left: engages immediately. I have never fallen with these on my road bike. I did with my mountain bike when I was learning. After mastering these I tried others, but I have always come back to the candy pedals. They just feel the most intuitive for me personally.

    For commuting to work I follow GP's philosophy - I love my MKS BMX pedals and I swear they stick to my shoes.

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    1. The other thing I forgot to mention was that I did add shims to the bottom of the cleats, which did help a little with the fumble issue.

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  36. I have more pairs of shoes and sandals with cleats than I do without. The feeling of being physically attached to my bike is invaluable to my riding pleasure. Those who espouse the GP philosophy should realize that many commuters/utility riders view mixing transportation and EXERCISE as a positive. I love the fact that my transport mode is also the bulk of my fitness program. It saves me money, keeps me healthy, and gets me where I need to go much *FASTER*.

    I also gotta say that when I see someone riding a "grouchy" bike I always turn it up a notch. This typically means passing at 30-40 mph while screaming: Wheeeeeeeee!

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    1. If cleats mean you are typically riding at 30 - 40 mph, you may want to consider professional cycle racing seeing as the highest average speed of the Tour de France speed is under 25 mph.

      Riding with cleats is not going to be more exercise than riding without. Not sure what it is you mean by a grouchy bike, but if it is heavier, riding it takes more energy - ergo burns more calories and uses more muscle - than a lighter bike.

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    2. most reasonably fit cyclists can spin at 100-120. many can spin faster. and the old canard about tour de france average speed is inaccurate. i do not climb thousands of feet on my cat 6 utilitarian biking trips.

      "Riding with cleats is not going to be more exercise than riding without."

      au contraire. maintaining a high cadence is work/pain.

      "by a grouchy bike, but if it is heavier, riding it takes more energy"

      i was merely expressing my terribly immature glee at passing a certain riding demographic. i even award myself bonus points when they tell me to slow down!

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    3. Except of course a high cadence is easily maintained using toe clips, power grips or no strapping whatsoever.

      I am highly skeptical that commuters regularly reach speeds that are not commonly maintained in races. Then again, you don't go to any length to let us know who you are or where you ride.

      Immature is one term for people who feel the need to challenge commuters minding there own business. There are many other terms that work.

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    4. "I am highly skeptical that commuters regularly reach speeds that are not commonly maintained in races."

      enough with the strawmen. it is simply ridiculous to argue that there are not millions of amateur cyclists who cannot sprint while passing. and most of them do not ride lugged steel homages to frodo and the elves.

      "There are many other terms that work."

      i award myself extra points if those terms are used.

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    5. I cant imagine why you would scream whee when you pass someone that is just cruising along on their bike. When you can do that to a bunch of young guys on a training ride,then perhaps it means something. Presuming you let them know they're being challenged of course

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    6. A friend with thousands of hours in clips recently fell trying to release and shattered his shoulder. He is now triggering a lot of airport security scanners! It CAN happen.

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  37. I haven't read through all of the posts so someone might have already mentioned this, but one tip for using clipless pedals is to dial in one side pretty tight and the other side a little looser so that it is easier to put a foot down when stopping. So if you habitually put your left foot down, make the left pedal's cleat catch a little looser to facilitate an easy release.

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  38. Seems to me no matter what side of the clip / non-clip abyss one stands, GP is brought up way more than even he would be comfortable knowing.

    Both systems existed before the masses took to the internet. I was riding cleats in the 90s, decided I did not like it, have ridden with toe clips, lately half clips ever since.

    Grant's shoe ruse article was a nice read and all, but I had made up my mind long before am am quite certain most people who chose one way or the other are doing so for their own reasons, not for what some other person thinks.

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    1. Grant is writing from his perspective and for the type of riding he does, which is commuting, camping, fun riding on trails and roads...in other words, versitality. Not using clipless pedals in these situations is advantageous.

      If you are racing or riding like you are racing, clipless make plenty of sense.

      I really like Grant's writing and for the most part agree with it even though I use clipless on one bike.

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  39. Congrats! I have the Candy's on my Big Dummy and the Eggbeater's on both my Vaya and Pugsley.

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  40. Yay Velouria! I am new to road cycling and about to take the clipless pedal plunge (hopefully not literally). Your post gives give me courage that I can do it too.

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