One of the most common questions we get at CWRB is around clipping in. It can be one of the biggest, but scariest, upgrades you can make when starting out!
Think about it this way, when you learned to drive a manual car it was a steep learning curve. You had to learn how to operate the clutch and move the gears as well as think about braking and accelerating and steering. It’s all so hard at first… you bunny hop everywhere – and hill starts become the most panic attack-inducing, horrible thing you can imagine. But then, over time, you practice and it becomes second nature!
This is what it’s like going clipless. Some people “get it” straight away. Others take a while, and some even fall onto their partner’s motorcycle in their own driveway while trying to practice. Ahem.
One of the biggest fears of going clipless is falling. CWRB is of the opinion that falling while clipped in is a…rite of passage. Anyone who says they’ve never done it is probably telling you porkies. Clipless pedals require specific shoes and cleats which fit the mechanism. Most bike shops will sell these in a package deal, and although there are a couple of different types of clipless pedals (SPD are the ones more often seen on mountain bikes or SPD-SL are most common on road bikes).
The main advantage is that you will cycle more efficiently (some say about 30% more) due to being able to push and pull on the pedals. Whatever the exact percentage, it definitely makes a huge difference, and, if you ask people, they will tell you they will never go back.
Here are our Top Tips for newbies clipping In:
Get your clipless gear with your bike purchase.
Even if you aren’t planning on using them right away, you may get it cheaper (or even free!) with a bike purchase as a package deal. You may find you are ready to try them faster than you thought!
Try double-sided pedals
Look into pedals which are flat on one side, but have the clipping mechanism on the other. It give you some control over when you are comfortable being clipped in. I used these for 2 years before deciding to move to full clipless on the mtb! They can be used on road, touring and mtbs for as long as you like.
Practice somewhere quiet
Find a very quiet street (or better yet, a closed circuit such as a velodrome or criterium track) to practice on. Clip in, pedal a few times, then clip out. Don’t risk having the stress of cars or other bikes rushing around you if possible – it’s stressful enough!
Practice clipping out WITH BOTH FEET. This is an important one. Most people end up with a ‘favourite foot’ which can cause issues if you are forced to stop and unclip with the other one… This is especially true if you are learning to ride clipped into your mountain bike.
Any other tips for newbies clipping in? Comment below!