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Thread: HELP!...Tips for riding clipless for the first time

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    HELP!...Tips for riding clipless for the first time

    I have some Louis Garneau Monte Rosa shoes on order and I bought the spd pedals from EastSide Cycles.

    I am really looking for some tips on how to properly use pedals and perhaps what you did to get ready to use them on the trail. I am excited about the switch and nervous at the same time. I know falling is inevitable but how can I learn how to do it less?

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    I would suggest riding around in the yard for the first time and clip in and out, in and out until your leg hurts from the reputitution and the do the other side in and out, in and out. I think its all about getting your mind onboard with your feet.. I forgot to clip out a few times after i started clipping in on the trail but I cant imagine riding on platforms again.. Hope this helps

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    Quote Originally Posted by cgoodman View Post
    I would suggest riding around in the yard for the first time and clip in and out, in and out until your leg hurts from the reputitution and the do the other side in and out, in and out. I think its all about getting your mind onboard with your feet.. I forgot to clip out a few times after i started clipping in on the trail but I cant imagine riding on platforms again.. Hope this helps
    Yes it does, thank you. Also, how do I pull my feet out of them? Is it to the side?

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    Yes, most are to the side. Just "click" your heels out to either side and you should come out. I was once told very wise advice from an old man that if you loosen your pedals to as loose as they can go (BOTH SIDES OF THE PEDALS!!) and then put some grease/chain lube on the springs then you come out of them easier. This turned out to be true! It just took a little while for the cleats on the bottom of my shoes to wear in before I stopped lubing up my pedals. But don't worry. Everyone has had a crash or has fallen due to not being able to un-clip in time. Parking lot crashes are the best if you get to witness them!

    GOOD LUCK!!!
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    It's called a "Dead Sailor", "Popsicle" or "Sucker"... take your pick... my advice - Eyes closed, head down, power on thru... but seriously - when I was learning I just leaned against a wall on my house/garage, sat down in the saddle - clip in/clip out repeatedly... then when I felt more confident, I would stand up and do the same... ride around the yard - clip in/clip out... then started moving on to track stands - those will learn you to unclip real quick... Learning to adjust and service your pedals is a must... Good luck - we've ALL been there!
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikerGirl View Post
    Yes, most are to the side. Just "click" your heels out to either side and you should come out. I was once told very wise advice from an old man that if you loosen your pedals to as loose as they can go (BOTH SIDES OF THE PEDALS!!) and then put some grease/chain lube on the springs then you come out of them easier. This turned out to be true! It just took a little while for the cleats on the bottom of my shoes to wear in before I stopped lubing up my pedals. But don't worry. Everyone has had a crash or has fallen due to not being able to un-clip in time. Parking lot crashes are the best if you get to witness them!

    GOOD LUCK!!!
    Thanks for the advice! I'm totally going to do it! I am sure I'm going to make a spectacle of myself in my front yard. I'll be selling tickets to the show just as soon as my shoes come in. hehe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoopty View Post
    It's called a "Dead Sailor", "Popsicle" or "Sucker"... take your pick... my advice - Eyes closed, head down, power on thru... but seriously - when I was learning I just leaned against a wall on my house/garage, sat down in the saddle - clip in/clip out repeatedly... then when I felt more confident, I would stand up and do the same... ride around the yard - clip in/clip out... then started moving on to track stands - those will learn you to unclip real quick... Learning to adjust and service your pedals is a must... Good luck - we've ALL been there!
    I never even thought about servicing them. What kind of service would they need?

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    Quote Originally Posted by roxiemichelle View Post
    I never even thought about servicing them. What kind of service would they need?
    Pedals are bulletproof, but not bomb-proof.. if you ride enough around here, rock gardens - even the ones in parking lots -, dirt, dust, etc. will chew them up. As with anything mechanical, it's going to require service. Depending upon what brand/design you have (SPD, Crank Bros, Time, etc.) all are susceptible to wear and tear. Bearings, springs, tensioners, screws, on and on... a bad day is a malfunctioning pedal... a hospital visit is when a pedal breaks.
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    clipless

    i've had the pedals on my bike since last fall (haven't been riding much longer than that) and practiced off the trail a lot - and just this past 2 months have finally gotten to using them all the time.

    riding clipped out on clipless pedals according to one of my instructors is the worst thing you can do but i was a scaredy cat. it wasn't until i just made myself do it no matter what that i discovered how much it helps, particularly on uphills.

    i guess what i'm saying is, practicing is great, but at least for me, i had to make myself stick with it, even when it got scary. i'm more afraid of falling clipped in than i am of climbing the big hills, its amazing what that will do for your effort.

    but, i do keep the clips as loose as possible.
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    Quote Originally Posted by roxiemichelle View Post
    I have some Louis Garneau Monte Rosa shoes on order and I bought the spd pedals from EastSide Cycles.

    I am really looking for some tips on how to properly use pedals and perhaps what you did to get ready to use them on the trail. I am excited about the switch and nervous at the same time. I know falling is inevitable but how can I learn how to do it less?
    My 2 cents... in addition to the other posts...

    With SPDs you can mount them to your shoe just a few degrees pigeon toed. This gives the shoe/cleat a head-start in unclipping.

    For learning, if you normally start with the same foot (dominant foot) on the pedal, while off the saddle, clip in with this foot and put it at the top of the stroke. Push off with the other foot. When stopping, get out of the saddle and put your dominant foot at the bottom of the stoke and unclip the other foot first. Do this on the most level and softest ground available.

    Of course, after you get the hang of this, practice with the non-dominant foot because you can't always know which way you will lean in an emergency dismount.

    After you gain significant confidence...
    In emergency dismounts when you are leaning in the opposite direction of the unclipped foot, you can throw the unclipped foot over the rear of the bike and the "clipped in" foot will almost always unclip and land on the ground before the rest of you does.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QuestionMark View Post
    When stopping, get out of the saddle and put your dominant foot at the bottom of the stoke and unclip the other foot first. Do this on the most level and softest ground available.
    I alway clip out both at the same time - learning to do them together, has helped alot. Of course, it doesn't work that way very often in emergencies - but just for regular stops, I like it that way.

    Same instructor as listed above taught me that - but that person shall yet remain unnamed to protect the (sorta) innocent.
    Lisa


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    Quote Originally Posted by BikerGirl
    Parking lot crashes are the best if you get to witness them!
    This is the truth!!! Mainly because I have been that person haha

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    Something else I forgot to add... above all things, make sure that you select the right pedal that fits your foot & riding style the best - lemme give you an example - I'm a big fan of Crank Brothers. I'm a clydesdale so Eggbeaters are out, so I went with the Candy line - loved them, but after every ride, my feet were hurting me. Tried repositioning the clips, changing shoes, etc. to no avail - pain. It wasn't until 3 or 4 doctor visits (at first they thought it was gout...), 3 weeks of unneeded medications & several x-rays later, I learned I had fractured the sesamoid bones in each foot. If you don't know where that is - think ball of foot... yeah - it sucked! This is a nagging injury and something I'll have to live with for the rest of my life because surgery is and never will be an option. So out with the Candys and in with the Acid - wider & longer - to accommodate my 240lb frame and size 13 foot. I finally realized that the length & width of the pedal could help, or in my case harm, my riding. Due to my stupidity, I thought it was the way I was riding and it was something I was going to have to get used to. This injury sidelined me for a complete season of riding. If your feet hurt after a ride - take heed... don't ignore it like I did.
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    I started "clipless" three years ago after riding for a year on flats saying, "There ain't no way you're going to attach me to that thing!" Was giving a Mt. Bike Action magazine with an article entitled "Clipping in Confidently". It advocated Shimano's 520 SPD pedal and a multi-angle release cleat (gold in color vs. silver for the standard). I got the nerve, got them both, had wouldn't go back. As stated above, getting out is simply swinging your heel out, which is a natural motion anyway. On the SPD pedal, there is tension adjustment to make it easier or harder to get out. As you become acclimated and pedaling harder, you may find that tension needs increasing. Ultimately I found that the multi-angle cleat was too easy to release unintentionally, especially in heavy climbing, so I "graduated to the standard. Haven't used others, but my undrstanding is that the trade-off with SPD's easy-out is difficulty in "getting-in". That is probably true. The 520 is relatively inexpensive and for me has been totally reliable.

    Gary

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    Quote Originally Posted by QuestionMark View Post
    My 2 cents... in addition to the other posts...

    With SPDs you can mount them to your shoe just a few degrees pigeon toed. This gives the shoe/cleat a head-start in unclipping.

    For learning, if you normally start with the same foot (dominant foot) on the pedal, while off the saddle, clip in with this foot and put it at the top of the stroke. Push off with the other foot. When stopping, get out of the saddle and put your dominant foot at the bottom of the stoke and unclip the other foot first. Do this on the most level and softest ground available.

    Of course, after you get the hang of this, practice with the non-dominant foot because you can't always know which way you will lean in an emergency dismount.

    After you gain significant confidence...
    In emergency dismounts when you are leaning in the opposite direction of the unclipped foot, you can throw the unclipped foot over the rear of the bike and the "clipped in" foot will almost always unclip and land on the ground before the rest of you does.

    That sounds like it's gonna take some serious practice but I can see the benefit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by homer View Post
    I started "clipless" three years ago after riding for a year on flats saying, "There ain't no way you're going to attach me to that thing!" Was giving a Mt. Bike Action magazine with an article entitled "Clipping in Confidently". It advocated Shimano's 520 SPD pedal and a multi-angle release cleat (gold in color vs. silver for the standard). I got the nerve, got them both, had wouldn't go back. As stated above, getting out is simply swinging your heel out, which is a natural motion anyway. On the SPD pedal, there is tension adjustment to make it easier or harder to get out. As you become acclimated and pedaling harder, you may find that tension needs increasing. Ultimately I found that the multi-angle cleat was too easy to release unintentionally, especially in heavy climbing, so I "graduated to the standard. Haven't used others, but my undrstanding is that the trade-off with SPD's easy-out is difficulty in "getting-in". That is probably true. The 520 is relatively inexpensive and for me has been totally reliable.
    The Shimano 520s are the ones that I purchased. Scott from the stored talked them up so well, that I decided those were the ones. I will be sure to let you guys know how my practicing went as soon as my shoes get in. The more I hear, the happier I am that I made this change. I can wait to get some good practice in! Right now I just get to stare at my pedals and imagine myself hitting up the trail with them. I can see the difference in my head. hehe

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    Quote Originally Posted by roxiemichelle View Post
    That sounds like it's gonna take some serious practice but I can see the benefit.
    In the meanwhile just wear some shin guards! (I have pink soccer ones!) That way you won't have the scars like I do! Or like me.... practice the art of falling and getting back on the bike, soon enough you won't be scared to fall and every time you do you'll just laugh at yourself!
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikerGirl View Post
    In the meanwhile just wear some shin guards! (I have pink soccer ones!) That way you won't have the scars like I do! Or like me.... practice the art of falling and getting back on the bike, soon enough you won't be scared to fall and every time you do you'll just laugh at yourself!
    I already have some scars but I just look at them like great stories to tell the kids/grand kids when I get old.

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    Quote Originally Posted by homer View Post
    I started "clipless" three years ago after riding for a year on flats saying, "There ain't no way you're going to attach me to that thing!" Was giving a Mt. Bike Action magazine with an article entitled "Clipping in Confidently". It advocated Shimano's 520 SPD pedal and a multi-angle release cleat (gold in color vs. silver for the standard). I got the nerve, got them both, had wouldn't go back. As stated above, getting out is simply swinging your heel out, which is a natural motion anyway. On the SPD pedal, there is tension adjustment to make it easier or harder to get out. As you become acclimated and pedaling harder, you may find that tension needs increasing. Ultimately I found that the multi-angle cleat was too easy to release unintentionally, especially in heavy climbing, so I "graduated to the standard. Haven't used others, but my undrstanding is that the trade-off with SPD's easy-out is difficulty in "getting-in". That is probably true. The 520 is relatively inexpensive and for me has been totally reliable.
    WOW! I wear a 36/37 size shoe. So, I don't see that being a problem but I will definitely not take it lightly if I find myself with some crazy foot issues. I can't believe you got treated for something you didn't even have!

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    All really great info! I've been using the SPD's for about a year after riding on platforms for 20 years. I won't go back...it really is that good. The only scary bit is cornering in the mud while clipped in. Just gotta practice more I guess.

    Amy's advice is exactly what I did. Turn the tension all the way down and sprayed a bit of chain lube on the springs to allow for easier in-and-out. I still have them cranked all the way down and even did a race at the Crude XC with them that loose. Never accidently clicked out once, even with them cranked all the way down. Oh, and start on a trail like like Lock 4 or Chickasaw and not Hamilton Creek! Don't ask me why

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    Quote Originally Posted by cpaterson View Post
    Amy's advice is exactly what I did. Turn the tension all the way down and sprayed a bit of chain lube on the springs to allow for easier in-and-out. I still have them cranked all the way down and even did a race at the Crude XC with them that loose. Never accidently clicked out once, even with them cranked all the way down.
    I still have mine all the way down too and only come out of my left pedal on one side of the pedal sometimes when climbing hills.... (I sometimes roll my heel too hard to the left when climbing instead of up and down)

    Maybe one day I'll tighten them. I'm still a noob at them as well! Put them on last November! But you'll love them! I won't go back and I have the same ones as you! You'll be a pro on them before you know it!

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    Just curious, has anyone used Speedplay pedals before? A set came on my Litespeed and I haven't tried them out, mainly because the cleats use a 4 bolt pattern and most of the Shimano shoes use a 3 bolt pattern. From what I have been told, Speedplay has a higher degree of float than other pedals.

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    (Fair warning Roxie ... this post is not going to help you even a little bit ... I'm just relating my 1st experience)

    I would recommend that you avoid doing the following:
    1) Buy a set of Onza pedals from your LBS.
    2) Get home, mount the pedals and cleats and find that you can't engage your cleats into the pedals.
    3) Call the LBS for help and agree to ride over there to get it figured out (with your new pedals and new shoes/cleats on).
    4) Ride into the shop, come to a stop, and realize at that moment that your left cleat has successfully clicked into the pedal during your ride to the shop.
    5) Proceed to fall onto one of their display racks ... knocking the entire rack and contents to the floor and generally damaging yourself in the process.

    :-) Seriously though ... I would take the advice of others, especially recommending the "practice a trackstand in the grass". That was very good advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave. View Post
    (Fair warning Roxie ... this post is not going to help you even a little bit ... I'm just relating my 1st experience)

    I would recommend that you avoid doing the following:
    1) Buy a set of Onza pedals from your LBS.
    2) Get home, mount the pedals and cleats and find that you can't engage your cleats into the pedals.
    3) Call the LBS for help and agree to ride over there to get it figured out (with your new pedals and new shoes/cleats on).
    4) Ride into the shop, come to a stop, and realize at that moment that your left cleat has successfully clicked into the pedal during your ride to the shop.
    5) Proceed to fall onto one of their display racks ... knocking the entire rack and contents to the floor and generally damaging yourself in the process.

    :-) Seriously though ... I would take the advice of others, especially recommending the "practice a trackstand in the grass". That was very good advice.
    I just laughed out loud at work at this. Sorry about the pain part but I sure wish I was a fly on the wall for that!

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    The worst is when you are on the Greenway and you stop, put one foot down, you feel cool getting a drink from your bottle, you look around to see if anyone noticed how cool you were with your new clip-less pedals, you put the bottle back in the holder, you lean to the other side and forget to unclip the other foot and WHAM on your side Not cool!

    They are actually not hard to use. If you are a light weight, definitely loosen them up, the same number of clicks - there will be a total of 4 to do (2 for each pedal). The Dupont Teflon Silicone spray works wonders for breaking them in. Chain lube is ok too.



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    Dave(period)

    I like that... excellent post & OBTW - to NMB...

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNcaveman View Post
    The worst is when you are on the Greenway and you stop, put one foot down, you feel cool getting a drink from your bottle, you look around to see if anyone noticed how cool you were with your new clip-less pedals, you put the bottle back in the holder, you lean to the other side and forget to unclip the other foot and WHAM on your side Not cool!

    They are actually not hard to use. If you are a light weight, definitely loosen them up, the same number of clicks - there will be a total of 4 to do (2 for each pedal). The Dupont Teflon Silicone spray works wonders for breaking them in. Chain lube is ok too.



    Steve
    I did something like this a few weeks ago. Was drinking some water and the bottle fell so I slammed on my brakes to grab the bottle before it rolled off the greenway 2 far.

    WELLLLL i was in such a rush the whole idea of clipping out never struck me. I still have moments like this with clipless but like a few have stated, I will never go back to platform. My road bike just has clipless on one side because sometimes I do just ride the platform side if I don't want to wear all the gear. I always notice a huge difference and feel that I never get to use my legs to their full ability with just platforms.

    there is a HUGE pro to wearing clipless when climbing and when the trails are fast and bouncy.

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    Do it right!

    Take the time to make sure your cleats are adjusted to your rideing posistion.

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    I am so excited! I got my shoes in yesterday and I am heading to East Side Cycles after work. They are kind enough to put my clips on for me, put my mountain bike on a stationary stand and have me get my first run in them there. Who knows how things would have ended up if I didn't for myself. So, today is the day that I break out the gear and get going for the first time.

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