I am a beginner cyclist training for my first triathlon, and even though I've finally gotten the hang of clipping out to prevent embarrassing falls, my ankle hurts each time I do it. I went to a bike shop to get fitted, and I have 0 pain when cycling or doing any other activity. It is the act of clipping out that makes the outside of my ankle hurt. Sometimes, I feel like I am twisting it at a crazy angle to get out (>45 degrees). When I see other people clip out, it seems like they do not have to twist nearly as much nor use as much effort. Am I doing it incorrectly? I'm not yanking my foot up or down; I really do think I'm going sideways, but I could be wrong.
Since you are just getting used to clipless pedals what type are you using. More importantly, many of them have a "tension" adjusment. They should not be causing pain to clip out and 45 degrees is not too uncommon so I'm thinking it must be the tension.
Let me know if this helps.
Hi Gary, thanks for the response. I am using the Look Keo Sprint pedals with gray cleats (4.5 degrees of float). I didn't notice anyplace where I could adjust the tension, though. Is it something I'd have to go back to the bike shop for? Sorry for being so dense, I really am a newbie! Maybe I should've stuck with running =)
Look at the info that I found on a website about your pedals below-
• Use: Competition, Sport riding
• Weight: 250g/pair
• Body Material: Polyamide Composite
• Spindle Material: CrMo steel
• Bearings: 1 Sealed Bearing, Needle Bearing
• Adjustments: Spring tension, 9-15 Nm
• Look Keo Grey grip Cleats with 4.5 degrees of float
My question to you is..do you have the manual for them? It looks like there are (2) adjustment screws, hex or something similar and you may have to apply the same amount of turns for both. Not sure because I've never seen them.
Your bike shop would be a good place to start..but only if they will provide the service free of charge. Otherwise you could call around and look for a user manual on line.
I would be willing to bet that it is just your spring tension that needs a little tweaking. Don't set them too loose though either as that can create issues under high power load. Such as sprinting or hill climbing.
Keep me posted.
You were absolutely right! I got my tension adjusted and learned how to do it myself for the future. Clipping in and out is a lot easier, and I no longer have ankle pain. Thanks so much!
Great news! Some of these sites really are helpful (some better than others). Anyway, as you grow and become more experienced, if you need some assistance just give a shout.
Okay everyone, let us get the language straightened out. You are not clipping out because as I read it with your Keo pedals you are not using Toe Clips. You are using what most everyone refers to as "clipless" pedals. A "clip" is that cage like device often referred to as a TRAP that we used to use up to about 25 years ago when Look came out with their pedals and others did as well. To me, if I take my old pedal, with a clip on it and unscrew that clip with the leather or nylon strap and just ride the plain flat pedal, now THAT is a clipless pedal. I refer to all the other spring loaded types and variations as "step-in" pedals as they are modeled after "step-in" ski bindings.
That said, now that your tension is minimized on your pedals, and I'm sorry the guy who sold you your pedals in the first place didn't mention it (as that would be the competent thing to have done as well as instructing you how to use them in a safe area), your technique to release them can be improved. I suggest that you "CLEAT OUT" with the leg at the top of the arc and the other straight, or nearly so, down. This will provide a leverage point from which to snap out. It will minimize a jerky action and put less strain on your ankle joint. Turn your ankle outward. One of my friends, despite practicing this in front of me repeatedly and seemingly getting it down, started turning her ankle inward and she fell and broke her radius bone. Skip that step please!
Try to cleat out when you still have forward momentum. So, for example, as you approach a light that is red (but anticipate that it might turn green) have, for example, your left leg down, and your right leg up and turn outward your right heel. But do it in such a way that you just snap out but keep the sole of your shoe still on the pedal so that if the light turns green you just turn it back in (as it is already on) and not have to go through the 'seeking' maneuver to CLEAT IN!
You realize you are fighting a noble but losing battle don't you? "Clip in" and "clip out" are pretty entrenched in the lingo. For those of use old enough to know about toe clips and the advent of Look step-ins, you make perfect sense.
Sorry to hear about your friend breaking her leg, but she should have able to cleat out by twisting inwards as well as outwards. My right pedal with one set of shoes/cleats doesn't cleat out to the outside but does fine to the inside and with my other pair of shoes/cleats (and the left side there is no problem either way).
I'm waiting to read something you write for which I don't agree! I am particular about the language and hoping to improve upon it daily but you are right, I do understand I am Sisyphus in this scenario. Nevertheless, while some think I'm contrary, I think I'm just particular and the term "clipped" in to me does not make any sense though I generally understand what is being said. That said, I'm not going to contribute to the promotion of the initial error.I think it more accurate to state "CLEAT in" or "CLEAT out!" In the ski business, the term "parabolic" came to be used as a generic term for shape skis when it in fact pertained to "parabolic" skis which were only from ELAN. Sort of like purchasing a Xerox copying machine from IBM. Or using a Kleenex from Puffs. Or Jello from whomever! If someone such as a ski magazine speaks of K2 Parabolic skis then they get a phone call from me or a letter!
I do think riders should be able to release inward or outward but for learning I think it safer to move outward as then the foot can come down and land to support the body while standing at that light. I just realized you did make a mistake! The radius is one of the forearm bones (not the leg). She broke the proximal end of it but only had the cast on two weeks. That to me was amazing though it took a couple of more weeks before she increased her range of motion to near normal. Thanks for the respects!
Just another note to cleaters out there. Depending on the model shoe/cleat/pedal interface worn cleats are sometimes more difficult to release from pedals. Others too easy to release. So, inspect them now and then and if the plastic appears to be breaking down then replace them. The most durable cleat/pedals I've seen were the Shimano Durace SLR's which I understand was developed for Lance. I'm on my original cleats and the pontoons that support the shoe when standing are worn or broken but the cleat remains true. I thought it a great technology and have three sets but alas, as I understand it, Lance didn't care for them so Shimano dropped them and went to the SL's in plastic and more similar to the orginal Look style pedal cleat structures. I like them both.
I enjoy the etymology of words and phrases as you do. To someone younger than us (apparently), "clipping in" makes perfect sense because they have no knowledge of the 100 years of toe clips with straps and cages. A clip is a device that grips and holds tightly, which both binding systems do. The old system was more strapping in than clipping in. I was going to use the Xerox and Kleenex examples of common usage (so maybe we are twins!). I don't hear the use of "parabolic" with skis (I live in a ski town) other than the ELAN skis. Most of the "new" skis are called '"shape" skis (like the old skis didn't have shape?!).
Since we were talking about ankle pain when releasing from pedal systems, I didn't read to closely that your friend broke her radius (D'oh) and not tib/fib/femur in the leg. Which brings up another related subject: falling while still stuck in pedals. Since most of us tip over at very low speeds while forgetting to twist to release (or release the strap) from these new-fangled devices, putting your hand out is a common reaction. But most of your weight will be concentrated on a bunch of small bones of the hand, wrist, and lower arm (where the radius is located). I have found that twisting to land on the big fleshy glutes of my butt, while still embarrassing, is a lot less painful. Higher speed crashes should also involve rolling to dissipate impact forces. Have I got stories about falling over while still in the new LOOKs, circa 1985!
(And in response to another of your posts, my young nieces and nephews couldn't pronounce my first name but could easily get my initials. Mommy, Daddy, then BT.)
Interesting. My crashes (fortunately few) usually result in a release, "cleat out!" without any recolletion of a conscious effort to do so. One exception was in my very first mountain bike race which I went into at the Norba Nationals up north in Michigan. This was probably in 1991 and prior to mountain bike pedals as we have them today. I did have a set of Specialized Mountain shoes which accomodated a Look cleat and football cleats at the front. The shoes were new as was the delta cleat and the course sandy. As it happened it was 106 degrees at 4pm to be the hottest day on record just off Lake Michigan's coast on the Leelenau Peninsula west of Traverse City. It was humid too.
I had not ridden my mountain bike in the two weeks prior to the race. This was rigid fork days and I had a Ritchey Ultra in all white with black logos. I took my start a tad late so at the start line at the base of a short ski hill I was on the right but also on the grass. The start of the Sport race went off and without too much of an effort I got to the top with ease and a 15 meter lead. The second guy had a gap on the rest of the group. I lead for the first 2 1/2 miles at least and finally realized I had no idea about the course and that this other guy probably did so I let him by. In the front pairing it was cool until I misjudged a turn and slid out. Well, the sand was lodged a bit in my new pedal/cleat combo and when I went down I did not release and I ended up on my back, turtlesque with my bike above me, both feet in the pedals. Just glad a Warren Miller wannabee was not there to film it. I struggled to release and darn near hurt myself but finally got out. I hopped back on the bike, probably now in about 10th and ticked off. So I rode a wheel and passed a guy and on the last lap there was a slight roller through two trees about handlebar width and the trail had the arc about the same as the tire. The guy in front of me eased up while I was in the arc and I was at a near stop. When I pushed the pedal to restart the chain exploded! So, I let it drop out and ran up the last couple of hills and hopped on and coaster biked the downhills and got a great cheer from the crowd as I ran up that last hill. Gosh was I grimey! So it goes! Rishi won the pro race and stayed on the bike it appeared!
I have only had a couple of high speed crashes where I released both feet from the pedals. One was hitting good-sized stone in the road that the leader of the paceline didn't see and didn't point out. I was fourth wheel and saw it in an instant and went over the bars Superman style. Fortunately (?) the road was pretty smooth so I didn't get torn up too bad (if torn gloves, jersey, shorts and road rash on forearms, chest, hip, and knees isn't "too bad"). The second was on a ride with my wife when I was coming down a steep grade into a left turn when I realized I had a front tire flat. I tried to scrub as much speed as possible while still hoping to make the turn and not roll the tire off the rim. No such luck as I went down on my left hip and forearm (and rolled) and the bike went skittering across the pavement. I had time to yell "Oh, crap" before hitting the pavement. My wife, who was ahead, heard the yell and the bike sliding, knowing that was not a good combination of sounds. In both crashes, no conscious decision to twist out.
Back when I first got Look pedals, as with most newbies to these systems, it was the barely moving, tip over incidents that are funny to remember. A couple of times at stop lights where I reached down to release the strap only to remember that is not how get the foot out. Of course with cars around. "Yes, I meant to do that". The best tip-over was after our local club's weekly time trial, I returned to my apartment. This was an apartment that I had just moved to in a town with a grid system of streets that, frankly, all looked the same. About mid-block was where my building was located with a driveway in from the street. Being pretty hammered after the workout, I turned at the appropriate location and found someone had moved the building and driveway! Nothing in front of me except the curb and sidewalk. Brake to stop and can't ...quite...get...out...of...pedals. A car is parked several feet away that I can...just...barely...reach. Enough to slide down with my hands and land on my butt. Needless to say, I was a block off.
Both speed events sound crazy scary. Always have had a fear of a front flat fall out! When I lived in Austin in '99 for a short time I was about to go down this hill (with some traffic) and just before the descent I thought the bike felt funny so I turned into a sub. Yep, the front wheel was soft. I changed it and probably got about 90 lbs into it. Ended up going down that hill and I recall a car passing me about an arm's lenght away and I looked at the speedometer to read 47 mph. I hit 51 on that hill with low pressure and that was one of only three (or four) times I've been over 50 mph (never once here in Michigan.) At the bottom I thought back that it was cool and lucky that I discovered the flat. I don't know if I would have made it especially considering the proximity to the otherwise thoughtful Austinian traffic.
There was a pedal called the Leisure Look I think. It was yellow plastic on one side but the other side accomodated a delta cleat. I used those on my '85 Stumper. Anyway, I went to California to visit pals from High School and didn't ride for nearly two weeks. Got home, hopped on my bike and went for about a 25 miler. Stragely though, I never had to stop. I got back to my apartment which was on the ground floor and on the grass realized I had no idea how to release (as the pedals were new and I was away for a while!). I finally just pulled up with force and bam the pedal/plastic exploded. I got out but the pedal was in pieces. So much for those! That is why I never fell while "learning" as instead I just destroyed the pedals! Close call though.
Stay up right!
My favorite story involved my roomate in college, back in 1977. I never thought he was much of a rider (still don't), but he had a nice bike for the day and went and got cleated shoes. At the time (with toe clips) you would ride around for awhile without attaching the cleats and see where the back of the pedal tended to rub and aligned the cleats there. He attached the cleats with a bunch of tiny brads (nails) and went out for a ride. In the hills. Where there is a stoplight at an intersection part way up a hill. He had never practiced getting out of cleated toe clips before and he came up to the stoplight still going uphill. As he slowed, he forgot to loosen the toe clip strap. He then came to a stop, still strapped in. Then slowly...rolled...backwards...Until he tipped over and slid a bit. All the while desperately trying to get his feet out. When he came back to the dorm (a bit bloody), he showed me his cleats with about 3/4 of the brads torn out. The trick in that situation, he found out later, is to kick forward and pull up otherwise the cleats do their job of keeping the shoe anchored to the pedal.
Just to "stir the pot" a little bit for fun,
What do you do with that tube the saddle is attached to when you need to adjust the saddle height? I was taught to loosen the bolt and adjust the "seat post ---err "saddle post". Anyone tell me why my Colnago road bike has a French component on it (deraileur)? I thought it was hand made in Italy? What's with the international outsourcing?
(I don't really own a Colnogo,- although, I wish I did). Just an illustration that cycling is full of outdated terminolgy.