Randomly On Thursday

1. Thank you all very much for your support of Amanda and her ride yesterday. When she met her fundraising goal she said it was the best birthday present ever, and was grateful in the extreme.  So am I.  The Bike Rally has a fundraising minimum for each participant, and while grown-ups are fairly well prepared to meet it,  for the kids on the ride, finding a way to raise $2200 can be more than daunting.  Our family team this year consists of my best friend Ken, my sister Erin, me, my daughters Amanda and Sam, Amanda’s young friend Katie, and Megan’s friend Pato.  (You remember Pato, don’t you? For those of you who’ve asked, my Meg is unable to ride this year because her job can’t give her the time off.  It’s a grown-up problem. Sam’s helping her out by taking her place.)  The grown-ups are committed to helping the kids every way we can – because, well.  The money all goes to the same place, no matter who you pledge it to.  We’ve already held one fundraiser to help the kids out, and there will be more hosted here.  For now, know that I’m planning something, and it will involve Karmic balancing gifts mailed off to knitters who donated to anyone on our family team.

2. I’m donating part of my stash for that, but if you’re a yarn company or just an amazing person who would like to help out, you can send me an email at stephanieATyarnharlotDOTca.  (Replace the AT with @ and the DOT with .  I just do it like that to try and throw off the spambots, which is probably totally pointless.

3. Further to that, Amanda’s asking that if any of you are still inclined to donate for her birthday, that you fling it the way of her little sister, Sam.  (Further to that, I can’t believe I have an 18 year old willing to give up her weekends to train for this. It’s amazing.)

4. Omelet continues apace – and in the spirit of #2, I’m planning to give her away when she’s done.  Surely there’s a non-knitter who’d like to have her in exchange for a donation?

I’m onto Chart D, which gives me immeasurable hope for the future.

5. I’m leaving now to go to the bike shop, to try and get them to swap out my snazzy new clipless pedals for ones that are slightly less fancy, and therefore slightly less likely to fling me to the ground at random intervals – because both of my knees are scabbed up like I’m five years old, and it’s starting to freak me out.
I’m a pain coward. I’m totally willing to do what it takes to make this ride possible – and I’m brave enough to try, but the falling down has got to stop.  I’m too chicken for it.  I’m still going clipless, but trying mountain shoes with a recessed cleat,  instead of race. (If that means anything to you.)

6. Further to #5, I am, rather unbelievably, taking the subway to the bike shop. Those pedals have me scared to death.

7. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to not evaluating a day in terms of how many times I did or didn’t fall down. 

8. Have a great Thursday. It’s my favourite day of the week.

127 thoughts on “Randomly On Thursday

  1. Anything that helpd reduce pain is a good thing!
    Can’t believe I’m the first to comment!

  2. As one who has bit it in clipless pedals more times than I care to admit, ask about the release tension on your pedals. My husband finally realized mine was too high for me and it made a world of difference to my confidence with them.

  3. Just wondering why Thursday is your favorite day of the week.

  4. Wishing you all a successful ride — which means, I guess, I hope you raise the money, and I hope you don’t have scabby knees all summer!

  5. Non-biker here: Clipless pedals? Oy vey. What are the supposed advantages of such torture devices?

  6. Now I personally think there is no better way to spend a weekend then riding my bike 🙂
    I have enjoyed your blog like for forever! It is wonderful and inspiring and makes me laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time. So, I think it is time to return a little bit of the fun by sending a few biking tips your way, and maybe help you to have more fun on the ride. Feel free to ignore….
    (1) clipping in and toppling over: hahaha, everybody does it, only most people don’t want to remember. The number of topplings can be reduced by building up your muscle memory: sit on your bike lean against a wall with your good clipping leg (the one you like to use) on the non-wall side. The wall is to keep you from falling over, although you are now leaning a little to the wrong side… sorry, nothing is perfect. THen clip in and out – focus on how you do it, visualize which muscles you use. Then proceed and do it 100 times, switch wall side and leg, rinse and repeat. If the clipping needs a lot of force – readjust the pedals.
    (2) Ride longer and faster and easier – this miniature program should get you to feel totally done after the end of the ride rather than after the first day (at least it does so for me…). Take an hour or so on Tuesday (far enough from the last weekend ride and long enough to recover for the next one) and go easy for a 10 minute warm up, then go harder for 10 minutes (preferably this should be on a somewhat level road without stop signs). You should go hard but not hard enough to gasp – when gasping is a 10 then this one should be an 8.5-9, a 4 is supereasy. Then do 10 minutes supereasy, this is the most important part!!!!! and it should be so easy that a three legged dachshund can keep up. You should feel bad because you are going so easy, smell the flowers, watch the grass grow but keep pedaling, once the 10 minutes are up you go another 10 minutes hard, then 10 easy then another 10 minutes hard. Then you go home and feel good. You might not be able to do three repeats the first time around… but once you made your way to three repeats, you might want to do this workout twice a week. After 2-3 of these workouts you will feel the weekend rides getting easier.
    Have fun!!!!!!!!!!

  7. the advantage of a clipless pedal is that you can use more of your leg muscles to pedal. It is worth it for longer rides, although I think it is really not required for the city pedaler running errands.

  8. I’d like to second the question about why Thursday is your favorite day of the week. It happens to be mine as well, but that’s because I get to work from home on Fridays. So Thursday is the last day of the week I spend in the office. On a side note – good luck with the new pedals. I wish you and your abused knees all the best. 🙂

  9. I have to move later this summer. I seriously need to destash. I’ll get started and see if I have something that can continue to support this effort.

  10. Thank you for the explanation, petra! Steph, hope you adjust and the knees heal quick.

  11. You might inquire about Speedplay Pedals (I have the frog, which are Mt Bike pedals technically, but there’s no pedal police out there!). their clip/unclip setup is pretty effortless, and i like that there’s a lot of lateral play in them, unlike the traditional clipless systems.
    Good luck on your ride, It sounds like a blast I’m i awe that your whole family is going! 🙂

  12. Look pedals also have some lateral play – I like those, but there are so many out there the best way is to try which one works best for you. Who cares whether they are said to be MTB or road…
    A good resource is the discussion and forum section on the “teamestrogen.com” website.
    I would love to come along on this ride!

  13. Definitely get the mountain bike clipless pedals–Shimanos are great–and just practice clipping out a lot. Every biker has taken a spill from not clipping out in time.
    I rode last weekend with a male friend who is new to clipless and, aside from me kicking his ***, he fell twice because he forgot to clip out. Slightly bruising to the ego, but I tried to laugh it off (possibly made it worse).
    Biking is healthy, fun and free-spirited: enjoy!

  14. And if the clipless pedals just aren’t doing it for you, try a set of cages. They’re what my husbeast used on his fixie for ages. Get a smooth-edged pair of Puma shoes, and you’re set to go.
    Then, when you’re feeling a bit more confident on the fast-roller, reconsider those clipless pedals 🙂

  15. Clipless do get easier. I, too, fell on my face a few times until I switched over to the Look brand.

  16. I have to comment on the clipless pedals: Some serious riders hate them with a passion. There are not many of them but they do exist.
    Why don’t you look into grippy platforms and wear your shoes with the grippiest (is that a word?) sole? You’d do just fine.

  17. Thanks for having massive fears about clip-in shoes on the bike… I am training for a week-long awareness/fundraising cycling trip … and the first long ride with the clip-ins was great (I had taken an hour the day before on the street practicing clipping in and out with a 6 year old coaching me on how to ride a bike while she rode hers beside me-lol) and bit cement on my driveway when I got home… 10 days rest due to a fractured elbow later, I’m tentatively heading out with the mantra of “Face your fears and you are a rockstar!” ringing in my ears!
    I’m so happy that you put into words some of my feelings about being a beginner cyclist!

  18. Did you know there is a little screw somewhere on those pedals that you can loosen so it takes less effort to unclip? You only have to find the right adjustment so that the shoes unclip easily when you come to a stop but don’t unclip at times you don’t want them to. Could be less expensive than buying a new pair of shoes, if it solves your problem 🙂

  19. Thursdays have always been my favorite day of the week. Why you ask. From the 5th grade until the show was cancelled my favorite television show–The Munsters–aired on Thursday night. And now my favorite class is on Thursday mornings. Thursdays just promise Friday is next and then the weekend.

  20. Now I KNOW that those other cyclists were laughing at me for doing my 30 miles on my old, heavy mountain bike!!! It is doubly inefficient in that it has standard pedals (neither cages or clipless).
    At least they didn’t pass me on one of the two hills that I walked the bike up!!!
    And all those muggles just think we talk about knitting and yarn here!!! hahaha

  21. Thank you for putting up the links to everyone who is riding!! I wasn’t sure about donating when the goal was already met, because I wasn’t sure if there were other family members who still needed to meet their goal and I’m so glad I waited! It’s great knowing that your kids have so much help to make sure they meet their goal. Have a great time!!
    (Also, I’m afraid of clipless pedals on anything other than a stationary bike!)

  22. Payday today, so my birthday gift to Amanda is sponsoring Sam (great idea, Amanda!).
    My knees hurt on your behalf.

  23. Stephanie—I feel your pain in more ways than one. I had a severe fall due to the clipless pedals in March. A miracle I didn’t break a hip. I now have flat pedals made by a company called Ergo. They may be a bit less efficient on the upstroke, but they are truly ergonomic, non-skid on both sides and I can put my foot on the ground instantly when I need to. I’m coming up on my 75th birthday and can still crank out a 15-20mph pace if so inclined, but safety is my prime concern from now on as far as pedals are concerned. Good luck on your ride!

  24. Steph- I’ve been a bike commuter in Duluth, MN for almost 8 years. A friend encouraged me to try the clip pedals a couple years ago. I bought them, lasted two days, and went back to baskets on my pedals. You’re not the only one. 🙂

  25. On the biking part and the pedals… my husband’s advice (he’s a fanatic cyclist, we own two bike shops) is to ride with only the foot you don’t usually put down clipped in while you get used to unclipping when you stop. Once you’re good with that foot, do the other foot by itself for a while, THEN try both feet. It does make it easier to learn.
    And good luck!

  26. Before I moved overseas, I got these great reversible (?) mountain bike clipless pedals for my hybrid. They had the normal do-hikeys on one side, but could be flipped over and used comfortably for high traffic/frequent stopping/not wearing my bike shoes situations. Only problem was that they were very spiky for shoe-gripping power, and this occasionally resulted in calf-gripping instead.

  27. Clipless pedals are crazy scary. Sometimes you need your feet in a hurry, for safety reasons. I just used toe cages back in the day…wonder if they even make those anymore.
    Now, about that Omelette…I think you should put it up on Ebay and let the most motivated philanthropist go home with it!

  28. I agree with the posters – check cleat tension. The recessed cleats (spd) clip you in just as much as the Look equivalent. And every one of us that has gone clipless has crashed. If they say they haven’t, they lie. 😉 Also, the crashes are never without an audience. They just take a little getting used to – and I would bet that the tension screw is the key. My husband’s are very tight, as he unclips out of them when he sprints. Mine are easy to get out of.
    Just don’t abandon clips. They are the only way to go.. IMHO.

  29. Dear Stephanie,
    I viewed everyone’s donation tallys so far and it seems like Pato needed help more than anyone, so his fund got a donation from me.
    Auntie Tracy

  30. The point of the ride is to finish, not speed, right? so ditch the clips, they’re for the racers, not for endurance rides.
    Treat the scabby knees with some kind of moisturizer that you like, at least daily, ideally twice daily. No need for medication, just moisture. When I did that, it healed without a scar.

  31. The bruises and scrapes are like badges of courage! Wear them proudly – they mean you’re a bada$$. When I was learning to use my clipless, I once toppled over at low speed going up a tiny minor hill. The kid in the passing car laughed. It happens to the best of them.

  32. I knew that if I looked through the comments someone would have to have made the HHGG reference. Thanks Candace 🙂

  33. My husband has boots with the recessed cleat, one big advantage is that you can walk in them without looking like a duck. If you’re a pro cyclist then you can carry the duck walk because it’s all about performance, most mere mortals do tend to want to get off the bike now and again.

  34. I put my donation towards Pato’s goal as well. Best wishes to your whole team — awesome effort!

  35. I’ve always liked the little over-the-toe clips, but the kind where you use special shoes to snap into the pedals scare the bejeebers out of me. I found I was able to quickly learn how to slip my foot backwards and out, but twisting off the clip just didn’t work for me at all.
    Best of luck on your ride!

  36. I also put my donation towards Pato’s goal since Sam has already reached hers. Best of luck on your ride and fundraising efforts!

  37. My sister had similar experiences with clips. One time she was on a bridge, in the middle of car traffic, had to stop (backed up traffic, you know), and couldn’t get her feet out of the blasted clips. Falling down in front of cars – Very Scary.

  38. if it makes you feel any better, I hit the ground on my bike on Monday & have 2 scraped knees & a decent-sized bruise on my thigh to show for it…and it had nothing to do with clips & everything to do with my own carelessness.
    good luck with the ride!

  39. Definitely get them to turn down the tension on your cleats and see if that makes a difference. Being able to clip out without having to exert much force will (hopefully) make it more automatic and reduce falling.
    On the other hand, recessed cleats are great for running errands on the bike, so it’s not the end of the world if you switch to those.

  40. What’s your favourite colour?
    (I just had to enjoy some Canadian spelling here, all underlined in red dotted lines, but I would like to know the answer.)

  41. ditto Brynne’s comment — and Rachel T — and lots more. My friend had me totally scared of clipless pedals, talking about how much she fell. My husband adjusted hers for her, she stopped falling, and I was persuaded to try them 🙂

  42. Good for you for getting your family into biking. such a great past-time. my husband and I and our 19-year old daughter are leaving on a 4-day bike trip from Madison, WI. we’re going to be carrying our camping gear. looking forward to less-traveled roads and beautiful lakes!!!! good luck with your biking.

  43. I threw my donation Pato’s way; he’s a little behind the others. Good luck with the new petals.

  44. I have always felt such solidarity with your kids, because we are near in age. I feel even more connected to these people I’ve never met because now I am riding my bike to campus everyday. And it’s hot. And for a long time the seat really hurt my under-region, but then I got a new fluffy seat and it’s made my day. And I’m poor, in that special way college students are. Poor now, but still so privileged, and maybe not poor forever. Typically I think that I will wait and donate when I actually have some money to give, but my Uncle died of AIDS in 1998. I was 9, so I didn’t really know what killed him. Now I realize he was a drug addict, but I still wish I’d have had the chance to truly know him before he died. I decided I can not wait until I am done with college and no longer poor—because there are other Uncles dying.
    I said all that to say this, I donated $20 (American, which oddly came out to 19.83 Canadian?) to Katie. Next week I’ll try and donate more to Pato. Ride hard.

  45. Steph, that post about Amanda yesterday was so lovely it made me choke up. I didn’t get around to donating yesterday, so since Amanda’s goal is met I’m doing what you said and throwing it Sam’s way. Your family is so awesome. 🙂

  46. Talk about life imitating art. I just bought a bike yesterday. I haven’t been on one in 25 years and I can’t wait to ride again. I have no idea what clipless pedals are but I’m sure you will get the hang of them or come up with a brilliant solution.
    Isn’t knit night Thursdays?
    Ande ~ Thank you for sharing your story about your Uncle. You’re right, we just can’t wait.

  47. I am full of awe for you using cleats at all. I have a friend who took them up when she was about 50, and she and all the others I know who have done it saying falling down is just part of the deal. Not for me! I am sitting here having done a 40 minute ride to work–I have clips on my pedals and I just keep the strap loose. Maybe I get some benefit from them, not as much as with cleats… but I am not volunteering for the falling down part. Cleats are NOT compulsory. I hope the new strategy works for you! If not, surely this is optional. This is not the Olympic sprints.

  48. longtime lurker, bi-yearly commenter here: Blessings to you. Thanks for continuing, after ALL these years, to be a voice of joy, confusion, struggle and love. And delight — in textures, colors, projects, craziness, and the people you love and share with us. Yer a darlin’ woman. I’M SO GLAD YOU’RE HERE. AND I’M SCREAMING IN CAPS BECAUSE MY SCARY CAT HAS HER ELBOW ON THE CAPS-LOCK BUTTON.

  49. I love that you all are doing this and how you’re supporting each other in it–thank you.
    Re the spambots: they’ve found their way around that one. Add spaces. Or, my favorite: insert the phrase deletethesefourwords in the middle of the address.

  50. another thought on the pedals. I was terrified of them until I talked my husband into giving me his worm out ones – both the pedal and the part that goes on the shoe. BC they are worn out they release soooo easily. And he was happy to have new ones. Maybe you can find a similarly generous rider?


  52. One other idea for the bike pedals: a friend of mine uses something like these:
    It’s basically an angled strap. When you put your foot in at an angle, they’re loose enough to get your foot in and out easily. Then when you turn your foot straight ahead to pedal, that tightens the strap enough that you gain some power on the up stroke.
    (I also live in fear of falling down on my bike. 🙂

  53. I wasn’t sure about donating after the goal was reached too. So I’m glad you posted for everyone else. I looked through and picked two that needed the most help (%wise). I know how hard it is to fund raise when you’re still a student or just getting started in life, so I help out where I can, even if it’s just a little bit. I hope the whole team can meet their goals!

  54. I personally would rather have clipless road cleats,(speed play being what works for me). Never got good at the mountain bike ones but know plenty who think the other way. I agree with previous posts, check your tension if some young bike dude adjusted yours they may be way to tight!! 60 years and still riding and knitting!

  55. Sponsored Sam. I haven’t ridden a bike in more years than I care to count. More power to all of you for doing so and for such a good cause.

  56. Bless all of you for your efforts, and thank you for the nudge – I split my donation between Kate and Pato. And yay! for a day without falling down!

  57. I was thinking of donating, thank you for the reminder! I went and perused your group and decided to give Pato a hand 🙂

  58. I am with you on #5 and for that matter #6 too.
    You are my hero for trying. I still ride with the toe cages cuz, well, you know why.
    I too fell like a tree last weekend, ironically in the woods, and have a series of impressive inner thigh bruises to prove it! (Only wearing shorts that fully cover me 🙂 )
    Good luck with the scabs Steph.

  59. oh my…don’t fall down. elbows, hands, collar bones, necks don’t need to be bruised to be a successful fundraiser and bicycle enthusiast. I’m sure you’ll find a set up, maybe not the super-duper fastest…but it will be safe and comforting. I kissed cement a few times and worked out diff clips, cleats and shoes. No more falling down because of clips for me. Those needles on the Omelette look so tiny!

  60. I looked at your family team’s pages & Katie seemed to need a boost, so I donated to her. I wish ya’ll the very best of luck!!

  61. I feel your pain on the clippy pedals. I never quite got up the nerve to switch to actual bike shoes for my next triathlon, even though I know they’d make the biking easier. My theory is that not switching my shoes between the bike and run portions gives me a significant tactical advantage…
    I admire all of you for doing this ride, and wish I were in on all the mileage. But, if you can’t be an athlete, be an athletic supporter. I respect the efforts, particularly by the young people, and will happily donate to the cause.

  62. Well, I think Omelet is perfectly beautiful and would like to know what the acceptable donation amount would be. I always support the riders but this time kinda slipped by me until now. I don’t want to undervalue Omelet and your steadfastness with the repeats, but there could be a limit to what I can afford, so please tell me what amount. Thanks!

  63. I love your blog but rarely comment; I couldn’t, however, not come out and agree with you on the subject of scabbed knees being most unbecoming in folk beyond a certain age (I gave up trying to cycle at all when my clumsy-six-year-old-style knees were making my job prospects questionable). Two of my family of cyclists wear cleats (both varieties) and find them worthwhile. The third still prefers toe clips. Whatever works for you. Good luck.

  64. Be careful and please don’t have any injuries. Thursday is one past “over the hump Wednesday” and one before Friday and the weekend. Yay for Thursday!

  65. It’s never the falling down to count. It’s the getting back up that’s worth counting.

  66. I hope Sam can hit $3000. I gave a little bit toward that goal. Actually, I think the blog could help her hit $5,000. That would be amazing. Not that riding that far isn’t amazing on its own. Go guys, go!

  67. I just saw your tweet about Yo Yo Ma, and I KNOW that you had a wonderful time. I was lucky enough to score tickets to see him when he was in Pittsburgh. Just he and his accompaniest on stage – fabulous. Hope Sam meets the goal (I’m sure she will). And are you wearing knee pads? I work in a store that sells lots of bike gear, adn some of our long-distance syclers wear knee and elbow pads, just like the roller bladers do.

  68. My mother and I once found a cyclist with clip-in pedals. Unfortunately, one of the spokes of his bike had come out, so he was walking it. And it was at least another 5kms, uphill, to the nearest bus stop. He took his shoes off so as to save them (they weren’t designed for walking!) but his feet were starting to hurt. Luckily, we had a bike rack on the car! Sure, he hadn’t seen that particular bike rack before, but we loaded his bike up, he got in the car, and we drove him to the place where he was meeting his friends. He was a lovely bloke, too. Mum and I appreciated being able to help, and the opportunity to use the bike rack 😉
    That lesson taught me that if I’m going to be riding where there isn’t much public transport, don’t use clip-in pedals! Personally, I’m using a hybrid and platform pedals. Then again, I’m not competing, just cycling for exercise.

  69. I donted to Sam – but realized she has surpassed her goal – so let’s get the rest of the team there!
    Good Luck!

  70. I didn’t have time to read the previous comments, so sorry if I’m repeating something, but… have you thought about investing in a pair of knee pads? I took a stage combat class in college and we were required to wear knee and shoulder pads. They’re surprisingly cheap, and while you look like a dork, they make you much more fearless. It’s easier to focus on your training when you know that, even when you fall down, you won’t scrape yourself up too much.

  71. Speaking as someone who has manage to trash her left knee three times NOT on a bicycle (car, backyard, table), and had 2 surgeries and now has permanent osteoarthritis there, I think the more you can do at ANY age to preserve the health of your knees is crucial. Kneepads, easier to cope with bike pedals, whatever it takes, go for it. I do exercises, take meds, and use a walking stick for hikes. And I use a little footstool when knitting, to change posture.
    Of course, once the cat gets in my lap, I’m stuck for a while!

  72. Being that I’m absolutely useless at riding a bike, I happily donated to the biking cause.
    GO TEAM GO!!!!!

  73. Katie looked like she needed some help so I put some in her bin. Good luck to you all!

  74. You are on the right track with mountain bike cleats. I’ve ridden a LOT on a road bike but with mountain bike shoes and cleats, cause I don’t need to add to the hilarity of me in bike togs by walking with the butt-out stance necessary to navigate with road cleats.
    May I suggest Speedplay frogs. No adjustment necessary–double sided entry–reasonable amount of knee friendly float and relatively inexpensive.
    Good Luck.

  75. I am just beginning to ramp up my biking, and so am eying the ride you are doing and thinking “maybe next year”. I will go see who is lagging and throw a donation their way.
    And I have to say that Ande’s comment is just so, so right. I’m going to send it along to my very own college student.

  76. Split a donation between Katie and Pato, since they hadn’t met their goals yet. Well done, all!
    I hear you about the pedals – I ride an electric-assist commuter bike that can go 35Mph on the flats and I’d hate to have to clip out on short notice at that speed. I use textured platform pedals with grippy shoes instead.

  77. It takes a day or so to get used to clipless pedals. Don’t give up.
    You can ask the bike shop to set the pedals to release more easily. New pedals are often too tight so they can set it on a looser setting at first, and then tighten it up as the pedals wear.
    I unclip my right leg as I approach a stop. It’s automatic now. You’ll get the hang of it, too.
    The only problem is when I ride a tandem and my captain stops without warning me. We call those “tandem moments”. I tell him that I will whip out my cell phone and dial a divorce lawyer.

  78. I pledged for Pato. Thank you for giving us this opportunity to pledge, Stephanie. Good luck with the ride to you and all your family and friends.

  79. I didn’t leave a message for Sam, but please let her know that this Samm (doublemmmmm) is happy to support her ride! Happy riding to all of you! 🙂 Hope the knees heel, and that the new pedals help. I know my feet get all claustrophobic in clips. Ugh. (my fingers get claustrophobic in gloves, but that’s a topic for another day. :))

  80. When I was trying to decide who’s goal to donate too and saw that Sam’s was empty I picked her immediately.
    Now I see her goal is achieved, and it makes me smile.
    Now to decide who to give to next.

  81. On the matter of clips, have you tried to loosen them? That will make it way more easy to clip and unclip. That’s what worked for me when I got mine. I’m not sure if all models can be loosen however, but if it’s possible, you can do it to a point where if you yank hard with your foot upwards, you’ll unclip your shoe. Hope that helps!

  82. Thursday is my favorite, too. I live “Eves” better than “Days” and Thursday is weekend eve.

  83. I’m almost exclusively a transportation cyclist. I have these pedals on both my bikes that are in regular rotation:
    They’re not as big as they look. The little pegs grip your shoes reasonably well so your feet don’t slip. And its easy to vary your foot position if you need to.
    When I did more recreational cycling, I had clipless pedals, and yes, you do fall occasionally. :/ But now that I have lots of stop-and-go riding, I ride platform pedals exclusively. It’s not just getting out of the pedals, it’s getting clipped back IN them after stop lights/stop signs, etc.
    I tried riding with toe clips even, and for the kind of riding I do, I just don’t need them.
    I haven’t tried these, but they look like they’d be a good choice.
    (No affiliation with pedal makers or Tree Fort bikes, just a happy customer.)

  84. I vote to stay with clip pedals, they are much better for long rides. They enable you to change your foot position and stroke to use different muscles. Change your foot position, many people ride with their toes down but try heel down and you’ll work the large muscles in your rear more and give the other ones a break. Also try to make your pedaling circles even, don’t use a push/pull motion but more of a front/back one.
    Secrets to clipping out: agree with others that the tension on the pedal for the SPD type clips should be adjusted to how easily you want them to pull out. Also I prefer the Speed Play clips instead of the SPD because they seem to clip out more easily but most of all give a little float so your foot is not held so rigidly for a long ride. Lastly, clip out on the very bottom of your stroke, it took me many falls and someone riding behind me to notice that I was unsuccessful clipping out because I often tried to do it on an upstroke or at the top of my stroke. It makes a difference.
    I don’t believe road versus mountain shoes makes any difference, I have both.

  85. Have you been to the bike shop yet? I ride with shimano pedals that are reversible. One side has the click in part, the other is the oldfashioned put your foot on this rectangle part. So when I am in town or going really slowly I have that option and when feeling gnarly can clip in.

  86. Stephanie,
    I rode in the Trek Across Maine 5 years ago, and it was the first time I rode a bike in about 30 years. I was 57 at the time and I found myself in the dirt, skinned knees, chin, bleeding multiple times. In fact, I was actually unclipped from my pedals, with ONE foot on the pavement, reaching back to get a hard candy from my saddle pack and fell. Two cars stopped to help the infirm person back up…I was so embarrassed, but hysterically funny, too.
    When I rode the Trek, I switched to mountain bike shoes, and always rode with my left foot unclipped. I gave up thinking I was every going to “make time”, “travel lightly”, “more performance” and chose to “drink often”, “stay upright”, and, ” no faceplants into oncoming traffic”.
    I liked having the goal of the Trek as a big cattle prod during my training. I can so identify with your journey. I have the chin scar, the knee scar, the wrist scar, probably both elbow scars to prove it.

  87. I’m a mountain biker, and have just now become brave enough to learn to ride with clips, after 20+ years of biking. I’ve had a few gnarly falls, the worst of which I got bitten on the back of the calf with my chainring. Nothing like dripping a little blood on the downside of a single track to intimidate the youngsters. 😉 Now I’m getting a reputation as “That tough old lady on the pink Trek”.
    Mountain bike shoes have rubber studs on the bottom, like football or soccer shoes, for those times you have to shoulder your ride and hike up an impossible hill. It’s sometimes necessary to grab a file or a rasp and trim back the rubber studs from around the cleat so that it will move a little easier on the clip. I keep my clips adjusted as loose as possible, because yes, I hate falling. It hurts.

  88. I just made a donation. I wish you the best of luck and a nice steady, even, and well balanced ride.

  89. Hey there Stephanie kudos on the biking. I ride too and my road pedals give me he heebie jeebies, still.
    Ask for “Campus Pedals.” They’re flat on one side and have a cleat on the other that your mountain bike shoe cleats (AKA “SPD” cleats) will accept. That way, you can clip in and, like me, unclip when it gets scary and use the flat side. Plus…you won’t have to clip in immediately after stopping and re-starting.

  90. Last year I did my first century at 61 as a cancer fundraiser. You can do it! I have clipless pedals ( an oxymoron if there was one) and even 5 years later still say to myself as I approach a busy intersection, ‘unclip, unclip, unclip’ , otherwise, I forget! But, I do like them and feel they help out in the long run.
    Way to go Young Lady!!

  91. I hope you were successful at the bike shop. When we got my son his clipless pedals, and again, this year, as he has grown, we got a “fitting” at the bike shop. They installed the pedals, then put the bike on a trainer wheel, the boy on the bike (in biking clothes and shoes) and adjusted the whole bike to fit him perfectly, and adjusted the pedals just so, and had him clip in and out, over and over and over, for a solid 20 minutes, to teach him how to and develop the muscle memory. He is 17, and he says he never fell, due to clipping.
    He is training, right now, for a Ocean to Ocean trip, across Southern USA (not a fundraiser) as his summer project, with a biking group, from Savanna, GA to Santa Monica Pier!

  92. I seem to be missing the auction info. Will keep checking. I’ve probably jumped the gun.

  93. Clipless pedals are scary…. If the pedals you have can’t be adjusted… Try speed plays, you can clip from either side…. If you want to try them out email me and I’ll send along a spare set. Happy riding!

  94. Stephanie did they fit you to your bike and pedals at the bike shop with a Fit Kit. There is such a thing and yes it usually costs to have this done, but they adjust everything, saddle so you’re sitting as comfortably as possible and your body/ knees are best positioned over the pedals, pedals they can set the float (force it takes to twist out), your cleats so you are getting the most efficient pedaling and you aren’t subtly twisted about, handlebars/stem so you aren’t stretching uncomfortably. It makes a world of difference in comfort, and will likely help with the clipless bit. But you have to take the bike with you. They’ll put you on a trainer with some mods so they can measure and watch you pedal the bike. It’s really worth it.
    Several spd/mountain bike pedals have step ins on both sides. My road bike has them. I think they came from Nashbar. The main difference between mountain bike and racing/road shoes is that you can comfortably walk in the mountain shoes they clip in the same. I always feel like a tap dancing duck when I try to walk in my road shoes.

  95. i wish your blog were a tv show. you are too funny and everytime i laugh out loud, my husband and kids look at me like i’m nuts. i’m officially going to the studio tomorrow and pitching a show based on this blog… that is, i would be if i worked at a tv studio, i’ll ask my man. love you!!!!

  96. I go with mountain bike shoes and spd cleats – easier to walk in and you’re less likely to slide randomly across the floor at the local convenience store when you stop for a break. Only time and practice will teach you not to wipe out. I fell over Every. Single. Time I got on the bike for the first month. After many years I am still afraid of my shoes the first ride of the season, but I love them every other time now. Pick what works for you, no apologies needed to anyone.

  97. Hehehe love seeing the Pearl girls top 3 out of the top four on the leaderboard fundraising.

  98. Like you, I was not exactly good with the clipless pedals. My shop had one of those things to clamp your bike into that holds it upright, so they put my bike in it, put me on the bike and had me practice (over and over and over!!) taking my foot out of the pedal. This helped a lot – I had the feel of what taking my foot out felt like without the fear of falling over. Maybe you could get Joe to hold your bike still and let you practice?

  99. Ken seemed a little lacking. I threw a little his way. Way to go to your girls who are over 100% already!!

  100. As a female “older” bike rider (far older than you are, I must say) I have taken a number of falls using clipless pedals. The “con” of that situation is that it is embarrassing and hurts a bit. The “pros’ however are great, not the least of which being that you are almost stopped when you fall and you don’t get badly hurt. Hang in there; yours is an admirable goal and one that is attainable. Just keep imagining how fantastic you will feel when the ride is over as well as being deservably proud.

  101. As knitters of a somewhat intellectual as well as badass nature, please consider that clipless shoes are not shown to do diddly squat to increase efficiency – the difference for the pros is that they resist the upstroke less. See link to the Rivendell Cycles page on the shoes ruse: http://www.rivbike.com/Articles.asp?ID=255
    Additionally, clipless restrict your range of motion – the only time I have ever had body trouble on the bike was when I was clipped in on a 105 mile day (no probs other 100 mile days), and I think I just fatigued the heck out of my ankle, probably the point of weakness or bad form- other days without the clips I think I adjusted and adapted, sliding my foot around.
    I use my fancy shoes for indoor cycling class, period. And have nary a regret!! Best wishes!!! Janet

  102. Oh Joy of Joys, you’ve been “nominated” for the Versatile Blogger Award. This is, so far as I know, a completely bogus award given with the requirement that you (1) thank the person who gave it to you, (2) post links to 15 blogs you have “nominated” to receive this award, (3) notify those 15 bloggers of their “nomination,” (4) post seven random things about yourself, and (5) post the Versatile Blogger Award on your site.
    Seriously, though, I’ve loved your blog for ages. Check out the post on my site for some other great blogs to look at (if you’re into that sort of thing).

  103. I can’t believe the bike store let you put yourself on racing style cleats. Recessed are so much easier in so many ways. Hope the change out makes all the difference. Also as someone near the top commented: set the release tension way low. Better to accidentally pull out of your clipless pedal than to fall over all the time. They should be able to do this.
    Also I donated to Sam as Amanda was already way past her goal and Sam and Katie were sitting at the bottom of the list.

  104. Ooh, Steph, I hope they switched you out for regular cleats and toe clips. Old technology maybe, but very functional and in my opinion better for long rides because you can move your toes around to switch the stress on your feet and knees.
    Plus no embarrassing falls unless you completely forget to pull your foot out, which I did once at a stop light when a VERY handsome young man in a VERY expensive convertible pulled up next to me as I was stopping. Talk about conversation starter!

  105. Awhile ago I remember a post about you having a helper get out all your needles and organize them. Are they still organized ?

  106. Good luck with the mountain pedals/clips – that what I started with just recently and it’s been pretty nice. I’ve only fallen once and it was due to a load shift (child on the back of my cargo bike) rather than forgetting to unclip.

  107. I don’t remember if I have donated, but I will certainly donate again. My SIL is the perfect person to receive your Omelette (and if I don’t win it, I know how to knit my own).

  108. When I got the clipless pedals, I fell numerous times. I fell onto the curb, I fell at intersections, I fell onto a car (at an intersection: I unclipped my right foot and fell to the left). After a few weeks, I was fine. I don’t ride as much now but I still don’t fall. So if you stick with it (and concentrate while slowing and unclipping), you’ll be fine. I also got Wellpro pedals that have one side for clipping and one side with a wider flat step so that you can ride easily without the shoes. I got them at MEC and am quite happy with them. Good luck!

  109. Mountain recessed cleats are much, much better, in my experience. And be sure to get them adjusted so they release easily. But you know, if cleats are causing you to fall, you don’t need them.. You can ride really, really far with just pedals :-).

  110. I wish you all the best on the ride, and i’ve made a donation for Erin to help her on her way 🙂 Good luck team 😀 The shawl is looking beautiful and just a note i am on my second Color Affection, the bug has hit me lol, so simple it’s great auto pilot knitting for my 1 1/2 hour commute to work 😀 Thanks for suggesting it. 4 of us made a KAL out of it.

  111. I work at a bike shop so I see so many people getting bummed out about clipless pedals. Try reading this article before you beat yourself up too much. If you like riding clipless, absolutely more power to you, but don’t feel like you have to ride with them.

  112. You’ll get used to the clipless pedals eventually. All the falling is a right of passage 🙂 I rarely fall due to the pedals anymore. Now I’m more likely to fall because I’m going too fast or don’t quite have good enough bike handling skills 🙂

  113. I’d agree to try cages instead of clipless. Pretty easy to get in and out of. You can loosen them if you don’t want your foot held tightly, or tighten them if you really want to get the up pull.

  114. I totally understand! You probably never should have started out with road pedals! I have been riding in 100 mile charity rides since 2000 and only this year switched to road pedals. I had SPDs on all my road bikes. Call me a wimp, but they worked! And really, the only reason I switched was that I have very small feet, and the shoes I found were only road cleats. I know you can do this! I am 54 and still riding. Just take care of your body – don’t over train! I am coming off a year of tendonitis from a too long, too tight grip and rainy 65 mile ride last September. I should have stopped and stretched more often, but it was my first real “paceline” and I was crazy.

  115. I’m new to knitting but have been bicycling for years. See if the bike shop can adjust your clipless pedals so that you can gain confidence that you can unclip when necessary but still be safe on the pedals. Stay aware of your surroundings so that you can anticipate a possible “unclip” event.
    Meanwhile, I’ll go to my local yarn shop and see if they can help me undo the terrible mess I’ve made of my current project.

  116. So, I sponsored Pato for the Ride, since I had sponsored him and Megan a previous year. Imagine my surprise, to get home last night to a lovely phone message from the Toronto PWA Foundation – thanking me for my sponsorship of Pato once again! Pretty classy – I don’t live in the GTA, either… [Gave me the ‘warm fuzzies’ after having gotten rained-on (and chilled) on my ride home, on my little motorbike!]

  117. so pleased to see nearly everyone’s met the donation goal!
    i was more than happy to put my donation on katie’s page

  118. Hi Stephanie,
    I would love to help you out with #2. I tried emailing several times but it kept getting kicked back to me. Please email me if you are still looking for donations of yarn 🙂 Cheers!

  119. I finally remembered to check out everyone’s fundraising status. Erin seemed to be farthest from the minimum, so I made my contribution to her page.
    Good luck!

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