Clipless pedals are the fixture of choice for most serious cyclists. The name may sound misleading as your shoes do, in fact, clip in, but “clipless” refers to their absence of the older style fixtures that had toe straps and buckles. They allow for a more efficient pedalling motion than standard pedals, facilitating a circular motion rather than the more up-and-down motion of non-clipping pedals.
There is, however, a bit of a learning curve when it comes to making the switch, so here are 3 things to avoid once you’ve taken the leap toward clipless.
Diving in the Deep End
When you start out using clipless pedals, it’s highly likely that you’ll fall over at least a few times while you’re adjusting. It’s a bit of a learning process and just about everybody will forget to unclip every now and again when coming to a halt – meaning a date with the cold hard ground.
Accommodate for this possibility by starting out slowly; get some practice in a park or a quiet street so that if you do fall, you can avoid any nasty collisions with cars or pedestrians. Better yet, ride on grass the first few times while you get used to the feeling of your new pedals, so that you minimise damage to your bike if you come off it, rather than scraping up your nice paintwork.
Don’t dive straight into the deep end and hurtle along your usual high-octane sprint routes or use your work commute as a trial run, you should ease into it and remember: you’re learning!
Having Your Seat Too High
If your seat is set to the optimal height for riding, then it will be set high enough so that both of your feet won’t be able to touch the ground while sitting. When you’re learning though, it’s okay to alter your configuration a little so that you’re closer to the ground. If you’re trying to juggle tiptoeing with the foreign feel of your new pedals, you’re likely to end up falling over and battling frustration.
Simply lower your seat a little while you get used to the new pedals and once you feel that you’ve got the hang of it and you’re confident that your skills are up to scratch, readjust the seat back up to optimal height. This will make it much easier for you while you learn.
Ignoring Release Pressure
Most clipless pedals have an adjustable release pressure. When you make the switch, make sure you understand how to adjust this setting so that you can play around with it and ensure it’s set correctly for your needs and abilities.
When you first start out, it’s wise to have your release pressure set lightly so it’s easier to unclip while you’re still getting used to having to perform the deliberate action of clipping in and out throughout your rides.
Once you’re ready to get back into your normal riding regimes, tighten them up so that you can really get the most out of them during more intense riding and sprints. Make sure they’re tight enough to keep your feet secure during your more vigorous pedalling but still set lightly enough that it’s not a struggle to unclip on stopping.
If you can simply avoid these rookie mistakes you’ll be well on your way to cycling like a pro and enjoying the advantages of the clipless revolution. Check out the competition-level range from Merida bikes and get serious about your sport by switching to clipless.