This is when you should wish I had a video camera. If there was an America’s Funniest Home videos for YouTube, I’d certainly have won with my pedal clipping antics yesterday.

learning to clip in

Here’s what not to do:

1. Do not proceed outside if you have not yet mastered the pedals indoors. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

2. Do not think ripping your knee & ankle joints apart to get your shoe off the pedal is normal.

3. Do not get stuck in your pedals when there’s no one to rescue you.

And above all else:

4. Never, ever, ever trust the instructions.

See, my mistake was trusting the directions. They said they pedals came automatically set at the lowest tension (read: easy to get out of). Did I think to double check this little statement? Oh no.

pedal instructions

After almost dislocating most of the joints in my lower half, I decided to double check. They were at the max setting.


Once that was taken care of it was smooth sailing. I mastered them indoors, and even bumped the tension back up. Then I hit the grass. I perhaps had 2 minor tumbles, but I graduated to riding in the street without catastrophe. (Knock on wood.)

So don’t be scared of the pedals. 🙂

Here’s how to use them:

To clip in: point your foot downward, toe first. Catch the front of the cleat on the pedal. Stomp Press your heel down to lock the cleat in. Easy peasy.

To get out: Twist your heel out (away from the bike) to unclip. You can adjust the setting on your pedal to make this tighter or looser (aka harder or easier). Go with easier. Trust me.

clipless pedal tension


Practice on a trainer, in a doorway, or with someone holding the bike still.

Graduate to grass. You’re going to fall. Grass hurts less than asphalt. Again, trust me.

Get cleat covers (if you have Look style pedals)

Since I don’t have much real life experience yet, for more practical tips see Savvy Julie’s post. The golden rule seems to be unclip early!