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Click, Click, AAAAH - Riding Clipless

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  • #16
    Originally posted by davejh View Post
    I wonder if your pedals might factor into the UPDs you have had. While I have had some interesting situations with dismounting, none have thrown me down fully. Am I right in thinking that the plastic cage free rotates as well as the mech as this might grip your shoe when you do not want it to be gripped?
    The plastic cage is fixed, it doesn't rotate around the SPD mechanism at all. My UPD's are purely related to me not being able to unclip quick enough! It tends to go a couple of different ways:

    Try going through a cycle path barrier -> not commit hard enough -> body flops backwards, wheel goes forward, brain doesn't think to unclip -> arse hits floor.

    Riding up a road, decide to stop, turn off at the nearest sideroad -> lean back to dismount -> foot doesn't disengage first time -> panic -> arse hits floor.

    Riding anywhere, decide to stop -> lean back to dismount -> first foot unclips successfully -> wheel turns forward a bit, causing other foot to be raised uncomfortably high off the ground -> i twist, one foot still in the pedal, causing me to unbalance -> hands/face hits floor.

    I sort of went for a different method once, of trying to unclip BEFORE I come to a stop, however the sudden movement of yanking my feet out caused even worse UPD's because it'd cause me to be 1-footed for a second or so.
    “It is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history.”


    • #17
      Hopping at intersections and stop lights

      Originally posted by Piece Maker View Post
      Speaking of which, what is your general 'stop at lights' method when clipped in? I mostly stuck to 'dismount and stand there', though I've seen a couple of videos of people hopping on the spot (My preferred unclipped light-stopping method). This seems terrifying - one wrong move and I doubt you could unclip from that position quickly!
      I just hop while waiting for the light to change both on 36 and smaller. With guni it is not that hard to hop waiting for the light to change or traffic to clear remaining in high gear the entire time. I never idle anymore.

      But then I hop onto and ride skinnies clipless.

      If you need to think your way through unclipping I recommend you don't uni clipless. Still stands and hopping are the easiest positions to dismount clipless. And if you still think you need to ride out a UPD all the way to the ground you shouldn't think clipless will help save every UPD.

      After a dozen years of riding clipless uni, this year on January 1st I finally had my first UPD still clipped in when hitting the trail/ground/pavement. It happened with a pedal strike to a low stump. I was on a black diamond trail in a very narrow spot between two low stumps on a steep descent on snow and mud. I don't normally fear pedal strikes if my foot will clear the object and the pedal and foot just 'step on' and 'over' the obstacle. This time I misjudged the obstacle clearance and pedal position and the foot stopped dead against the short stump. Seemed funny to be dragging the geared 26 along behind me. Still no injury. Proceeded on to complete the ride and continue to ride clipless.

      One trick you may not have thought of is to turn your feet in the pedals (disengage the cleat from the back of the pedal) but not lift the foot off of the pedal. It will be like standing on a pedal and not being clipped in. As long as you maintain sufficient downward pressure you foot/feet will remain on the pedal unless you slide your foot backward.

      This might also happen at times when you force a turn really hard and your foot unintentionally twists on the pedal.

      You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself....



      • #18
        The thing is, I tend to hop 'backwards' to my preferred dismounting way IE. I dismount right foot forward, but hop left foot forward. I should probably practice both, both ways! I'm fairly comfortable hopping on the spot at lights as you suggested though, and so I don't in reality see any reason I won't be able to do it clipped in, but again, that mental barrier!

        I keep going back to SPD's every now and then and am getting more comfortable with them (Helps that I use them primarily on my CX bike too) so maybe by now I will be at the point of being able to unclip without thinking about it that you suggest (I definitely am on the bike).

        That 'trick' you mention sounds handy, and is how I originally tried doing the 'unclip while riding' thing. I couldn't quite get it, but I think I'll practice it a bit more on my bike too (Where it is a bit too easy because I can freewheel!)
        “It is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history.”


        • #19
          Reading this thread (and watching a few of bungeejoe's videos of clipless muni) inspired me to try this. I think clipless could be more efficient, lighter, and cheaper (no wearing out expensive 510 shoes every 8-12 months).

          So having ridden MTB clipless for years I thought I'd give clipless uni a shot today. I had no issue mounting or dismounting. I rode around the block and all was well so I took my now clipless-equipped 29er out on an easy trail with some sandy spots that can cause minor UPDs (good for testing). I was using the Shimano SH-51 cleats with lace-type shoes 'cause thats what I had and was used to on the bike.

          The ride felt fine - not much difference from platforms for me - there was some float, but I'm used to that on the bike. I hit a patch of sand and UPD'd. I got one foot free but not the other. Due to the angle and my wid-ish t-bar I bruised my quadricep pretty badly on the leg that was clipped in still.

          Despite being used to clipless on a bike, it seemed like the speed at which UPDs happen is currently faster than my heel-twist unclip instinct.

          So I have a few thoughts for myself and anyone else interested in clipless that maybe havent ben mentioned yet:

          - Try it first on a uni with no handlebar to avoid injury.

          - It might be good to practice a bunch on a soft surface (duh). The sand I tried it in was soft. I also recommend getting very comfortable with it on a bike 1st

          Any of you clipless riders have UPD-specific techniques for quick bail?


          • #20
            This hopping on the spot thing doesn't work for me wearing a backpack. Am I the only one with that problem or am I the only one with a backpack?

            [ Karlsruhe/Germany - ]
            onewheeldave: deep in my heart I feel that unicycling was born of heroes and atheletes, not clowns and entertainers


            • #21
              It is rare for me to unicycle without wearing a backpack. If hopping on the spot doesn't work for you wearing a backpack it might be you don't want to enough to find a way to do it. Just like most other skills on a unicycle if we want to master something bad enough we find the time to learn how. Clippless on 36 with a backpack hopping on the spot waiting for traffic signals to turn green was important to me. So I figured it out.

              I have watched my friend Roy do the same uni camping with 40 or more pounds in his backpack.

              You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself....



              • #22
                Click, AAAH

                So in attempting to ride clipless yesterday and today I discovered that I only had one pedal that matched the cleats I had available from my dad's old mountain biking stuff (SPD 505 pedals). I proceeded anyway with one platform pedal on the left side and one clipless pedal on the right side.

                It turns out that this is actually a pretty good idea! When I fell (do NOT try to ride backwards with 102mm cranks on a 36er with either one or two feet clipped in) I was able to catch myself with the left foot. I could pull up with my right foot and I still felt more attached to the unicycle. I mount and ride one footed with my right foot.

                If anyone tries this, refer to the first post on this thread , then put the clipless pedal on the side that you would ride one footed with, regardless of the foot you mount with. For me it would probably be optimal if I mounted with the 'platform pedal foot' so I could run up and mount on the less slippery pedal, then clip in with more control.
                Learn something new every day -
                It's just that I needed what I learned today, yesterday.


                • #23
                  Hello boys, I'm back!

                  So for the past few weeks I've been commuting to work on SPD pedals on my G29, and it's weird how much better this is on that uni than it was on my ungeared 36. That confidence issue I had previously is gone, and I don't even think about those horrible potential UPD's where my foot stays in. I just ride and enjoy it.

                  For now I'm using multi-release cleats, I'm considering getting rid of them. I dislike how I can tilt my foot sideways on them, and sometimes when powering round a fast corner I can feel my foot starting to reach the end of that movement. I absolutely do not want to unclip halfway through a fast corner! So I might but the single release cleats on.

                  I even did a longer (not REALLY long, just longer than my commute) ride in a fairly crowded area, and had to do some emergency off-the-front dismounts due to kids/dogs running in front of me, which went just fine. Contrary to the above, I believe this is thanks to the multi-release cleats, because I'm fairly sure I just yanked upwards and sideways, rather than the 'correct' ankle twist, so eh, that makes me think I should probably leave the multi's on and just tighten the pedal mechanism a bit.

                  Definitely looking forward to weather improvements and trying this setup on some longer, hillier rides where I might actually get to see some real benefits to being clipped in, or maybe where I'll see what my limits are in terms of being able to unclip while too tired to think about it.

                  Usual disclaimers apply, YMMV, I'm mostly an on-road/gravel mix rider, I don't really do 'MUni' aside from the occasional overly dirty/rocky track that makes up the NCN, but I do dismount often due to all the barriers, and to stop at traffic lights, which is 99% of the time a controlled dismount that I am prepared for at least 5 seconds beforehand.
                  “It is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history.”


                  • #24
                    clipped in

                    This morning I had a first. The cleat came unclipped when I up shifted my 29er.
                    This is probably the only thread where someone would be able to relate.


                    • #25
                      Check your cleat float

                      I adjust my cleats so the heel of each shoe will fully engage the shift buttons while being within the free floating zone of the pedal. If you mount the shoes in the pedal without your feet in them you can easily test the adjustment.

                      The greater problem for me was hopping and rolling hops without accidentally hitting the shift buttons.

                      Twisting out of your normal riding position may also create issues to your surprise.

                      On one morning commute riding uphill juggling in front of thirty college students waiting at a bus stop I threw one ball slightly astray while watching the crowd. While lunging to making a quick reach and grab for the stray ball I accidentally hit a shift button and immediately proceeded to upd. In the crash I had managed to unclip, drop all my balls, and slide to a stop just past the crowd. The balls rolled back down the street eventually stopping scattered in front of everyone. I don’t think anyone said a word as I checked my wounds, remounted, and proceeded on my way.

                      I assume they must’ve decided I had sufficiently humiliated myself and needed no further assistance.

                      Usually I can manage unintentional shift if my speed is within range of the gear change.

                      You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself....



                      • #26
                        Yeah it took me a few tries on the cleat adjustment. I naturally pedal with my right heel poking out to the side a bit, so it was a juggling act (hurr hurr) giving my foot enough room to pedal naturally without unclipping, and yet enough on the other side to shift without unclipping. I don't heel shift anyway, just sort of smush it with the side of my foot, so this actually turned out not to be a big issue in practice
                        “It is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history.”