General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Learning to use clipless pedals and aerobars Rss Feed  
Moderators: jmk-brooklyn, Ron Reply
2013-05-15 3:08 PM

User image

New user
69
2525
Nashville, TN
Subject: Learning to use clipless pedals and aerobars

This will be my second season doing tris, and I just bought clipless pedals, cycling shoes, and clip-on aerobars for my bike.  I've read through a lot of threads about learning to clip in and out of the pedals, and know it will take a bit of time to get comfortable doing so. Similarly I know it will take practice to get comfortable using aerobars. 

My question is: Should I wait until I'm fully comfortable using one of these new gadgets before I add on the second (comfortable with the shoes before adding the bars or vice versa)? Or should I just add everything and try to get acclimated with that setup?

Also, how long do you think I should practice with these items before racing? I have a tri next weekend, so I'm thinking that's way too soon for me to be comfortable with these (or even to get them setup on the bike). Can I reasonably expect to be using the bars and/or pedals by my June tri? Or one in July? Or save them until next season?



2013-05-15 3:33 PM
in reply to: #4744193

User image

Member
415
100100100100
Utah
Subject: RE: Learning to use clipless pedals and aerobars
I would get used to the pedals and the clips first.  Once you get the hang of that pretty effortlessly, I would then add the aerobars.  The aerobars are not as big of an adjustment as I thought, I just added them to my bike about a month ago, and I love them!  Good luck, and take things one step at a time. 
2013-05-15 3:45 PM
in reply to: #4744193

User image

Veteran
410
100100100100
Dartmouth, Massachusetts
Subject: RE: Learning to use clipless pedals and aerobars
I agree with the advice above.  One bit of advice I got awhile back is to lean up against a car or wall and practice clipping in/out until you get more comfortable.  More than likely, you'll still have a fall or two....you forget that you're clipped in until its too late and then thump...down you go.  I don't have much advice for the aerobars as I'm still getting comfortable myself.  I use the horns most of the time and use aerobars when I'm going on a downhill.  Having said that, I don't see why you can't try to improve both at the same time.
2013-05-15 9:25 PM
in reply to: #4744193

User image

Regular
253
1001002525
Subject: RE: Learning to use clipless pedals and aerobars

Clips 1st, since they take the most time to get used to.  Set the tension very, very low at first.  Like one click above all the way loose.

+1 on leaning up against your car to practice clipping in & out.  You sill still have at least 1 xero mph "crash" and feel silly.  Own it!

Best trick I learned - as you come to a stop, unclip the foot you intend to put down.  Turn the handlebars a little in the direction of your unclipped foot just before stopping.  It will prevent you from accidentally falling over the other way.  (course, you still have to get the unclip part right!)

2013-05-15 11:30 PM
in reply to: #4744193

New user
304
100100100
Subject: RE: Learning to use clipless pedals and aerobars
Don't listen to the people who say you will fall. I have only had on fall related to my clipless pedals and it was because of a speed bump right at the bike dismount line that caused me to clip back in, and even with that I didn't go all the way down. The only other times I've come close to falling were when I done stupid things like slowing way down to try to time a green light.

The key to clipless pedals is to remember to unclip. There is no adjustment period except for your brain. Don't try to learn on grass, that's a recipe for disaster. If you want to practice clipping out while stationary do it with your other foot firmly on the ground. To learn to ride with them just find a stretch of road with a long straight away, a good bike lane, and ride. And if you have trouble clipping in remember that you can always single leg pedal with your clipped in foot to maintain speed.

I rode clipless in my first Tri after 2 rides on a loaner bike. You'll be fine with your pedals. As for the aero bars, I don't think you'll have too much trouble with them either. No one I know has had any real issues learning to use them. A few rides on them and you'll be good to go.
2013-05-16 7:46 AM
in reply to: #4744193

Member
306
100100100
Subject: RE: Learning to use clipless pedals and aerobars
Odd.  I never had an issue with the clipins.  Practiced a couple times leaning against a wall and I was golden.  The aerobars? LOL.  I might get about 50 yards before I get all wobbly.


2013-05-16 10:15 AM
in reply to: #4744193

User image

Expert
1875
1000500100100100252525
Ontario Canada
Subject: RE: Learning to use clipless pedals and aerobars
I agree with everyone else  get comfy with the Clips first then bars second, playing with to may variables at once is a sure recipe for disaster, or at the very least some minor road rash.

Edited by RRH_88 2013-05-16 10:15 AM
2013-05-16 10:27 AM
in reply to: #4744193

User image

New user
69
2525
Nashville, TN
Subject: RE: Learning to use clipless pedals and aerobars
Thanks for the advice everyone! I'll put the pedals on the bike after my race on Sunday and start practicing with them, and save the aerobars for later in the season.
2013-05-16 12:17 PM
in reply to: #4744193

User image

Master
1460
10001001001001002525
Burlington, Vermont
Subject: RE: Learning to use clipless pedals and aerobars
Honestly, anyone with no significant phobias can master the pedals in a quick 10 minute session. I understand that some feel a bit too confined and they need to work past that for longer ... but if you don't think you've got anything to overcome other than learning how to use a new tool, you'll be fine for your race on Sunday. 

There is such a thing as being too cautious. People fall in races too. IF that happens to you, get up and continue the race.

I'll disagree with the overall trend of the thread and suggest that balance and muscled acclimation to aero bars will take you longer than the pedal acclimation will. Longer if you don't have as much core strength or if you can't already ride no-handed (the balance thing). I'd still put them on the bike and use them in the race if you're feeling comfortable. 
2013-05-16 12:49 PM
in reply to: #4744193

User image

Extreme Veteran
744
50010010025
Detroit
Subject: RE: Learning to use clipless pedals and aerobars

Ha ha, I just wrote about this too.

I've been out two more times since that post. Before the second time, I loosened the pedal clips as far as they would go. This really helped to boost my confidence, and I haven't yet had an incident where my foot comes randomly flying off the pedal. Coming from someone who literally just learned to use clipless pedals, if you can get out a few times before now and your tri, I think you'll be fine.

The aerobars are another story. On my third time out, I tried leaning one arm down, and then the other, but I'm not confident enough to try both at the same time quite yet. I just can't get over how touchy my bike is! I doubt I'll be using them during my first race of the season next weekend, but I'll keep practicing all summer.

2013-05-16 12:57 PM
in reply to: #4744700

User image

Expert
962
5001001001001002525
Subject: RE: Learning to use clipless pedals and aerobars

bufordt - 2013-05-15 11:30 PM Don't listen to the people who say you will fall. I have only had on fall related to my clipless pedals and it was because of a speed bump right at the bike dismount line that caused me to clip back in, and even with that I didn't go all the way down. The only other times I've come close to falling were when I done stupid things like slowing way down to try to time a green light. The key to clipless pedals is to remember to unclip. There is no adjustment period except for your brain. Don't try to learn on grass, that's a recipe for disaster. If you want to practice clipping out while stationary do it with your other foot firmly on the ground. To learn to ride with them just find a stretch of road with a long straight away, a good bike lane, and ride. And if you have trouble clipping in remember that you can always single leg pedal with your clipped in foot to maintain speed. I rode clipless in my first Tri after 2 rides on a loaner bike. You'll be fine with your pedals. As for the aero bars, I don't think you'll have too much trouble with them either. No one I know has had any real issues learning to use them. A few rides on them and you'll be good to go.

This....

At the risk of hexing myself on my afternoon ride today I'll say I bought my bike used with clipless pedals.  For my first ride I hopped on clipped in and took off and have been doing so now for about a year and a half and have yet to fall because of clipless pedals.  As has been said the only time I've gotten close is creeping up on a stoplight trying to time it. 

As for the aero bars they aren't difficult to master, only takes time to adjust your body to the position and to get your feel for the bike.  You'll raise up heading into corners initially and rightfully so.  Your neck might hurt, your undercarriage might ache, your shoulders might get sore but as far as mastering the aero it won't prove to be too difficult.

Good luck.



2013-05-16 1:52 PM
in reply to: #4744193

User image

Extreme Veteran
792
500100100252525
Subject: RE: Learning to use clipless pedals and aerobars

Put both the clipless and the aerobars on.  There REALLY isn't THAT much of a learning curve.  Obviously you need to learn clipless pedals first so you can get on your bike.  Once you are on your bike, go ahead and get aero on the same ride.

This doesn't need to be an either or.  Just do both.

2013-05-16 3:14 PM
in reply to: #4744193

User image

Lodi, California
Subject: RE: Learning to use clipless pedals and aerobars
Every spin bike I have ever seen has clipless pedals... I practiced during my spin classes.  I would say, throw them both on.  It's not like you are riding aero and clipping/unclipping at the same time... Just my $.02
2013-05-16 9:03 PM
in reply to: #4744193

User image

Member
153
1002525
Subject: RE: Learning to use clipless pedals and aerobars
I bought clipless pedals after a few months of riding and I'd say they are easy to get used to and I advise against leaning against anything while practicing. Clip one foot in and start pedaling around 10mph or so. Once you get coasting at a decent speed the bike will balance itself, giving you as much time as you could ever want to practice clipping in and out and you won't be in danger of falling because the bike will naturally stay vertical due to your forward momentum. It's actually far easier than clipping in and out while sitting still. The only times I've fallen have been due to me waiting too long to decide whether I'm actually stopping or not, then deciding too late to clip out in time then tipping over, which doesn't hurt at all really. Just tuck your elbow in and take it on the shoulder, not the elbow or hand.
New Thread
General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Learning to use clipless pedals and aerobars Rss Feed