Found You! Just got a road bike (and clippy shoes) - Advice Welcome

JustSomeEm Posts: 19,752 MFP Moderator
edited August 2019 in Social Groups
I just found this group! I'm so glad!

Hi, I'm an injured distance runner who (thanks to injury) has mostly switched to biking. Have always had a mountain bike, but recently have been doing much more road biking, so yesterday picked up (and got fitted on) my new road bike with clipless pedals and shoes (henceforth known by me as clippy shoes, since clipless makes no sense in my head when I'm clipping in). I'm super-stoked - I've been using my mountain bike on the roads, but going longer distances (which I want) was painful. I'm hoping the road bike makes the longer miles suck less.

Any cycling tips are welcome.

Any tips for not killing myself while using clippy shoes are welcome as well. I hesitated in getting them because I've seen some killer road rash thanks to people not being able to react fast enough with their feet.


  • awinner_au
    awinner_au Posts: 249 Member
    It is weird we call them clipless shoes when we clip in, though toe clips still exist. Perhaps we should call them cleated shoes and click in.

    They are always daunting when you start, just be ready well in advance. Expect a fall at some point. Once you get used to them you can get out in a flash.
  • TheBigYin
    TheBigYin Posts: 5,680 Member
    JustSomeEm wrote: »
    Any tips for not killing myself while using clippy shoes are welcome as well.

    If you've got an indoor trainer, setup the bike on there and practice clipping in and out on there until it becomes second nature.

    if not, lean upside a wall, and do the same

    failing that, find a nice soft grass playing field and go fall off in that while you practice.

    you'll generally find that you have more problems with one foot than the other. I'm lucky, my "slow" foot is my right one, which is traffic side in the uk, meaning that my "good" foot for clipping in-out is kerbside - so I can unclip and put my kerbside foot down.

    if the tension on the pedals is adjustable, start with the tension backed all the way off. After a couple of rides, crank it up a bit, rinse, ride and repeat. You're looking for enough tension in the pedal retention spring that you don't pull your foot in a sprint, or heaving up a hill, but no more or it'll become awkward to get into.

    you didn't mention the type of pedals/cleats/shoes you've gone for... any more in depth tips are a bit "tech specific" - i.e. recessed with the SPD little metal cleats you kind of "stamp direct down onto" to clip in, whereas look/time/shimano road spd are more of a push forward and down action...

    and finally....

    just when you think you've mastered them, and you're at the front of a queue of traffic, that's when you'll miss-clip and fall over, still half clipped in, and the entire world honking their horns and laughing/swearing at you. It's one of the rules of cycling.

  • TheBigYin
    TheBigYin Posts: 5,680 Member
    Still, they're WAY better than old school clips, straps and shoe plates. I remember a few times at the end of time-trials with the old kit, i'd get over the finish line, miss my "catcher" and basically just fall over still tied to the bike, unable to get my feet out. Best I could hope for was to fall kerbside and not into the road.
  • TheBigYin
    TheBigYin Posts: 5,680 Member
    just noticed you said you're "an injured distance runner".

    in that case, make sure you get someone to help you setup your cleats - even the slightest incorrect angling of the cleat can mean you're forcing your ankles knees and hips to "track" in an un-natural line. There's a reason why pretty much every bike-fit i've ever had has started with the pedals, cleats and shoes.

    might help as a starter, but it really helps to have someone to assist...
  • JustSomeEm
    JustSomeEm Posts: 19,752 MFP Moderator
    Wow - thanks for the freaking fantastic information @TheBigYin - seriously! The gentleman who fitted me on Friday did my shoes and pedals for me. He was absolutely fantastic. The type of shoes I'm wearing are shimano (because I have wide feet), sounds like the 'stomp down' kind based on your description, and the pedals I ended up with are the kind that you stomp into on one side, but the other can still be used for normal shoes. That's about as teckie as I can get. I left most of the packaging at the store since I left with everything already on my bike. The poor gentleman who was helping me was probably laughing his way through setting everything up while shaking his head at the witless new bike owner (me).

    Hubby (who already has a road bike with clippy shoes) and I went for a quick 10 miler yesterday just to test everything out. I'm proud to say that I managed to not fall over once - though I did forget to unclip to stop at our final destination until I saw him do it, so I think that's going to be a problem (at least until I fall once as a 'gentle' reminder). Clipping in and out isn't as big an issue as I'd feared it might be... Anyway, our test ride was a full 3 MPH faster than I was riding with the mountain bike - without trying. Its crazy how good the road bike feels getting out there.

    Heading out in about 20 minutes to tackle 20 to 30 miles with my neighbor... I'll report back with a 'road-rash-report'.

    You guys are awesome - again, thanks for such fantastic advice!
  • TheBigYin
    TheBigYin Posts: 5,680 Member
    the ones in the video above are the "push forwards and down" ones,

    These are the "stomp onto" ones...


    you CAN also get a version of these cleats that are designed for commuters and beginners, called the "multi-release" version... they're easier to get into and out of, but at the rist of occasionally pulling your foot out by accident. Think of them as cleat "training wheels"...

  • JustSomeEm
    JustSomeEm Posts: 19,752 MFP Moderator
    Welp... I managed to have my first fall yesterday. Totally clipped in on grass getting ready to head out, couldn't get momentum to actually go and slow-fell over into the yard. Luckily, there was no pup-poop in the way, and I'm thankful I was on the grass. :)

    I'll have to check what type of cleats I've got, but I haven't accidentally pulled my foot out... They work for me. :)
  • Infinity_Possible
    Infinity_Possible Posts: 30 Member
    You're going to eat it sooner or later, you're going to have to give it time.

    I've been cycling 4 years seriously and recently switched brands of cleats.

    Ate *kitten* on my new Carbon bike twice now, debating going back to speedplay.
  • SteveTries
    SteveTries Posts: 723 Member
    I'm relatively new to cycling too (10 months) and I'll avoid repeating what others have already offered, but I would add that for me, getting a proper bike fitting was transformative.

    I spent months and months self-diagnosing why my feet were going numb. Following advice on forums and online guides, I changed socks, shoes, cleats, cleat position, saddle...the list goes on. It never occurred to me I needed a fitting, because the guys in the bike shop set me up and they seemed to know what they were doing - hey, a laser level impressed me.

    But a proper fitting was a whole other experience. As well as fixing the foot numbness, he was able to show me I had a leg longer than the other (and what to do to compensate), that my power was being applied late in the pedal revolution, that I had unusually poor ankle flexibility and should exercise it. It was really great AND it was cheaper than all the stuff I'd bought that I didn't need!

    I will just add something to the clipping in discussion. I am definitely the guy who tries to avoid unclipping. I'll time my pace as I approach the junction/lights to avoid it. I'll lean on lamposts at a stop. I'll teeter on the edge of falling as I wait in a queue. Contrast that to my much smarter mate who unclips one foot nice and early whenever there is a potential reason to stop, keeping that foot in position to clip straight back in again if he is able to proceed. A much better strategy and one I am now adopting.

    Last thing - I bought a £10 little handlebar clip on mirror from amazon. It really gives me confidence being able to check whats happening behind whenever I want. Forewarned is forearmed and all that.

    here is the one I bought
  • awinner_au
    awinner_au Posts: 249 Member
    Ive only ever clipped stacked when stationary, both times i leaned over to the same side as the clipped in foot and just went past the tipping point, not much damage done by highly embarassing.
  • kayak4water
    kayak4water Posts: 155 Member
    Bright frikkin' lights, rear and front!
  • JustSomeEm
    JustSomeEm Posts: 19,752 MFP Moderator
    Bright frikkin' lights, rear and front!

    Yeah - I discovered that I need brighter lights once the days started getting shorter... Any recommendations?