Saturday, 9 October 2010

"Spud" moment

Since I got the road bike for commuting and pleasure I've been toying with the idea of clipless SPD pedals. Having read all the warnings and scare stories of folks falling off whilst unable to clip out on the forums, and being a bit of "a big jessie" I've been putting the moment off. Well, when my foot slipped off the flat pedals supplied with the bike in the wet last week it was for the last time. I took the plunge and treated myself to a set of Shimano M520's and a pair of matching shoes.

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Out!

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In!

Removing the old ones was no easy task though, thanks to the monkey at Dales who overtightened the original pedals. I mean they were insanely tight! In fact, I've a bloody good mind to go down there and demand that they replace my expensive Britool 15mm spanner which I wrecked and a perfectly good 6mm Allen key I bent like the proverbial banana! I may add that I've had that spanner set since day 1 of my apprenticeship. It's fixed many a machine and removed many a stubborn fastener in it's day, and yet it has been defeated by an overzealous twat with a pedal wrench. Oh, and before any of the smart arses come crawling out of the woodwork to suggest I was tightening the thing check out the direction of the bend in the Allen key and yes I know all about left hand threads etc.

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Ruined!

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GRRR!

Anyway, I got the new pedals fitted eventually and then fitted the cleats to the shoes with no bother and spent the next half hour making Louise hold the bike steady whilst I got on and off checking and making adjustments to the cleat position (She puts up with quite a lot of this crap and should be commended for it!).

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Next I went out for a spin around the carpark practising clipping in and out which went well for the first 2 minutes. Then it happened.

I got up a decent head off steam across the carpark then yanked on the anchors coming to a dead stop at the end of the carpark (showing off how fast the bike accelerates like a typical boy with his new toy) then unclipped my left foot and proceeded to topple over to the right. There was a sickening moment when I realised the direction I was leaning over to. It seemed to me that I hung motionlessly, suspended in mid air for a while, while trying desperately to pull my right foot up off the pedal. The next thing I know I'm faceplanting (can you do that sideways?) the tarmac while still attached to the bike. Fortunately the only thing bruised was my ego and the bike is fine...even more fortunately though, Louise didn't have the camera with her. Pheew that was lucky!

Hopefully I'll not regret the switch when I try it for the first time in traffic on Monday....

5 comments:

  1. They take a little get used to but you won't regret it. Set them slack in the first instance, even a little force will be a majour improvment on your flat peddles, anticipate where possible and unclip early and when you get more confident tighten them up a little. I think they're the biuisness, but then again in Holland cycle traffic and motorised traffic are almost completely seperated so there's less risk in a fall. The one time I have fallen it's been remarkably unspectacular: "whos that idiot whos just toppled over sideways from a standstill at the lights kind of thing" and then it was my own fault for trying to avoid unclipping. The only thing I hurt was my pride.

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  2. I use Time ATAC or Z-Freeride on my mountain bike but on my road bike I use Look which are definitely faster to clip into/out of, the shoes are treacherous to walk in though.

    I've suffered from lock in myself, a few years ago I hired a bike at Glenmore, messed around the campsite the 1st evening with the supplied pedals but fitted my own pedals next moring before setting out, forgot I'd fitted them, tried a wheelie down past the Reindeer center flipped it and and didn't manage to unclip.

    You can imagine the result :-)

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  3. Mac E I have an amusing picture of this in my head now which makes me fel a little better now :o) Cheers for that!

    Dave I think you're right, they are deffo the way to go. I must say I was pleasantly surprised at how easy they were to engage in the car park. No scrabbling around trying to get the foot placed correctly. I think I'll just need to make a point of not forgetting I'm wearing them untill unclipping becomes second nature.

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  4. I am off work this week might follow you up to your work with the camera rolling. I would half the £250 from you've been framed with you

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  5. Hmmm seems like I do all the hard work in that deal. Mind you, preventing the car behind squashing me as I collapse in a crumpled heap of twisted limbs and bike frame has to be worth something.

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