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Should I keep using clipless pedals?(10 posts)

Should I keep using clipless pedals?Jay18
Aug 12, 2002 12:26 PM
I got my first road bike this year and first set of clipless pedals. I was doing fine until yesterday, when I hit a lane divider and fell. I got a 4-stitch gash under my eye, a chipped tooth, and miscl. scrapes and bruises. (Don't worry, aside from some scratches on the hoods, the bike is OK.) I think I probably had a couple of seconds between impact and hitting the ground, although it felt as though I was watching the whole thing from a distance. It seems as though with clipless pedals (Shimano SPDs in this case), once you start to go over, there's very little possibility of avoiding a fall. I don't know if I could have prevented a fall with my old toe-straps, but I know my chances would have been better. I like the clipless pedals, but I have a family, and I can't afford to get hurt or worse. So, what to do? I'm sure many people have faced this dilemma (most everyone seems to have fallen at one time or another). I'd like to hear what other people have done or think.

Aug 12, 2002 12:49 PM
When I began using clipless pedals I had a few falls caused by my not being used to clipping out. But, such falls at slow speeds (or nearly being at a standstill) usually will not cause major injuries. The kind of fall that you describe sounds like the kind that is going to occur whether you are wearing clipless pedals or not. One suggestion that may give you some comfort -- loosen the tension in your pedals.

I try to be a careful rider, but I had a crash in the spring (badly bruised ribs)and from the reports on this board, I think that you have to assume that you will have a crash, perhaps serious, no matter what you do. It is the price that we have to pay for the enjoyment we get from the sport. Insofar as your family is concerned, buy insurance -- health, disability and life.
lesson from mtb ridersrob45
Aug 12, 2002 2:17 PM
agree re staying with clipless. If you ever watch the world cup mountain biking races on OLN, watch how they unclip--usually as they are about to teeter over on a killer slope. They make a very forceful movement with both legs to unclip both legs simultaneously. I think this makes it easier to unclip--by using both legs it seems to get more force on both pedals. Mind you, if you are riding along and fall going fast it is actually probably not a bad thing to stay clipped in and take it on the hip, just as it's probably not helpful to stick out a hand since that jolt goes right to the collarbone. Hope you heal soon.
Whether they admit it or notfiltersweep
Aug 12, 2002 3:46 PM
everyone at some point has had a similar slow-mo fall. Just a year ago after riding for a few hours (and with precipitously low blood sugar- of course) I approached a busy downtown intersection at rush hour in a bike lane in the middle of traffic. It is a route I was in the habit of taking with "my other bike" that has regular pedals. Light turns red, I quickly stop, but forgot one obvious thing. Down I go in front of everyone.

If you are relatively new to clipless pedals, you are probably being over-deliberate about clipping- as in thinking about it too much (Brain to feet: "I need to unclip now"). If you make it more of a natural process that you don't "think about," next time you start to go down, you won't need to "remember" to unclip. If that makes any sense. Having a crash like you did can help to accelerate that learning process.
clipless pedals are made to crash inLC
Aug 12, 2002 5:06 PM
Any clipless pedals will release in a crash. You don't even have to think about it. If you are going over 2 mph and are going to crash, then putting your foot down to try to catch yourself is just going to make it worse. On the other hand, your old toe-straps may not release in a crash and could cause you serious injury.
clipless pedals are made to crash inhowl
Aug 13, 2002 5:27 AM
>Any clipless pedals will release in a crash.

how about speedplay frogs? i'm currently using them, and love the easy in/out and knee-friendlyness, but worry that they'll not release automatically in a crash.
re: Should I keep using clipless pedals?DERICK
Aug 12, 2002 6:30 PM
Practice getting in and out of your pedals more. It will eventually become so natural you won't have to think about it. You don't get much practice on a roadbike because there usualy isn't a need. You can ride all day and only unclip a few times. On a mountain bike you spend all day clipping in and out. It becomes so natural you dont even feel it, you just take your foot off the pedal, even in a fall or near fall. Even when I ride a flat pedal bike I still do the unclipping move before putting my foot down with out even thinking.
Try practicing in a grassy area with lots of room until you really feel comfortable. Or, if you really want a crash course in bike handling and clipless pedals spend a summer mountain biking.
It happens to everyonepmf1
Aug 13, 2002 3:55 AM
Anyone who tells you they never took a spill when first using clipless pedals is probably lying to you. Usually its only your pride that gets hurt unless you are lucky enough to fall where no one sees you.

Clipless pedals are safer than toe clips once you get used to them. When you first get them, the natural reaction is to pull back instead of move your heel sideways when you're falling. Soon you will be moving your heel without thinking about it. You can get out of clipless pedals a whole lot faster than toe clips once you're used to them.

So keep using the clipless pedals and always wear your helmut.
Sure! Stay with them!RickC5
Aug 13, 2002 6:21 AM
If you had tightened the straps on your old system, you would NOT have gotten your foot/feet out of the clips, unless you were wearing smooth-soled shoes. I'm assuming you had old-style cycling shoes with the old-style cleats that clipped onto the rear of the pedal, and were "locked-in" when the straps were tightened. Maybe not. Those NEVER released on a crash. The straps had to be loosened before you could get your feet out.

You can also switch to SPD Multi-angle release cleats that will allow you to pop out with much less effort, and at almost any angle except straight up. Might be something to consider. I use them on my mtn bike. They work great!
I agree, stay with clipless, but check the cleat...cabinfever
Aug 13, 2002 7:40 AM
Make sure that the SPD cleat bolts are tight before each ride, or lock-tite them and still check to make sure they aren't loose. I know with the two bolt system that they use (as opposed to Looks), if it is loose, your foot will wiggle side to side when you are trying to release, but if the screws are loose, the pedal will still hold the cleat in firmly, and you will definitely crash.