Saturday, April 6, 2013

My Trials With Cycling

So I have been riding a bike since I was in kindergarten and I distinctly remember the whole process of learning to ride a bike. I was fine with the whole training wheel thing and was not going to have those long. I finally got to the point that they were removed and I was free. And then there was a the falling. I never really got hurt I just remember that I fell a bit but then got the hang of it.

I bring this up because I feel as though I am learning to ride a bike all over again. Only this time it is a lot more frustrating! I am not sure about the rest of you out there but I am new to the cycling thing as far as training. races, exercise thing. I recently got a new bike through a grant from the AKP Foundation which I couldn't be happier about. The bike itself is great, light weight, easy gear changes, hybrid tires, regular handle bars instead of road bike handle bars (which I love about it). However as part of the grant they also got my cycling shoes and clip pedals.

At the time I thought was great because I know that is what most people use while cycling for the reason I will be cycling for.

I got all this stuff in December which is not the ideal time in Massachusetts. But I started using the shoes during spin class so I would be used to them. Boy way that the biggest joke I ever told myself. I was used to having them on my feet however there is no other option of getting used to them then actual riding on the bike out on the open road so to speak.

Last weekend I went on my first bike ride with a friend on mine. Now mind you everyone I know that rides with clip in shoes had already warned me that I WILL fall as if there was no getting around it. Well I like many others live in my little world of denial where nothing like that ever happens to me.

0.02 miles into our trail ride guess what happened? If you guessed that I feel you are the lucky winner! Now this trail is also paved so needless to say I have the scrap/bump/bruise to prove I fell.
It actually looks much better in this picture than it actually was. So I had landed on the wrist/palm and then elbow because my feet were as you guessed still attached to the pedals. It was painful but it was however definitely because I am not used to the shoes and my brain is not trained to remember unless I am thinking about it. At the time I was thinking about the fact that my hydration pack was leaking so badly it was pouring water down my back. I of course did what any other child or person would got back and up and got on the bike. After I dealt with the hydration pack of course. We continued and I did well with thinking about unclipping and being ready for a stop. we came to the first of two major intersections that cross the trail we were on. I had unclipped my left foot and was actually standing on the ground with it. However in an effort to unclip my right foot aparently the motion was too great and you guessed it again I fell over. figured I had to even it out, one on each side. that wasn't as bad probably because I was some what closer to the ground.

Luckily those were the only two falls I endured during my 10+ mile ride that day. However the recovery from the first fall was quite a few days, which although it was my arm interfered with my training because it hurt too much to swim.

So now we fast forward to today. I was feeling much better, not really any more pain, the bruises are starting to fade. I thought I can do my ride outside today. I rode from my house to the Y, about 1.5 miles. It turned out to freezing so I decided I would just ride home after the road race I was doing and hopefully ride later in the day when it was slightly warmer.

After the race I get ready and start out. I had to stop at the end of the parking lot for traffic and again my left foot was unclipped standing on the ground and yet some how my right got stuck, threw my balance off, and my bike tipped which also took me with it because my foot was attached. I managed to bend my ankle & knee in a way which I am sure is not good for them and of course braced the whole thing with my hand. But again I got up and got back on the bike and rode home.

So here I sit on the couch trying to get warm from the cold yet having to ice my hand.
The ice is wrapped in a towel, while I try to keep layers of blankets between my fingers to keep them warm.

Here is the thing when you would fall as a child yes you might of had the same outcome of scraps, bruises and bumps but they didn't seem to effect you the same as they do as an adult. It is frustrating because I know I need to ride more out on the road to really get used to using the shoes and training my brain to do it subconciously. But now I am starting to develop a fear of actually going for a ride because of the falling. I am really torn here. It is much easier to ride with the clip in shoes but with the higher current possibility of getting hurt. I am seriously considering going back to regular pedals but I am unsure.

I would love to hear from other cyclists on their thoughts and how you got through the transition to using the clip in shoes.

For today I am putting off my ride but will get back on the bike again!


  1. I don't use clips, never have, never will. I'm not the fastest cyclist, and I don't care.

  2. Good to know Jeff thanks for reading/replying!

  3. I read this and two things...first I laughed and second now I am scared to change out the bottom of my shoes to clips. I am new to cycling as well and my bike shop told me to ride a bit before changing over. When I am ready he will talk me through it. Please let me know it gets better. lol