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Thread: Falls Church - Leesburg Pike incident involving curb cut

  1. #11
    KLizotte's Avatar
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    I keep my SPD-M pedals at the lightest setting possible so clipping out is as easy as a regular pedal; I don't even think about it. I've had some bad crashes while clipped in and my feet always popped automatically without injury. That's not to say there isn't a risk but compared to other crap that may go bad, they are the least of my worries.

    That said, I've seen some experienced riders unclipping long before they have to which makes me think that they aren't 100% comfortable with them or else have the tension too tight. Some folks have a hard time clipping in too. Seems best to only use a system that feels 100% comfortable.
    Last edited by KLizotte; 10-19-2016 at 03:54 PM.

  2. #12
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    I remain unattached to my pedals because I feel much more safe, especially after seeing the problems a friend has regularly had (are neither of us completely coordinated? Perhaps not...). So I fully agree with suggestion of not attaching in the potentially crazier (i.e., more potential for interactions) locations.

    Examples:

    1. Pedestrians suddenly changing their mind as to where on the trail they wished to be after I rang my bell (well before hand) and I needed to change direction to go off trail quickly to not hit them. I ended up stopping short and going mostly over the handle bars, but able to land better than if a bicycle were attached to my feet. I only had minor bruises. I was moving at my regular cycling pace (probably 12-15 mph) prior to needing to stop.

    2. Crazy Ivan who was suddenly in my lane, despite my bell ringing (head phones do that). I grabbed my brakes hard and my feet slipped off the pedal since they were not attached and helped me stop by acting like brakes. I did hit the runner, but at that point at a very low speed and was mostly like a bit of a shove. Had I been attached to my pedals, I would not have stopped as quickly and likely would have hit the jogger hard and with my head or something as we came to a stop yards later. Again, traveling at my typical pace.

    3. Two falls on compress snow this past winter (the 1-2inches of snow two days before the blizzard). In these cases I was slower than usual due to the snow, but not drastically. Bike slipped to the side and I hit the ground. Were I attached (and these were sudden falls), I likely would have twisted or broken something, especially on the first fall since I had issues untangling myself as it was. I only had a couple of bruises.

    4. Friend grabs brakes for some reason (cannot recall, likely due to shock of accident/possible concussion) and goes partially over the handle bars, but not entirely due to being attached to the pedals (no time to do anything) and then is mangled in the bike. Broken collar bone and loads of bruising.

    5. Friend has slid on Trollheim and other slippery wooden bridges and landed still attached. Knowing the locations, the speeds were slower than typical, but bruises and scrapes in all cases. Similarly injured when accidentally going off the side of a trail avoiding cyclists from the other direction or just falling from a near standstill. I have managed to get a foot down and not fall in all my similar wobbly cases, to date.

  3. #13
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    I feel fine clipped in in the city with mountain/SPD pedals. I will admit to unclipping while mountain biking when there's a log in front of me that I'm not sure I'm going to make it over, so can understand why one would want to be unclipped in certain situations. SPDs seem pretty easy to me at this point (although there were some embarrassing sideways tonks at lights while I was learning), but road pedals still feel iffy to me downtown. Unclipping is fine; it's clipping in. If I don't hit it right, my foot will slip right off the pedal. Maybe it's just me and no one else has this problem? I was never a road racer so learned to use road cleats very late.

  4. #14
    Steve O's Avatar
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    Similar to helmet use, I would never, ever discourage someone from wearing their helmet if that makes them feel safer. If someone feels safer not clipped in, then, by all means, don't clip in. And vice versa.
    I mildly disagree with elbows contention that some people who are clipped in should reconsider. I, on the other hand, trust people to have already made this decision based on their own skills, comfort and circumstances.

    DrP listed some examples. Here's my counter-example:
    Two years ago I went down at 22mph on Maine Ave. on my way to a Nats game due to the highly irregular surface caused by all the construction. I slid a long ways leaving a thin layer of skin along the road (pic - warning: gory).
    If I had not been clipped in, then most certainly I would have thrown my foot out as I started to go down, which would have caused me to flip forward, throwing my arms out to protect me, etc. Unquestionably I would have ended up with broken this or that or torn joint stuff and all sorts of orthopedic injuries--some possibly permanent. As it was, just road rash, which healed, as usual, in a few weeks. In fact, the outcome of this crash was probably the absolute best case possible, partially due to my being clipped in.

    There is no way to hold controlled experiments to determine which crash is worse (No, I'm not going to go back to Maine Avenue and do it again unclipped). And there's no way of knowing how many crashes never occur at all because someone clipped in was able to bunny hop an obstacle or otherwise control their bike in ways impossible otherwise. Shoot, I've known people who put a foot down in an attempt to control their bike and the act of doing that has made them crash.

    So go ahead and ride however makes you most comfortable, but don't make the assertion that riding unclipped (or clipped) is somehow safer.
    Last edited by Steve O; 10-20-2016 at 09:32 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by huskerdont View Post
    I feel fine clipped in in the city with mountain/SPD pedals. I will admit to unclipping while mountain biking when there's a log in front of me that I'm not sure I'm going to make it over, so can understand why one would want to be unclipped in certain situations. SPDs seem pretty easy to me at this point (although there were some embarrassing sideways tonks at lights while I was learning), but road pedals still feel iffy to me downtown. Unclipping is fine; it's clipping in. If I don't hit it right, my foot will slip right off the pedal. Maybe it's just me and no one else has this problem? I was never a road racer so learned to use road cleats very late.
    It's not just you. I see a ton of people with road pedals fumbling through intersections at 3 mph trying to clip in. Particularly annoying if they have just shoaled me. My mountain spd pedals are like butter and end up clipping out at the tail end of falls. The one time I wish I didn't have them on was when I was hopping a curb and didn't hop enough. Dead stop but I managed to clip out and get a foot down as I started to timber.


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    Quote Originally Posted by huskerdont View Post
    I feel fine clipped in in the city with mountain/SPD pedals. I will admit to unclipping while mountain biking when there's a log in front of me that I'm not sure I'm going to make it over, so can understand why one would want to be unclipped in certain situations. SPDs seem pretty easy to me at this point (although there were some embarrassing sideways tonks at lights while I was learning), but road pedals still feel iffy to me downtown. Unclipping is fine; it's clipping in. If I don't hit it right, my foot will slip right off the pedal. Maybe it's just me and no one else has this problem? I was never a road racer so learned to use road cleats very late.
    I use double-sided mtn-bike pedals on my road bike rather than single-sided road pedals to avoid fumbling or missed clips when starting up in traffic. At least that way I will have flat platform to put my shoe on it I mis-clip.

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  9. #17
    mstone is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    The best way to dismiss an anecdotal hypothetical is with another anecdote, but that way lies madness.

    For myself, I find that my knees are happier if I'm clipped because otherwise I tend to let me feet move around too much on the pedals and get into weird angles. The accidents I'm really afraid of involve being smashed by a black SUV and neither shoes nor helmet will make one damned bit of difference.

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    Yes, much prefer the mountain SPD clips. I just use the road ones on the nice bike that I wouldn't get to ride enough if I didn't occasionally do a commute with it. I keep thinking I'll swap out the pedals, but then I'd have these extra shoes.

    Minor worries compared to the black SUV--unless that black SUV is coming at me at an intersection while I'm fumbling with the cleats.
    Last edited by huskerdont; 10-20-2016 at 11:58 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    I have never met anyone who switched to clipless, got used to it, and then went back.
    Well you know one person who did that: me! I went back to and much prefer using flat pedals because of several close calls I had due to being clipped in, and the versatility of footwear i can use without having to go buy tons more specialized duplicates of sandals, sneakers, and boots.

    I think id only use clipless on one of my bikes again if I were to start racing, climbing big mountains, or singletrack downhill for easier hopping over obstacles.

  12. #20
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    I prefer to be clipped in but like flat pedals for certain situations:
    - practicing MTB skills
    - really cold winter rides where I may have to suddenly put a foot down, and where I like having a waterproof winter boot (I don't own any winter cycling shoes)
    - short casual rides

    I do use pinned pedals for the MTB practice/winter rides.

    I do keep all my pedals at lightest setting (if adjustable) and when I run road pedals on the fixed gear, I use the "light action" SPD-SL pedals.

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