what makes you fall when clipless?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
jawaka
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what makes you fall when clipless?

Postby jawaka » 18 Dec 2009, 12:13am

I went out for the first time clipless (actually 1/2 clipless as I kept the toeclips for my right foot).
Although i only did round the houses a couple of times feeling fairly confident about getting my foot out I wondered, as everyone going clipless reckons to have a fall, what are the circumstances which cause a clipless fall? Maybe then I could avoid it?

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quiksilver
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Re: what makes you fall when clipless?

Postby quiksilver » 18 Dec 2009, 5:16am

For me it was years of riding flat pedals without the obvious need to unclip, and a bit of brain failure too. Got caught out a couple of times when something unexpected happened just as I was about to unclip and distracted me. Eventually it becomes second nature to unclip. The worst part about forgettig is the embarassment that comes with falling over in front of other people and motorists. I failed to unclip in time once and fell over in front of about 100 other riders, most embarassing. But I probably would have laughed and cheered too if I had been watching me fall.

mercurykev
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Re: what makes you fall when clipless?

Postby mercurykev » 18 Dec 2009, 7:56am

I've only ever fell once. It was 18 hours into a 600km ride and I was approaching a set of lights while eating a sandwich and pulling up an arm warmer. All of this activity meant that I forgot to unclip before fully stopping and I slowly keeled over into the road. In normal use, however, I've never had a problem.

fatboy
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Re: what makes you fall when clipless?

Postby fatboy » 18 Dec 2009, 8:13am

The only time that I've fallen with clipless is when I've not balanced the bike quite right when I come to a stop and I've therefore basically got the wrong foot out and then fall the other way.
"Marriage is a wonderful invention; but then again so is the bicycle puncture repair kit." - Billy Connolly

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531colin
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Re: what makes you fall when clipless?

Postby 531colin » 18 Dec 2009, 8:22am

You need to learn the reflex action of un-clipping. Teaching old legs (in my case) new tricks! Set the retention to minimum. If you get problems, borrow a set of pedals that have had a few years use,I think they release easier. You'll be fine, and clipless is great!

thirdcrank
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Re: what makes you fall when clipless?

Postby thirdcrank » 18 Dec 2009, 8:48am

New bike, first change down onto granny ring in real circumstances. Chain came off. Realised too late.

ChrisButch
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Re: what makes you fall when clipless?

Postby ChrisButch » 18 Dec 2009, 9:23am

You're not alone. I changed to clipless after fifty years with clips and straps. I was still falling regularly a year later - it's the old story of and old dog and new tricks, and the unthinking reflex of trying to put a foot down when stopping took a year to overcome. Be encouraged, however: overcome it I eventually did, the new unclipping reflex is now at last embedded, and I wouldn't dream of going back to clips and straps.

glueman
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Re: what makes you fall when clipless?

Postby glueman » 18 Dec 2009, 10:07am

thirdcrank wrote:New bike, first change down onto granny ring in real circumstances. Chain came off. Realised too late.

The risk of not unclipping doesn't come in run of the mill riding but when something unexpected happens, like your chain coming off. When my transmission jammed with chainsuck the other day I came close to not unclipping.

We tend to use the same foot to put down and if it's caught at an odd place in the circle (like 5 o'clock on the lifting leg} there's no pressure to apply the twist to release and we have to decide whether to undo the other foot which is less intuitive. This usually coincides with a to/fro wobble (we're rapidly losing speed) and down we come.
The whole thing is aggrevated if you also use clips and straps and naked pedals as one mentally runs through whether to twist, pull or slide.

kwackers
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Re: what makes you fall when clipless?

Postby kwackers » 18 Dec 2009, 10:14am

I've had the bike start to lean the opposite way to which I've unclipped - although I managed to emergency unclip the other foot and avoid the floor (just).

I've accidentally re-clipped the foot I'd unclipped and gone over.

I also had a van cut me up and slam on, in the emergency I didn't have time to think about unclipping and ended up propped up against said van!

I've only actually gone over once, but I've had several near misses.
In the end I decided they weren't for me, if they work for you fine - but don't feel that you need to persevere.

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Si
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Re: what makes you fall when clipless?

Postby Si » 18 Dec 2009, 10:15am

I found it very easy to adapt because I changed over the MTB first. On the average road ride I only need to put a foot down every few miles and so it would have taken umpteen rides to get used to SPDs. On the MTB, being totally devoid of any kind of technical riding skill, I'm always unclipping on the dodgy stuff and it only took me one ride to get used the the SPDs....plus falling off off-road tends to involve softer landings.

glueman
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Re: what makes you fall when clipless?

Postby glueman » 18 Dec 2009, 10:29am

In heavy traffic there's nothing to beat flat pedals (grippy BMX type for me), flat bars and good brakes. A hub gear to start in different ratio to the one you stopped would be the icing on the cake. I notice fixed riders take risks to stay clipped in with stop-start traffic, I like fixed on the open road but its only benefit on da street is lack of maintenance.

reohn2
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Re: what makes you fall when clipless?

Postby reohn2 » 18 Dec 2009, 10:33am

Bindings too tight (not happened to me)
Once (with Look pedals)my feet were so cold I couldn't unclip and just fell over.
Once ont' tandem couldn't unclip (spd's) I put this down too very worn cleats,this may sound contradictary but on changing the cleats for new ones I unclipping became quite positive again.
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andrewjoseph
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Re: what makes you fall when clipless?

Postby andrewjoseph » 18 Dec 2009, 10:55am

fatboy wrote:The only time that I've fallen with clipless is when I've not balanced the bike quite right when I come to a stop and I've therefore basically got the wrong foot out and then fall the other way.


me too.

I quite often fall off my mtb using clipless, but that's usually due to terrain not actually being clipped in. i.e. I would have fallen if using flats.

As it is, I've not yet had a fall on my road bike for any reason in the last 3 years, but I do ride my mtb more than my road bike.
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james01
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Re: what makes you fall when clipless?

Postby james01 » 18 Dec 2009, 11:12am

The perils of the learning curve could be eased by going clipless on one pedal only, retaining the toe-clips on the other pedal until the rider feels confident. Assymetry in cycling can have other uses: test the rival effectiveness of 2 pairs of gloves by wearing an odd glove from each pair and finding which hand gets frozen first on a cold ride.

gilesjuk
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Re: what makes you fall when clipless?

Postby gilesjuk » 18 Dec 2009, 12:01pm

In normal situations it is user error, forgetting to unclip in time.

In cases where you have an accident (slippy road etc) it is simply because you are unable to unclip fast enough to put a foot down.

I'd argue it is faster and easier to unclip clipless pedals than it is to remove a foot from a reasonably tensioned toe clip.