View Full Version : odd clipless questions...

09-24-2006, 11:07 AM
So, I had my first real clipless singletrack ride today. Noticed something...I thought I was going much slower than normal. Fiance said I was actually going much faster, and thinks I might have actually blown myself up a bit early. I only road 1/5 the ride. I is a hard trail anyway. I wish I hadn't started on that trail but that's where the group was headed so I went.

No issues with getting in and out. I was happy about that. My gravel road, flashlight runs have worked out well. Here's what I notice in hindsight though...

had a hard time relaxing my body - so I road very stiff arm and legged.
couldn't relax my feet - fear they were going to fall out of the cleats and off pedal.
felt I was going very slow the whole time - so I may have ridden to fast on the climbs and blown myself up. BUT was scared to ride slower because I felt wably on the bike. (could have been the stiff arms and legs talking).

Does this sound like a pretty typical first ride?? The trail has lots of steap up hill and down hill! LOTS. I felt like there was no flat ground on the whole thing. Lots of roots too. To be honest the trail scares the creapers out of me when I'm riding pedals - the clipless just added to the fear!!

Tomorrow I'll try Harris. I did ride the easier trails today with no problems at all!

09-24-2006, 11:12 AM
I'm a little confused by you enquiry about:

couldn't relax my feet - fear they were going to fall out of the cleats and off pedal.

I'm not even sure how your feet could fall out of cleats. Cleats are attached to your shoes. Are you riding in clips?

09-24-2006, 11:48 AM
I noticed when I am scared I tense up too and certainly get tired more quickly. Have to remind myself to pace, and loosen up the grip, arms, etc. I will unclip a foot if I think I need to but but that disrupts my connection with the bike. Going slowly is occasionally an issue for me. The other day I was climbing a steep road 2mph where I could hardly keep the front end down. I hit a little rock and ended up on the ground with the bike on top of me, still clipped in on one foot. Nothing bruised but my ego.:o

09-24-2006, 02:14 PM
I'm a little confused by you enquiry about:

I'm not even sure how your feet could fall out of cleats. Cleats are attached to your shoes. Are you riding in clips?

I meant to say I was afraid they were going to unclip and come off the pedals while I was standing on them. These pedals are so much smaller than my platforms. I realize that this is not at all likely to happen, but the feeling is a bit to get use to.

I'm not sure what's causing me to feel like I'm going so slow though. It's not that trees are passing slower.....you know that feeling you get when you're not pedaling fast enough - you get zigzaggy and wabbly? That's how I felt. So I tried to pedal faster and faster. Helped with the out of control feeling...but not my lungs and legs :D I think being connected to the bike makes small movements more noticable. I know that will be a good thing as I get use to it though.

09-24-2006, 03:28 PM
I think it might be a concern with foot/weight placement. On flats, (unless I'm wrong) I think the ball of your foot goes over the spindle, the center of your forefoot over the center of the pedal (think the way a mallet pedal looks) and you should get used to putting your weight *there*.

From there, you go to wearing clipless with the cleats on the shoes and lock-ins on the pedals (or in eggbeaters' case, just lock-ins) If there's a lot of slop and you feel like you're going to 'fall off' something might be maladjusted... OR maybe your midsole isn't rigid enough, lending to an unstable feeling?

Trying to get an idea of the problem...

09-24-2006, 04:34 PM
kitsune - don't know that there's anything actually "wrong" I think it just feels small compared to the big platform pedals :) Just need to get use to it so I can calm the heck down again!! Near the end of the ride, even though I was completely bonked - I didn't feel like my heart was in my throat anymore. My arms were actually starting to relax a bit. Now I just have to convince my legs to do the same :D :D

09-24-2006, 07:50 PM
LGH - I agree that the "weirdness" is the smallness of the clipless pedal versus platform pedals. I still can't get used to it.

BUT on a happy note, I did manage to stay completely upright on my ride tonite. :)

Congratulations on your victory over the pedals today!

09-25-2006, 04:39 AM
BUT on a happy note, I did manage to stay completely upright on my ride tonite. :)

:D :D congratulations!!:D :D HUGE accomplishment! We're going again tonight - but this time to a trail that I know very well and am comfortable with most of. There are some big dips that freak me out but there are trails around them.

09-25-2006, 05:58 AM
Ah. Understand. You actually feel less connected because there is less surface touching the sole of your foot.

Maybe every once in a while as you are riding give your foot a tug to remind yourself how connected you are. ?? It's a head thing so continued riding should get you by it.

09-25-2006, 06:56 PM
okay, another question...sorry. I went for another ride tonight. Didn't bonk this time and actually felt myself relaxing a bit in my arms and legs. Could feel my position on the bike relaxing also. Did some drops and dips..walked other but all in all I rode the majority of the trail. Only really walked 2 sections I would have ridden before.

Here is my question...something is making my right knee really hurt when I'm finished. My quads really burn with these pedals. I was a pretty good climber before - could climb faster than most of the girls with clipless..while I was on platforms. But now my quads hurt and my knee really aches when I'm done. Any ideas?? Could my cleat be lined up wrong - the seat too far forward/backward?? Or maybe I just need to build more strength in my quads?

Thanks for all your help! It's what keeps me trying again!

09-25-2006, 07:38 PM
Quads hurt = good, you're working your muscles differently and will get even stronger

Knee hurts = not good. Do your cleats/pedals allow float (i.e., can you move your ankle right and left a bit without clipping out)? I am not sure what type of cleats you have, but some allow a lot more float than others. In mountain pedals/cleats, Speedplay Frogs allow the most float (28 degrees). I use Eggbeaters, which say they allow only 6 degrees, but it feels like plenty to me, and no knee problems.

It is also possible that your cleats need to be moved slightly to make your knees happy. I have heard that you should sit on a hard surface where you can hang your legs down over the side and see how your feet naturally fall (straight, pigeon-toed, toe out?), and try to seat your cleats a bit that way. It may take some experimentation.

Good luck!!! Glad you're doing better with them, aside from that. I started right out mountain biking with Eggbeaters because I use clipless on my road bike and can't imagine riding without them, but I know being clipped in has given me problems at times on the trails. I am determined to ride with them, though, even if it takes me longer to conquer Crabtree than without them! They definitely help me on the climbs, but I have to bail out of them a lot since I expect to fall more often than I do.


09-28-2006, 05:19 AM
I've been on a couple of clipless rides now and other than my knees hurting and a fear thing, I'm doing just ducky. No major wrecks and no missed unclips. So I decided to give the old times I'm borrowing back and ordered my own set. Fiance said I have never been sexier than when I'm ordering bike parts! :)

They arrived yesterday. They're horrible! They are so hard to get into and out of. They require so much more force! And with my knee hurting, I'm not sure it's a good idea to even try this set. We checked - we do have it on the setting with more float. We're trying the old pedals with new cleats today to see if that makes a difference. I tried the new cleats with his egg beaters too... very hard to clip in and out of. Requires a good bit of force also.

AND my hydraulic breaks keep getting squishy in the front. We paid $48 to have them rebled and they're still not right! So I'm very frustrated! We're leaving for Tsali at 6 a.m. and right now I feel like I'll be riding platforms with mechanical breaks again.

Oh and did I mention my allergies are so bad right now that I barely have energy to climb the stairs to my house...and I'll get my little monthly visit while I'm in Tsali. Sorry - but I was so excited about this trip and now I'm so depressed about it. I'm not even sure I'm well enough to go to work today. (I'm a massage therapist....can't work well if I've got a runny nose).
So I'm hosting my own pitty party....

09-28-2006, 06:57 AM
New pedals are stiffer, but they do loosen up. I'm assuming you've adjusted them. One thing I did was to give them a little shot of lube. That seemed to help, though they will also collect dirt that way.

09-28-2006, 07:50 AM
I have the shimano SPD 505's - with tension set very loose. I have two, maybe three thoughts on your knee/leg pain:

1. when clipped in, different leg muscles are used depending on where you are sitting on the seat. i.e. front of seat/back of seat. I'm wondering if changing the position of the seat alleviates this pain for you?
2. Knee pain is often caused by having your seat too low. You legs can't extend the range they need to causing your legs to pedal kind of to the side (this happened to my DH). Perhaps if you raise your seat some??
3. Ease the tension on your pedals. That should make clipping in and out much easier. Don't worry about the cleat becoming dislodged on a ride. My pedals are loose and I've never had it happen to me.

Keep us posted. Hope your legs/feet feel better soon!

09-28-2006, 07:59 AM
I am no expert on clipless pedals (only on not being very good at using them!) but I had terrible knee pain the first time I tried them. We figured out that it was because I had not been putting my foot on the right part of the pedal before, so when the clipless pedals forced my foot into the right position, it meant that everything else about my riding position was slightly out of whack.

So yeah, you might need to adjust your saddle height or fore-aft position a little bit.

09-28-2006, 08:52 AM
thanks for the advice...

seat is as high as my legs can take it. only very slightely bent - but no wobble in the hips as I pedal. We did move it a bit forward and a bike shop looked at the overall fit for me. So waiting to see if that will help.

When I looked at the directions for time pedals there were two settings - one for beginners...that is the one we uses but I THINK that only effects the amount of travel you have - as far as degrees your foot can pivot?? I'm checking again to see if that is true. Thanks, you've given me food for though!

09-28-2006, 07:20 PM
What kind of pedals did you get? They should not be that hard to get into!

I sometimes have a little trouble clipping in with my second foot with my Eggbeater Candies, but I think that's mostly because of the uneven-ness of the trail. It's hard to coast long enough to get clipped in. I never seem to get my foot in the right place, or it takes longer than it does on my road bike. I clip in just fine with the first foot.

A friend recommended Speedplay Frogs, saying they are SUPER easy to clip into. If it's not too late, maybe you can exchange your pedals and try Frogs instead? They also offer a ton of float, which might help with the knee pain you're having.

Good luck!


09-29-2006, 06:32 PM
I second Emily's suggestion. Apparently Speedplay frogs is a HIT with people who have knee pain/problems due to the amount of float they offer. Cyclingforums.com has a lot of posts regarding this.

10-04-2006, 09:55 AM
Just want to say thanks for all the advice here. we did some adjustments to the seat and pedals and the knee pain went away. I don't normally have knee issues - they started with the pedals.

I've decided that we changed too much at one time. I'm still a new mountain biker! After the brake scare in Tsali I decided to take the bike back to where it was when I was loving life and riding with good confidence. I'll stay there for a couple of weeks and then make ONE change...not all at once. I took on too much at one time and it didn't work out well for me at all!

I'm sure I'll be back to the clipless questions in a bit but not right now. for now I just need to enjoy the bike gain.