Clipping in on the Bike Isn’t an Automatic Recipe for Falling!

Spring is coming and that means more people outside on bikes! I got out tonight for a short ride and it was lovely!

If you are considering changing from regular shoes to bike shoes with cleats this season, this post is for you! Lots of folks are hesitant and sometimes downright scared of making the switch because they’ve heard “you’re gonna fall over because you can’t get unclipped in time. It happens to all of us!” Folks in the bike world talk about it like it’s a mandatory step in the learning process. But it doesn’t have to be!

If someone asks about switching shoes and how to do it, the most common tip I see or hear is to practice on the grass (so it’s not as hard WHEN you fall), in an empty parking lot or on your indoor bike trainer until you’re comfortable with it before you go out on the road. It’s no wonder people are scared to switch with all the “you’re gonna fall…it’s just a matter of time!” talk out there!

Well, first, the indoor trainer IS a great place to practice without fear of falling over (unless you’re that atypical cyclist who’s done it 🤪)! But what if you don’t have an indoor trainer to practice on? Keep reading! ⬇️

Here’s the piece of info I don’t see mentioned often. The tension on the pedals that lock the cleat in is ADJUSTABLE! There’s a tiny 2.5 or 3mm hex screw (depending on the pedal brand) that you can loosen to make it easier to clip in and out on your bike. Just like traditional screws, “righty tighty, lefty loosy!” (Screw location marked in the pictures)


SPD-SL Pedal with tension screw indicated by yellow circle
SPD-Platform Pedal with tension screw indicated by yellow circle











Loosen those screws to where it’s super easy to get in and out of the pedals at first. As you get more comfortable with the process, you can tighten it back up a little if they come out too easily.

So there you go! Loosen the pedal tension and make it easy! You don’t “have” to fall over if you learn from the mistakes and knowledge of others!

Dr. Jeanne Williams, PT, DPT, OCS
We help endurance athletes (from beginners to pros) train and cross the finish line faster and injury-free!


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