I have had a lot of conversations about the benefits of clipless pedals. Up until now I have never tried them, I have always been a little concerned about not being able to unclip in case of emergency. I bought the shoes and pedals a year ago but they sat in a box.

Following on from my DNS from for the London to Brighton – and frequent encouragement from others, I decided to make the leap and fit them on.

I am a bike newbie, I have never changed pedals so had to resort to the Internet to find out how. I was told I needed a pedal spanner but ‘luckily’ I had one from the last bike I bought. I was also told I need grease for the peadls. So a trip to Halfords later, I had some bike grease. So far so good.

spd1

Except with cycling, nothing is ever that straightforward. The ‘pedal spanner’ almost melted in my hands on the first turn and I had to resort to a normal spanner set to prise the pedals off. I almost took the skin off my knuckles in the process.

spd2
note useless spanner on floor

Fitting new ones on was easy. A dab of bike grease and just screw on. Drive side (with crank) is the usual Clock to Lock to tighten. The off-side is the opposite (a la gas bottles).

So far so good, next step shoes. I had the cleats already but they were missing something, there was no receiver bolt in my kit. So after all of that work I couldn’t find the cleats in.

spd5
the missing link

I rang Local Bike Shop (LBS) and apparently they don’t stuck such things. Crazy. I was seriously looking at buying new shoes as it seemed these little bits of metal can not be bought separately.

 

In the end I was able to buy one from Amazon for £10 and fitted it on. I didn’t really know which position to fit them as there is a lot of movement possible depending on whether your feet point in or out. How do I know? I have never had to think about these things. In the end, I went for middle/centre.

spd4
amazon to the rescue

The next issue was trying to clip in and clip out. So propped against a fence I tried to clip in. Time and time again it wouldn’t work. No one ever tells you HOW to actually clip in. So here it is. The cleat is under the ball of your feet, try to locate it with your heel higher than your toes and then ‘step-in’ to them almost like putting on tight shoes.

Once clipped in I couldn’t get the buggers off. No amount of twisting seemed to dislodge these suckers. I was contemplating how to undo my shoe with one hand propping me against the fence with they popped off. There are small adjustment screws with I turned towards the minus. I figure that made it easier to unclip.

Ten minutes later and I kinda have the hang of clipping and unclipping when I thought I would “try it round the block”.

I worked out that my right foot is able to clip and clip out fairly easily but my left is either stubborn or I don’t have the ankle strength to twist. Especially given I am coming off the back of an injury. In any case I didn’t fall (yay!) but only rode for 5 minutes with a good dozen stops … mentally simulating a junction. Unclip, reclip.

How to try them out for real.

 

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