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Clipless Pedals - How do you get used to it?(18 posts)

Clipless Pedals - How do you get used to it?rkalik
Jun 7, 2003 8:06 AM
New to clip-less pedals...bought a pair of LOOK's for my new bike, but am finding the mental challenge of 'getting out of the pedal quickly' more of a task then the simple mechanics of using them.

Any advice?
re: Clipless Pedals - How do you get used to it?filtersweep
Jun 7, 2003 9:12 AM
It should be more difficult getting into them. Try loosening the tension.
re: Clipless Pedals - How do you get used to it?mainframe
Jun 7, 2003 9:17 AM
A couple of falls in the driveway will really ramp up the learning curve ;) That's one experience we've all shared.
re: Clipless Pedals - How do you get used to it?orange_julius
Jun 8, 2003 1:55 AM
I thought the golden rule was that you have to fall
three times at the intersection, in full view of
traffic. Then you'll remember to twist for sure ;-).

When I first switched to clipless, I fell twice in
traffic and told myself that I had gotten it down pat
for sure. I even emailed my friends saying so. Of
course, the very next day I had to fall in traffic
again for the last time!
re: Clipless Pedals - How do you get used to it?rkalik
Jun 7, 2003 9:23 AM
Right now, getting into the pedal is a piece of far, it's more about the 'mental challenge' of getting out easily when slowing down. I'm trying to figure out how to get comfortable...and not falling over.
find an open empty spacerufus
Jun 7, 2003 9:28 AM
maybe a parking lot, or preferably a softer surface like grass, and just ride around slowly, clipping in and out of the pedals until it becomes second nature to you.

and again, as someone mentioned, set the release tension very loosely.
re: Clipless Pedals - How do you get used to it?almccm
Jun 7, 2003 9:32 AM
My first clipless pedal was the Look 206. I was slipping out of them when I didn't want to. I had some trouble getting out of them when I wanted to. I also hated the cleats, they would slip on the road if I wasn't standing just right.

I switched to Shimano SPD-SL Ultegra pedals and that solved all the problems. No slipping out, easy to click out, easy to stand or walk in the cleats.
re: Clipless Pedals - How do you get used to it?larryp2
Jun 7, 2003 9:46 AM
speedplay pedals totally solve what you are noting. simple and failsafe to get out, no tension involved (loosen the screw "enough" on yours and it may fall out on you, often requiring pedal going back to manufacturer.
three suggestionsmicha
Jun 7, 2003 12:34 PM
1. You might already be doing this, but make sure the foot you're going to uncleat is at the bottom of the crank arc. It's much easier to uncleat with your leg extended than with your leg bent.

2. Familiarize yourself with how cleating and uncleating works. Then practice "rear-only-uncleating": roll along on a quiet road and stop pedaling. Move your heel away from the frame until the rear of the cleat is free, but keep the front of the cleat stuck under the LOOK pedal lip. Keep rolling. Bring your heel back in line with your bike and cleat back in. Do this several times. This, by the way, is a good way to roll up to a red light if you think it might turn green on you any moment.

3. Make sure you've tried uncleating with both left and right leg. Most of us have a favorite clipless pedal leg. (Mine's the right leg, although I'm left-handed). You might have been practicing with your "wrong" leg.
re: Clipless Pedals - How do you get used to it?My Dog Wally
Jun 7, 2003 12:37 PM
The way I got used to clipless pedals was to exagerate the time I'd need to get out of them. For example, now I unclip about 20 feet before I stop. But in the beginning, I unclipped about 100 feet ahead of time. By unclipping so far in advance, I eliminated the hysteria that comes from feeling like you're waiting too long to unclip. Just unclip way in advance, and as you get more comfortable with it, you'll reduce the unclipping distance.

One more thing: always unclip using the same foot. It doesn't matter which it is -- right or left. But using the same foot will help you get used to unclipping. In case of an emergency, you won't waste any time thinking about which foot to unclip.

- Dennis in Seattle
re: Clipless Pedals - How do you get used to it?rkalik
Jun 7, 2003 1:53 PM
LOL....The 'hysteria' perfectly frames what I have been going thru, but I like your distance recommendation and the previous writer's idea of practicing a rear-only-decleat. Both ideas will help me....
re: Clipless Pedals - How do you get used to it?Mazinger
Jun 9, 2003 5:46 AM
This is pretty much what I did to get used to my new SPD-SLs. I just try to remember to not hit the brakes hard before unclipping.
I've been using SPDs for years and those unclip very easily.
Just ride...OverStuffed
Jun 7, 2003 2:14 PM
Each pedal has a different feel, so no use changing brands, or anything like that. If it's only been a couple weeks, just keep riding, and you'll get used to it more quickly than you think. If it's already been months, which doesn't sound like the case, here, maybe clipless aren't for you. Don't write them off, yet though. Make sure you give yourself a chance to get used to the unclipping movements, after a while it'll feel more natural.
re: Clipless Pedals - How do you get used to it?aliensporebomb
Jun 7, 2003 8:07 PM
How I got used to clipless:
(1) I simply leaned my bike against a large tree with me on
it and clipped and unclipped until it became so second nature
to unclip I didn't have to think about it anymore.

(2) a couple of good falls also helped too. Not really....
re: Clipless Pedals -And some good sippin whiskey......Barnyard
Jun 8, 2003 3:30 AM
have a drink? It might ease the mental anguish. But not before riding.
re: Clipless Pedals -And some good sippin whiskey......rkalik
Jun 8, 2003 6:26 PM
I can report today, that I achieved MY FIRST level of comfort while clipping out of the pedals. I took the tip to loosen the tension on the base of the LOOK pedal, and it made all the difference, although I did fall twice today (not in too much traffic!) but each fall was stupid. I was going slow and just forgot to unclip. Which I guess was a good thing because I am starting to think less about being locked into a pedal while cycling! Thanks everybody, great feedback!
lots of blood lossJeff Rage
Jun 8, 2003 7:48 PM
I learned on a Mtn. Bike and it took me a long time to learn. I was cutting/scraping myslef so much that I started wearing elbow and shin gaurds. OK< hopefully you won't need to go to that extreme.

Here's a cool tip I heard too late: do you know someone that has the same pedals you do? You could swap your new cleats for their broken in ones. This will make things much easier.
Don't worry about itpmf1
Jun 9, 2003 5:41 AM
You'll get used to them real fast. Soon, you won't see how you ever rode a bike without them. Once you're used to them, you'll be able to get in and out much faster than using toe clips.

The first few times you use them, you'll impulsively try to pull back (like on a toe clip) instead of moving your heel sideways. You may fall once or twice. It usually hurts your pride worse than anything else. Try not to do it in front of a good looking woman.