Stopping and un-cleating - what's your technique?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by RossB, Sep 1, 2003.

  1. RossB

    RossB New Member

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    I appreciate that this is a very basic question, but I've only been cycling now for about a week on my new Trek 1500, after an absence from cycling of many years. It is the first time I have used clipless pedals (Look 357) and like most people, I am having some difficulty getting used to them, and have had a few falls.

    What I'd like to know is the proper technique for slowing, stopping, and unclipping from the pedals. I normally slow, rotate the pedals so that one foot is at the bottom of the rotation, unclip that foot just before the bike stops, move forward from the seat to stand over the top tube, and then lean sideways so that the unclipped foot can contact the ground (though sometimes I have leaned in the other direction and fallen on my unclipped side). I generally find it impossible to unclip from the pedals unless the foot is at the bottom of a pedal rotation. Does this sound like the correct technique? Are there other ways of doing it?
     
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  2. Evo

    Evo New Member

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    Sounds pretty much what I do on my looks. I always clip out well before I need to (but not too far) and sometimes keep one foot unclipped if there seems to be trouble ahead.

    As for turning it at the bottom of the stroke, that is pretty much true too.
     
  3. theedge

    theedge New Member

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    Most clipless systems work best when unclipping at the 6 o'clock position. Some even require the rider to apply pressure on the pedal when unclipping, IIRC.

    I use Speedplay X3 and I found it can be unclipped at the top of the pedal stroke :) That, unclipping at bottom is always the easiest way.
     
  4. Snarl

    Snarl New Member

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    Just a little tip... unclip both feet when you stop, at least until your really comfortable with the whole clipless thing. Also if you have to unclip just one foot, make it the one on the RH side where your derailers are on. That way if you do fall you won't land on them.

    Good Luck
     
  5. secondwindow

    secondwindow New Member

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    Hi, I posted a reply to a related posting on the bicycling.com forum. Maybe this info will be usefull to you, too.

    "...
    I've used LOOK pedals on my road bike for years now and have grown to really like them, although I do have SPDs on my recumbent and hybrid. I wear SIDI Genius 4 with the road bike and a pair of Shimano touring shoes, with recessed cleats, when riding bikes with SPDs.

    I agree, on the road bike, it's easy to slip when I stop and put my foot down. I also carry a pair of "Kool Covers" in a jersey pocket, they make walking easier and save wear on the cleats.

    My solution for the problem of my foot slipping when I stop at an intersection: I just trained myself to put my HEEL down - instead of the ball of my foot. My road shoes have a bit of rubber on the heel that isn't slippery like the plastic cleat.
    ..."
     
  6. RossB

    RossB New Member

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    Thanks for the replies, guys. All very useful.
     
  7. Aztec

    Aztec New Member

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    I use Look 357 and find they unclip best at the top or middle position, NOT when the crank arm is at the bottom. YMMV. I typically unclip when at the middle, by turning my heel INWARD. Sometimes I catch my heel against the chainstay or even lightly against the spokes...

    I have learned to land w/ my heel, as the other poster above.
     
  8. drewjc

    drewjc New Member

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    i know it isnt always an easy thing to do, but apart from learning to unclip under a "pressure situation", you can also practice doing "trackstands" or "propping" so that when u dont need to stop for long u dont have to unclip your foot/feet. It is a very handy skill to learn especially if riding in heavy traffic. Apart from this, i normally unclip at the bottom of the stroke, while still coasting slowly if possible, otherwise i try to grab hold of something and unclip while stationary. This is a good technique while still learning if it is possible. Good Luck!
     
  9. Feanor

    Feanor New Member

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    I've found there is only one real technique, and that is...

    REMEMBER!

    :)

    And though that is not as ridiculous as it sounds; in the words of Bob Roll, "Fatigue induced amnesia" is actually a common thing :)

    Contrary to what many have been saying on the thread, I've actually found that unclipping at the top of the crankstroke (12 o'clock position) works better for me for a few reasons...

    1. there is no intereference to free foot rotation on the top of the crank stroke

    2. Disengaging at the top of the stroke gives you far more time and distance to "stab" your foot out should you unclip late or get hung up for some reason. and find yourself in the middle of falling over.

    3. at the top of the stroke, there is a strange biomechanical reason for your foot to naturally fall off the top of the pedal as opposed to unclipping on the bottom where the tendency is to keep weight on your foot and possibly get hung up for that crucial few milliseconds when you thought you were free.

    4. relating to number 3, unclipping at the top of the stroke naturally forces you to "dangle" your foot free away from the pedal, as holding it in the 12 o'clock position is awkward. It doesn't look as refined or as elegant as unclipping at the six oclock and holding your foot lightly over the pedal until you stop, but it looks a WHOLE lot more elegant than falling over like a drunken elephant :)

    In the end, after you have used them for quite some time, unclipping from any position and even in the "nick of time" poses no real threat of falling over, as you would have gotten used to and comfortable with the operation of your chosen clipless system. The points above really only apply during the learning phase where the danger is highest because you've gotten used to the feeling of being "in" the pedals, and haven't developed the behaviour of instinctively unclipping as part of slowing down with the intention of stopping...

    Good luck to you!

    Feanor
     
  10. Chynnae

    Chynnae New Member

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    I'm so glad you started this thread. I have SPDs and have had some spills too.

    My husband just bought egg beater clipless pedals, and so he's moving up the learning curve as well (but much faster than me).

    I told him about my latest fall which happened exactly what you described: unclipped left foot, had it dangling but leaned towards right and kaboom! He says a trick he uses when he stops is to turn his wheel in the direction of the foot that's unclipped because your bike will naturally lean towards that way. So if you've unclipped your left foot, turn your handlebars (and wheel) to the left and your bike will tilt to the left. I have yet to try it, but I'm willing to give it a shot!

    I also spoke to a guy at the bike store about which position was the best one to unclip. He says it's any position where you can comfortably get your foot out :) Experiment, and use whichever one you prefer.

    Chynnae
     
  11. Sidi

    Sidi New Member

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    I have a pair of Sidi's MTB Shoes that have rubber grippers on the bottom that i have never slipped with - and i ride a road bike.
    I only fell over with the "old school" straps that you had to manually release in order to get your foot out but the feet had a tendency to fall asleep when used alot.
    Try to get your foot out at the 6 o'clock position and lean to that side when slowedown or put your feet at 3 and 9 o'clock and put all your weight on your butt and unclip both of them at the same time.
    With a little time of having to clip in and out at every intersection on the road you will get the hang of it in no time at all. Pretty soon you will be doing it blind while looking forward.
     
  12. REBORN

    REBORN New Member

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    It helps to keep the clips as loose as possible while learning to clip/unclip. That way, you can unclip faster while falling, and avoid the fall. As you learn, tighten the adjusting screw a click at a time until you feel comfortable.
    Also helps helps to unclip 'way before you stop.

    (why do we clip and unclip in clipless pedals???)

    Good luck!
     
  13. Mouse Potato

    Mouse Potato New Member

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    To confuse the stuffing out of the uninitiated, I expect. That's the effect it had on me, anyway ;). It just didn't make any sense. Actually, it still doesn't*, but if that's what they're called, that's what they're called.


    * I was told that it's because they are toeclipless. Could be. On the other hand, I was probably wearing my usual gullible hat that day...
     
  14. Feanor

    Feanor New Member

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    I was told the same thing eventually; that they are clipless because clips were what they called Toeclips, but before that I was completely baffled because to even the initiated and experienced, any type of cleated system is more "cliplike" than toeclips were.

    To me, toeclips were more like "straps" so if they called cleated systems "strapless" pedals it would have made a lot more sense to a lot of people who came after the transition... Maybe it was just too hard to say "Toeclipless pedals" :)

    Have a good one!

    Feanor
     
  15. micman75

    micman75 New Member

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    RossB,

    Any problems with the 357s so far?

    do they squeek?
     
  16. spike111

    spike111 New Member

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    I learned while riding on a mag-trainer. There is lots of time to think about what you are doing and to experiment with different techniques. Added advantage: no negative consequence if you don't get it just right. For the first year or two, of course, the first ride outside after snow melt was a big adventure. My triathlon club has lots of rookies - when we ride outside for the first time in the spring, I ride at the back and watch the fun.
     
  17. spike111

    spike111 New Member

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    I learned while riding on a mag-trainer. There is lots of time to think about what you re doing and to experiment with different techniques. Added advantage: no negative consequence if you don't get it just right. For the first year or two, of course, the first ride outside after snow melt was a big adventure. My triathlon club has lots of rookies - when we ride outside for the first time in the spring, I ride at the back and watch the fun.
     
  18. RossB

    RossB New Member

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    No real problems. After the first couple of falls, I've managed to get out of the pedals without any problems (although usually with a fair amount of pre-planning). I have a feeling that in a crisis or a moment of panic I would still be likely to go down sideways, but I'm slowly getting the hang of it.

    No squeaking at all.
     
  19. RossB

    RossB New Member

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    No real problems. After the first couple of falls, I've managed to get out of the pedals without any problems (although usually with a fair amount of pre-planning). I have a feeling that in a crisis or a moment of panic I would still be likely to go down sideways, but I'm slowly getting the hang of it.

    No squeaking at all.
     
  20. Grandview

    Grandview New Member

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    You might also try this, unclip with whichever leg you use first to put your pants on. I say this because the other leg is used to doing the support while you lift the opposite leg and step in pants and then put foot through the pant leg. Once you are comfortable with that leg, then start doing the opposite leg (foot) to unclip).
     
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