Clipless Pedals: First Ride Report

by Hannah Dobson 7

This is Hannah’s account of her first effort at something which many of us take for granted – or at least consider a Rite of Passage – the use of SPDs. It’s also a kind of weird meta-poem…


Click. Click.

Back streets, tarmac thrum. No problem.
Up. More tarmac. More power. Onwards, to a sneaky snicket.
Don’t clip the wall. Or the bush (bloody wide bars).
Wiggle, wobble, bush, adjust line, dog poo, readjust, clear.
Step up. A rough one. Forgot about that. Can’t dab, can’t unclip.
Pedal pedal pedal hope for the best pedal pedal pedal cleared step cleared bush missed wall out of snicket.


Locate multitool, back off left pedal.
Back off right pedal. Oh yeah, they’re double sided. Do right pedal, other side.
Go back to left pedal. Which side have I already fettled? Twiddle both a bit.
Hope for best, carry on.
Fire road.
Easy, no problems, bit of gravel slip and stutter, but pedal on upwards.
Stop. Admire view. Take photos of bike. Fiddle with rucksack, unzip inner baselayer. Faff. Forget about cleats. Set up camera to film bike in action.
Click. Perha…


Slide, chatter, wiggle, clack, click.

Now pedal.
Hill. Pedal. Muddy hill. Pedal Pedal. Muddy lumpy rocky hill. Oh.
Now, I don’t always clean this climb, do I?
Oh. Okay. Keep going.
Pedal. Pedal pedal pedal pedal pedal.


Pedal pedal pedal pedal keep-
Slip. Wobble.
Slo-mo topple.
On camera.

Descent. Click. One foot only. Dib. Dab. Dib.

Come on, chicken.
Go! Ah ha! Yes.
I can do it. Yes. You’ve done it before, you can do it now.
Just don’t clip that…

That edge.




Wobble. Left foot down. Left foot still joined to bike. Lean right. Right foot also joined to bike.
Both feet still joined to bike. Hands not joined to bike. Shoulder kissing wall.
No camera footage, but I’m honest, I’m not pretending I didn’t fall.

Gingerly negotiate remaining descent. One foot scooting.
Two feet walking.

Click click flunk.

Can’t see the video? Click here.

If you’ve not ventured into the world of clipless pedals, Issue 103 of our magazine contains a clipless pedals grouptest.

Comments (7)

  1. I have danced the spd shuffle.

  2. Embarassing SPD moments always happen when the most possible witnesses are present. I’d say that filming yours and putting it online means it’ll have more witnesses than almost anyone else’s, though!

    My main one was in front of a mother and her two young children, at the end of an entirely benign tarmac cycle path.

  3. Egg beaters no problems with twiddling, just click and crash 🙂

  4. Ramsbottom High Street topple of shame… Into the open door of a chip shop.

  5. That was ‘falling with style’ Harry, chips were involved.

  6. cool! love the poem!! Every one does the spd slip’n’slide 🙂

  7. As the years go by you get the opposite effect. When you twist your heel to the side to unclip when you are not on your bike! That may just be age related though.

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