This is the sixth article in a series about a new cyclist training for the Rapha Women's 100 July 26. This Active editor will ride 100K with other women cyclists that day as part of the worldwide event.
I've fallen a few times. I have bruises that I can't remember getting. It hurts a bit to sit down. But I guess this is to be expected.
See, this week, I clipped in for the first time.
I got the special pedals on my shoes (the name "clipless" makes no sense to me) then went home to practice.
I hung on to my Jeep as I steadied the bicycle, figuring out how this worked. It took me a while to figure out exactly where on my shoe the clip was. At the very least, I met a few neighbors while I was trying to push my shoes into the pedals. Once I started to get a feel for it, I was clipping in and clipping out.
When I felt more comfortable, I took my bike to the front lawn and stood over the bars in front of the seat. I raised one foot to clip in, found success, and then fell.
This happened a few times, but I started to get it. I was frustrated enough to text my brother, who rides regularly. He reminded me that I grew up figure skating; so falling shouldn't be so bad:
"You have always fallen hard, though. When you fell on the ice it sounded like a crash," he said.
With that vote of confidence, I continued.
It was much harder than I expected, but I got comfortable enough to ride clipped in up and down my street.
My weekly ride with the Rapha group came up the next day, and I thought I might as well dive in. My heart was pounding as we stood around chatting, everyone ready to go for a normal ride. Meanwhile, I was ready to have a whole side of my body hit the pavement. But, I clipped in and rode just fine. I clipped out and back in again at another point in the ride. It was around this time when I confidently bragged about my lack of falling.
The next stopping point, I couldn't get the cleats on the bottom of my feet out of the pedals, and I slowly fell to the ground on my side.