Bike Clipping

by Matt on October 4, 2010

When was someone going to tell me that clipping in and out of a bike was like learning how to walk?

It is very frustrating!

When I went to the local cycling store this afternoon to get a new tire, I had shoes on my mind.

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I have no idea if these are good shoes or no, but both of the clerks recommended them. Either they really are good shoes or they just wanted to put them in my hands to make a sale, I guess I will never know. Well, I guess I’ll figure it out once I start using them more.

After purchasing the tire, shoes, cleats, a helmet, a bike lock, and a few other things, I was in the gutter $400. Cycling is not cheap.

Since I bought the shoes, the clerk there told me that I would be able to clip in and out like a pro before I left the store. I assumed I would be able to wing it and figure it out on my own, but I took him up on his offer because I didn’t really have anything else to do.

Little did I know, this is really a pain in the ass.

After spending about an hour practicing at the store, I think I finally have the hang of it. It did not come easily though and I would be lying if I said that I didn’t fall about two dozen times. I fell flat on my face and left with a few battle wounds. It all comes with learning though!

Who knows how I will do when I am actually out cycling, but I can do it in the parking lot. We will just pretend that the roads are just a huge parking lot ;)

1. The first thing you want to do is secure the cleat to your shoe. At first I had no idea what a cleat it, but is essentially the park that interlocks your shoe into the petals. The cleat should be centered under the ball of your foot with the triangular piece facing forward.

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2. The insert the cleat into the pedal, start by pressing downward at a 45 degree angle into the pedal so that the front of the cleat slips into the lip of the pedal. I started by practicing in the store with the clerk holding me upright. After I could clip it in and out, I graduated to the parking lot and started doing it by myself.

3. With the front tab of the cleat hooked into the pedal lip, step down firmly on the pedal so that the back clips in. You should hear a pretty loud click. CIMG0228

4. To unclip your shoe from the pedal, pivot your heel sideways and away from the bike. This is actually fairly easy comparing to clicking into the pedal. As long as you use enough force, it should come out pretty easily.

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5. Once you are comfortable in a stationary position, try to do it in a parking lot. Clip one foot in, start the bike rolling, and clip the other foot in. It took me a FOREVER to get the hang of it, but I can do it most of the time now ;)

Once I was comfortable in the parking lot, I took the bike for a 25 minute spin around the surrounding neighborhoods. Love at first pedal :)

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

October 4, 2010 at 8:42 PM

i’ve heard that using clips is difficult at first. not that i would know as i’m not a cyclist. i think that would keep me away though. i’d definitely be the person who falls over all the time when stopping!
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October 4, 2010 at 9:04 PM

ooooh clip in shoes are the best!!! And Shimanos are great!
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October 4, 2010 at 9:08 PM

I’ve seen people fall over sideways since they couldn’t un-clip…yikes!
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MattNo Gravatar October 6, 2010 at 12:21 PM

I bet you saw me!

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October 4, 2010 at 10:01 PM

I haven’t even thought of buying shoes and clip pedals and stuff. I’m okay with the cage for now until I get comfortable with riding. I am LOVING my bike though! Hope you like riding.
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October 4, 2010 at 11:47 PM

cycling is soooo high-maintenance! :) but it is LOVE once you get going! you will fall…it happens to everyone(or so I’ve been told) I’ve actually been pretty lucky these past 6-months that i’ve taken up biking I’ve only fallen a few times! although I do currently have a pedal scabby imprint on my shin…my advice is to always use the same foot as your go too when clipping out, and don’t let a fall bruise your confidence, YOU GOT THIS biking thing!
have fun fun fun!
xoxo!
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MattNo Gravatar October 6, 2010 at 12:22 PM

LOL. I have had that bike 4 days and I already have a scab on my shin ;)

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October 5, 2010 at 6:09 AM

I’m one of those people who had to fall a few times before I finally figured out how to unclip! :) Usually at a stoplight, to the amusement of people in cars, once in my driveway because I just forgot. Oh, the humiliation. :) But once you get the hang of it, it’s like…er…riding a bike ;)
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MattNo Gravatar October 6, 2010 at 12:22 PM

I fell flat on my face yesterday in the middle of the road. I got some looks…

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October 5, 2010 at 6:13 AM

I’m glad you’re loving your new bike and gear! I find the clipping/unclipping to be pretty unnerving once I hit the road. I am always afraid that I will fall and then I can’t get clipped back in quick enough when it’s time to get going again.

You’re an athlete. You’ll be a pro in no time!
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MattNo Gravatar October 6, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Haha. Thanks :)

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October 5, 2010 at 6:42 AM

Nice job!

I’ve only ever used my shoes in SPIN class, never on an outdoor bike. I’d be the person to fall at the stoplight b/c I can’t unclip!!
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MattNo Gravatar October 6, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Don’t worry, that is me too!

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October 5, 2010 at 7:55 AM

Yeah tell me about it! When I first started riding it was like learning to actually ride a bike all over again haha!
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October 5, 2010 at 7:57 AM

I don’t have a bike anymore and when I did I never did any of that shoe clip stuff — I can see myself getting waaaaay too frustrated about it. Glad you got the hang of it though!
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October 5, 2010 at 9:17 AM

Like sliding into a bottle cap:) Look at you go! When I was first learning I unclipped one foot early, when I tried to do both I panicked.
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October 5, 2010 at 11:02 AM

Keep on biking, dude!

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October 5, 2010 at 1:51 PM

And that may be another reason why I might never be a tri girl. I love spinning but in my own shoes. If I had to clip myself on the bike, I fear I would fall off and dangle behind like a loose string. Yikes.

Good job!
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October 5, 2010 at 1:53 PM

I’m glad you took the plunge! Everyone takes a couple of spills, but it will be second nature before you know it!
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October 5, 2010 at 8:50 PM

$400? yikes! And that doesn’t even include the bike, eh?

I guess that’s one benefit to running. All you need is a good pair of shoes (or, I suppose nowadays, no shoes at all)
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MattNo Gravatar October 6, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Yeah but once you get the gear, it lasts for awhile. Thank God or else I would not be biking!

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averyNo Gravatar October 6, 2010 at 1:49 PM

OOooh! Clipless pedals! My fave! I have been cycling for the last ten years, since a cycling boyfriend of mine, helped me purchase my first roadbike (his name was also Matt) : ). He put those pedals on my bike right away and forced me (in a loving way) to start out my first rides clipping in. I even started mountain biking with clipless pedals, which seemed way scarier to me, going up and down big rocky hills attached to my bike! I did fall over sideways a couple times in the beginning, and every once and a while, I will still have klutzy moments, but more or less, its all about practice. Now, I feel like the bike is just an extention of me! I’m so glad I got the push to try it right away! Good luck and keep at it!

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