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How To Unclip – Avoid A Clipless Pedal Disaster!

How To Unclip – Avoid A Clipless Pedal Disaster!


If you’re just starting out in cycling, getting yourself a pair of clipless pedals is one of the best upgrades you can make. But, let’s face it, being attached to your bike is also just a little bit daunting. But we think the benefits of clipless pedals far outweigh this. So here is our hard earned guide to unclipping, or, getting out of your pedals. Pretty much every cyclist has fallen off when they have failed to unclip It’s almost a rite of passage. But, there is a way around it and that is to practice when you’re not moving. Find yourself a wall or something similar, something sturdy that will support you Simply practice the action of twisting your ankle outwards, thus releasing the cleat from the pedal Repeat it as many times as you need to, to make sure you get comfortable with the action ‘cos at first it can feel just a little bit unnatural. Make sure you practice on both sides too 99% of the time, you’ll be rolling to a stop and unclipping Most likely at a road junction, or traffic lights, for example So if you can practice this skill in a traffic free environment, it’ll be far safer for you to do Once you’ve built the belief that you can unclip from your pedals Find a quiet stretch of road, or patch of grass to practice on Somewhere with the softest landing and no traffic is definitely best It’s easiest to unclip if the foot that you are unclipping is towards the bottom of the pedal stroke It’s also likely that you’ll have one foot that you will normally unclip first and this will be your weaker side So that you can then accelerate away faster from any stop as your stronger side is still clipped in As you begin to slowly roll to a stop, bring the leg that you’re going to unclip towards the bottom of the pedal stroke Then twist your ankle outwards. You should feel the clip mechanism on your pedal release. There may even be a little click As you come to a stop, then put your foot on the ground It’s really important to get this skill nailed, especially if you often cycle in heavy traffic, commute to work or school on your bike Or if there are plenty of stop lines in your area Once you have it dialled at slow speed, gradually build up the speed you’re able to deal with and still be able to unclip safely. Remember, we’ve all had our unclipping incidents So, with your technique dialled in, there are a few practical things you need to look at In relation to the equipment or your pedals First off, different brands of pedals have different amounts of ‘float’ Float is the amount of movement the pedal will give you, in relation to the cleat, before you disengage The amount of float doesn’t actually make it any easier to unclip But, a cleat with medium float is a good place to start if you are new to clipless pedals So, that’ll be a grey cleat if you are using Look pedals, or a yellow cleat if you are using Shimano pedals Another thing to look out for, is wearing your cleats out. Most cleats will actually have a wear indicator built into the cleat itself So you can see exactly when it is time to replace your cleats It’s actually pretty dangerous to ride with cleats that are worn out It will make it, firstly, harder to engage in the pedal (to clip in) and also sometimes make it easier to unclip (out of the pedals) Furthermore, if your cleats are really worn out, you could actually unclip when you don’t want to Which could be just a little bit embarrassing/dangerous Finally, another thing that’s very important to look out for is the tension adjustment Which you”ll find on most varieties of clipless pedals The tension adjustment basically makes it harder or easier for you to unclip So, make sure if you’re new to riding with clipless pedals, you don’t have the tension too high Unclipping, fully dialled in. Now, we’d love to hear about your unclipping disasters Don’t worry, we will be sympathetic! You can do that in the comment section below Now, if you haven’t already subscribed to GCN, you can do that by clicking on the globe It’s great for everybody that’s new to cycling. Also don’t forget, if you like this video, to give it a thumbs up and a bit of a share, too. Now, for how to set up your clipless pedals, how about clicking just up here *points* For how to get out of your clipless pedals, unclipping, click down here *points*

100 comments on “How To Unclip – Avoid A Clipless Pedal Disaster!

  1. Lmfao this the most idiotic addition to a road bike I have ever seen. UCI should ban those pedals and get back to normal pedals. Learn how to fucking pedal on a normal pedal and stop using that gay ass clipless shit. So many people have had accidents on those it's a joke.

  2. I broke my wrist a couple of months ago after failing to notice that my time ATAC cleat only had one bold and had twisted 90 degrees. So long story short, I ditched them and now have Speedplay frogs.

  3. Just bought my new cleat set, In the red lights I always forgot that I am in clipped.. I ended up falling. Still practicing it tho

  4. Having fallen over on many occasions at junctions & traffic lights I began to notice that the further I rode the more likely I was to fall off due to muscle fatigue – what seemed easy with fresh legs became progressively harder after fifty miles plus

  5. I just got an accident because when I arrived the traffic light I already unclip but the traffic light became green I started to ride but I don't want to clip in because I afraid that it might need to stop for a moment if someone went across the road. Finally, it happened there was someone went across the road to so I need to stop for a moment but my cleats were already gone into the pedal and it is very fast that's why I can't unclip it and I failed the down with the bike that time there is one car kick me for a little bit 🙁

  6. Definitely prefer dual platform pedals. As you approach your stop unclip from both sides and roll the pedals to the flat side. Of course if you have to stop suddenly then I guess it doesn't matter.

  7. I am 55 and I just started using clipless pedals. Day 1 – I thought I had it nailed.. I was clipping in and clipping out, and then there was this roundabout..where I didnt see any traffic..and then from the right came a bus…so I had to stop suddenly tried to unclip..I was too late and fell. Day 2 – I went with a friend who thought he would take me for a "scenic' ride with hills…did a few hills and there was one which was really steep, got till the top, lost my steam clipped my left leg out and forgot that my right leg was still clipped in. And I fell to my right. Since then I have been having nightmares of being clipped in as I fall from the bike. Today, I had a perfect rided.clipped in / clipped out and after patting myself on the back …I was outside my driveway, unclipped by left and fell on my right. This is hard..

  8. Thanks GCN for all your vids, I'm just starting out. (got a new bike for Crimmy) It took an afternoon horizontal on a bindi infested lawn to get this technique dialled in. Looking forward to spending 2018 on two wheels. 🇦🇺🚴🏼 🚵🏻

  9. I went two weeks without incident with my clipless pedals then I fell twice on the same ride. Now I mentally talk my way thru every stop and unclip

  10. I find that when i ride my heels tend to point outwards with my toes inwards. Its a bit abnormal but I find it less straining on my ankles. Which means my cleats would be positioned straight while my feet would be twisted inwards. Would it be possible for me to unclip by twisting my feet outwards instead?

  11. while un-clipping was another story, tried clipping in on an in-climb while also trying to keep a little momentum, as a result felt over

  12. Got a new pedal, fell twice in practice, both times after unclipping and keeping my foot on the ground, I think I might be landing on my cleats. Thought I broke something in my hand. Frustrating

  13. Yesterday we ride at the place called "UPLE" which is a very steep climb and I accidentally over turn on the road's​ gutter and fall. I stand up and try to clip in and fall again I forgot that my cadence is high. 😂😂

  14. What is the brand of the pedals you guys have in the video. Im looking to buy good quality and they seem really good.

  15. Approached a traffic light on red and leaned to the left, but clipped out the right foot…doh = fractured 5th metatarcal. Ski boot and crutches for 6 weeks 🙁

  16. My name is Hector Leon from Lancaster Pennsylvania using clip pedals for the last Four months I love it but I remember the first time I take my long ride one of their screw get loose and loss on my shoes get stuck in the pedal and was so hard to get out of the shoes and I fell in the middle of the street and all the cars people was washing me and asking me if I need help that was embarrassing I call my wife to pick me up because I don't want to ride a bike that they no more but after that I'm doing better and I'm very happy using clip pedals watching your show I learned a lot and I gain confidence thank you guys Hector Leon

  17. recently i change to clipless pedal and have some issues with toe overlap in slow speed and sharp turn any quick tips thanks before…

  18. I had my first ride today, nightmare up hill. Fell three times locked in because I couldn't get enough push off with one foot and couldn't lock in my second foot fast enough.. any tips for this?

  19. Today I rode with my speed play cleats and had a disaster along a junction. It happened while I was about to stop, I have disengaged my left foot which is my weaker side and was preparing to stand on the road but instead of leaning towards the left I shifted towards the right. 2 seconds later I found myself with an aching elbow and knee.

  20. Just bought my first pair of clipless paddles and fell in my apartment. Was try to clip in outside but couldn’t get it so I tried once I got home. I feel like I’m learning to ride all over again

  21. I tried clipless pedals for the first time today and I managed to get one of my shoes to clip in and I'm like yay I finally got it to work….then I realized I didn't know how to unclip….I end up googling how to unclip and watched the video while standing with one foot clipped in and the other on the ground….needless to say, thank you for the video!

  22. Not sure there's anything funnier than seeing someone fall into a ditch, lying upside down with the bike still attached to their feet.

  23. Well I watched the video, got on my bike, clipped the right one in, missed the left, bike came to stop, I fell in front of my neighbors house lol They just stared at me, sooo f$%&ing awkward lol

  24. First Shimano pedals – adjusted tension but was still too tight – couldn't unclip while testing and fell right over. Luckily suffered no injuries

  25. First time i took my clips out I rode for 20 miles. All by the ocean. Then drive to a canyon and road the bike there too. Then as I was about to go home did a hard break forgot to unclip. Ended up with stitches. And haven’t been back

  26. I was out on my new bike, actually my first ever road bike and I practising unclipping. I stopped, unclipped on my right and woke up on the ground to my left. Big doh! Concussed and a very broken helmet. I have not clipped in again, and stopped riding until, just recently…but I am still not clipping in…yet.

  27. I starting to get use to these on my first 500km tour from tomorrow.
    😂
    Scared witless, but I should be fine. lol
    Wish me luck!

  28. My first time riding a bike with clipps or what ever they are called, I stopped next to my moms car and i clipped out with my left foot and leened to my right (where my moms car was) and then i sorta leened on the car and just layed there in ambarasment

  29. Due to fusion surgery, my left ankle is pretty much frozen with almost no lateral movement. I just rode with clipless pedals for the first time today. I know that I will always unclip my right side, then lean to the right and clip out on my left side. A little clunky, but necessary.

  30. After years with toe clips and straps, my Sidi shoes were worn out, but I'd bought some SPD-compatible shoes some years ago so decided to take the plunge. That was two days ago, and I'm wondering if I've made a mistake. I went out yesterday and after a long climb came to some stationary traffic. I went into panic mode and virtually jumped out of my pedals.

  31. I am new to road biking. Fell over twice today on my first road ride. I think i have clipping and unclipping down now. Ended up going for a 1 hour ride 🙂🤟

  32. Broke my elbow TWICE during summer using clipless pedals. First time I got cramp in my weak legg which I'm used to unclip, biked backwards for a bit in panic, tipped over and crushedbroke my elbow. About 2 months later in an intersection, car infront of me suddenly stopped, I tipped in the middle of an intersection, crushedbroke my elbow AGAIN and held up traffic. No one helped me for a minute, except an elderly woman which tried to drag me off the bike, while I still was clipped in. The elderly woman was actually quite strong, she dragged me and my bike half a meter before she understood that my bike had clippless pedals. Almost the most embarrassing thing I've done in my life.

  33. I had my first accident when I got stuck in my clips. Almost broke my arm! Now I am afraid to ride with clips again. Will practice more before I go out again. Thanks for your videos. My husband and I ride indoors too and love the GCN!!!!!!

  34. Been riding with clipless pedals for a little less than a month, I've fallen 3+ times… still freak the eff out when approaching an intersection and unclip way before I stop , I'm getting better at it, reading this comments make me feel a lot better

  35. Many years ago my first clipkess pedals I was using .in the busy city and a young lady stop her car in front of me without warning signals, I panic and wasn't sure which pedal to un,-clip either left or right so down I came thumbing to the ground . Ya lads not a pretty picture. Kinda silly when I look back at it .

  36. Just tried for the first time. I couldn't even get the trailing pedal the right way up so fell off immediately. I've not even moved.

  37. You make me feel better. I'm a mountain biker and yesterday I did that. I stepped off my right peddle after failing to get it to clip in while taking off uphill. Then I twisted my right ankle and feel over with my left foot still clipped in.

  38. Fell three times within the first 5 minutes, within a "controlled environment," of course. I blame being used to getting into my straps. I have to scrape the pedals from the opposite direction to what I'm used to, so I kept doing it wrong until I ran out of momentum and toppled over. Might be why Matt has such a tough time. I won't be riding inside city traffic for at least a month.

  39. Hi you guys at GCN . Really needed to see this video . I got a clip less pedals and my I feel off with a bang and hurt my right upper leg . I have learned a good few tips here . Well down lads 😎👍

  40. I bought some clipless pedals two months ago, but after reading these comments I got scared to the point I was considering to return them. But, hey, it's been two months and I hve been riding and enjoying my new pedals (more speed!) and haven't fallen down once. I have made a couple of emergency stops, even hit a dog that ran onto the road out of nowhere, all without tipping over. So far so good I guess. (The dog was fine by the way 🙂 )

  41. Today my first run with mtb pedal end up fall climbing a hill , I slowed down too much and couldnt unclip . Thank god I have gloves.

  42. Epic fail. I just got my own road bike last week and was getting it all set up on Saturday at the shop. I tried out my new pedals and shoes in the shop first, on a trainer. Then I was sent out into the parking lot. I made it about 30 feet before needing to stop for traffic. Of course, down I went. However, it was not just embarrassing. I managed to break my leg (right fibula). Nobody tells you that a broken leg is a possible outcome. So, consider this your public service announcement of the day. You can break your leg going 0 miles per hour in a parking lot.

  43. This was a great video. Very descriptive. Took your time detailing how to unclip and the dangers of unclipping. First time, up against a wall, got the cleats on the bike, and could not undo the cleats. Took the cleat off of my foot (cleat still on the bike) and ran to this video (found by YouTube search) and figured it out. THANK YOU!

  44. So you get off the seat when you land! Flip me! This is why I land on my left but kinda have bad balance and sometimes go to my right after a bounce and fall

  45. Had my first time with clueless pedals today. Practiced leaning on the barn and wood shed. Rode down the drive, falls about 40 yds over 300 yards, unclipped successfully about four times on the way down. Messed up my gear change half way up and stalled. Panic to unclip ensued, a muddy verge awaited me with Bike still attached on top but now we were upside down. Thank f*** I have no neighbours. (I just spotted the auto correct on clipless, decided it was more apt.)

  46. This is my unclipping disaster. On my way into work in the morning one day as I came up to a red light, I unclipped my foot as I stopped as I went to place my left foot on the ground, before I knew it I was on the road face flat because I had unclipped my right foot by mistake. To add insulate to injury I did it with a packed double decker bus beside me, and everyone was laughing. I was red faced.

  47. today I unclipped one foot and before I stopped someone passed me and said passing, I jumped and fell over the other side and down I went.

  48. After learning to utilize clipless pedals, and having a few almost falling issues, never quite falling, I learned to remove one foot from a pedal while coming up to a stop. One day I was going out for a short 20 to 30 k ride and got about 800 meters from my home and was coming to a stop light. I unclipped my left foot and was coming up on the sidewalk so as to cross on the crosswalk, which was down the sidewalk about five meters, Unfortunately, when I got up on the sidewalk, the pavement was uneven and pitched me to the right (my clipped in side), so I started falling. Regrettably, after riding platform pedals since I was six years old (I am now 60), I still had it imbedded in my moto-response to lift my foot straight up, so in this emergency situation, that is what I did. Thus, as I was falling to my right, I lifted and twisted, trying to release, inadvertently twisting my ankle, injuring most every tendon, ligament and muscle in my right foot and shin, and as it turned out, breaking the fifth metatarsal of my right foot. But hey! I didn't fall down. The worst part was, this happened in the first week of August, putting me out of riding commission for the rest of my summer break (I'm a professor with a long summer break), and I couldn't ride again until after the nice riding weather was over (I live in Korea, and the fall and winter seasons are less than amicable to riding). Therefore, I anxiously await spring.

  49. My first time on clip-less pedals was my friends bike he was trying to encourage me to get them for my bike he neglected to tell me how to unclip and in the span of about 30 seconds after going downhill at a normally comfortable speed. I felt like I’d never ridden a bike before hit the breaks and fell on my ass

  50. Unclipping isn’t the problem, the problem is the foot that’s still clipped in! My body wants to lean to the side that’s clipped in, especially when I’m tired. I have an embarrassing video of me falling over right in front of my house after returning from a ride. The same exact thing almost happened again the very next ride but this time at a red light with cars around. By some miracle I was able to unclip my right foot as I was falling and I was able to stay on my feet.

  51. It was spring, I was doing a ride from Kobe to Ebizu with my dad. I always had trouble clipping and unclipping. I am not that fast in long rides but I managed. So on the last day we arrived at Kobe and all was going better & faster than the norm. I was finally getting the rhythm of clipping/unclipping.
    We stopped to have some tea and sweets. I unclipped got my sweets (on the bike) trying to balance and not look down. In the adrenaline when I tried to clip-in again. I lost my balance and fell on the shops entire sweets collection for the afternoon.
    My shoe was upside down i.e. I never unclipped just took my feet out. Three and a quarter chopsticks ended up in my elbow. Ouch

  52. Fell over a few hours ago for the first time. Damn! I was determined not to fall first go. Unclipped my right foot successfully but wanted to turn 90 degrees right and decided at the last moment that I wanted my left foot out and fell over left

  53. New to clipless. Was having a lot of trouble unclipping even with the lowest spring tension set on the pedals. Had to really jerk my heal out till yesterday when I failed and hit the road. Luckily I wasn't moving is all I can say about that. Then I decided to go online and see how you guys were doing it and realised how easy it should be. The only way that was going to be possible with my setup I concluded, was with a modification to the actual cleats, so out came the angle grinder. Now I too can actually unclip like a pro. Thanks guys!

  54. After 2 days and 2 rides after purchase the clip had already worn away a part of the yellow bit on the inside of the left shoes, am I doing something wrong or is it just a faulty product

  55. When I started to use clipless pedals I was enjoying a ride deciding to take a little break. There was just one thing I forgot…so it looked very very stupid me lying on the ground wrestling with my pedals.
    Great video. It helped me a lot. I was so afraid to fall my riding skills were awful to watch. But after today while I practiced a lot how to unclip properly my confidence grew and I'm able to ride my bike without having a fear to fall off while unclipping.

  56. Didn't have a clue how to get in and out, so I tried the wall method, after figuring it out I went out with confidence road down my drive way then came back up the incline of the drive way and I tried unclipping and fell into my car, after that I still went out did the same and succeeded but after another few tries later.. same thing fell into my car. I realized I was trying too hard throwing my foot the the side releasing me.. when it should be easier. I played with the tension screws and that I had it good, but still a little too hard, so I removed the tension screws and I've been having a lot better time getting used to them.. I'm still held in the clip pretty well even with out those screws

  57. My Motobecane Mariage Pro came with clipless pedals that use an SPD style cleat. I had never seen clipless pedals, and didn't know the bike I had bought had them, since the last road bike I'd had was back in 1973! Not only did my new bike have these tiny little pedals, I'd never seen, I found out I needed to buy special shoes for them. So, after putting my bike together I went down to the bike shop, had them set it up properly and bought a pair of shoes. I went home got into my biking gear and climbed on my brand new bike, down the driveway and into the street I rode, at my first stop, I failed to unclip and fell over. Feeling like a complete dumbass, I got up and tried it again, this time making certain I unclipped in plenty of time before the next stop. My most embarrassing moment came after a long climb up a hill, I was pooped and rode to the curb, but failed to unclip before coming to a complete stop. There was a car turning at the corner I was at and they stopped and asked if I was alright. I said "Yes, I'm fine" and thanked them for stopping.

  58. Cleats are ok but it’s one of those things that came from competition and try to sell to a single cyclotourist, they are dangerous. I ride pinned flats and enduro shoes in my mtb and it’s plenty of grip who need to pull up round pedaling and all that on joy ride? This is for road I know but you see it on the trails too and it’s non sense unless you are good amateur or pro xc biker

  59. yesterday, on flat pedals, I was trying to learn bunny hopping, and because flat have lots of sharp spikes, i f***ed my leg when i sliped

  60. I was in no traffic at all and then a squrriel ran out in front of me and I fell into a wet piece of concrete………….. took me ages to clean my bike

  61. Last Sunday, un-clipped the right foot but not left, I fell of to the left, by the time I was on my feet again realized I got a nice laceration by the chainring teeth which left me with three stitches. Good thing it happened when I was already stopped, a good heads up to practice more cause it traffic it could get very nasty.

  62. Day 1 clipping in and I was going up a slight hill when a car started to pull off their driveway, I panicked, unclipped and tried to put the foot that was still clipped in down. Over I went! 🙄😖

  63. I've had no problems with this, even though i just started using clipless. maybe my skateboarding past gave me some quick twisting ankle action? Clipping in, now that's been a bit of a pain while I scrape my foot helplessly over my pedal as i try to pull away.

  64. The only way to control the unclipping is releasing tension but when that fails do you put grease in the pedal? One day I got caught in rain and for some reason that made it very hard to unclip

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