SP Premium


Stories of a New Clipless Rider

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I've been having a lot of fun cycling the past 2 weekends! And, I hope to ride tomorrow... just hope the rain holds off!

Last Saturday, I FINALLY went to the park and joined the cycling group I've been a member of for about 9 months. Yep! I did it! There are probably about 150 or so riders and they divided into 6 groups. They divide by pace and by whether it is a "drop" or "no drop" ride. Since I didn't know they route & tend to get lost easily, I went with a "no drop" ride. I chose the longer distance - 40 miles at a 14-16 mph pace.

It was a chilly day and I dressed appropriately. There were only 5 in our group, where other groups had 40+. This was my first 'clipless' ride, and I did great! Well, until I had a flat at mile 30. There was no one behind me, so I pulled over... and forgot to unclip (since my mind was on my flat) and promptly fell... into the grass... which was actually sticker bushes! So, I had to pick out over 50 stickers from my shorts & jacket. Thankfully I had those on so the stickers weren't in my skin! My hip was a little sore, but not bad. Anyway, we changed the tire (well, someone changed it while I picked out stickers) and it immediately went flat again! We had checked the tire & didn't find anything. In the end, we had to call for someone to pick me up. We were all out of spare tires! But, it was a very nice 30 mile ride.

The following day, I joined my usual group which does either 18, 22 or 28 miles. I was sore from the first pedal! But, I kept going - just a little slower than usual. There was another lady there riding clipless for the first time and she was quite scary! She fell over before we started (which I can totally understand!), but every time we stopped she was screaming & falling. I steered clear of her! I finally got a second wind at about mile 15 out of the 22 we were doing. It's such a crazy feeling... to go from where it is a struggle to where everything feels so wonderful! It was a wonderful ride - and a prettier day than Saturday.

I did a spin class on Thursday. I worked so hard my legs were wobbling when I left! Yep... that's the way to get stronger!

Today I went back to the park where my group meets. I went with the same group but there were 11 of us this time. It was a GORGEOUS day starting in the upper 60's. I know some of you can't imagine that temp at this time of year! Anyway, I felt so much stronger than last week! We ended up doing 36 today, though I could have went off with 2 others who did the 40. But, they were faster & I was enjoying my group.

I didn't even know rain was in the forecast, and it started raining on us! Like a REAL rain! It was a little painful and it was sure a mess on my sunglasses. But, it only lasted about 5 minutes. I had to stop and clean my sunglasses.

Well, awhile later, I was leading our group and went across some railroad tracks - this is the first ride I've done that but it was our second set of tracks. I heard something metallic hit the ground and someone yelling to someone that they dropped something. I was yelling back asking if I needed to stop. Then I heard someone hit the ground. I pulled over immediately (I hope I signaled, but don't think I did - I was out in front by a bit, though). THANKFULLY, I remembered to unclip!

I sat my bike down and ran back to my new friend, Sheila. She was lying on the tracks and a truck was parked behind her and he was asking if she was OK. Thankfully, no, she was NOT hit by the truck. He'd just stopped to help. I grabbed her bike & he helped her up and we got off the road while asking again how she was. She said she'd hit her head hard and her ribs hurt, but otherwise she was fine. I had her give me her helmet and it was cracked pretty badly! I asked if she'd ride back with that guy - we were only about 3 miles away. And, thankfully, she agreed.

I went back and asked the guy if he'd take her back. Well, it turns out he was from our group! He was in his cycling shorts and had his bike in his truck. So, he took her back.

I was thrilled to see Sheila when we finished our ride. She was doing well, but her side really hurt and she was afraid she'd cracked a rib. We were also afraid she had a concussion. Since then, I've heard she did go to the ER and got checked out. Nothing's cracked or broken! (They checked ribs and head.) So, she's doing well - just sore! I'm so thankful!

Yes, cycling can be a dangerous sport. But, it can also be so much fun. We just have to do our best to stay safe out there! Happy riding! (or happy running!)
Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Every new clipless rider falls over at least once! Someone told me to clip out both feet at the same time instead of clipping out right or left when you stop. The reason being when you first start riding, you don't have the balance that you develop over time so you have less control over the lean and also your reaction time is slower. So clip out both feet when you are stopping and you are ready to put down either foot. I still do it out of habit when I am coming to a fast stop. Glad your friend wasn't injured. Hopefully just sore a few days and then she will be fine. Railroad crossings are tricky. Keep enjoying those group rides!
    2811 days ago
    Ahh.....clipless pedals. I remember my first ride...I mean fall. LMAO! I think it's almost a right of passage. I'm glad you got the hang of it. I really like them now. Shelia will be in my prayers. Thankfully she had on a helmet.
    2811 days ago
    Maybe I should have read this AFTER my ride today :-) I am going for my first clip less pedal ride today......by myself. and yes, TIMOTHYNOHE, why do they call them clip less? IMSMILEY88, I am so impressed by you! It sounds like you are riding hard, every time you hop on your bike!

    I need to find a bike group I can ride with. It should be easy enough in my area, there are a million cyclists in PHX.

    I'm glad your friend is relatively ok, too! I hope she heals quickly!

    Thank you for being an inspiration!


    emoticon emoticon
    2812 days ago
    Wow! It sounds like you are getting in some serious mileage. Congratulations! Everybody falls the first time they use clipless pedals. BTW, the cleated pedals are called "clipless" because they are an alternative to the old school toe clips.

    Useful terms for entering clipless pedals is "click in". Then of course, you "click out". However, "clip in" and "clip out" are also readily understood by bikers and cyclists.

    Oh, there is more terminology. A "cyclist" rides on hard surfaces such as roads and paved bike paths. A "biker" is a dirt trail rider on mountain bike.

    I take it that Sheila crashed at the railroad crossing? I am glad she was not seriously injured.

    Clipless pedals have huge advantages. Concentrate on making smooth circles with your feet. Your speed and mileage will increase.

    Thanks, Bruce
    2812 days ago
    For all the riding I do, I will not do clip less again. Had 200 miles of horrible clips and though I have been told over and over that it was the bad clips, I just do nth want that fear or constant thinking about which foot to put down. I admire those who do this effortlessly!!

    Sounds like you have had some awesome autumn rides!!! Keep enjoying :-)
    2812 days ago
    I will never forget my first venture out with clipless pedal (why do they call them clipless anyway? There right on the bottom is a clip.) I was sitting at a light in Newport NC waiting to cross US70. Behind me was a good ol' boy ... pick up, gun rack, Confederate flag, thje whole deal. Light goes green I try to start off and I couldn't find the pedal. And I fall right over on m y side.

    I could just imagine hearing them at the bar that night: "Yeah there was this dang Yankee boy in his f**gy little tight short and he just goes right of like that guy on Laugh-In.
    2813 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.