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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    10

    Does everyone ride clipless?

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    I'm trying to get my girlfriend to ride cross and she already seems very interested in it. She is just very hesitant to switch to clipless pedals. She's new to cyclocross as a whole so it's a big transition for her. She's used to riding on smooth smooth pavement.

    Anyone ride with toe clips or just platforms? Is this a bad idea?
    Last edited by 1150A; 11-24-2008 at 11:23 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    271
    I think it's probably very confronting for her to take on clipless pedals and cyclocross riding all at once. You may need to back off a little and let her get confident with one or the other first.

    I went to clipless pedals on the roadie more years ago than I would like to count after doing some silly things in toeclips that had fibreglass straps and wouldn't release me. A couple of good gumby stacks there! I then rode my clipless pedals on the road for years and would never ride with anything else.

    Fast-forwarding to late last year, my DH got the mountain bike bug and I decided to join him. The bike I bought came with clipless pedals and I was faced with a dilemma. The concept of riding on loose surfaces scared me spitless (probably a bit like your GF changing to cyclocross) and I didn't want to have clipless pedals in case I couldn't get out in time when I came to a grinding halt on an obstacle I couldn't manage etc. But I also already knew the joy of clipless and felt really insecure without my feet clipped in.

    In the end I left the clipless pedals on the bike and used the little plastic platform insert they give you to try the bike in the shop for a couple of rides until I got more comfy. Then I bit the bullet, clipped in and fell off enough times to remove the bark from both elbows and both knees! I'd never go back to platforms now.

    I have since been responsible for corrupting many of my friends to clipless off-road and none of them would go back either. I think the main thing here is to be patient. If you want her to ride cyclocross you need to let her do it on her terms - perhaps that means sans clipless for a while. Then clipless can be the big improvement for her when she gets more confident with the whole not-so-smooth surface thing? Either that, or get her riding clipless on the smooth smooth road first?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
    Posts
    1,822
    I agree with Pinkbike - don't do both at once. Cyclocross requires getting unclipped in a hurry, and is a whole technique in and of itself. Not being comfortable with clipless would make this much more difficult, and imagine not being able to uclip approaching a barrier...

    That said, I haven't seen anyone race cross with platforms or toe clips, although I'm sure it could be done. Make sure she is comfortable with one or the other first, but introducing her to both at once is, in my opinion, too much.

    SheFly
    "Well behaved women rarely make history." including me!
    http://twoadventures.blogspot.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    10
    Thanks for the suggestions.

    Riding with her toe clips or perhaps platforms for the races this season was what I thought would be best for her, and she thought that too. Maybe next season she could try it out.

    It just seems like a bad idea to me cause it's very easy to slip especially in wetter conditions. For instance, dismounting for barriers, remounting, then immediately riding up a hill.. it'd suck to slip and slam your shins into the pedal.. But I guess it's just as dangerous as a beginner to clipless as well.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    the Minuteman Bikeway
    Posts
    111
    I ride on platforms for my mtn bike, and half platform/half SPD for cross. You know, I've been biking daily (commuting, etc) for years and years, and although I use clipless on the road bike (which I don't ride in downtown), I never fell in love with them for any other application.

    Part of this is because I have a bum knee that doesn't like a tough unclip (which can happen if there's gunk in your pedal). The other part is that (on the mtb, on technical stuff) I'm just so much more confident on platforms - there's a lot more cool stuff that I'll try with the stress of not being able to unclip removed.

    Oh, and I've never slipped off a pedal - if you are used to clipless, you probably would, but when you're used to staying glued to the pedals, it just doesn't happen - so don't worry too much about that!

    I just ran into another woman at a race who (although having clipless) spends a lot of time unclipped. So lay off the pressure on your girlfriend! She can have fun doing cross no matter what pedals she's running. Yeah, she may not win, but cyclocross is more about the awesome than about the medals anyway

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    870
    I fell a few times from forgetting to unclip, and I've seen someone unclip and then fall when her foot slid on the pavement. I have also slid my foot off the platform pedal and almost had an accident. I like my clipless pedals now.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    64
    I don't see why she couldn't try it on platforms. We have a guy racing on a bmx style bike with a fake disc front wheel as a joke who uses toe clips! And the guy is bad *** and wins. He makes the rest of us decked out in our expensive equipment look like idiots.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Flagstaff AZ
    Posts
    2,521
    Quote Originally Posted by SheFly View Post
    I agree with Pinkbike - don't do both at once. Cyclocross requires getting unclipped in a hurry, and is a whole technique in and of itself. Not being comfortable with clipless would make this much more difficult, and imagine not being able to uclip approaching a barrier...

    That said, I haven't seen anyone race cross with platforms or toe clips, although I'm sure it could be done. Make sure she is comfortable with one or the other first, but introducing her to both at once is, in my opinion, too much.

    SheFly
    I don't race anymore but when I did, I rode with clipless, but I had been riding with clipless for years, both mountain bike racing and road racing. I think it would be easier to do cyclocross for a while without having to deal with clipping in and out.

    There was that one time when I rode on a platform pedal and that was the state finals when the snow was about 2-3 feet deep. You were lucky you could keep the bike rolling. So, I rode platforms pedals and wore my nice warm hiking boots for the runs (and the walks when I veered all over in the snow and ended up just stopped!) That was some race! It was just a race of survival, but it was FUN!

    My husband also rode once at the Nationals with platforms and soccer shoes. The mud was really, really nasty and it was raining sideways all morning and through the race and then it started snowing right at the end of the race. Nasty, nasty conditions in the California foothills.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Beautiful NW or Left Coast
    Posts
    5,645
    when she's ready,

    she'll let you know. My husband was VERY patient with me, while other cyclists gave me $@#$@ for 2 years. I finally went clipless, actually paid for a class
    with a bike instructor, far far away from all friends and husband. worth every cent. but I was ready.
    I like Bikes - Mimi
    Watercolor Blog

    Davidson Custom Bike - Cavaletta
    Dahon 2009 Sport - Luna
    Old Raleigh Mixte - Mitzi

 

 

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