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!...