Posts Tagged ‘speedplay’

Going Clipless

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Among road bicyclists, probably the first clue that someone might be halfway serious about the sport isn’t the colorful jersey they’re probably wearing.  No, it’s when you look down at their pedals and instead of seeing that big flat platform where your feet go that we all remember from when we were kids – you see instead a small chunk of metal which seems impossibly small to serve the purposes of pedaling a bicycle.

You’re looking at a “clipless” pedal.

I won’t pretend I’m anything approaching serious.  I still suck in all the ways that “roadies” might ever measure themselves.  But what started out simply as a way to get a little exercise… has morphed into something else entirely.  What that is, what it will end up being, I can’t say.  But I’m going with the flow.  And the flow told me to do this.

There are a handful of different kinds of clipless bicycle pedals.  After doing a week’s worth of research, I chose Speedplay Light Actions.

There’s some wisdom associated with clipless pedals.  The most prominent being… you’re going to fall down a time or two while you’re getting used to them.  Your feet are essentially locked into place on the pedals – not unlike a ski boot to a ski – and you disconnect them by rotating your heel out.  Sounds simple.  And it is.  But it’s not quite as quick or as easy as simply lifting your foot off of a conventional pedal and sometimes you end up coming to a stop with your feet still glued to the bike.

That’s when you get to absorb some of that wisdom.

It didn’t take me long.  Having installed my shiny new pedals on my bike and having attached the cleats to my new cycling shoes, I figured I’d just spin around the upper loop on my gravel driveway a few times.  That’s when I discovered that the unclipping procedure was not as intuitively obvious as I first assumed it must be.  Splat.  Down into the gravel hard enough to knock my chain off.

Slightly banged up, but undeterred, I took off on my evening training ride last night.  I had some initial difficulty leading out on the slight uphill incline in my yard – clipping into the first pedal is done from a standstill, of course; but then you have to clip the other one in after you’ve gotten moving.  My unclipped foot slipped off the pedal and I banged my perineum on the bike’s top tube.  Hurt like hell.

But once I was past that little drama, it all got better.  I spent an hour down in Warrenton Lakes getting a few miles in and practicing clipping and unclipping.

I’ll get this.

Speedplay Pedal

Speedplay Pedal

Road Cycling Shoes w/cleats

Road Cycling Shoes w/cleats