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Thread: Unclipping after a fall (yes, I'm fine)

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    jrenaut's Avatar
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    Default Unclipping after a fall (yes, I'm fine)

    This morning at 14th and R I was got up on the pedals right before the light turned green. I'm honestly not sure if I got my right foot clipped in or not (My left I never unclip until I'm getting off the bike), but I hit a bump in the road. As I wasn't intending to go quite yet, as the light was a second or two from green, I had no momentum, and toppled over onto my clipped in side. Nothing injured but my pride, and a cyclist (of many) behind me quickly helped me up, but at first I was totally stuck. I couldn't get my left foot unclipped, and couldn't stand up without unclipping.

    I imagine I would have figured it out given another minute or two, but since I was actually sitting in the traffic lane in front of a now-green light, I was kind of in a hurry.

    Any advice on unclipping when the clipped foot is on the ground underneath the bike? SPD pedals, since that might make a difference.

    As an aside, I love how many people use the 14th St bike lanes until I fall on my butt and look like a clown. I had quite an audience. Also, I thanked him at the scene, but to the guy who rushed to help me up, thanks again. Much appreciated.

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    Maybe the spring tension is too tight and you should loosen it a little bit?

    Otherwise, since falling should be a very rare occurrence, unclipping while lying on the pavement is probably not a skill you need to master. Staying upright would be far more useful.

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    The tension is pretty loose - I've only recently switched over to SPDs from toe clips, and they're still set at "I can't even get clipped in sitting on the trainer at the bike shop" setting.

    And I agree, this is not something that happens too often. It's the fourth time I've fallen (two from roads torn up by construction, one from a seam in the road, one because I didn't look both ways) in about two years. But still, always nice to be prepared for the worst case.

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    It's probably a little easier to get your right foot on the left side of the bike (under or behind the wheel at least), so that you can push the bike up a little to allow room to unclip. Or, I suppose you could (depending on velcro vs. bindings) try to unstrap and just slide your foot out, leaving the shoe attached to the pedal.

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    Glad your ok aside from that momentary wounded pride element. Sorry to be a heathen but ... Why do people use clips or even straps in the city? I've never used either, always removed the straps from every new bike i've bought. Not being able to get my foot off the peddle and on the ground instantly just scares the crap out of me. I totally get clips in road cycling out in the far countryside but in town not so much. Just curious.

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    @Steve - I'm not sure what you mean by what I should do with my right foot.

    @Riley - My biggest reason was my knees. I wasn't getting my foot in consistent position with toe clips, and my knees started to hurt all the time, even when I wasn't on the bike. No fun. After a week of clipping in where I knew my foot was in the right spot and my knee was at the right angle, no more knee pain. And I honestly have had very few problems - this is only the second time that having my feet totally free probably would have prevented the fall (and of the other two, one was on a trail, not downtown).

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrenaut View Post
    @Steve - I'm not sure what you mean by what I should do with my right foot.
    Yea, I don't know how to explain what I'm thinking without being able to demo it. I'm trying to say to open up the hips a bit, to get the right leg off of the bike. Like you would be beginning to roll onto your back. Rotating the hips a bit can allow you to push the bike up, and give you the room to upclip.

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    Ok, I think I get you. I'm pretty sure I would have figured it out in another few seconds, but by then I was getting a hand up from the other cyclist.

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    if you yank hard enough your foot should just come out

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    Coyotes will gnaw off their legs to get out of a trap.

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