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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Montreal, QC
    Posts
    764

    My clipless experience!

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    What a weekend! 

    I have been working out on a trainer all winter. Been going out on my old hybrid bikes a few times in the past weeks, until the road conditions are better (holes patched, heavy rain washes the salt and pebbles, etc). Some have been repaired, rain cleaned the roads some. So we took our carbon bikes out Saturday for the 1st time. Of course I go with my clipped feet. Yeah! Results: 3 falls!

    1st fall: my fault. I’m waiting for hubby in the driveway. I have left foot clipped in ready to start! I am confident, and know I can nail this. Afterall, I practiced clip/unclipped a thousand times while training on trainer since January. My ipod is on (on the bar) but not loud enough (and I’m not talking blasting – just a little background stimulation). So I try to push the side button one notch. But the button is “glued” to my polar reader. So I bend on my left a little to the left to see more clearly. My right foot lifts, slips, my bike shifts to the left…I’m clipped on the left and I can’t unclip on time so BANG…on the ground. Great! Lesson learned: when you are stopped: both feet on the ground. Hihi My bike is unharmed….I feel burning on left knee. Oh well… learning curb what! But still waiting for hubby to get out so I look at my legger and I see blood through it. Oups… I lift it and knee is badly scraped and now bruising start. Go inside, apply plasters and out we go. I ride a good 15km with my mind buzzing: unclip, unclip, do not forget unclip…. It goes well. I do remember that the cleats are super slippery on the ground. Like ice. So be careful!

    Hubby is proud (although scares as he knows I’m the worst goofer in town…if something is to happen, it will be to me). I do very well, although I am a nervous wreck. We have soooo many stops, lights, etc. Worst ride I could have chosen, but I learn. That’s great.

    2nd fall: We’re about 4-5km from home. We need to cross a road to get to the bike path leading home. So I go across the wood bridge, downhill. All is good, unclip, break, life is grand! I flag to traffic to go and they insist I go. I’m not ready. haha. I can wait. Hubby is already across the street. So I want to clip my left foot but I have issues with the clip/unclip. I’ve had issues all winter but I thought it was me. Hubby even checked it while on our ride to give the maximum looseness and it was. So we would have to take it back to the LBS as it is not normal. Right foot is perfect. The left one feels way too scratchy. Anyway, what would happen next: because of the struggle to clip the left foot, the right one slips…again and I fall again. This time I bang hard on gravel. I got up very upset, hurt (bruising again!) worried my clothes would be ripped (and they’re new or just about and ones I really love), my bike would be scratched all over. I look. All is fine. So I get up, cross the street…on foot! I go across, hubby check my bike and the fork is misaligned, etc. I’m getting upset about those clips. Well the left one. Anyway, he fixes the fork, look at me and bike and all is good. I go.

    3rd and last fall: I clip back both feet (left one still hard and now I’m losing the little of what patience I have left – and I am generally very patient for most things –but hate issues like those – so big words are starting to come out!). Hubby repeats that we’ll take the Look back to the shop and they’ll check them out. He is sure something is not normal for the left one as I do the right thing. And I’m fine with the right foot. I’m starting to lose my confidence also. I mean, I worked out all winter. I am doing well and PAF. I’m hurt, my bike will be damaged. Well I start cycling. 3 turns of the wheels and the bike instantly stops with a very weird sound. Of course both feet I clipped and I have no time to react. What do you think happened????? Of couse! I fell solidly on the ground, on my right side again. That was it!!!! The end of those lifespan clips. Haha

    Now I am injured (shoulder, right palm, thumb – luckily I had gel gloves on and clothes to prevent dirt to get on the scrapes, etc). My bike fork again took the shock (hubby fixed it again), my right brake handle is scratched (and was new), my pink tape is damaged, ripped. But that can be changed. My clothes: all fine. I don’t understand. No tear, nor fabric damage.

    But my 2 knees (the whole knees even going to legs) are scraped, bruised badly, I have my left butt with 1/8 of it bruised in 2 areas, my right leg has the teeth of the chain ring plus the chain engraved in there, in 2 large areas. Going into PT tonight (she is going to check my warriors wounds hihi) while planning my next month training sessions (she’s PT/Kin).

    There is no way on earth I’m giving it a 2nd try. Not worth it for me. I don’t speed enough so platform pedals it will be from now on. On trainers I will have clips but not on the road. I’m to insecure and now it is worst. I am not going to wait for something worst to happen. I do understand that clips are better to improve your cycling (on the roads anyway) and that you don’t risk a slip of the pedal. But no use convincing me. I’ve had enough scares for one outing. Haha Although a pain, a bike or clothes can be changed. But my body, I have only one and at over 50, it is harder to heal and I don’t want to risk anything more than needed.

    The next day I still went for 23km ride and yesterday we did a 34km ride on platforms (very basic one that came with bike) and I did good. No issues with hills or overpasses.

    So I will be looking to buy the best platform for road bike, and NO! No dual pedals. Haha

    But I am very proud of all the hard work and training plan my trainer did for me. My speed on the road is very good, even when facing stronger winds for 10km in a row. I’ve been barely out of breath on a huge hill. Last Fall I would have stopped mid-hill and walk. This time, I kept a cadence over 80rpm and zipped all the way up….on platform!!! Yeah.

    So this is it for my clipless pedal experience. Not one I will ever forget. And I was happy to have platform the next day as we went cycling and a kid on skateboard threw himself right into us and I was able to slam the break and get off my bike in a flash. Had been on clipless I would have fell I am sure. It is just not for me. My nerves are too raw for that type of riding.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Central PA
    Posts
    13
    Even experienced clipless riders fall sometimes! I started riding with mine last year and now feel confident in them. However, a few weeks ago on a group ride, two of us had just gotten to the top of a steep climb. I slowed to a stop, had one foot out and fell over in the other direction! I think putting the work into the clipless pedals is worth it in the long run, but I guess it also depends on what kind of riding you want to do. Good luck with whatever you decide!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    248
    I had a similar experience with clipless pedals the first time I tried them (think I fell like 6 times). I did eventually get the hang of them (after a few months of not worrying about it and just riding platforms), but it's definitely not something you should feel that you "have" to do.

    Enjoy your bike!
    "Susie" - 2012 Specialized Ruby Apex, not pink/Selle SMP Lite 209

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,889
    I fell 20 times the FIRST time I attempted to go clipless. 20 times in 3 days, and one of those falls garnered me a light concussion because I hit my head (yes, I had a helmet on - and got a new helmet out of it).

    To make a long story short, I waited 6 months and tried it again, but THIS time it was a non-event. For me the initial problem was that I hadn't ridden long enough to get all of the starting/stopping/etc into my muscle memory and clipping in just added a level of complexity that I wasn't yet ready for. I LOVED my BMX pedals though, and never regretting riding good platform pedals. I tried to ride a gazillion miles on those things, I think my goal that first year was to ride 10k miles. It looked like it

    You don't HAVE to go clipless, that is entirely up to you - and nothing said that you can't try again at some other time. The type of pedal matters, I hated the SPD pedals, but love my Speedplay Froggies

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Central PA
    Posts
    13
    Yes, type of pedals is a good point! I have Look Keo 2 Max and they're very easy to get in and out of compared to others I've tried.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    South Central Indiana
    Posts
    624
    Man, that's rough!

    I fell A LOT the first time I rode in clips and I was petrified. I showed horses for years and years but nothing compared to that feeling of helplessness on the new bike with new pedals. I had platforms on one side, so I rode in basketball shoes for about 20 miles that day, forcing myself to suck it up and deal and get pretty comfortable on the BIKE before I decided to throw clips in. The kid at the bike shop never mentioned THAT portion of the equation. I clipped in quite a bit in a LOW -risk situation (church parking lot that was flat) after that and felt far more confident. I then went out on very quiet streets around 7 PM or so to try them out. It was all LOW pressure. Since then, I've rarely fallen.

    I don't even think about it anymore and can stay upright. That said, my BF refuses to use them and I don't think it matters to him. I definitely feel less fatigued with clips and my feet feel better (I have PF) but you have to feel comfortable.
    ***proud Hoosier, statistics nerd, and mom to a headstrong toddler***
    ****one car family and loving it!****

    Owned by:
    Le Monstre Vert - 2013 Surly Cross-check
    Chessie, Scottish Terrier
    Bonzai, Catahoula Leopard Dog

  7. #7
    Jolt is offline Dodging the potholes...
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Southern Maine
    Posts
    1,668
    Yikes! Sorry to hear you had such a bad ride. Like others have already said, you don't have to use clipless if you don't want to right now (or ever). Do whatever works for you and your riding style, and makes you want to ride. I've never used them either, partly because I don't want to be worried about tipping over at stoplights or not being able to get my feet off the pedals quickly enough in an emergency but probably even more because I just dislike the idea of having to wear special shoes (that often aren't good to walk in once off the bike). That said, having your feet come off the pedals when you don't want them to isn't great either. I've heard good things about the MKS Lambda flat pedals and just ordered a pair to put on the Surly once it gets here. Maybe you could look into something like those...I can post more info once I've used them for a bit. They're supposed to have good grip and also have a larger platform for your foot, which sounds particularly good to me b/c I generally wear thin/flexible-soled shoes.
    2011 Surly LHT
    1995 Trek 830

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,984
    You must always feel safe. Falling isn't going to get easier later in life.

    I've cycling last 23 yrs. We don't have a car. I've never gone clipless. I have toeclips.

    My partner has done several cross country solo rides and all over the place...hasn't gone clipless and never will. We're talking about someone who logs in 7,000 km.annually.....

    If it works for you, great. If it doesn't, nothing lost. You still love cycling. The latter point is key....if you want to do it for life.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know what’s in a person’s heart.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    4,066
    Ouch, that sounds like a harsh experience, helene! Like everyone has said, you don't have to go clipless at all. But I will say that once I got used to it I loved it and there was no going back. I unclip completely without thinking now, it's just a part of the same movement as putting my foot down.

    I taught myself by riding on a long, safe road where I wouldn't have to stop, and clipping and unclipping a million times along that road. Then I rode on my regular commute, unclipping both feet way before I even started to brake for a stop. I only had one or two falls, that came from having to suddenly stop, and (classic) falling over the wrong way. Yeah, feels dumb :-)
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    1,301
    If it makes you feel any better there's a running joke in our club that everyone must fall 3 times in clips, so you're all done :-). I've had mine for over a year and have fallen twice. I'm waiting for number 3.

    There's no reason you have to go clipless, but for me I can't imagine ever going back now that I'm used to it. It makes a huge difference being able to both pull up and push down when my legs get tired. Good luck, the most important thing is that you enjoy the ride!
    2012 Jamis Quest Brooks B17 Blue
    2012 Jamis Dakar XC Comp SI Ldy Gel
    2013 Electra Verse

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Montreal, QC
    Posts
    764
    Thank you. I spent most evening yesterday looking on the web for roadbike platforms to order. It is sooooo hard to get something you'll think is right as so many options (on flat ones) and not one seems better than the other ones. It is such a personal choice. I really wanted something that grips well, but not sure those with spikes are that great (if you happen to have a slip as far as scratching of a leg - I swear! I've been burnt in 3 falls at once with leg injuries. hahaha). Reviews are mixed and I'm getting more confused. Until then, I'll keep what I have (very basic), try to think not to go too fast to avoid foot slipping. I have SPD shoes (hard sole) for the platform. So it does not grip as much on the pedal. I have to be careful. Maybe will try finding narrow shoes (so it does not touch the crank or back part of bike when I pedal) that are "normal" or just a tad softer sole so I can feel the pedal. I don't know.

    My clipless are Look Keo and my shoes are Louis Garneau SP100. Love those very much. BUT on the trainer. hihi Maybe if the "defect" of the left one did not make me fall (at some point it would probably be another for a fall), I would not be writing all of this. But for the time-being, I have to take care of my multiple injuries, and gain back the confidence of just riding. It also scared the crap out of me because the bike is expensive and new of last June. hihi

    Anyway, I will be looking for good platform pedals and move on with riding. I did enjoy my rides very much the next 2 days. So not all is lost. Just the clipless. hahaha

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
    Posts
    1,227
    It is a personal choice! I use MKS touring pedals with strapless toe clips on my commuter. Works great even if I want to do some hills on the way to work and no problems getting my foot off the pedal.
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    South Central Indiana
    Posts
    624
    That tells you something, then. It's personal preference like you said.

    I rode a LOT on platforms before going to the clipless and I think it made a huge difference in my fatigue and pain level since I have very bad feet but, otherwise, I haven't noticed huge "gains" anywhere else. If I was really not seeing anything positive and risking a fall, I would simply choose to not have the clipless. Riding is no fun scared.
    ***proud Hoosier, statistics nerd, and mom to a headstrong toddler***
    ****one car family and loving it!****

    Owned by:
    Le Monstre Vert - 2013 Surly Cross-check
    Chessie, Scottish Terrier
    Bonzai, Catahoula Leopard Dog

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    1,973
    Yeah, those falls can be embarassing and painful. After the initial falls (one in plain view of one my middle school students!), I was fine until last summer. We stopped to look at a rattlesnake, then had to ride up a steep hill. I didn't get in the right gear and realized near the crest that I wasn't going to make it. I just fell over because I couldn't unclip. Fortunately, there was just dirt and bushes on the side of the road- no cactus!
    2016 Specialized Ruby Comp disc - Ruby Expert ti 155
    2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker - Jett 143

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Montreal, QC
    Posts
    764
    Embarassing? Nah Not to me. It's more upsetting as I have practiced all winter, I don't want to ruin my bike (heard too many stories on a bad fall can crack a frame without you seeing it, blablabla). And the risk of injuries. Anyway, it's done and we move on right!

    I went to my PT/Kine tonight for my next month training program.

    When she saw me in 3/4 leggings, she thought I had a big tatoo on my back right leg. I told her: heuh-heuh...this is the fall I was telling you about. She was "freaking" out when she saw all my bruises, cuts. She checked my right shoulder. I don't really feel pain anymore, but when I push those heavy commercial doors for instance. And it is just a bit forward. So she did some things and now I have to do PT twice a day and make sure I pay attention during the day to the positioning. As for the palm/thumb, there is something but nothing broken. A good bruise for sure and may be something like fiber stretch or whatever she said. Can't recall exact term. But I do have a thumb stretch to do twice a day and ice it 3 times. No cycling for 2 days and when I go back I have to put a towel or something wrapped around the bar where the palm and thumb will grab. Until I feel normal again.

    She said not to worry about clipless either. If one day I want to try again, just do it. If not, you may lose speed or fight harder on hills but that's fine. I'm not training for the Olympics nor a Tour de France! So just keep riding, and do what pleases you.

    This week I'll be working smoothly, next week is a type of boot camp as in 3 Saturdays I have the 90km challenge. At least the week before the 90 km I will do almost nothing for gym (compared to the past 5 months hihi) Never cycled that far before and last year at this time I had no road bike, and was in PT to heal knee injuries. So I've come a long way baby!

    Nursing my bruises now and kicking some butts in just over 3 weeks. Yeah!

 

 

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