A rough ride/clipless pedal poll

Abra, Braxton, Matt and I rather awkwardly and hastily put together a ride this morning (we weren’t fully awake) to beat the heat in the afternoon.  I don’t know why I was super confident about my clipless pedals after my first brilliant attempt, but I was excited to try them “for real” when we started out on our ride on the Summerset trail from Indianola to Carlisle and back.  We were standing outside the trail head bathrooms and chatting before we started when Matt just fell off his bike.  Well, his bike fell with him on it, more like.  We laughed our asses off since it was in ridiculous slow-motion.  It was the first time Matt had fallen with clipless pedals and he’d had them several weeks now.  He had just forgotten that he had left one foot clipped in.

Since we had several roads to cross over the first mile, I didn’t clip in, but used the platform side of my pedals until we weren’t stopping so much.  Once I clipped in, it was fine.  I felt so exhausted though.  More exhausted than normal, actually.  The guys were flying, Abra was staying back to motivate me.  I felt like 13-14 mph was a killer on fairly flat ground.

There is a little lake detour our friend Jake shared with us that adds a bit to the distance.  We decided to hit that on the way to Carlisle and as we looped the lake (I swear, it was uphill the entire loop) I saw the guys stop to wait for us.  We stopped to chat (well, I was complaining) and then all of a sudden I just fell over.  Ow!  I’d left my right foot clipped in and forgotten and down I went.  It was a relief to know that my foot unclipped during the fall though.  I was only a bit banged up.   Less than a minute later, Braxton (who hadn’t fallen before on account of his pedals) and his bike fell over for the same reason.  We all had to laugh.  Matt, Braxton, and I had our first clipless pedal falls on the same ride because we spaced off while chatting. D’oh!

Braxton slowed a bit during the rest of the ride so I could ride with him.  I told him how crummy I felt and the guys reassured my by saying how I was using different muscles and a different technique with the new pedals.  In my mind, I thought I’d feel faster right away so I was disappointed.  Braxton then stopped and raised my seat a bit, which helped.  At the turnaround point, Matt noted that my brake pads were rubbing my front wheel (maybe from tipping over?) which was also slowing me down.

The ride back was better with the new seat height and brake pads adjusted.  Overall though, my recent bike trainings have left me more frustrated than anything for the HyVee Tri September 2nd.  I wish I just had one extra month to train!  The lesson learned though: I need to bike lots more and get over my fear of biking solo so I can get my training time in!



  1. At least you can laugh about it and you had company on your first fall!

    Riding solo, for me at least, takes a lot of mental energy to get myself out there. Take all the necessities with you for changing a tire and someone will surely stop and help you should you get a flat (or need help with anything for that matter).

    I think everyone has days where it just seems harder than it should, especially if you have put a lot of training time in. The good news is there will also be days when it seems so easy but others may be struggling.

  2. Thanks Renae. Did you feel slower at first with your clipless pedals or any different while you got used to them? I seriously had convinced myself I wouldn’t fall…but yes, glad to fall in the company of friends. I need to get a stash of “fix-it” things for my bike. I have nothing but it would make me feel better on a solo ride. I’ve met some super nice people biking in the area so no doubt (especially on a busier trail day) someone would help!

    1. Oops! I just realized I didn’t take your poll. I actually felt faster right away, that I had a lot more power in my pedal stroke, and pedaling was a lot easier. There are a ton of factors that can affect your ride and make it seem like you are peddaling through mud! Some of which you experienced today. Your seat heighth, tire pressure, your brake pads rubbing, or your legs just not feeling it that day.

      I always try to carry at least one tube, a CO2 cartridge, a multi purpose tool, and tire levers. I can change mine own tire, but admittedly I don’t really like to. :). I read a tip awhile back in an issue of my cycling magazine, to carry latex disposable gloves so you don’t have to get your hands filthy putting your chain back on or doing other bike related things while on a ride. I thought that was a clever idea.

  3. Thanks, Renae! That is an awesome packing list, I wasn’t sure what all I’d need but that’s a good start.

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