If you own a pair of clipless pedals more than likely you are a member of a very exclusive club. People are not usually part of this club on purpose but by accident. I’m talking about the bruised pride club. Induction occurs usually when riders are getting used to using their clipless pedals. At first it seems very foreign to have your feet secured to your pedals while using clipless pedals but after a few minutes it starts to feel very natural. It also allows you to smooth out your pedal strokes and pedal in circles as opposed to focusing on the downward portion of the stroke. Clipless pedals are great and very easy to convert to until the first time you come to a stop and forget to unclip your feet. The act of falling over while both feet are clipped in takes less than a second unless you’re the one it’s happening to. Then, it feels like it takes minutes. On the way down a lot of things go through your mind like why aren’t my feet touching the ground, I hope this doesn’t hurt, and finally how am I going to do this and make it look like I fell on purpose. Trust me, getting up from one of these falls and saying “I meant to do that” doesn’t work. Don’t try this tactic.
For most people forgetting to unclip your feet at a stop only happens once. That is unless you’re a slow learner. My induction into the bruised pride club happened a couple of years ago on a ride while the kids were at a youth night for our church. As I was finishing up my ride I slowed down to make a left turn into a parking lot. As I looked over my shoulder for traffic I noticed there was a car approaching behind me. Since the car was going faster then I was I thought all I would need to do was slow down a little more and let the car pass me than I would be able to cross the street into the parking lot to pick up the kids. As I waited for the car to pass it didn’t. I looked over again and now the car was right beside me so I slowed down a little more to let it pass. I waited and waited and the car still didn’t pass me so I slowed down to almost a dead stop. As I was starting to wobble the car next to me laid on its horn which scared the pants off me and also prompted me to instinctively hit both of my brakes. I was now stopped but both of my feet were still hooked to their pedals. I struggled to get a foot loose but there was nothing I could do but to think about how stupid I probably looked. Luckily, I didn’t fall into traffic side of the road. Once I hit the ground the car beside me sped off and I imagined that the car full of people had a great laugh at my expense.
What I gained from this was a good scrape on my elbow and knee and a membership into one of the greatest clubs known to cycling. The bruised pride club. I’ve always remembered to unclip when stopping from then on but I still count myself to be in good company in this exclusive club. Are you a member?