Sunday, April 10, 2011

Terror on pedals

Yesterday was a beautiful warm spring day and my first ride of the season. I was pretty excited and packed carefully and rode from home, some 13km to the start point.

The group was fairly fast so I would not be bored. Unfortunately 10km into the ride on Robertson rd, shortly after the Queensway Carleton hospital...terror struck. My left pedal and clip, which is the one I normally clip in and out of was giving me problems. Things were not sticking the way they should. I was using my mountain shoes and my SPD clips. This problem has happened before with them but I did not see the signs.

I played with the cleats as I rode and finally forced my foot down. There was a very loud CLICK. A little too loud. Worried, I tried to unclip and to my horror, my pedal would not release. My foot was glued to the pedal..and this caused me no end of worry. My right foot could release well enough and had I been calm, I could have ridden with one foot but I am a creature of habit and visualized having to stop, being unable to release the foot I always release and falling into traffic.

My heart raced and I called out "I am in trouble and stopping". I stopped at the side of the road. John tried to get my foot out of the shoe and after a great deal of effort, my foot emerged. We could not unclip the shoe from the pedal. John left and with one shoe on, I tried with my tools to extricate the shoe from the pedal. No luck. I walked half shoeless to a coffee shop to await rescue from Cyril.

Cyril picked me up and as we drove off, I was going to take him home and then go the bike store, it became clear that I had left my cellphone in the Second cup. Horrors. I dropped Cyril at home and then went to Kunstadts. After some effort, they extracted the shoe. The little metal cleat on the shoes for the SPD cleats has two screws. One of the screws was missing and my shoe had clamped onto the pedal using the hole for one of the missing screws. Thus, I was unable to pull free. Very scary!

My last mission of the day was to retreive my cellphone. By this time I was rattled and very worried about future safety with these cleats. I missed the turnoff several times and circled the Second Cup from all angles, except the right one. Finally, I picked up my cellphone and drove home.

It is hard to describe the way I felt when I knew my foot was clamped onto that pedal and I could not get out. I had one fall once with a fully loaded bike that left a nasty scar on my knee and I wince to recall that time!

Clipless pedals are great. They allow you to pull up on pedals and get a lot more acceleration and power..but when they put a deathgrip on your shoe...you have to be a far cooler customer than I.

1 comment:

  1. I bought my Murray Elk River 18 speed mountain bike for $35 and it does its job. I use no clips cause I aint in no hurry :-] I ride all year around cause I sold my car. No Im getting healthier for some reason!. Nice blog you got Karine. I used to race when I was younger, had a Fuji Finest but sold it.

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