Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Clipless Pedals, or Me vs Gravity

Saturday after hard kettlebell and kickboxing classes, I decided it was finally time I get it together and buy bike cleats. I headed over to Zane's Cycles in Branford, CT. It's a pretty big store, and I prefer the intimate setting at Devil's Gear but Zane's apparel and gear selection is much bigger. I picked one shoe in the women's section that was tolerable, but the sales guy said Look pedals wouldn't fit it. He came out with a shoe that was black and silver but the Specialized logo was powder blue. UGH! Why do womens specific bikes and gear have to have pastels and flowers?! I can't stand it. I want to be taken seriously, not "seriously for a woman". I could go on a rant here about running skirts and such, but I'll save it for a later time.

Anywho, I ended up getting black, red and silver MENS cleats that match my bike perfectly. When I got home I immediately went to work on my bike. Getting the platform pedals off was frustrating, but getting the Look pedals on was really easy. I headed off for a test drive around the neighborhood. I didn't seem to struggle and didn't fall! I thought I was ready for a real ride. I got on some biking clothes and headed out. Of course my first fall was at the end of my street.

I got to my first full intersection stop, and tried to twist out of the pedal. I ended up falling directly behind an SUV. I was laughing, but at the same time hoped she didn't over shoot the intersection and decide to back up, cause my head was right behind her tire. When I got up and got onto the sidewalk, I looked at the driver. She hadn't even noticed my fall, she was busy talking on her cellphone. Yikes. So on I went to do the usual canal ride. It was a great day, perfect for biking. I realized right away the difference the pedals made. It's much easier to reach a higher, constant speed. Hills are a bit easier since I can concentrate on my power rather than keeping my feet on the pedals. Once I got on the canal I practiced getting out of my pedals for all the intersections without a problem. Of course, there were never any cars coming and no reason for me to panic.

My second fall came at the end of the ride. I was approaching a busier intersection, and the cross street was a very steep hill. I thought I was going slow enough, but again couldn't get out of my pedals. I kind of panicked and started to go left up the hill while trying to get out of my pedals at the same time. Kersplat! I fell, harder this time. I have a nice scrape on my forearm, right where my skull tattoo's wings meet. My tattoo has been stenciled on my last few band-aids. It hurts like a bitch even though it looks like a sissy scrape. An old man on a bike came over to me when I fell and I sheepishly laughed and said, "First day on the pedals." He had no idea what I was talking about so I showed him my shoe. "I've never seen anything like that before." "Oh well... uhh I'm okay!" and I rode off. I felt like such an idiot. I know everyone falls their first few times, but I felt like I was 7 all over again falling on my bike and having a stranger help me up.

I hope I get used to the pedals really quick. I signed up for the "Bloomin' Metric" today, which is a 100k ride through Fairfield County on Sunday. Baptism by fire has always been my method. Luckily I'm riding with my friend Deborah who is probably one of the sweetest girls I know. I won't feel stupid falling in front of her, she's new to the biking madness as well. Wish me luck. I'm definitely heading back to Zane's Saturday for some THICKER SHORTS. Hopefully I can get the shorter stem for my handlebars installed by Saturday too. Otherwise my shoulders are going to KILL on Monday!


Krista May 13, 2009 at 9:55 AM  

I knew you would love the pedals! I'm sure you will do great on Sunday! The only time pedals present a problem is when you are stopping and you shouldn't be stopping much during the race!