How do you unclip (SPD's) on a steep hill????

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
island girl
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How do you unclip (SPD's) on a steep hill????

Postby island girl » 18 Oct 2011, 8:25pm

Hi, does anyone know how to unclip ( from SPD's) on a steep hill. So far this hasn't been a problem as I have always managed to get to the top. Sometimes though, for a variety of reasons eg. road conditions, traffic etc I sometimes would like to unclip but always find it so difficult especially on a high gradient.

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meic
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Re: How do you unclip (SPD's) on a steep hill????

Postby meic » 18 Oct 2011, 8:27pm

No, by that time it is forward or fall over. :lol:
Yma o Hyd

diapason0
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Re: How do you unclip (SPD's) on a steep hill????

Postby diapason0 » 18 Oct 2011, 8:32pm

If I know that I'm not going to make it to the top, I ease back a tad and unclip my left foot, but keep peddalling until the inevitable :oops:

Mike Sales
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Re: How do you unclip (SPD's) on a steep hill????

Postby Mike Sales » 18 Oct 2011, 8:36pm

When clipped in and stationary lean well forward and get one hand as low as possible so you can catch yourself and break the fall early. Or get as close to the verge/hedge/wall as you can with the last spasm of momentum.
I discovered the first method when a loaded rack broke at the single strap to the brake bolt. As the rack pivotted back it got closer to the tyre until it jammed the wheel solid. That was in the days of toe straps, which can be quite effective. I've tried the other too, with a hedge.

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bigjim
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Re: How do you unclip (SPD's) on a steep hill????

Postby bigjim » 18 Oct 2011, 8:40pm

Use Platforms. :)

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Swallow
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Re: How do you unclip (SPD's) on a steep hill????

Postby Swallow » 18 Oct 2011, 9:11pm

I usually have some idea fairly early on if will need to unclip so I do so and continue pedaling with the toe area of the foot
'Kernow bys Vyken'

karlt
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Re: How do you unclip (SPD's) on a steep hill????

Postby karlt » 18 Oct 2011, 9:12pm

Best motivator for that extra needed bit of effort that I know of.

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Re: How do you unclip (SPD's) on a steep hill????

Postby Malaconotus » 18 Oct 2011, 9:45pm

bigjim wrote:Use Platforms. :)


+1

Cyclenut
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Re: How do you unclip (SPD's) on a steep hill????

Postby Cyclenut » 18 Oct 2011, 10:05pm

Slacken the SPD adjustment screws to minimum (I assume when you write SPD you do mean normal, i.e. MTB-style "Shimano Pedalling Dynamics") after fitting the alternative Multi-Release cleats (SM-SH56) to your shoes. Then you will have no worries at all about getting a foot to the floor, since even the slightest twisting force, in either direction - or even a hard upward pull - will release your shoe from the pedal.

Use these cleats until the correct twisting action (heels outward) becomes automatic, so that it happens every time, no worries, then fit the original cleats and perhaps crank up the release tension a bit - whatever gives you the level of security you require whilst still releasing really easily, so it happens no matter how tired you may be.

During the learning phase, with the multi-release cleats, you will not be able to pull up without risk of pulling your shoe clean off the pedal. But that's not a serious penalty. People don't normally pull up very much. Human legs are not optimised for pulling so it's a bit of a waste of energy. Better to fit lower gears so you can produce more power by pedalling normally but faster. That's way of climbing hills might be a bit slower and not look as macho, but will leave you less tired at the end of the day.
Chris Juden (at home and not asleep)

Ray
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Re: How do you unclip (SPD's) on a steep hill????

Postby Ray » 18 Oct 2011, 10:08pm

Seriously - you should be able to release your foot almost instantaneously. Spd pedals are used by most cyclo-cross racers, who dismount very quickly and frequently, often when they don't intend to!
Make sure the clamp mechanism on the pedal is set as loose as it will go, and practice (ie ride your bike plenty). It's a matter of moving the rear of your foot outwards - I do it without thinking, but recall that it was a bit tricky until I got used to it, and realised that I didn't need the clamp at all tight for it to hold my foot effectively.
Ray
- I now see Chris Juden got there before me - so you'd better believe it!
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cjchambers
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Re: How do you unclip (SPD's) on a steep hill????

Postby cjchambers » 18 Oct 2011, 10:20pm

Cyclenut wrote: . . . fitting the alternative Multi-Release cleats (SM-SH56) to your shoes. Then you will have no worries at all about getting a foot to the floor, since even the slightest twisting force, in either direction - or even a hard upward pull - will release your shoe from the pedal.

Another vote for multi-release cleats from me. . . I have used them for the past 3,000 miles or so, during which time I've had two or three successful emergency unclippings vs falling off several times with the original cleats.

island girl
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Re: How do you unclip (SPD's) on a steep hill????

Postby island girl » 18 Oct 2011, 10:39pm

Thanks for all replies. I do have Sh56 multi-release cleats on the loosest setting and have been using them for 3 years. No problems at all on the flat or slight hill but whenever I get really tired and hit a steep hill I somehow have a problem releasing my foot. I pull, twist and turn to no avail, think it must be because I am weary as at other times they release in a flash. As stated, it happens automatically without thinking about it, but not on a very steep hill. :cry:

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bigjim
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Re: How do you unclip (SPD's) on a steep hill????

Postby bigjim » 18 Oct 2011, 10:58pm

It's not just you. I've been cycling all my life [which is a long time]. A couple of years ago I was climbing a steep hill with a fully loaded tourer and [because the bike was too highly geared, or I was too weak] I just had to stop and could not unclip in time. Over I went but only suffered a cut leg. Clipless are great but they are not infallable just like other systems. By the way I could not get restarted on that hill either, because I could not get enough momentum going to clip in. I will not tour on clipless now. Especially since coming off whilst being clipped in and breaking my arm, but thats another long boring story.

mark a.
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Re: How do you unclip (SPD's) on a steep hill????

Postby mark a. » 19 Oct 2011, 7:08am

My wife has the same problem. She is fine with SPDs normally, but can't get them out easily on steep hills. She's got to the top of hills I haven't been able to because she's had to keep going!

She has the normal SPD cleats rather than your multi-release, so that's a bit different. I think in her case she's so busy pulling up with her leg to stop the bike from stalling that it's making it harder for the cleat to release.

Unfortunately we haven't figured out the solution yet, apart from lubricating the pedals to make sure it's not sticking (that actually helped). I don't have a problem so I can't quite see what else can be done.

Ayesha
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Re: How do you unclip (SPD's) on a steep hill????

Postby Ayesha » 19 Oct 2011, 7:28am

Throw your heel sideways at the very bottom of the pedal stroke.

It is a 'learned' thing. Practice by doing 'track-stands' on a gradient, unclipping and clipping in.

The other unclipping you must get used to is down a hill at speed, just before your front wheel hits the earth bank and you and the bike part company. It will save you a sprained ankle or two.

The other 'MUST DO' is learn to unclip when the front wheel goes sideways on ice. You MUST get into a habit of throwing heels outwards when ANYTHING unusual happens, like a sudden deflation of the front tyre or a motorcar appearing from nowhere.

PS. SPDs don't have to be highly adjusted. A small springload will be OK. They will only release when you twist your foot sideways, NOT when you keep your shoe in the proper position. You should be able to connect the empty shoe on, and off again by hand in the workstand.

I have no problems at all. I've never pulled the shoe off the pedal.