Can't stop falling when riding with clipless pedals! Need stopping tips!

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by tictactoe, Jul 29, 2003.

  1. tictactoe

    tictactoe New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2003
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am riding a Giant hybrid with combo pedals, one side SPD, one side you can use with regular shoes. It seems that every time I go out for a ride with my cycling shoes, I fall at least once (ok, this is an exaggeration). But whenever I do it, it's embarassing and not at all a pleasant experience!

    I try and concentrate on releasing only one leg, but depending on the stopping situation, I lean different ways. Any tips you can share about training yourself with clipless pedals?
     
    Tags:


  2. K.O.

    K.O. New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2003
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Try these::
    Clip out with the same foot each time to get used to it.
    Then just make shure that you always lean to that foot plenty of time before uncliping.
    Use same pedals and shoes on each side to get better feel, control etc
    Be prepared to unclip ur other foot if you start to lean the wrong way
    come to a stop smoothly and perhaps slower so you have plenty of time to get your footing right
    Hope it helps
     
  3. Feanor

    Feanor New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2003
    Messages:
    256
    Likes Received:
    1
    I feel your pain,

    I regularly get distracted in different ways besides exhaustion, other people, absentmindedness etc... that delays that preplanning you need to always remember to unclip in plenty of time, roll to the correct side and so on...

    I take the worst case scenario approach and as I am coasting to a stop, I'll unclip the right side (I always default to that unless conditions demand otherwise) and make sure it is completely disengaged (lift off foot) and then having done that mentally prepare to quickly come out of the other side if I need to.

    If you do this, you will rarely go down even when you're dead tired... Unlike being clipped in while Mountain biking, where you always seem to have these nice little dances together :)

    Make the process of unclipping instinctive while stopping... As much so as knowing that depressing the brake lever will compress the brake calipers and slow you down, at that level of instinctiveness you'll rarely have a problem, unlike me at times:

    http://www.cyclingforums.com/t35319.html

    As far as a "mental trick" to keep from forgetting, unfortunately the only one I have is simply to always remember how stupid I felt the last time I fell over and never wanting to repeat that... I think the main problem is that it more embarassing than it is dangerous... If people broke their arms every single time they came rolling to a gentle stop and fell over, it would never happen... :)

    Good luck!

    Feanor
     
  4. JohnO

    JohnO New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2003
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    0
    Practice, practice. It becomes second nature after a while. Until then, it will take a few knocks.

    I always unclip my right foot (am righthanded) just before stopping. On the road, it shouldnt' be an issue to always put the same foot down every time. Also - set the release as light as possible. You'll misfire a couple of times and come out early, but that's better than coming out too late. After you get used to them, tighten the release back up.

    On the MTB, it's a little different, and I'm still not totally in love with the SPD pedals on the MTB. Seems like I need to unclip a lot more quickly, a lot more often.
     
  5. Spider1977

    Spider1977 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2003
    Messages:
    446
    Likes Received:
    0
    I fell over tonight on the way home from work at traffic lights. Usually unclip the right foot from the Shimano pedals well in advance, but thought I'd be a smart arse and grab on the trafficlight pole on the left. Leaning over that way with the right foot out and left foot still in, I misjudged the roll to the pole. In slow motion, over I went. Get up and look at the motorists like nothing has happened, it's just what you do when you're dressed up in your flash bike gear with bright yellow shoes. Hope no one I know was in the traffic at the time!

    Practice, practice, practice I guess that's the only answer.
     
  6. steve

    steve Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2001
    Messages:
    5,271
    Likes Received:
    214
    Make sure you unclip the same foot each time, the more you do something the better you will get at it (I think). Falling over is something everyone has done at some stage.

    It might pay to check the tension on your pedals and make sure they are at the lowest setting, and increase them as your confidence increases. Also try to unclip a couple of seconds before you stop, this way you have a 2 - 3 second buffer if you get into a panic. It could make the difference between ending up on your arse OR chatting to two hot blondes at the traffic lights :D

    cheers
     
  7. jonstagg

    jonstagg New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Two suggestions:
    1) Unclip way in advance if it looks like you're going to stop and hold your foot just above the pedal, so if you don't have to stop you can just push it back in.
    2) If you have unclipped on the left and start fall to the right push your handle bars to the right. This will cause the bike to move to the right and help you to fall back to the left. It works!
     
  8. jonstagg

    jonstagg New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Two suggestions:
    1) Unclip way in advance if it looks like you're going to stop and hold your foot just above the pedal, so if you don't have to stop you can just push it back in.
    2) If you have unclipped on the left and start fall to the right push your handle bars to the right. This will cause the bike to move to the right and help you to fall back to the left. It works!
     
  9. tictactoe

    tictactoe New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2003
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wow, that 2nd one makes so much sense! Funny how you never think logically like that when you're in mid-fall. Thanks for the tip!!
     
  10. Velvet

    Velvet New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, that second tip might be just what I'm doing wrong when I tip to the wrong side occasionally on stopping. I'm VERY glad I'm still lurking here.
     
  11. Insight Driver

    Insight Driver New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    494
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'm new to clipless and use a Giant OCR2 road bike. I recently got the bike fitted to me and had my clips angled for my feet. Now I sometimes get stuck in the pedal (because I have to rotate out more than I did when the clips were straight). I guess I'm lucky because I only fell over once.

    I adjusted my clip tension to make exit easier. I can pull up hard on the pedal and not come out, so I think keeping the tension light helped me.
     
  12. tictactoe

    tictactoe New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2003
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Update: I went out riding twice this weekend, and fell both times! WTF?

    My pedals clips are really loose and I have been trying to be very conscientious of my unclipping, but sometimes when I'm nervous, or I can't plan ahead, I get flustered and fall. So in addition to my practicing this, I am also curious whether LOOK pedals are easier to unclip from than SPD?
     
  13. marion

    marion New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2003
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    there is nothing worse than looking the part eh? and the traffic lights made me laugh so much i need to carb up!!! being a smart ass is the same in nsw as tasi he he he just to make ya feel better i did similar hope yours wasnt peak hour traffic? being a female lots of male came to assist me ha ha ha that made me feel even worse....
     
  14. TheDude

    TheDude New Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2003
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Remember to unclip before the last possible moment. Depending where your pedal is at the time can make it hard to get out. I personally have more trouble clipping in than out when in traffic.

    You might want to go somewhere with lots of room and no cars (like a school during off hours) and ride around real slow and practice. You'll get better and, more importantly, confident that you can safely clip out when necessary.
     
  15. i2ambler

    i2ambler New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2003
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
    yeah, dont wait until you are stopped to unclip.. slow down, unclip, and take your foot out of the pedal.. Also, make sure to lube the springs on your pedals! Also, good advice= lean against a wall and clip, unclip a WHOLE BUNCH until you feel natural.. close your eyes and do it.. learn where the pedal is. The pedal will be weighted slightly and you will soon be able to clip in without even looking, and clipping out will be cake.
     
  16. CatSpin

    CatSpin New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2003
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    Tictactoe:

    One of the things I teach my students is to practice kicking your heel out while standing up. You must first learn the motion of "swinging" your heel out while also keeping your foot flat. Try doing it now..seems easy right?

    Trouble is when on your bike those childhood instincts engage and you inevitably try to lift your foot off the pedal, get stuck, panic and crash. To help you though this transition, practice "kicking" your foot out of the pedal very quickly. It takes some force to disengage from a clip and a lot of times if you don't get it on the first time, you freak out, try again, slow down then go over. One of the most important tricks to clipping out is the importance of doing it on the first time. Don't try easing it out, keep you foot flat and kick you heel out HARD. As you get used to kicking out under this force, you will become more comfortable to use less effort but with confidence you can get out in a spit second when needed. Work both feet also.

    Good luck and don't get frustrated. Even we get caught in our pedals and go over at times too.

    CatSpin
     
  17. hibiscus09

    hibiscus09 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2003
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    This has been interesting reading! :) I just bought my bike about 2 months ago & was brave enough to go out yesterday & buy shoes & clipless pedals. I bought Specialized shoes & Look 357 pedals. I practiced yesterday by riding up my driveway & shooting out into the grass in my backyard. I can get the right shoe out of the clip (I'm right handed) quite easily, but the left is much harder for me to get out. I'm not very left side coordinated. Anyway, going to practice some more today & then head out into the road. :eek:
     
  18. hibiscus09

    hibiscus09 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2003
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    I fell 3 times today. :eek: I didn't get hurt but I was having a terrible time getting my left foot out of the clip. I can get out of the right side, but I want to be able to get out of the left just as easily in case that's the side on which I need to get out. Plus, on one of my falls I was out on the right side but the bike leaned left & down I went. :D My husband bought some Allen wrenches on the way home for lunch & loosened the left pedal as much as possible. I can get it out better now but I still dont' feel great about it. I'd like to get my training ride in today but don't feel good enough on these things yet to put myself out around cars. Is is possible to ride on these types of pedals with my tennis shoes for my training ride? I'd like to practice a few more days in the cul de sac of my street & the grass in my backyard with the clips before I head out around traffic.
     
  19. shakespeare

    shakespeare New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2003
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    OK, I've read the responses, but I think I know what you are looking for. I have been riding now for about 3 months, and this is what I have learned on my own which works best for me. I have been watching criterium racing about once a week, and specifically looking at the mechanics many of the racers use.

    First stopping. This should become as slow and fluid as possible. The faster and more aggressive the stop is, the quicker you will have to disengage...not good for beginners.

    Second, the finnesse... Pick your dominant side. My side is the right and I always use that side. When I'm slowing down, my right pedal is up my left pedal is down. This takes a little bit of coordination. While you are making your nice slow progressive stop, you are releasing the right foot, that right pedal stays in the up position. Bring your right foot in FRONT of the pedal and don't change positions. Lift yourself off your bike seat with your left foot and lean to the right. When that right foot comes down, PLANT IT as if it were stuck in cement, then quickly release your left foot, and almost start walking with that left foot to catch your momentum. I will hop a little on that right foot if I'm going to quickly, again that's where speed is important. The important thing to remember is to not let your legs get caught behind a pedal when stopping. Your foot is easiest beside or in front of it. I just get too tangled up, and it's a mess when it's behind a pedal. Be in front of them and away from them.

    Third, your anxiety. Remind yourself that you are in control of the situation, and your bike. You will develop that sense of balance and ease with riding that you see with most experienced riders over time. Being tense will make your situation worse. I almost didn't want to go out knowing that I would be in clipless pedals, and I wanted to go back to the other method. Go someplace far away from cars and distractions. I go to a velodrome (I live five minutes from it) and just practice it. Go around once, get out of the pedals. You will lose precious fun time worrying about your pedals when really it's just something you need to get used to, and it doesn't happen overnight.

    Biking is definately not anything like the childhood bike riding of the 70's. That was fun, wasn't it? What is this road racing all about? My first bike was a yellow hand me down from my older sister, and had this cool white plastic banana seat with blue and orange flowers, and of course, the bright orange flag which was about six feet tall, a must have embellishment for growing gals. My knees could have stopped me on that one I was so low to the ground, now I'm lucky my tips of my shoes touch.

    Anyways, I really wanted to learn, so about three to four weeks after purchasing my bike, I was using them. I still get nervous, and I don't go around traffic very much, but I figure my comfort level is something that will come in time. Go at your own pace, you will know when you want more. I just fell over yesterday trying to fix my front brakes standing still with my left foot clipped in. Just remember to keep leaning to the unclipped side. That one guy who replied looks like John Travolta, doesn't he? ;^)
     
  20. i2ambler

    i2ambler New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2003
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah, In time you will just get a feel for the clip/cleat connection.. You will just know when you are clipped in and when you arent. You will also get better balance, so that when you cant clip out immediately, theres no panic. Just balance a bit longer and clip it out. I remember my clips froze a couple weeks after I got the bike - i could NOT clip either foot out. I had to slow down, balance, and take a foot out of a shoe so that I could get off!
     
Loading...
Loading...