Tuesday Trials: Clipless Shoes + Pedals!

As we browsed REI on Saturday to pass some time, D led me over to the Girls’ Shoe Wall (which didn’t require much convincing). Instead of seeing Nike, New Balance, Brooks, Mizuno, etc …. my eyes landed on Pearl Izumi, Shimano, & Specialized.

I tried on two pairs and did the usual – walk around, wiggle your toes, tighten/loosen the straps, picture yourself clipping in and zooming down the road…ya know, eventually.  One pair had “3 rip -and-stick closure straps“, while one had “2 rip-and-stick  straps” plus a “racketing microadjustable buckle strap“. Repeat that five times, fast.

As that language is entirely foreign to me, I left the decision making to the comfort of my feet. Maybe they would understand the fancy straps that are “angled at 15*” for “anatomical curves” and the “fiberglass reinforced nylon soles”.  Say, what? Shimano, it is!  

I’m sort of in love with them.

The REI-lady asked if we now needed to look at pedals, D quickly said “No”….? I just go with the flow. He also proceeded to purchase these, and inform me that “my” pedals were coming in the mail. What?!

Happy {early} Birthday to me, Round 2! 🙂 It’s official, I now have all “the gear”.


Yesterday, the pedals arrived!

D and his bici-mechanical skills, which I lack entirely, attached them right away. My bike marveled in her new look, and we propped her up on the trainer so I could practice. Clip in, balance, pedal, attempt to clip out, repeat!

D adjusted whatever it is that you can adjust so that it’s easier to clip in/out and so that my knees aren’t angled inward/outward, my legs are comfortable, the seat height is appropriate, etc. Yes, I get custom bike fittings in the comfort of my apartment.

He also gave me these tips:

  • Momentum is your friend! Clip one foot in, pedal to gain speed, and Then clip the second foot in.
  • As you approach a Stop, unclip one foot so you’re ready to balance!
  • Rotate your hip to unclip, it uses more force.
  • Find the lip of the cleat (front) as you go to clip In, and then press Down.


This morning was the Real test – could I survive on the roads? Or, would I quickly meet the Sidewalk?

We were awake by 5 a.m. and ready to head downtown to do some loops around Haines Point. I did fine getting in and starting off, panicked a little bit at our first Stoplight, but did get unclipped without toppling over – success! As we turned down Connecticut, we were met by a Police blockade and a smoking street.

Only in DC, at 5:15 a.m.

Between this unexpected detour (which would lead us down a hill and onto Rockcreek Parkway (i.e. no bike lane or sidewalk), I let visions of cruising around the Mall dissipate for the time being. There’s no need to traumatize myself on Day 1 !

After turning around and heading home, I did do 45 minutes on the trainer and am already convinced this duo will make my cycling life that much better. I love them.


I know some of you are well into this realm of cycling – tips?
List them off!



Filed under about me, bike rides, cross training, DC, distractions, learning, new things!

19 responses to “Tuesday Trials: Clipless Shoes + Pedals!

  1. Liz

    Bike clips do make a huge difference. I still won’t ride in traffic in them to work because I’m too scared of falling, but on weekend rides they are great – when your legs get fatigued from pushing down you can pull up instead.

    Tip: don’t walk with your bike shoes on hard surfaces if you can avoid it! If your shoes came with covers, use them until you are ready to get on the bike so the shoes will stay in mint condition longer.

  2. Applause! Once you go clip….

    Nice tips as well, agreed on all fronts. I have a Nike pair that are the jam.

    Once you get going on a longer ride you’ll definitely appreciate those little metal bundles of joy.

    And I too will find a route sometimes where I know it’s super easy, less trauma the better.

  3. Yay for successful clipping!! I don’t have any advice….I have the pedals but not the shoes yet 😉

  4. I’ve had my share of fall overs when I started with the clipless. Now I don’t think about it at all! The biggest thing is to learn how to slow down but not stop at lights, etc, so you don’t have to clip out of them everytime.

  5. those are the cutest cycling shoes EVAH 🙂 i don’t really have any tips since i’m not a cyclist, but i did see caitlin at healthy tipping point work with her new shoes in the doorway of her apartment once 🙂

  6. I just installed clipless pedals myself, and am going for my first ride with them tonight. Eep! I’m scared 🙂

  7. I love getting fitness related stuff for gifts. How exciting to get the gear to get into cycling. I wish I had some tips to share but my cycling only extends to the classes. LOL

  8. You’re brave!!! I am *just* *SLOWLY* getting into this biking thing and I’m much to fearful to try clipless pedals. Maybe one day… I DO need to get pedals that have cages to go over the top of my feet though. I think that would help with my feet going numb.

  9. oooh, your shoes are beautiful! and you are so brave! it sounds like your first ride was a great one, even if abbreviated. happy early birthday to you!!

    what kind of pedals are they, if I may ask? I might pick your/D’s brain if you’ll let me and don’t mind….my next paycheck is going to be clippies.

  10. Look at you with your fancy pedals and shoes! Glad Day 1 went so well – hopefully you can enjoy the streets a little longer next time!

  11. J

    Wow those are so pretty! You are definitely getting all the good stuff! Glad you didn’t fall off. I have been at the bike shop and seen many people trying out the clips and watched them fall over.

  12. Nice work, H! I love the white. Mine are shimano, but mens style bc the bike shop I bought my bike at didn’t have any good women’s shoes. They’re decent, but I’ll definitely be replacing them in a year or two for something more “cute” oh and of course better performance. Practice will make all the difference in your comfort with clipping in.

  13. Hillary

    SO exciting Heather! You will love them so much more once you get used to them (HUGE plus being able to practice on the trainer, so it should be an easy transition for you to the outdoors)- I think you will be amazed by how much faster you can go because you have so much more power.
    Two tips I would share:
    1. When you are pedaling, make sure you don’t point your toes. Remember to not just push down, but PULL UP!
    2. Starting out, I would actually recommend clipping both sides out when coming to a stop. Experienced cyclists just do one, and when you get good at it, you can too. My reasoning for this is two-fold: its just good practice forcing yourself to clip in and out on both sides (by the way, clip out well in advance of a potential stop ahead) and helps you figure out which side you will ultimately want to clip out and which foot you want to put down, but also because it takes time to get balanced and I had a fabulous fall last fall when I was being overconfident, clipped out my left side, attempted to put it down, but then subsequently realized the road was slanted to the other side, well, lets just say I was already going down! Had I been a little better coordinated at the time, I could have clipped out in time…

  14. Lacey

    yay!!! looks so cool 🙂 when is your real bday?????? great gifts this year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

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  16. those are the same cycling shoes i have!!!!

  17. oh man, I’m jealous of your sweet biking skills and your new sweet gear! For now I’ll stick to my little strap/cage thingies. 🙂

  18. i give you mad props for rocking those shoes on your bike… i am terrified of falling and am POSITIVE i would wipe out for sure!! i hope you enjoy them and i cant wait to hear how they work for you!

  19. Pingback: A Day in the Life « Dietitian on the Run

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