Friday, August 15, 2008

Ramping Up

So, I was all set. I now officially had a road bike. The second day I took one short ride with the platform pedals, made some more adjustments to the seat and handle bars and then tried on the super cool clipless shoes. They fit great, and looking at the design, it seemed as if once I switched to the clipless pedals and shoes, I'd probably have to re-adjust the seat position a bit. So I decided to commit to them. I put the Look pedals on the bike and put on my cool shoes.
I should tell you here that I have never tried a clipless pedal or the associated shoes. I’ve only even tried pedals with clips a couple of times. So, this was an interesting event for me, to say the least.

I sat on the bike in the garage, leaning against the bench and clipped into and out of the pedals a couple of time and then got off and rolled the bike out into the driveway. I got clipped and headed down the driveway. I rolled out to the street, turned around, came back up the drive, unclipped (declipped? clipped out?) and stopped. No problem! I continued this exercise for about 20 minutes and then headed down the street for a proper ride with these pedals. And now I know why people like them. What an efficient way to pedal a bike! Now that I’ve been using them for a couple of days, I like them even more. But anyway, as I was out riding I came to a stop light. Rather than just trying to keep the bike moving and remaining clipped in, I decided this was a good time to try getting out the clips, stopping and then starting and getting across a busy street smoothly.

It didn’t go that way.

I got my green light, used on foot that was already clipped in to start the bike rolling, reached with the other foot and missed. Thinking that I could just fake it and cross the street with one foot unclipped I tried setting the free foot down on the pedal but the carbon fiber bottom of the shoe, being completely like ice, slipped right off the pedal, causing me to lose my balance and start to tip toward the side of the bike that I was clipped in on. But rather than completely fall in the street, I kept the bike up and wobbled back to the curb from where I started. I managed to get clipped back in, but rather than cross the street again, I just ran home like a sissy and kept practicing in front of my house. Since then, I have not had to stop while riding, but I do pull my feet out of the pedals from time to time just to make sure I make a habit of how to get out of these crazy traps. I’ll be sure to post up when I fall because I can’t get out of the pedals quick enough. It seems to me that there are probably two types of people who use clipless pedals in the world; those who have not been able to get into or out of their pedals quick enough and as a result have had a really silly looking crash, and those who will.


Paul Nasvik said...

"Clipped out"

Do you need any guidance with saddle/cleat setup? Can't help you from here, but I can give you some pointers.

Re: riding across intersections. Until you're proficient at clipping in with one smooth motion I recommend staying seated and pedaling. Always get across the intersection before taking the time to make sure you're clipped (get out of the way of traffic). Eventually you'll be able to stay standing whether you're sitting or standing.

-T. said...


I will *always* take any pointers you can offer.

I found this article quite helpful

Paul Nasvik said...

Peter White knows what he's talking about and his write-up is very thorough. What it misses is that an entry level rider doesn't know what stroke mechanics should feel like. Yes...every body is different, but until you know your strengths/weaknesses there's nothing wrong with setting seat fore/aft based on a plumb line.

Reading that brought this to light: I will never type out that much info at once. :) You may need to call me.... LOL

-T. said...

Oh this is cool. I can subscribe and get comments directly in my email. Then I can click a link that brings me right back to this blog. This blog thing just might work, Mister! And look! I already have one new friend who is probably more than just a little progressive. :)

For the time being, I am adjusting the bike with nothing more than comfort in mind. If riding starts to hurt, I'll quit riding. Exactly what happend with my MTB. I put road tires on it, and tried commuting to and from work, but that bike is just completely set up to be ridden slow, with most of your time spent standing on the pedals. It is SO much fun to ride on the dirt on technical paths. I hope to utilize the road bike to get my wind back and then also take the MTB out to get dirty. Right now I have to be as comfy as possible while I build up my butt calouses and figure out what I'm doing.

Paul Nasvik said...

Please tell me you're not calling me progressive....

Here's a great write-up about the "progressive democrats" in SF:

A little "hurt" is ok. If it's the right kind of hurt.