My first ride with clipless pedals

Yesterday I went to a local high school and rode around the parking lot to get used to clipping in and out of the pedals.

On the way there, I realized that I could practice just clipping in and out with one pedal at a time (it’s a little embarrassing that this hadn’t occurred to me at first). Knowing that I wouldn’t have to clip both feet in right away made me feel much better.

It was actually a lot easier and not nearly as scary as I thought it would be.

I also quickly learned that I didn’t have to clip out of both pedals every time I stop.

This morning I headed down to Scottsville again.

I clipped out of my pedals before I came to the dogs that always chase me, which I think was a good decision.

Other than that, it was a pleasant and uneventful ride.

IMG_20140824_084052_998~2IMG_20140824_094109_799~2I stopped at my new favorite coffee shop,

IMG_20140824_103348_592~2and helped a baby turtle cross the road.

IMG_20140824_131923Not a terrible way to spend a Sunday morning.

Becoming a serious cyclist (but not really, of course)

I spent a few weeks biking and swimming like a maniac thinking that I might be able to get myself ready to do the Richmond Rox Half Iron Triathlon.

Thursday’s run put an end to all that.

If I can’t even run 6 miles, I’m not going to be running 13.1 in less than a month.

On to plan “B”, which is to do the Tour De Valley Metric Century bike ride the first weekend in September, and the Culpeper  Cycling Century the first weekend in October.

Rides, not races. No stress, no pressure.

That means I’m free to volunteer at the Women’s Four Miler next weekend and do as much hiking this fall as I want. We won’t talk about the fact that I’d rather be running those trails.

Anyhow, what this all means is that I decided it’s time to retire my bike pedal cages and try the whole clipless thing.

So I made a trip to the REI in Short Pump and bought some clipless pedals and shoes.

They put the pedals on for me, but not before telling me my bike was dirty (like I didn’t know) and trying to sell me the “Gold” tune-up package which included cleaning.

The guy said it would be like a spa day for my bike. I have to admit I was a little insulted. Did he think this was the only way to explain it so I could understand? I told him that I had never had a spa day (which is the truth.)

He looked at me blankly.

My appalling neglect of myself was apparently no excuse for the neglect of my bike.

Luckily we worked out that the tune-up would take 5-7 days and since I don’t live in town and wanted to ride my bike this week, I really couldn’t do it, anyway.

I took my dirty bike with its shiny new pedals and left.

The guy was right, though. My bike could definitely use a good cleaning and tune-up.

On the way home I started thinking that I probably should have had him show me how the shoes clipped onto and off of the pedals.

I pulled over onto a side road to experiment for myself. I would’ve just waited until I got home, but we live on a gravel road.

It took quite a bit of trial and error (for a good portion of that time, I was convinced that they had sold me pedals and shoes that didn’t actually go together), but I finally got one shoe clipped in. I pedaled a few strokes, completely freaked out, and nearly fell on my face. I decided that I wanted to be wearing a helmet when I tried clipping in both shoes, which could only be done while cycling.

I thought I’d be able to figure out how to unclip the way that I’d figured out how to clip in. I wasn’t. I gave up and took the shoe off with it still attached to the bike. I tried again, then gave up and put the bike with the shoe still attached back into my car and drove home.

IMG_20140822_164456_269IMG_20140822_164510_788IMG_20140822_164851_162I found a video online that explained how to clip in and out and watched it. It looked easy.

I went out in the yard and tried it. It was not easy. It still took a long time for me to figure out how to unclip. I kept practicing. It never got easy. Not sure how it’s going to go when I try to do it while I’m riding, which I’m planning to do later this afternoon. I’ll let you know.