Clipless mishap leads to broken ribs

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Thursday, May 08, 2008
By Yokota Fritz

Most of us who use pedal retention systems have experienced the embarrassing moments of failing to release from the pedal when we first learn use them.

I was talking with a friend last night whose fiancée tried clipless pedals for the first time last week. As she keeled over during a stop, the handlebar flipped around and she fell right on the end of her flat bars! After a few days of pain, she went to the doctor who diagnosed the broken ribs.

What's the worst newbie injury you know of from failure to disengage from the pedals? What about injuries from unintentional release from clipless pedals?

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does pride count? yea...typical red light with lots of people looking on sort of thing....

Pride counts...remember when I got my first pair and riding in Chicago's traffic, leaned to put a foot down for a red light at a large intersection, and I went down with bike. The shoes stayed clipped making it harder to get up.
My first time out I fell after stopping in my own driveway. I first suffered brain-lock when I couldn't put my foot down. I then broke the head of the ulna in my right arm when I caught my fall. The elbow required surgery to repair. I now have more Ti parts than my bike and I call that pair my $5,0000.00 shoes.
Weird... you don't have to be a newbie. I am a long time, competitive, daily cyclist, who is recovering from five broken ribs from an inadvertent pedal release. My speedplays were 6 years old, clips pretty new. I came out at 25+ mph and hit the pavement on my side. It's good insurance to replace stuff every 3 years.
The most high-larious thing about newbies and clipless is that most of the mistakes are made as a cyclist is just about stopped. So the comedy comes in almost slow motion.

Speaking of which - I was crossing a ped bridge near my house on my way to work. The bridge is actually heavily trafficked by pedestrians on their way to and from class at a local community college. I became impatient waiting behind some walkers and tried to pass them by going onto the grass. Still good. Now coming back on the sidewalk I misjudged my angle and was not orthogonal enough for the speed at which I was traveling at (or the gear I was in). My wheel turned to match the curb and I went down. I couldn't get out of the cleat quick enough to put my foot down. So I went shoulder first to the cement. Lovely. With about 25 on-lookers. I should have bowed after my performance.
Only thing worse than not pulling your feet out when you want to, is having them pull out when you DON'T want them to...because nine times out of ten, your groin meets the top tube.
I'm scared...
I racked myself the other day, when I missed clipping in!
My story takes place when I was already pretty comfortable getting in and out of the pedals, but this time had other circumstances than usual.

I was on a ride in the woods with 4 or 5 friends. I decided I'd be the showoff and charged up a long climb ahead of everyone else. I put a pretty good amount of distance on everyone (it was very hot and very humid and I think they were smart enough to take it easy.) Anyway, I got to a nice flat spot at the top of the hill, still within view of the others and prepared to stop and gloat. That's when my shoe simply refused to release. As everyone reached me I had untied my shoe to free myself from the wreckage. My pride was badly injured.

The moral of the story: check your cleats every once in a while. If they can twist on your sole they won't twist out of your pedal.
I picked up an old road bike from a garage sale. After pumping up the tires I jammed my shoes into the small toe clips and started down the driveway. My tire caught on the edge of the pavement and I went down on my hip and shoulder while hardly rolling. Even at low speed it hurt and I felt really stupid. The tiny toe clips were impossible to pull out of...
Touch wood, nothing more than a grazed shin and bruised ego so far.
...after by-pass surgery (where they split yer chest open like yer gonna be featured at a bbq) the doc, knowing i was gonna be riding at the first possible allowed date, stressed to me "mr bikesgonewild, please ride sensibly & carefully & do not fall off yer bike"...i'm thinkin' "doc, i'm practically a pro at this stuff...that ain't gonna be a problem"...doh... i'm out for a nice ride on the cross bike w/ a buddy who calls me his coach & we do a good climb at an intelligent pace & then we ride a basically flat dirt road where we can talk & reflect on life a bit...we get to the end & in turning around at like zero speed, i swing wide, wash my front wheel out in the soft stuff, can't kick out a' my 'times' on time & do cycling's equivalent of a pratfall...
...hey, just tryin' to both assert how good a coach i still was & follow doctors orders...whoa, a perfect 10 outa 10 on the big dummy scale...
Regarding hitting the groin -- I saw somebody do that on the racetrack at the Tour de Georgia -- was it Hincapie?

I've also done the trick where I couldn't unclip because my cleat twisted around from a missing screw. Hate it when that happens.

BGW -- falling after open heart surgery, ow!!!!!
I was riding the W&OD Trail near DC. At a popular overlook on the trail, I pulled off, and immediately spied a quarter on the ground. As I excitedly bent over to pick up the treasure, and forgot I was clipped in, I plopped over. A witness asked me if it was worth it. I laughed "no." He said, "Well it was for us." ...insert crowd laughter of about 8 people....
clip out first, then apply your brakes when approaching a stop or technical trail. this technique has saved me many injuries.
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