First order of business: Congratulations to my fellow clubbers who cleaned up at Riverwinds today:
~ Jen McCarthy – 1st place age group 35-39
~ Colleen Foster- 3rd place age group 40-44
~ Cheryl Tavano – 2nd place Athena

A hearty congratulations to all MHTC members that competed today!

In addition, a quick update on my training for Queen of the Hill:

I bought clipless pedals! Yeah! I rode around the parking lot at Action Wheels a few times (yes, back to skirting the dumpster) and then… I promptly fell. I was clipping in and out with relative ease, but maybe got a bit overzealous and went to step off the bike with my left foot, only realizing a second too late that I was still clipped in. I was not moving (thank God!), but I did fall.. “like a Redwood tree” (to quote my husband). On the next go I basically did the same thing, but bound and determined not to wipe out twice, I ended up half falling, half straddling my bike.. and scraping my shin nicely along the way. It’s inevitable though, right? Let’s just hope (please, please, please) that this fulfilled my falling initiation and that I do not repeat on a group ride. Or alone on a ride for that matter.

And lastly….before I head back out to practice clipping in… and out… and back in… (wax on / wax off), I thought it wise to do some research on clipless pedals best practices. Below are some articles and tidbits I’ve picked up along the way, as well as some additional cycling info I’ve unearthed over the past few weeks. Happy reading!

Great local haunts:
http://actionwheels.com
 http://www.tccyclist.com/about

Cool site for planning rides:
http://www.njbikemap.com/

Gear changing video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sJxQrVS0KY

Bike positioning:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcXlJg6lns4&feature=relmfu

Clipless Pedal videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmwHqcFlOI4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcSF-7oJ1Ac

Clipless Pedal articles and tips:

http://www.caree.org/bike101cliplesspedals.htm

OK, we’ll finally answer the BIG question. Once you get used to clipless pedals, the chances of coming to a stop before exiting your pedal (and thus falling over) are greatly reduced. BUT…chances are, in that first day or two, you’ll forget that you need to twist your heel out (instead of pulling back) to unclip. By the time you recognize your mistake, it’s too late, as you’ve lost all forward speed. And, with no place to go but down…you get the picture. You will, in very slow motion, and nearly always with people around to see it happen, fall over. You’re not likely to get hurt, but it’s terribly embarrassing. And most likely there’s nothing that makes you so special that you’ll avoid the fate shared by just about everyone else. Just try and remember this…

That said, there are a few things you can do to make your first time in clipless pedals a little easier:
 

wpid-bluebutton-2011-04-16-08-17.gif When you first get your clipless pedals (what ever the style) have someone put your bike on a trainer – so that it is stable and stationary – and spend a half hour practicing clipping in and out of your new pedals.
wpid-1__@__bluebutton-2011-04-16-08-17.gif Have the bike shop set the mechanism on the pedal a little bit less tight for the first few weeks.  Once you are comfortable clipping in and out of your pedals, tighten the pedal up again so it holds you more steadily for the long haul.  Ask the salesperson or bike mechanic how to do this for your specific pedal type.
wpid-2__@__bluebutton-2011-04-16-08-17.gif On your first couple of rides, try to ride in areas that have long periods where there are no stops.  As you are riding along practice clipping in and out in these areas.  You don’t have to stop, just get used to the feeling of clipping in and out.  On your first ride try to find a big empty parking lot to ride about in and try out the pedals
wpid-3__@__bluebutton-2011-04-16-08-17.gif Most people will find that they can clip in and out on one side better than the other.  Work out which side this is for you and try only to clip in and out on that side when coming to a stop.  If you build up this habit you will limit the times when you clip out with one foot  but lean the wrong way and fall over anyway.
wpid-4__@__bluebutton-2011-04-16-08-17.gif Do not look down at your pedal when clipping back in.  You can’t see the bottom of your foot anyway so get into the habit of keeping your eye on the road ahead instead.  This is a safety issue more than anything else.  If you feel that you need to look down, first pedal through the intersection unclipped before looking down
wpid-5__@__bluebutton-2011-04-16-08-17.gif You only have to unclip one pedal when you are at an intersection.  Get used to leaving the other shoe clipped in.  It means one less pedal to worry about.  Also when you start from a stopping position be sure to have your clipped in foot at about the 1 o’clock position so that your first stroke is a downward one that will give you more speed.
wpid-6__@__bluebutton-2011-04-16-08-17.gif OK, this is going to sound a bit pessimistic, but as you are getting used to your clips be sure to pack a little first aid kit in your bike gear bag.  Some antiseptic wipes, band-aids and Brave Soldier road rash ointment would be ideal.  Ideally you should always carry a basic first aid kit when you ride.  You can buy a cycling specific kit by Brave Soldier from a good bike store or online at places such as Performance Bike for around $10.  One thing this pack is missing is a pair of sterile gloves.  Try to have these on hand as well for times when you may need to attend to someone else’s wounds.
 
 
Happy riding!

3 thoughts on “Cycling 101

  1. Ok– you are actually making me consider dusting off my pedals and trying again!

    • I rode around my development for a half hour yesterday: starting, stopping, clipping in and out while riding. It went much better than at AW. I will definitely need to remind myself that I’m clipped in during long rides, but I assure you it was so much better. You can definitely do it; I am sure of it. Come to Rode’s tomorrow. I’ll be clipped in for the 1st time out on the road and would love the company. 🙂

  2. Love it, Stephanie! I’ve fallen more than once out of my clipless pedals. And they were on group rides. Usually at a stop when I’ve forgotten I was clipped in or thought about it too late. I had some nice banged up knees last summer from my falls. I keep the first aid supplies in my flat kit so I’m ready for my next fall or to help someone else. But I love my clipless pedals so I’m willing to brave the risk.

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