I have been putting this off for about two weeks…  I HAVE to learn how to use clip-in shoes on my bike.  The thought of being attached to my bicycle and falling over is really scary!


Most cyclists cannot believe I rode a Metric Century (race recap) without clip-in shoes.  Clip-in shoes make it so much easier to pedal because you can lift the pedals up, not just push them down, which makes you go faster.  My upcoming Century finally lit a fire under my butt to figure it all out.


I spoke to Dad (the bicycle guru) and he recommended I try practicing in a door frame.  So, I woke up early this morning and hung out in my kitchen for a while:



It took me a while to figure it out, but soon, I got the hang out it (you have to be really aggressive and jam your foot down). 


I was feeling quite confident until I realized that if I was on the road, I would have nowhere to put my arm and balance (duh). 


Next, I decided to take my bike outside and practice on the grass.  I figured if I fell down, it would be on the grass and wouldn’t hurt so much.  I only ended up falling down once before I got the hang out it!


I also then realized that I don’t need to unclip both of my feet when I stop. Only having to clip in one foot made me feel a lot better, so I started to bike around my apartment complex, practicing clipping in and out on my left foot.


I’m feeling confident enough now to go on a ride once my oatmeal settles!


My coffee oatmeal contained:


  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup rice milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 sliced banana
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee
  • Toppings: cinnamon, flax, almonds, brown sugar


I love English instant coffee! I will be so sad when my stash runs out.


Nom, nom, nom.


Off to RIDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!  Wish me luck!


I guess this falls under the motto: “do one thing everyday that scares you.”



  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing February 12, 2010, 10:14 am

    Good luck girl!! I can’t imagine how scary that must be… it sounds so hard!!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet February 12, 2010, 10:17 am

    Good luck! You will do great!

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg February 12, 2010, 10:18 am

    Good luck on the ride!! Can’t wait to hear about it!

  • Cyclist Kate February 12, 2010, 10:20 am


    You know that you can loosen the cleats on your shoes to make clipping in and out easier (i.e. you won’t have to push to heard to clip in or pull so hard to clip out)? Mine are relatively loose and it makes a world of difference, and I’ve never had any problem with them randomly unclipping while riding. It might ease your mind to loosen them up a bit until you feel comfortable clipping in/out.

    • caitlin February 12, 2010, 10:21 am

      i read this on Jenna’s blog! Mine are REALLY easy to clip out of which is good (not so easy they would come out). I think the hard part is just balancing and doing it fast! ECCCKKK!

      • Cyclist Kate February 12, 2010, 11:31 am

        Oh good…no worries about having to do it fast!! I always clip out significantly in advance of when I’m going to have to stop and just leave that leg out to catch me when I come down…no worries, sister, you’ll get it in no time. Try to think of it as something that’s easy and it will *become* easy!

        • Alexandra February 12, 2010, 12:39 pm

          I agree with Cyclist Kate. Mine are pretty loose too and I always clip out one foot before stopping, then place the unclipped foot down after stopping to unclip the other. Just remember before it’s too late and you’ll be fine!

  • Run Sarah February 12, 2010, 10:20 am

    That looks tricky, but I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it. Good luck on the ride!

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday February 12, 2010, 10:21 am

    I would be scared shitless to ride with my feet attached to pedals. I’m not a very strong cycler in the first place though. I’ll stick to spinning where the bikes are stationary.

    Is it just me or does 2.89 pounds seems really expensive for a jar of instant coffee?

    • Sarah February 12, 2010, 11:03 am

      No, £2.89 for a jar of Nescafe isn’t actually expensive, but that’s because it’s Nescafe, not some crappy brand.

  • Kara (@ Kara's Marathon) February 12, 2010, 10:24 am

    Good luck — you’ll do great!! How long are you riding today?

    I’m not a very steady person (balance-wise!), so clip-in bike shoes really scare me!

  • jessicaamc February 12, 2010, 10:24 am

    you can master clip in shoes!!! if i can anyone can! yah ok.. you probably will fall a few times, it happens. you can’t exactly anticipate every single stop. but really when you fall it’s not so bad, because it’s pretty much done in slow motion, you’re not going to try and jump off your bike while going 20+ mph right?
    just make sure you aren’t a goof like me.. i fell in front of stopped traffic at a red light. i was stopped, went to shift my weight and boom, i was down in front of a ladies van.
    anyways you can do it!!!

    • caitlin February 12, 2010, 10:25 am

      haha yes, at least it will be a sloooooow fall.

    • jessicaamc February 12, 2010, 10:26 am

      oh! another thing i did when adjusting to them was to clip in and out randomly when i was free-wheeling, just to get the hang of it.

    • Mimi September 2, 2011, 2:18 pm

      It’s my first year with clips and i’ve fallen twice. Each time was when i was at a complete stop but i had one foot clipped in and the other loose. I lean over too much and go straight down! Now if i know i’m going to be stopped for longer than a couple of seconds i will unclip both feet!

  • Alyson February 12, 2010, 10:24 am

    I haven’t taken it to the road, but I’m a big fan of Spin and I just got clip in shoes for that recently. It really does make a world of difference!

  • Christie @ Honoring Health February 12, 2010, 10:25 am

    Good luck on your ride. I can imagine how scary it must be to be clipped to the bike like that. Good for your for conquering your fear and working on it!

  • Shannon February 12, 2010, 10:25 am

    Good for you conquering something you were afraid to do!! Hope you’re feeling better 🙂

  • Shannon (The Daily Balance) February 12, 2010, 10:26 am

    good luck! clip-in shoes TERRIFY me – I hate feeling pinned or stuck in any way — but you’ll do great 😉

  • Meg @ Be Fit Be Full February 12, 2010, 10:26 am

    I’ve always been terried of clipping my feet into a bike. I understand it helps you ride more efiiciently, but I fear I would be freaking out the whole time!
    Hope your ride went well!

  • Britt @ Runnerbelle February 12, 2010, 10:27 am

    Best wishes on your ride, just be careful as you approach stop signs & red lights. I usually start upclipping a little ways a head, just to make sure I can get my foot out in time to brake and stop. But usually at lights or stop signs I just take the one foot out.

    And if you do fall, just remember everyone falls…. just be careful around cars.

    Enjoy your ride!!!! I cannot wait till I can bike outside again.

  • Becky February 12, 2010, 10:27 am

    Well done on sorting out the clips! Terrifying! It’s so funny how you are cherishing the UK instant coffee- here in the UK, it’s just standard and nobody even thinks twice about it!

  • Christy February 12, 2010, 10:32 am

    My husband and I did a 50 mile bike race without clip-ons, just regular toe cages. They work just fine. The clip-ons make me claustrophobic!

  • Jacquie February 12, 2010, 10:33 am

    My favorite motto! Good luck! 🙂

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) February 12, 2010, 10:39 am

    I’m glad you got the hang of it quickly. I don’t have a road bike but reading about all the clip in shoes from you and Jenna scares me. I think I’ll stick to running for now.

  • chandra h February 12, 2010, 10:39 am

    i drink instant coffee every morning, haha! ;p I’d love the try some from England!

    good luck on your ride 🙂

  • Jenna @ EatingGreen, StayingLean February 12, 2010, 10:40 am

    Good luck! I remember clipping into my bike for the first time and I was SO SCARED that I wouldn’t be able to stop in time and that I’d just tumble over. Luckily that wasn’t the case, and after a while you’ll realize that it’s just SO MUCH EASIER to pedal up hills and to go faster when you’re clipped in.

    Good luck! 🙂

  • megan February 12, 2010, 10:40 am

    good luck!! I don’t envy you at all…I never want to clip my shoes into bike pedals!

  • Jenn @ Livewellfit February 12, 2010, 10:43 am

    Clips are so hard! When my brother tried to teach me (he’s the Ironman mind you) he gave up after a day because I had such a hard time getting the hang of it! 🙂 I will say this though…once you do, it’s a blast!!!

  • Megan @ Eat.Scrap.Run February 12, 2010, 10:43 am

    Clip-in shoes scare me too. I am too scared to even try my bike with the toe cages! I will stick with my inefficient peddling for now.

  • Nicole February 12, 2010, 10:44 am

    Clip-ins really scare me! I ride in traffic the majority of the time (and wearing street shoes, anyway) but I can’t imagine being stuck and how much it would scare me! I just use the pedal cages and it works fine for me, but sometimes it’s a little tricky getting my feet in there.

  • Nicole, RD February 12, 2010, 10:47 am

    Good luck! You do wear a helmet, right? 🙂

    • caitlin February 12, 2010, 10:50 am

      hehe of course. just not inside 🙂

  • Katy ( The Balanced Foodie ) February 12, 2010, 10:54 am

    Practice makes perfect, and remember “clipping in(and out) is temporary, quitting is forever?” 😉

  • Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) February 12, 2010, 10:56 am

    Eeeek clip-on shoes terrify me! I know it just takes practice but unless I become a hard-core cycler, I’ll stick to tennis shoes. 😉

  • Bronwyn February 12, 2010, 11:01 am

    Nice! It’s definitely scary when you first start using clip ins, but then they just become awesome. You get so used to being able to use the entire movement of your legs, helps with speed/power/longevity of your muscles.

  • Abby February 12, 2010, 11:02 am

    I remember when my husband had to learn how to use the clip on pedals… it was HILARIOUS. I had to hold the bike for him while he practiced. I laughed so hard.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) February 12, 2010, 11:02 am

    good luck! i’m a little afraid to try clip ins after reading Jenna’s experience with them…but now you guys are both practically experts 🙂

  • Kelly February 12, 2010, 11:03 am

    Haha, too funny. good luck. I love your pink handle bars!

  • kim February 12, 2010, 11:06 am

    Good luck! When I first got clips, I practiced a lot on my bike trainer getting in and out. Then outside. I didn’t have a big grassy area, but when you have the fear of body to concrete contact…you get it together rather quickly. Clips are AMAZING…you get so much more power in your stroke! I don’t like them for triathlons though, but they are great for long rides.

  • Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope February 12, 2010, 11:06 am

    awesome, i cannot wait to hear about how the ride went. I just bought my road bike this week. I’m brand new and have so much to learn, but i love it. check out my blog for what i purchased. entry-level Trek…1.2 wsd. love her. Someday i will do the clip on pedals, but for now i am just getting used to padded shorts, ughhhhh ugly

  • Katie@ Two Lives, One Lifestyle February 12, 2010, 11:06 am

    Congrats on getting the hang of it! That is impressive you did a century without clips!! They make such a difference, I’m sure you will notice it. After a long ride make sure you remember you are clipped in and dont just stop and fall over at a stoplight with tons of people around… not from experience or anything of course 😉

  • Sarah February 12, 2010, 11:08 am

    Brave woman! I would freak out if I had to have my feet attached to the bike, so clip-ins would definitely scare me!

    • Sarah February 12, 2010, 11:10 am

      Oops! I wasn’t finished writing!
      I also meant to add a thank you for reminding me that you should do something every day that’ll scare you. More often than not, I forget. And it’s something I always enjoy doing!

  • Amber K @ sparkpeople February 12, 2010, 11:11 am

    That would completely scare me! Even thinking about it makes me nervous, I mean, I don’t even own a bike! I haven’t ridden on one in years and I can’t even imagine being strapped in like that. What if I need to throw my legs out quickly!? Oh it takes some getting used to, I’m sure.

  • Danielle (Coffee Run) February 12, 2010, 11:12 am

    Good luck on the bike ride! I actually had no idea there was such thing as clip-on shoes. Shows you how much I know about bikes…

  • Stacey February 12, 2010, 11:14 am

    Good luck with your ride! my boyfriend, jason, is a cycling guru too and he has the clips but I don’t. I don’t feel comfy using them, because when I am out in traffic I just like to be able to GO. I guess it just takes a LOT of practice!! You’ll get the hang of it 😀

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) February 12, 2010, 11:14 am

    Good luck! My hubby said that those are so hard to get used to! He has take a few spills too 🙂

  • Andrea (canyoustayfordinner.com) February 12, 2010, 11:16 am

    Good luck this morning! You always seem to conquer your goals, so I’m confident you’ll get the hang of it.
    I love Nescafe! I bought some when I was in Europe recently and have been using it ever since!

  • Kalli@fitandfortysomething.com February 12, 2010, 11:33 am

    Good luck and have fun. I am sure you will get the hang of it sooner rather than later!

  • Kelly February 12, 2010, 11:37 am

    Good luck! Clips are AWESOME and once you get it…you got it! It is kind of like riding without training wheeels. You will probably fall a few times at first but once you get it you won’t ever go back! 🙂

  • keri February 12, 2010, 11:40 am

    I got clip-in shoes for Christmas, and it took a little getting used to! My husband coached me to not wait until you completely stop to unclip or else you will fall. It’s ok to unclip while you’re still riding. I forgot this, however, on Christmas day while using my new gift. I totally fell over in front of a cop care while stopping to ask for directions. Priceless! It didn’t hurt as bad as I imagined though.

  • Heather (The Single Dish) February 12, 2010, 11:41 am

    Good luck, I am sure you will do great! I have never done clip shoes for a bike.

  • keri February 12, 2010, 11:41 am

    oops…that would be cop car!

  • bula February 12, 2010, 11:42 am

    I have clips and I’m still terrified to use them, especially after not cycling all winter. :X
    Good luck!

  • paige February 12, 2010, 11:45 am

    The first road bike I bought actually came standard with clip-ins and I wanted to ask the bike shop to switch them out to toe-clips, but my boyfriend told me not to and I’m so glad that I kept the clip-ins. It didn’t take long to learn how to use them and the bike shop really helped me feel comfortable with them before I left with my bike. I always clip out of both cleats before stopping and rest one foot on the cleat and one on the ground so that I can catch myself if I suddenly tip to either side. I would never want to ride without cleats again!

  • Miriam February 12, 2010, 11:48 am

    This is what is written on lululemon bag : do one thing everyday that scares you. 🙂 I like this, very inspiring…

  • Jen February 12, 2010, 11:54 am

    No worries…I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it. I just started biking 2 years ago and I VIVIDLY remember my first ride with clip-ins. Totally freaked me out. It’s worth it in the long run, though.

  • Freya @ foodfitnessandfreya.wordpress.com February 12, 2010, 11:58 am

    Good motto! And good luck with the bike 😀 I never realised THAT was the purpose of clip-on pedal things; I thought it was just to stop your feet falling off the pedals if you hit a rock or something 😛 I’m obviously a biking expert….

  • Kelly February 12, 2010, 12:00 pm

    Yeah- I tell myself this is the year I will get the clips, but I’m definitely scared to do it too. I’ll have to look back on this post when it gets warm enough here for me to actually do it.

  • Laura @ Strong and Steady February 12, 2010, 12:01 pm

    Yayyyyy go you!!!! I really think you will notice a difference… you can really pull back with your heel – it’s a whole new world of pedaling!

    Have a great day!!

  • Michelle February 12, 2010, 12:04 pm

    Just thought I’d share an alternative for your English instant coffee . . . I have found Trader Joe’s Columbian instant coffee to be quite good in my oatmeal (and not expensive at all!).

  • Beth @ DiningAndDishing February 12, 2010, 12:11 pm

    I know this is random but CVS sells Nescafe instant coffee! I love the English instant stuff too and miss it when I’m away so this makes a good replacement!

  • Julie February 12, 2010, 12:22 pm

    Good luck!!!

  • Ellen Collis February 12, 2010, 12:27 pm

    Ohh clip in bike shoes are tricky! I’ve only used them in a spinning class called SoulCycle—it’s the newest rage in NYC. Have you heard of it? I had such a hard time when I first used them, the lady next to me had to help me out.

    That’s a good motto about doing one thing a day that’s scary. It is good to put yourself out there. I don’t know if I do it EVERY day. Sometimes I go to intense sports conditioning classes at the gym and I always have butterflies in my stomach beforehand because I know how much it will kick my butt! Hrm…I weight myself every day, and that CAN be scary, ha! 🙂


  • Alexandra February 12, 2010, 12:41 pm

    My mom introduced me to Nescafe, she used to drink it when she lived in Mexico. That stuff is so good! They sell it here in California in the coffee isle. Maybe if you check out a few different grocery stores you can find it? Like and ethnic foods store maybe?

    • Alexandra February 12, 2010, 12:42 pm

      P.S. Try it with Kahlua and almond milk. Ohmygosh!

  • Macrae February 12, 2010, 12:50 pm

    The door jam techenquie is very creative!
    Your post made me think of learning to stop on rollerblades. I just could NOT do it, so I’d have to skate close to yards and jump in the grass when I needed to stop!! I’m sure you’ll do great!

  • Kt F @ ThroughTheFinish February 12, 2010, 12:51 pm

    I would be so scared of clip-in shoes!! Then again, I tend to fall a lot 😉 “Do something everyday that scares you” is such a proactive way to live life, I love it. Today mine is going to fall under “attempt to clean room without getting lost in the mess,” but sometimes it’s a little more significant than that hahaha.

  • Ali @ Food, Fitness, Fashion February 12, 2010, 12:53 pm

    Good Luck!!! I am totally see why you would be afraid of clip in shoes, I would too. But if they make it easier you will be thanking yourself during the Tri!

  • Cat February 12, 2010, 1:03 pm

    Caitlin, I sooo know what you’re talking about! Clipping in is one of the things that makes me most nervous about taking cycling more seriously. Anyway, I just started a blog in this genre and wrote about my first 30 mile ride the other day! It was awesome! I live in SF and am fiddling with the idea of doing the Gran Fondo in Napa too, but the 60 miler. http://mishmashcat.wordpress.com/2010/02/10/ups-and-downs/

    • Caitlin February 12, 2010, 1:05 pm

      if you do it let me know! you can join our team 🙂

      • Cat February 12, 2010, 1:37 pm

        Yay! I will 🙂

  • Teacherwoman February 12, 2010, 1:13 pm

    You do know that falling while unclipping is part of the initiation to being a hardcore cyclist, right?! 🙂

  • empowermephotoguy February 12, 2010, 1:18 pm

    Teacherwoman is absolutely right! Falling off your bike while clipped into the pedals is a rite of passage! I know! I’ve been there. It’s scary at first, but you’ll get the hang of it really quickly. And then it’s SO MUCH FUN! Have a great ride!

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) February 12, 2010, 1:23 pm

    Good luck! You’ll be great, and I’m sure it will come as second nature to you after you’re used to riding with the clips. 😀 I’m actually still scared of riding a street bike because the tires seem so narrow. Yep, I’ve got a ways to go. 😉

    Love the instant coffee addition to your oats! I’ve got to try that. 😀

  • Samantha February 12, 2010, 1:26 pm

    Here’s an idea – why don’t you take a spinning class at your gym and use your clips? It will get you used to them without the fear of hitting your head on the pavement. Spinning with clips really enhances the workout, too! It’s a completely different and much better workout when you’re clipped in.

    • Caitlin February 12, 2010, 2:08 pm

      thats a really good idea!!

  • Sarah @ The Foodie Diaries February 12, 2010, 1:36 pm

    euro instant coffee is SO good!! thats prob why they’re crazy about it over there. ours pales in comparison 🙁

  • Ashley February 12, 2010, 1:39 pm

    I was wondering if I could get your advice on something. Last saturday I fell hard on my tailbone and injured it. While I don’t believe I have a fracture, I definitely have an injury where it hurts when I exercise and sitting on it is uncomfortable. I have a half marathon on Sunday, do you think it’s safe to run it with an injured tailbone? I’m not sure if running will affect the injury or not.

    • Caitlin February 12, 2010, 2:09 pm


      i really cant say as i’m not a doctor.

      i personally would not run a half marathon if it hurts your tailbone to exercise. sorry 🙁 maybe ask the race organizers if you can transfer your entry to next year?

  • Catherine February 12, 2010, 1:43 pm

    I feel your pain on the terror of clipping in! I’m running the Boston marathon in April, but afterwards I’m looking to do my first triathlon so I need to get that down soon :/

  • Madeline - Greens and Jeans February 12, 2010, 1:52 pm

    Once you get the hang of it you won’t even think about it! If you ended up going with the SPD pedals (which I think you did) you can loosen the spring on the actual pedal (probably have your cyclist dad do this!) which makes it easier to get in and out of while you are learning!

  • Sagan February 12, 2010, 2:25 pm


    Coffee oatmeal? Now I’ve seen it all.

  • Kristen February 12, 2010, 3:26 pm

    Glad you are getting the hang of it!

    I agree the instant coffee you can get at the stores in London and Ireland are SO much better than the instant stuff here!

  • Deborah February 12, 2010, 4:24 pm

    Would you like me to send you some coffee from London? Some of the really good stuff? Pretty sure the postage wouldn’t cost much at all!!

    • Caitlin February 12, 2010, 4:39 pm

      thank you so much! i might take you up on that offer when i run out 🙂

  • Nelly February 12, 2010, 4:42 pm

    Great idea to make coffee oats! I will have to try that tomorrow morning!

  • Gab* February 12, 2010, 4:43 pm

    You’ll get the hang on clipping in and out. I’m not the most coordinated person and I can do it so you’ll have no probs. I actually find it easier while I’m moving for some reason, especially clipping in as you can step down on it. My bike is in storage at the moment as we’re living with my parents while we’re building 🙁

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers February 12, 2010, 5:46 pm

    Doorframe– such a good idea!! I’ve put off even buying clip-able pedals!! 😉

  • Julie February 12, 2010, 7:48 pm

    Great advice!! I’m looking to get a new bike this spring and go with the clip pedals….very nervous. 🙂

  • Amy February 13, 2010, 4:07 pm

    Hi! Maybe practicing unclipping your right foot. Since Americans drive on the right side then you can lean on a curb and I think if you’re riding with a group they’ll be doing right and you might want to lean the same way. Good luck, Amy

    • caitlin February 13, 2010, 4:10 pm

      excellent tip!

  • Susan February 15, 2010, 5:39 pm

    I unclip both my feet before I try to get off my bike. I did one foot at a time for a while, but I kept getting my last foot stuck and falling over to the side. I fell a few times in traffic before I finally just started taking both of them out at once as I slowed to a stop. On the bright side, I went up many beastly hills out of fear I couldn’t unclip if I had to stop halfway up! 😛

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