6 Beginner's Tips for Clipless Pedals

Unclip Before You Stop

Remember, it's easier to keep your balance the faster your bike is moving. Before you come to a complete stop, unclip one foot from the pedals. Keep your foot resting in place but disengaged. Stand from the seat as you come to a stop and rest the unclipped foot on the ground. This technique will keep you from scrambling at the last minute, which is often when accidents occur. Keep the other foot clipped in. This will make getting going again that much easier.

Get Your Bike Moving

Just like stopping, it's going to be harder to balance and clip back in the slower you're going. Give yourself at least one good push before you try to get your foot back into the pedal. In an emergency, don't panic. Use the foot that's already clipped in and get the cranks around one more time, similar to a single leg pedaling drill. This will give you a little more speed, which will allow more time to get your foot back into the pedal.

More: Stroke of Genius: Refine Your Pedaling

Buy Cheap Shoes and Pedals

Even though more expensive pedals and shoes may look cooler, they may not be the best option for a new cyclist.

"I actually recommend starting with something more comfortable that you can walk in to get started," says Orton. Shimano makes both of these in their SPD line of pedals and shoes. While still not as cheap as using platform pedals, you can find entry-level SPD pedals online, at your local bike shop and places like eBay relatively cheap. The SPD's offer the benefit of dual-sided entry, unlike most road pedals that only allow you to clip into one side. This makes getting into the SPD pedals easier, and makes the transition from platform pedals a smoother one. The more comfortable shoes are better for learning too, since you'll be clipping in and out a lot."

More: 3 Pedaling Drills

Adjust the Tension Screw

It's also a good idea to adjust the tension screw on the pedal, which will make getting in and out easier. Put it on the easiest setting to begin with and tighten the screw as you become more comfortable. You'll have more movement when you pedal, but at least you won't be as worried about getting stuck when you come to a stop.

In a lot of ways, learning to ride clipless pedals is like learning how to ride a bike all over again. You're going to be nervous and might even get a little frustrated, but once you get the hang of it, you'll open yourself up to a whole different kind of cycling. And you're guaranteed to have more fun.

More: 3 Drills to Improve Efficiency and Pedal Cadence

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About the Author

Marc Lindsay

Marc Lindsay is the Cycling Editor at Active.com. When he's not at work, you can find him riding his bike. That is seriously all he does.
Marc Lindsay is the Cycling Editor at Active.com. When he's not at work, you can find him riding his bike. That is seriously all he does.

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