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3862 Views 28 Replies Latest reply: Oct 9, 2006 7:51 AM by Shawn2006 1 2 Previous Next
Ca_cyclist Rookie 6 posts since
Jul 9, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Oct 3, 2005 1:46 PM

Clip Phobia, is this common for new or even more experienced riders?

I've talked to many riders who at first are afraid to clip in. I've had bad experiences with falling when I first clipped in. I've had bad sets of clips before that I couldn't get out of and have feared that someone will stop suddenly in front of me as someone did in our group causing three people to fall, two getting seriously injured. The lady who stopped was new to clips, it was her first day out with them on the road.(see my post in August about road safety etiquette) I know some people who really have a phobia about clips. Now that I am a little more experienced, I like them and would not ride without them. I feel I can ride much faster now. I still haven't convinced my husband to clip in yet and I have a friend who doesn't ride often anymore that fears using them again. Is this a "real" phobia?  How does everyone else feel about the subject of clipping in verses not?

  • Gee Whiz Man! Amateur 14 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007

    Yes, I think the fear is valid.  With my first set of clip-less pedals I fell several times when I came to a stop and reached down to release the strap on my toe-clips and found to my surprise there was no strap and over I went, lying on my back with the bike up in the air like a turtle.  I suggest that your first set of clip-less pedals be SPD which seem to be easier to get in and out of than other types of clip-less pedals.  Once the SPD pedals are mastered then you can easily transfer you new skills to any type of clip-less pedal.

  • triruth Pro 174 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007

    Most clipless systems have a hex screw that adjusts the spring tension on the release. Play around with it before you hit the road. I spent 5-10 minutes adjusting and testing/retesting the tension in a cul-de-sac near my house before I went out in traffic. I did fall when stopped though as everybody does while they're getting accustomed to the system. Make sure if you release the right foot that you lean right and not left


    Don't let fear get the best of you, it'll take away from your experience. You're going to fall, you're going to crash, you're going to break something eventually. That's a part of this sport. You have to decide whether it's worth it to you.

  • TurboMatic Pro 53 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007

    Hey, I fell twice with toe-clips !!! I think I have the phobia. Even riding the horse, when we get in a jam (like deep mud or getting caught by a big wave in the surf), my feet automatically come out of the stirrups. It's the fear of getting the "stuck-foot". Yep, it's called stuckfootobia; a dreaded debilitating pschological disease. And I got it !

  • jeancycle Amateur 8 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007

    as a new cyclist I am 58 and fear clipping in. I have done great so far, so why change. I ride fast and hard and can keep up with most riders. I could probably go faster but why?

    I am not out to prove anything other than to keep weight off and stay fit.

    Everyone is after me to clip in.

  • LiquidMotion Amateur 11 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007

    JeanCycle - Stick to your guns. Don't let others talk you into something you're not comfortable with. Pedals are pedals, and one can ride effectively with which ever type they prefer. 


    I personally find that clip-ins have allowed me to go faster and further than toe-clips, but one opinion does not a rule make. 


    TriRuth - I could not agree with you more re: "You're going to fall, you're going to crash, you're going to break something eventually. That's a part of this sport. You have to decide whether it's worth it to you."   I was strictly a mountain biker (no road bike at all) till one fine Spring day when I went over my bars and separated my left AC (clavicle). The impact was too much to take on trails so I bought my first road bike. I've been on pavement ever since.  ... and, yes, I have taken more than one spill just because of my feet being clipped-in.


    Bottom line to me is that we all make decisions based on our own experiences and comfort levels. Cycling, in one form or another, has enriched and continues to enrich the lives of all of us in this forum. 


    Stick with what you like & keep on pedaling!!!    Best wishes.

  • coxwithane Pro 97 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007

    Clipping in is just something new to get used to. I recently got a decent road bike for the first time so that I could ride with my husband and keep up with him. My sad little hybrid just wasn't cutting it.


    The new bike came with pedals that required me to learn how to clip into them, and I definitely fell over several times as I learned the hard way. It's scary and not just a little embarrassing, but I learned and survived. I ride much more efficiently now and keep up with hubby fairly easily.


    Personally, I say people should do whatever they feel comfortable with. Those who are of a certain age may not want to risk falling over for fear of breaking a wrist or something, and that's a perfectly valid feeling. Whichever way you decide to go, the bottom line is just GET OUT THERE AND BE ACTIVE.



  • rnnrchck Amateur 15 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007

    I'm new riding and I am glad to hear I'm not alone in fearing the clipless pedals.  I have found myself kissing the asphalt a lot lately and it is not a pretty sight.. I try to do it at night time so there are no witnesses and less people around to laugh at me! I will keep practicing and hoping to stop my love affair with the asphalt some time soon.

  • coxwithane Pro 97 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007

    I finally figured out how to better anticipate when I was going to need to unclip my feet. These days I just unclip my left foot as I'm braking, then put that foot down and unclip my other foot after I've come to a stop if I need to get off the bike completely. Often times I can just sit at a stoplight or whatever with just that left foot on the ground.


    Good luck,


  • Mary1948 Rookie 1 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007

    Clipping is the only way to go.  Take it from one who was also afraid. The way I got use to it was to do a tour (over 350 miles) with just my right foot clipped-in. This helped me get use to the whole idea.  I think that the secret to being "clipped-in" is mastering "anticipation" of possible accident scenes.  Clipping meaans you have to be very vigilant when coming to stop signs, lights, coming off big hills, etc.  Anticipating and unclipping before something happens.  That's part of being on a bike.

  • Wonatriver Pro 80 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007

    Clipping in definitely enriches the cycling experience. It may not be for everyone, but the additional efficiency one gets is undeniable. I liken it to the difference between driving a standard shift car verses an automatic. You have to get in the habit of taking it out of gear when's the same with your right or left foot when stopping. Just a little practice will make it second nature. Now.....I need to do something about this insomnia......

  • dbtaber Rookie 1 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007

    I am deathly afraid of being clipped in and I am on my 3rd or 4th approach to get grasp on it. My problem is that I am mountain biker and I am afraid to tumble into a cactus if I stall on some rocky climb. I also freeze up on descends. I get this sick feeling in my stomach when I am ready to go downhill on a single track with narrow switchback. What if I can't unclip and loose my balance? Will I end-up down the hill lying next to the rattlesnake? Ok, so somehow all other people I ride with deal with this. Why do I have such a hard time feeling trapped and claustrophobic? My husbands and friends answers are "just do it", "you will get used to it", "you will love it", "it is like driving the stick shift", "you will have 30% more power!", yak, yak, yak.... All logical, so what! I find myself avoid riding with those pedals and going everyday otherwiese.... Arghhhhhh... Why this is so hard for some of us? d.

  • inclark Rookie 1 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007

    I have spd on one side of my pedals and a shoe side on the other (Terry). My LBS recommended practicing one leg at a time, which worked for me.  AFter I got more confident I turned them up to a harder level, and I had trouble getting in them mostly but now no problem.  I did fall 2x when I hadn't pre-planned to stop. Once I bruised some & once was on grass & it didn't hurt in the slightest- except for the humilation factor.  Hopefully, I'm over this now.  I also recommend trying a SPin bike- you can practice all you want with no falling.


    I tried a hill with and without & the advantage was incredible.  I can also go about 2x as fast & far but I have to admit, I was slow & now goign far before. However, I am definitely sold and would encourage others to give it a try on the easist setting.

  • trekbutterfly Rookie 1 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007

    I learned how to work the clips by practicing in a large smooth grassy area. I had a regular tennis shoe on one foot and my cycling shoe on the other. I practiced clipping in and out many times, then changed shoes to practice with the other foot. This allowed me to build confidence without the fear of falling, and getting hurt. I could put the other foot down any time I wanted. Yes, I fell a few times. If you find that the clipping process is tweaking your knee, you may need to make an adjustment to the clip. I have also made the mistake of leaning the wrong way and toppling over. Live and learn.

    Practice, experience, and great riding buddies is what got me through. I prefer the clips, because the cages don't allow me to have a strong pedal stroke. If you have a stationary cycling class available to you, this is also a good place to practice clipping.

    Pedal on.

  • debdumas Rookie 1 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007

    I switched two months ago from toe cages to clips.  What an adjustment!  I was also switching back to a road bike after many years of a hybrid, so I had a lot to get used to at once.  I was really uncomforatble at first!  I did fall several times, fortunately after coming to a stop, so I was scraped but not injured.  The next few times I went out with those spots pre-bandaged!  Then I just carried adhesive tape and gauze.  Now I am mostly used to it.  I now find advantages:  I prefer the ease with which you can get your foot back in the pedal after stopping at a light.  Much easier than sliding it into a cage, then you miss it....  etc.  Also easier to utilize the up motion when pedaling.

    I second the recommendations about doing some test rides with only ONE foot clipped in.  Then, practice clipping in and out, over and over--  find a nice quiet road.  Practice solo before you go out in a group.

    I also recommend the type that has a regular side opposite a clip-in side--  can't remember the terminology, but it allows you more flexibility; while I was adjusting, I could unclip sooner on one side and switch to the non-clip side of one pedal until I needed to actually put that foot down. 

    Lastly, remember to adjust the mechanism so that it is as easy as possible to clip in and out.

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