“Toe Clips” and “Face Plants!”


My wife gave me a pair of bicycle toe clips for Christmas. I thought it was because she loved me. Now I’m not sure. Yesterday, I just went for my first ride. I felt like a sleeping cow at a high school senior party. I tipped over five times.

For the uninformed, toe clips attach your foot to the pedals FOREVER! Oh, they say you can get out, but they lie. You can only get out if you are sitting quietly on the bike and the salesman is demonstrating how to do it. In real life you can’t get out of the clips. If you have any doubt about the panic this causes, have a friend nail your feet to a skateboard and then shove you sideways. Hurts doesn’t it? Now have your friend do this in traffic.

You are never moving very fast when you fall because it only happens when you start and stop. That means at stop signs and intersections, where people and cars congregate. At one point I found myself lying upside down in the middle of an intersection completely helpless to release my feet from the bike looming above me. Traffic came to a dead stop. Honking horns. Incredulous stares. Finally the cars just slowly made their way around me. With my skin-tight pants, colorful helmet, glittering chrome bike, and
blood all in mashed into one neat little package of squirming
humiliation, I must have looked like some pathetic form of techno-road kill.

I finally almost made it home when I saw friends walking along the road. I prayed they wouldn’t recognize me because of the injuries, but no, they called my name. I applied the brakes, stopped beside them and then slowly tipped over at their feet. It made for good conversation. That is if “please help me” is considered good conversation.

Since I always try to draw some practical lesson from my experiences, here is what I have come up with.

  1. If your wife gives you bike clips, get a counselor and double check to see if she has taken out a huge insurance policy on your life.
  2. If you decide to ride with bike clips, don’t start or stop. Just do the middle riding part. Do this in seclusion!

Several friend have told me to try again. They said it gets easier. I am headed to their house now…. with a hammer, some nails and a skate board.