July 25, 2006

    I recently put Crank Eggbeaters on my 10-year-old Cannondale hybrid to get used to them before my new Burley road bike (47 cm) comes in. I practiced on grass and fell three times the first day out. Next time I fell only once in the grass (unclipped left but leaned right). I then rode around a parking lot, stopping and starting with no incidents.
    My husband and I then went for a ride at a state park’s 2.5-mile recreational trail and I did fine—until going up a hill, I switched gears (probably too late) and my chain came off. Over and down I went. Thank goodness for helmets! My head did a bounce on the blacktop and I had a whopping headache. I now have matching bruises from my three falls.
    I have friends that will not use these pedals due to fear of falling. (Well, it's a fact—you are gonna fall.) But I also see the advantage of using them and I'd like to do a century ride some day. I actually PASSED my husband on an UPHILL and we were in the same gear! That has NEVER happened before—it was definitely the shoes and clips.
    Perhaps there is a better BEGINNER pedal with easier out and tension adjustments that also does not cost a fortune? The Eggbeaters were $50 and my shoes $60. My husband would try the hand-me-downs if there is something better for me.
    We do weekend rides of up to 45 miles per day on hybrids currently. Thanks for your help.
    P.S.: I am 47 years old and it is not easy to learn something new where you KNOW you are going to fall and get hurt, perhaps seriously.

Marilyn M.

    Congratulations on reaching an age at which you shun painful activity. Me, I got there at 19.
    While your Eggbeater pedals don’t have tension adjusters—their manufacturer blithely claims that “the spring tension is not what keeps you from pulling out of the pedal”—many clipless pedals do. I don’t recommend a particular pair (I avoid clipless), but perhaps you wanna try some cheaper ones (such as the products at the right) and work your way back to the Eggbeaters.
    Or not. Almost everyone who switches to clipless pedals goes thru what you have—so we’ve lots of lessons about how to get used to them without hospitalization.
    You did a smart thing practicing on grass and then a parking lot. Unfortunately, that sort of practice often doesn’t teach you how to clip out unexpectedly, as you’ve seen. So you might try a practice that you don’t completely control.
    For example: Go ride around on grass, as before. But have a partner on foot who yells, “Left, one, two.” Your goal: By “two,” you should have stopped and have your left foot unclipped and on the ground. Have the partner unpredictably alternate “left” and “right,” and speed up the count as you get better.
    Another drill: Stand over your bike. Clip in with one foot. Clip and unclip 30 or 40 times. Repeat with the other foot. Repeat over several days. (A pedal maker, not I, devised this torture.)
    And don’t stop wearing your helmet.

Mr Bike

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