Gewilli's recent post about starting got me thinking, why is clipping in such a hard thing for so many people?
I went to a park to see if I could stomp some starts and lo and behold, I couldn't. I had, at best, a 20% success rate. Dejected, I turned to ride home and absentmindedly clipped in -- flawlessly.
Since that moment I don't think I missed a single clip-in. I tried a couple times on the way to work each day and nailed it every time. In lieu of race reports, I will share my secrets with you!
Here's the trick -- slap your foot on the pedal once on the upstroke and then clip in on the downstroke. The first contact tells you where the pedal is, and if you have a good feel for mtb pedals (i.e. you didn't just start riding them this year) you can tell exactly how much you missed by. Make the slight adjustment you need as the pedal comes over the top, clip in on the way down, and you're gone. Works. Every. Time.
I think the problem I was having (and you might be too) is that the more you think about stomping it the less delicate you are at finding the pedal with your foot. It's a long way from the ground to your moving pedal, and the only way you can tell where it is is your other foot's position (well, I guess you could look down). The odds of hitting the pedal from a standing start with the cleat in position isn't very high, so if your first contact is on the downstroke you can't make an adjustment until the next upstroke, and it's easy to fumble that one too since your clipped-in foot is driving the pedals hard.
But, make a conscious effort to touch the pedal as fast as you can when your foot comes up and then reset it after contact on the downstroke. If you're used to mtb pedals you'll hit it without thinking.
Seriously, it's less complicated than it sounds. Touch the pedal on the upstroke and then try to do your regular clip-in, I bet it helps.
* Bonus Protip: don't take protips from a guy with top mounts unless he looks like this.
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