When I told David Byfield on Sunday that I was about to attempt to move from toe clips to cleats he said, ‘well, just make sure you don’t make Wednesday night’s ride in the dark your first attempt.’ I completely agreed that this would indeed be folly.
HOWEVER …… On Monday, having wrestled with taking the old pedals off my bicycle for what seemed like a very long time, Geoff and I agreed the way forward was to let Russell (Liskeard Cycles) do the job – thank you, Russell! And once the new pedals (call these pedals?) were on, we realised I couldn’t go back. I either had to cycle with them or not cycle at all. Accordingly, Monday afternoon saw Geoff holding me upright on the bike in our kitchen (punctuated with him shouting, “Don’t look down!” as I wrestled with the feel of moving the shoes over the pedals and waiting for the little click and then seeing if there was any way I could extract my foot again). Tuesday evening saw me attempting the same exercise in my spinning class – as if spinning isn’t hard enough anyway! But at least it is much harder to fall off those bikes. And then yesterday, in that lovely autumn sun, I wrapped socks round my elbows and knees, pushed the bike down to our lane and pedalled up and down a bit, trying to remember:
# not to look down # not to worry if I didn’t clip in immediately # to clip in on the down stroke # to unclip well ahead of any hazard (mostly leaves in this case) # to put my weight onto the opposite pedal before unclipping the other foot # to make sure I always start off in a low gear, particularly on an uphill start
Having stayed on in our fairly flat lane, I thought I might as well give the Wednesday night ride a go (without the padding). And in fact it wasn’t too bad – I actually managed to stay on for my first outing, although very quickly found out that most of the issues arise when going up hill, particularly if there is a possibility of stopping and starting again.
Am not silly enough to think this is the end of the story but was delighted to have survived a first trip and a big thank you to everyone who has given me very sensible tips on how to get started.