Tested the safety of SPD pedals and cleats this morning
Long ago I rode with these Italian shoes with plastic cleats and pedals with toe straps. These were very dangerous for with the the toe straps tightened your feet would stay attached even in a fall. Clipless pedals came about with the development in snow ski bindings. It was the same thing, a fall when bound to skis was highly probably to lead to serious injury.
I changed to clipless pedals years ago but never took a fall and I wondered how save they were. This morning I inadvertently tested it out. I have the same mount on both bikes for my cycling computer and I swap them back in forth changing the wheel circumference matching the bike. The mount on the MTB is fine but the one on the road bike sometimes doesn't latch securely. The ON button is at the rear and so if you push it on the computer flies forward skidding down the road. That's what happened today.
I was pissed and just stopped pedaling still clicked in. I came to a stop and just fell over on my left side with BOTH FEET FREE! Fortunately there was no traffic as I was on my back in the middle of the road. I stood up, righted the bike and retrieved the computer which was running. The bike looked OK and it wasn't until I was a mile or so down the road that I realized the left brake/shift lever was moved inward. Everything worked OK so I continued the ride.
When I got home I tapped the brake lever with a rubber mallet and did a thorough check of the bike. The only thing I could see was some scraping on the rear wheel quick connect lever. That's only cosmetic. So I got lucky. I may feel some soreness later but all I have now is a chain mark on my right leg.
One thing did buy the farm. I had my reading glasses in my pocket and did not notice they were gone until I got home. I walked out into the street without hope, and sure enough there they were, twisted and bent with no lenses. Better them then me or the bike.
I've been using SPDs for 15 years and eventually your muscle memory will take over and you'll be clicking in/out without even thinking about it, your feet will just go there by themselves!
It was amazing. With the old style cleats and toe clips I would probably be writing this from the hospital.
This morning I planed to do intervals on the MTB. A 1/4 mile from my house convoys of tractor trailer dump trucks were hauling crushed rock for an oil well site road and pad. I only got 3 sets and gave up on intervals because of the trucks. After the last one I decided to give up on intervals and just do a ride the other way. A mile or so near the broiler farm I heard a big truck behind me. It was another tractor trailer with a load of manufactured trusses for more chicken houses. WHEW! So I got past that and began to pull up my one heartbreak hill. I turned left and a regular dump truck continued on past me. I looped around back to my home road. The first dogs were fenced and they always give me a rousing chorus of hellos. Then I come around a curve were they are doing some massive earthworks. They have 2 Great Pyrenees dogs. One was skylighted on a ridge of dirt about an 1/8 mile away. I knew I was in trouble here I was wanting to cool down spinning about 8 MPH.
Sure enough the livestock guard with no livestock barked out the dog equivalent of CHARGE! I don't have much of a sprint unless it's a "dog" sprint. Must be the adrenaline. Shifted several gears higher and away I went. I knew if I could get past the gate they would stay inside and run the fence line. Sure enough they weren't able to head me off. When I looked down at the computer I was doing 18.4MPH.
Another Pyr, barked at me down the road but she can't leave her area. Finishing up the ride I passed by the well site drive and had to stop while one truck exited and one entered. Then I had one come in behind me. I may have to find a new place to ride. When they bring the equipment to drill the well and build a low pressure gas line my usual route may be too difficult and unsafe.
Glad to be home safely.
BTW- I did suffer some minor road rash on my left elbow from yesterday's embarrassment. I never felt anything and just noticed it last night.
I rode a year on clipless pedals, SPD 520s, before I fell.
Get a set of SPD multi release cleats. Much less likely to fall. You can pull straight up and almost always get out.
I used toe straps, Italian cycling shoes with cleats. I never fell but a fall would've been bad.
This pic is close to what they looked like. I still have the pedals and a pair of black plastic cleats but the shoes are long gone.
I used the "rat trap" style straps when I was younger. When I started cycling again, I was not keen on investing in new shoes just to ride a bike, since a lot of my riding consists of grocery runs and getting out to places where I get off the bike and explore.
So, I put BMX pedals and "HoldFast" velcro straps on my touring bike:
There are a number of various velcro arrangements. Even though the velcro might release before your ankle breaks, I didn't get to test that theory.
Last year, the LBS had a sale on Shimano mountain bike shoes, which work well enough for walking around off the bike, and are actually pretty decent for "I think I'll have a look-see down that ravine for a bit" shoes.
So far, I've had four "didn't unclip before stopping" falls - two of them on one century ride. I did 100 miles across southern New Jersey and came out with matching elbows:
(the ride was great - http://www.mapmyride.com/workout/987888953 - lots of headwind coming into the Jersey shore )
That said, there have been several instances where the better mechanical coupling to the pedals has allowed me to maneuver the bike in situations where I might have otherwise come off the pedals.
But, yeah, like you, I spent a lot of time wondering about the relatively risk of clipless pedals, and have come to the conclusion that the better bike handling - you aren't going to get easily bumped off the pedals - on balance reduces the risk of injury overall.
clicking in for speed and upstroke power ,riding unclicked around obsticles or where there is no bail out room like narrow roads woth dweebs in cars driving oit of control .The peddals and shoes are heavier but maybe thats a good thing for my ugly old legs plus they are cheaper and you can actually walk in the shoes for those miles you have to push the bike for those infuriating reasons .
You bike up a mountain, sooner or later you decide it is time to walk the bike up the rest of the way, and I have yet to see a pair of clip-less bike shoes that are as comfortable on foot as my Sandals. Actually given a choice between a steep short hill and and a long gradual grade bypassing that hill, I have been known to push my bike up the steep grade just to get to the top of the hill. On the other hand a gradual grade does wonders.
I have been taking the "Path of the Flood" trail in Johnstown. It follows the Little Conemaugh River, which had the dam that burst in 1889 destroying Johnstown. The path ends in Johnstown (where I tend to start biking the trail) but in reverse it is still a good trail. First I go on Clinton Street by the old Beth Steel Plant to Franklin PA. There is a bridge that goes over the railroad tracks between the old mill and the main line of the old Pennsylvania Railroad (Now owned by Norfolk and Southern), if you are in shape, it is a easy peddle up, if you are not it is walk-able (I peddle up the bridge).
I then bike through Franklin PA till I get to Pershing Avenue. Pershing Avenue is a road that goes by the Franklin Ball Field and then to the start of the Bike Path going to the old dam site. I then go on the path, which follows the 36 inch water pipeline that supplies water to the old steel mills. From Franklin proper to Pershing Avenue, it is a very short 10% grade. You have to shift from your highest gear to your lowest gear in about 30-50 feet. You then turn onto Pershing Avenue, which itself is a varies from 5 to 20% grade (It is claim to be a 15% overall grade) over about a 1/3 of a mile (I generally WALK this grade). The trail then starts, along the old water pipeline, this goes for about 1/2 a mile and is flat, easy biking. This part of the trail was built with federal funding tied in with another part of the trail. That bid had come under bid, and it was decided to rebuild this section with the excess money.
Then the Water Pipeline goes down hill to the railroad tracks (and is blocked for that reason) while the trail follows an old Telegraph/Telephone line, sometimes after the 1950s, I do not know when, the line was switched from being carried on Telephone poles to being buried underground, Most of the Telephone poles are long gone, but you have several still standing, through NOT carrying any electrical lines of any type.
This part of the trail was bulldozed by the locals using local funds only. It is interesting, for the local had to follow the old power line "road" but also rebuild part of it where the "Road" has completely eroded away. This trail starts flat, then after about a 1/3 of a mile, as you enter the area that had eroded away, but had been "rebuilt" the trail starts going up and down, up 6 to 8 feet, then down 6 to 10 feet, then back up then down 10 to 12 feet. Then down 20 feet, then you enter a gradual decline till you return to be next to the old Railroad line. The water line also rejoins the trail at this point. It is flat for about a 1/4 mile.
On this part of the trail, if you are on a mountain bike with at least 1 1/2 inch (35 mm) tires, it is perfectly bike-able. On the other hand if you are using a bike with narrower tire, the surface is rough and you will have to walk your bike. I have done both, the 1 1/4 inch (27mm) tires on my old Schwinn were just to narrow for that part of the path. The 35 mm tires on my Cannondale took them with ease.
As the path re joins the water pipeline the paths flattens out and is easy for both types of bikes. This last another 1/4 mile till you get to Incline #1.
Incline #1, was an incline plane built to haul boats on the old Pennsylvania Canal. The Canal was a proper Canal from Pittsburgh to Johnstown and then from Hollidaysburg/ Altoona to Harrisburg. The problem was Allegheny Mountain was in between those two Cities and Allegheny Mountain is also the "Eastern Continental Divide" i.e. water to its East flows into the Atlantic, water to its west flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Thus you have to go through or over that mountain, and Pennsylvania's solution was a series of Incline planes connecting railroads to the two canal sections.
The reason for the Incline Plane was Allegheny Mountain was to wide to drill through in the 1830s, and steam engines were NOT powerful enough to run trains up the Mountain. With Inclines, the steam engines did NOT have to haul itself up the incline AND the car going down the incline would offset the weight of the car coming up the incline (The cars were connected by rope imported from Russia, then metal cable made locally, Metal cables were invented for this purpose, prior to the Canal you had iron chains but NO wire cables).
Given not have to carry itself up the incline and the cars each offsetting each other, the smaller steal engines of the 1830s could haul cargoes up these grades. A series of 10 were made, One through Five on the Western side of Allegheny Mountain, Six thought ten on the Eastern Side. This system worked from 1837 till 1854, when it was replaced by a proper steam railroad for by the 1850s steam engines had grown large enough to pull trains over Allegheny Mountain.
Thus in 1854 the inclines were abandoned. Incline #1 was NOT used from 1854 till 2001 when it was re-opened as part of the "Path of the Flood" trail. Incline #1 still exists. Here is a photo of it along with the Staple Bend Tunnel:
Each of the Incline is about 2/3 of a mile long, but have a 10% grade. I generally walk my bike up them, to long and steep.
On top of Incline #1 is the Staple Bend Tunnel, it was built to avoid a 2 mile detour around the mountain. It is the oldest Railroad Tunnel in the US. Once in the tunnel you have 3 miles of flat trail. About 1/6 mile through the tunnel and another 2 1/2 mile along the "Plane" that ran from one incline to the next. This trail has about a 1% increase in grade.
Now once in Mineral Point, the present trail ends and you have to take a 1/2 mile road trip underneath the Old Pennsylvania Main Line to get to the rest of the trail, which follows the old Southern Cambria Railway. The Southern Cambria was an Electric Interurban streetcar line built in the early 1900s but closed down in 1927. IT was called the "Dread of the Timid Traveler" for it was built on the hillsides overlooking the Little Conemaugh River, a river whose entire flat areas was by ten owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad, thus the Southern Cambria ended going in the hillsides. Southern Cambria was an electric line, thus it did NOT need the straight rail-lines of the earlier steam locomotives, not the flat terrain. Thus the Southern Cambria railway has a gradual grade of about 5% for the remaining Three and half miles of the path. It goes mostly up but has some S turns, which would have been "fun" in the days of the interurban, which could go 50 mph through those S turns. The track was just wide enough for its Four Foot Eight 1/2 inch tracks, thus if you were on the side of the car overlooking the river, all you saw was the river, if you looked at the other side, all you saw was a steep hillside. If the streetcar ever went off its track, down the cliff-side to the river it was going, nothing else was between it and the river. Thus its name the "Dread of the Timid Traveler". The Southern Cambria closed down in 1927 when it could not come up with the money to pay off the bonds it had issued in 1918 after it was involved with the worse interurban streetcar car accident ever. 14 persons killed, 45-50 people were injured:
Where the accident occurred is NOT on the part of the old route that is presently the bike path. The accident occurred on a branch going to Ebensburg PA by Saltlick Dam. Salklike Lake is where the water pipeline I mentioned earlier starts. The pipeline follows the path to and through the Staple Bend tunnel.
While the present bike path goes from the old Portage Railway to the Southern Cambria route in Mineral point. The Southern Cambria itself had stayed to the north of the Little Conemaugh river, going via Echo, then Conemaugh Borough, then to Johnstown avoiding the Pennsylvania main line. The bike path states in Johnstown but stays SOUTH of the Little Conemaugh and old Pennsylvania Main line till Mineral point.
Part of the Southern Cambria, that is NOT on the present bike path, still exists. Including the path where the accident occurred, but the Greater Johnstown Water Authority owns that path and has refused to permit any path to be built on its lands. Compared to the Old Portage Railway path, the Southern Cambria is up and down for long stretches of its length, but this is getting off my subject, which is why I do NOT use clipless shoes when biking.
As you notice, the trip I am taking as several steep hills, greater then 10%. I generally get off the bike and walk those sections and to do that I need a comfortable shoe and I have not seen such shoes that also have the clips for a clip less peddles. Thus I either use old fashion clips, or no clips at all, just peddles. When I am going up and down hills, such shoes make much more sense then specially made shows for biking that are NOT designed for walking more then a few feet at a time. Thus I tend NOT to use either set of "clips", preferring just to use peddles.
You don't sound much like a slug, even walking up 10% grades can wind one. I've never been there but you are north and west of my Mom's home town, Frederick, MD. They emigrated to S. Texas when she was a teenager. Thank you for the bridge link. I was able to find a bridge in Litchfield County, CT that I just love. It no longer carries auto traffic but you can walk across it. I don't remember what's on the east side if there is a place to cycle. I never got the chance to cycle in the Litchfield hills. They could be quite challenging, I imagine.
I really don't know what ran over my glasses but I'm happy it didn't run over me when I was flat on my back in the road.
But I went through a lot of glasses before I found those and started keeping them in a back jersey pocket.
I always wear eyewear when riding not only for flying rocks but this is Texas and we have loads of flying insects. Some years ago I saw stick on reader lenses in Walgrens but when I decided I wanted them they didn't have them anymore. I got curios this morning and did a search.
I get lost, and then have to pull over to put on my readers to check the map on my phone.
lighten the release spring first weeks then slowly tighten one notch per 2-3 rides till it suits
then we'd recommend (and allow) customers buying pedals and shoes to put their bike on a trainer and spend up to an hour on it clicking in, clicking out, jumping off bike
if customer wasn't willing we'd still recommend them to
go home, put the bike next to the garage wall, put a hand out, pedal backwards, clip in, clip out and turn on a half an hour play list on the ipod at least
(build muscle memory)
only customers we saw come back 'hurt' were the ones that didn't take the advice
spd's rock unless it's ice conditions or walk/ride/walk/ride conditions