“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.


  1. Hey Ken;
    You know, after reading your “Just Do It” post, I was thinking about taking up biking. But, after reading your latest post about toe clips, I’m giving it a second look.
    This kind of reminds me of my wife and talking about the perfect 25th Anniversary present for ourselves for this February. We were thinking about a cruise. Then we saw the “Poseidon” movie remake and said — “Okay, maybe not a cruise.”
    Great post Ken! It made me laugh a lot and this is a good thing.
    Dr. Rus

  2. …oooff!
    …is that really you?
    …you know your counselor’s number, and he is standing by
    …and by the way, our friend arrives here on 1/2…and we are doing a bit of a bday do in the evening on 1/4, should you want to call with some greetings
    …unless you’re dead by then of “toeclipitis…”
    …very deadly, be careful!!!

  3. I realize that since I have the athletic coordination of a wet noodle I am allowed no latitude for laughter, but I gotta tell ya, Ken, I’m going on my 12th straight hour of spontaneous guffaws just picturing your bicycling bloopers. And even though I get momentarily discouraged when I think of the so-&-so’s who chose to drive around you rather than help (season of giving and goodwill towards men my butt) I keep coming back to the scene of the crime, and with hearty enough laughter to find a new appreciation for Depends* undergarments and that alarm necklace they used to advertise on TV with the famous slogan, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”

  4. Thanks for a VERY funny piece and giving me smiles to start my day with.
    Carl Thompson

  5. O Man! That just cracks me up. I hope the only thing hurt is your pride. Great mental pictures there!!
    God bless.

  6. That is very funny and I can relate as I have also fallen down in front of a crowd of people while my feet were still clipped into the pedels. It is even better when you have a Dalmation chasing you down the street!

  7. Hey Ken,
    I sure hope you weren’t hurt, other than your pride that is. I think it’s those times in our lives that give us the best comic-relief. In reading people’s comments, it gave me another round of “commic relief.” Thanks for the laughter…

  8. Once again, you made me bust out…
    You are the craziest guy. The first time I saw you at a Lutheran Youth Gathering I could relate to your humor, and as we grow older even more! I have shown most of your video’s & DVD’s to my youth group, they also relate. Your NUTS.

  9. Pingback: The New Bike | Two Blonde Boys

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