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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Suburbs of Philadelphia
    Posts
    11

    Please share your stories--tough first time in real bike shoes

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    So last week I had SPD pedals put on my Trek. So today, I went out for the very first time in real bike shoes with cleats. If you had told me a year ago that I would be doing this, I would have said you were totally nuts, I will NEVER be attached to a bicycle, that looks like the craziest thing to do!! My DH kindly offered to teach me. He was great. I crashed twice. The first time, not so bad, the second time, I heard my neck crunch. So I am sitting here after taking a good dose of ibuprofen, really mad at myself!!! Hoping I didn't do any real damage to my neck (it actually is not really sore right now, but we'll see what tomorrow brings) but lots of damage to my pride.
    Please tell me your horror stories of learning how to ride with these crazy things, so I don't feel like the only one who choked at a stop sign and crashed in order to avoid rear ending her husband (who had stopped without telling her!!!)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    40
    Oh no! I, too, want to hear the horror stories. I haven't switched yet, but plan on it soon.

    I did get stuck on a Spinning bike once, couldn't get my foot out. The instructor couldn't get it lose either, and had to unstrap the shoe to pull my foot out. Kind of embarrassing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,632
    I think we've all done it.

    My first time out with both feet clipped in, I fell twice on the same knee. (I did the old "clip one foot out, lean the bike the other way" thing the first time; the second time was me being stupid.) And again later, when I ended up sitting on the rear triangle of my bike. I've had a few near misses since--I can't talk and unclip at the same time, apparently.

    It'll probably become second nature soon enough. Make sure the tension on your pedals is set low enough so that it doesn't take a whole lot of effort to get out. You might want to look into the multi-release (gold) SPD cleats if getting out of the pedals is a problem.

    Hopefully your neck feels better soon!
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Portland Metro Area
    Posts
    859
    Years ago when I bought a bike with clipless pedals I went to a very quiet street with no traffic and no people and just rode up and down the street. All was well until I decided to start from a stop, was going to slowly, started to tip over and didn't think to unclip in time and I sort of just tipped over and fell. Nothing hurt but my ego though. I wasn't even going. I'd say to stay out of traffic, maybe practice in your yard hanging onto something and slip in/out/in/out for awhile. Then maybe move up to a grassy area and practice. I think if you're trying to do too many things at once (i.e., watch for traffic and road signs, watch for people, clip in/out, etc.) it may be too much at once. Hang in there.
    "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls & looks like work" - Thomas Edison

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    21
    I hope your neck is ok!
    My boyfriend has just got the clip on shoes. He hasn't ridden very much in his life and he thinks he is a professional. lol it does come at a cost though. He bought a new bike and was given shoes and everything. I told him over and over to practice in the driveway, just going up and down, slowing down, unclipping and stopping. But no, he 'knew' what he was doing. We went for our first ride together on our new bikes. About 1km down the road he went to put his foot down. lol it was quite an elegant fall and he stopped his bike getting hurt. He got back onto his bike after a quick check (and a little giggle from me), started off, and about 2 metres later, was back on the ground. He was very grumpy after that. After checking he was ok, we set off again. He still didn't listen to me about practicing, or loosening the clips.
    We went for a 50km ride yesterday. All went well. I live on quite a large hill. We were about 2 houses away, and he managed to stack it again. He grazed his knee and was sad for the rest of the day.
    It all happens. But I think you can prevent it by at least practicing for a bit. Its like going from a manual car to an auto, and just throwing your foot in for the clutch and its not there. I think you need to really just do it before thinking about it.
    I'm getting my clip on shoes soon. So maybe we will be lying on the ground laughing at each other soon lol
    Its all part of the experience, and adds to the stories, its just a pity it has to hurt so much!
    Good luck with your pedals, don't give up

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Beautiful NW or Left Coast
    Posts
    5,619
    I, too, swore I would NEVER get myself attached to my bike. Rode with others for about 2 years when finally i decided I would try. Had the SPD cleats as loose as possible. Fell once.
    It hurt like hell. So I rolled that bike back home and found a class at Bicycle University.. that is, I had a private lesson with a 22 year old instructor. Cost $90.00 (more than the SPD's) but she took me out in the grass and taught me slowly but surely. I have never had another clip in related fall and it's been about 5 years.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Suburbs of Philadelphia
    Posts
    11
    Such great responses, thank you all SOOO much!
    I don't think I have been as mad as I was in a long time!! Mad at myself mostly, though I know this takes time and lots of practice, I really do. It was just so infuriating--the first fall was almost immediately as I started to practice, just landed on my knee from a tip-over, no real harm done. The second was at the end of the ride, about two blocks from my house on a small, quiet side street, no traffic. I had just started to congratulate myself, patting myself on the bike for just one little tip-over and wham!! DH came to a stop with no warning in front of me, I wasn't thinking and fell while still riding (from panic really). Head snapped back from impact of the fall. As soon as I got home I sent an email to my Physical therapist and have an appt set up for Tuesday, mostly because my neck is a weak spot for me (I just finished up about 9 months of PT for neck and shoulder pain!!).
    But all the suggestions are excellent--I think I will find an instructor, that is a really good suggestion, someone with lots of patience who will go over and over it, preferably on some soft grassy surface! DH was helpful but he is not known for his patience . He did have some pretty good horror stories he told me while I wheeled the bike up the road, cussing up a storm, before I was able to get back on again. He had several rather colorful crashes, most during some major triathlons he has done over the past few years (that he never really told me about!!).
    Thanks for the encouragement, everyone!! It was much needed

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    6

    Falling

    This is a great (not so great thread). I am fairly new with the clipless pedals. I have had them now about 4 weeks and the first two outings weren't really good ones. I have KEO pedals on my 2012 Specialized Dolce compact...anyways my first outing I was doing really good and I stopped and unclipped one foot before I stopped but forgot to set that foot on the ground when I stopped and down I went....scrapped my leg up pretty good and bruised my knee....4 days later I went for another ride and fell before getting out of my driveway....I didn't push off hard enough and couldn't get my other foot clipped.... Fell on the same scrapped up leg! Needless to say I got going and did well the rest of the ride until I got home and fell again in the driveway and again same leg...I was so frustrated and mad I slammed my fist on the ground and cried! I can say I have been on numerous rides since and haven't fallen! My advice don't get discourage it will come and everything will start happening naturally
    Flyneagle

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    1,973
    My first time I carefully clipped and unclipped multiple times on the street in front of the house. DH and I rode about 2 blocks, I stopped well before the stop sign, unclipped, set my foot down (toe first) and lost my footing because the shoe was slippery. I went down hard on my hip. I was careful to set my heel down after that.

    I did have a number of unpleasant falling over experiences later on, but that is another story.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Suburbs of Philadelphia
    Posts
    11
    Thank you so much for the great (not so great!) stories thusfar! So helpful also to hear that it does get more natural with practice, which I plan to do! I also have found an instructor and am getting a lesson set up. This morning I am a bit stiff, bruised and sore, but am getting ready to take a spinning class--sort of back in the saddle!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Suburbs of Philadelphia
    Posts
    11
    Quote Originally Posted by Flyneagle View Post
    This is a great (not so great thread). I am fairly new with the clipless pedals. I have had them now about 4 weeks and the first two outings weren't really good ones. I have KEO pedals on my 2012 Specialized Dolce compact...anyways my first outing I was doing really good and I stopped and unclipped one foot before I stopped but forgot to set that foot on the ground when I stopped and down I went....scrapped my leg up pretty good and bruised my knee....4 days later I went for another ride and fell before getting out of my driveway....I didn't push off hard enough and couldn't get my other foot clipped.... Fell on the same scrapped up leg! Needless to say I got going and did well the rest of the ride until I got home and fell again in the driveway and again same leg...I was so frustrated and mad I slammed my fist on the ground and cried! I can say I have been on numerous rides since and haven't fallen! My advice don't get discourage it will come and everything will start happening naturally
    I also slammed my fist (ow!!), smacked my bike and cried!! By the way, your bike is the kind of road bike i am thinking of getting, once I get more comfortable on my Trek. Do you love it?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    6
    I love it! I just started riding in July. I got motivated to do the MS Ride and to loose weight and I'm addicted!
    Flyneagle

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,889
    I tried to go clipless about 3 months after getting on a bike for the first time...after 3 days of many, many falls I went back to my beloved BMX pedals for another 6 months. The second attempt went much better, and indeed I've only fallen over twice since then, doing something silly both times

    I was also going to spinning class before and during that 6 months break and that really helped I think. The main problem the first time was that I didn't have normal riding stuff in my muscle memory yet and I think adding clipless at the time was just overload for my body.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    West MI
    Posts
    4,259
    I never really had major issues with clipless pedals until I went from mtn. SPDs to Shimano SPD-SLs. Even on the loosest setting I had a b*tch of a time getting out of those things, much of the time. After 2 bad falls in a 2 week period (this was after riding 3k miles without a single fall with my SPDs) and hearing that 2 other people with the SAME exact model of pedal bought within a week of mine had issues...I sent 'em back. Switched to Look KEO plus and haven't had a single issue--I don't even have them on the loosest setting and they release just fine. I think those 105 pedals I had were just bad news.
    Kirsten
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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Suburbs of Philadelphia
    Posts
    11
    Quote Originally Posted by zoom-zoom View Post
    I never really had major issues with clipless pedals until I went from mtn. SPDs to Shimano SPD-SLs. Even on the loosest setting I had a b*tch of a time getting out of those things, much of the time. After 2 bad falls in a 2 week period (this was after riding 3k miles without a single fall with my SPDs) and hearing that 2 other people with the SAME exact model of pedal bought within a week of mine had issues...I sent 'em back. Switched to Look KEO plus and haven't had a single issue--I don't even have them on the loosest setting and they release just fine. I think those 105 pedals I had were just bad news.
    This is very interesting!! Can you tell me what the movement to unclip is? Is it still the twist you do on SPDs? A salesman at a bike store I was at a few weeks ago showed me pedals with an open circular area that he thought would be better than the SPDs for me ( after i had already gotten tha spds) and i have been trying to remember their name (they came in different pastelly colors?) but from the pics i just googled i don't think they were the Look brand.

 

 

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