Pedal Strike

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April 13th, 2009

freewheel fun

Almost exactly six months ago, I was still freewheeling it on the Bianchi. I bought into the hype and was consequently terrified of going fixed; hence I was stuck in that gray area of the freewheel where I almost got scene points until I started coasting. The resulting inferiority complex really killed me.

Ironically, I flipped my wheel over last October not because I wanted to belong to a “scene,” but because I stopped convincing myself that I wasn’t good/cool/skilled enough to go fixed. Fuck the “scene,” fuck the trendiness, fuck my scarred up knees – it couldn’t be that hard. And, honestly, it was stupidly easy. I even stopped crashing every month.


Six months later, I’m back on the freewheel…and I’m quickly developing a new appreciation for it. Having officially gone clipless, I figured I’ll minimize the chances of crashing [I don’t really miss it] by getting used to the whole clipping in and out thing on cranks that don’t always have to move with your rear wheel. I struggled with it both on a trainer and in the parking lot behind IBC but managed to clip in, not crash into an SUV, and get out on the street.

In the middle of traffic, I belatedly realized that I wasn’t fixed anymore. I tried to slow down by stopping my feet and nothing happened. I was still moving. And I was headed straight into the back of a stopped car.

My sluggish brain finally pooped out a memory of Erich, a mere 10 minutes ago, saying, “oh yeah, you have brakes. Use them.” Brakes! Shit! Use them now! I managed to slide up next to the stopped car, slowing down, then accelerating again as I jerked my knees up and down like a wind-up toy soldier until I figured out that I needed to clip out to stop because my feet were attached to my pedals.


It took about a good half hour but I finally got the feel of a freewheel again. There’s more planning involved, now that I don’t have my feet to slow down with, and going really slowly is actually really hard. On my evening ride last night, I felt faster though; and while hills are sort of a bitch, coasting through turns is so much fun.

This might be cheating, but I’m almost tempted to keep that freewheel on for that century…

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4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 RMM Apr 14, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Wait until you slowly tip over while trying to unclip. The first and only time I did that there was a gaggle of giggly girls waiting to use the crosswalk I beefed on. I don’t think any of them even asked if I was alright.

  • 2 Josh Apr 15, 2009 at 7:01 am

    I went clipless for the first time last year. My goal was not to fall… I fell like a block from my apartment, idling at a busy intersection… Pure embarrassment. I thought, lesson learned, clip out when in doubt. But then about a month later I was going up a dirt/gravel hill taking a shortcut and i just started spinning my back wheel in the gravel going nowhere and… yea, I fell INTO a pine tree. If nothing else these stories make for good conversation over beers with fellow cyclists. Enjoy those pedals!! Oh, and I gotta say, your blog is GREAT! Its a daily of mine. Keep up the good work. See you on the road.

  • 3 pedalstrike Apr 15, 2009 at 10:59 am

    RMM — ahahahahahaa that’s EXACTLY what’s going to happen to me except the gaggle of giggly girls is going to be some super hot guy on an equally hot bike.
    josh — ahahahahaha “going clipless” stories are always awesome. glad that you survived the face-plant into the tree though! and thanks for reading the blog – it always means a lot to me to hear from readers!

  • […] injury occurs when a bicyclist’s foot is caught in the pedal clips …  It causes fracture or dislocation at the tarsometatarsal (Lisfranc) joint.” – High […]