For the final phase of my transition to clipless pedals, I've now installed them on my fixed gear roadbike. I knew that clipless would be trickier on fixed gear than on a freewheel bike, since you have to clip in and out while continuing to turn the pedals. I expected to have two specific problems: getting my left foot clipped in once I got going (I start with the right), and unclipping. For obvious reasons, the latter one worried me especially: What if I could not unclip with the pedals revolving constantly?
Now that I've done it, my impressions of the whole process are different from what I'd imagined. Clipping in my left foot is not as tricky as I thought. Yes, the pedal keeps going. But at least I no longer have to fish around for a strap with my toe as it rotates. Instead I just hang on and keep pressing into it even if the cleat doesn't engage right away; eventually it does. And clipping out is fine. Some cyclists say that they can only unclip when the pedal is in a specific position, but I guess I have been spared that problem. Sure, some positions are more awkward than others, but I can still unclip from them.
So that's the good news. The bad news, is that starting is surprisingly challenging. I guess I didn't think this part through very well ahead of time. On a freewheel bike I clip in my starting foot on the downstroke, then pull the pedal up to start. Within a fairly short amount of time, this process has already become automated. Of course on a fixed gear you can't pull the pedal up without lifting the rear wheel, which I've never managed to learn how to do. So when I try to start I nearly topple over, because I automatically try to pull up on the pedal and all this does is jerk the bike violently. It's kind of funny that I do this every time, even though I know that you can't pull up on the pedal in fixed gear. Habits form quickly!
Anyhow. So I am not quite there yet with clipless in fixed gear, but I am enjoying the challenge. I either need to learn how to quickly lift the rear wheel while pulling up on the pedal, or reprogram my brain to clip in my starting foot on the upstroke, the way I used to do with Power Grips. Suggestions from fixed gear cyclists most welcome. Is there a way to make this easier on myself?