Back on the road

March 13, 2012 | |

On Saturday I took my first long road bike ride.  We did about 15-18 miles.  I was not going to take the hills the first time out so we went out a ways on the route and just rode flat roads.  It was a beautiful day and a lovely ride.  I really didn’t have any problem with it.  I did have my clip in pedals removed for the time being and that is really a little odd feeling (since I was used to them).  I’m really not sure how long I will stick with the regular pedals but I think for several more months until I feel like I am stronger on my left side.


24 Comments so far

  1. pablomoses on March 14, 2012 10:28 am

    Awesome! I can’t wait to be doing some distance again - & getting onto some dirt, but I think that has to wait til I can stand up in the pedals… so awhile!

  2. Janus on March 14, 2012 3:37 pm

    Excellent! Glad you’re enjoying the great outdoors and are well on your way to a full recovery. Like pablomoses, I’m trailing you a bit here — but happy to learn about your results and progress. Encourgaging.

  3. Eric Babula on March 14, 2012 5:58 pm

    Congrats on getting back in the saddle! I can’t wait to start riding again, too. But, was it 24 weeks after surgery? I’m only 4 weeks after surgery. Yikes!

    Well, congrats to you for getting there! That’s awesome!

  4. normofthenorth on March 15, 2012 12:16 am

    I’ve never been a pedal-clip guy, but I think they’d have two effects: (1) They’d let you pull UP, which should be helpful and 100% risk-free (because it involves muscles and tendons that weren’t injured), and (2) They’d force you to keep the ball of your foot over the pedal, which IS riskier than sliding it farther forward (weight closer to the heel), because it loads the calf and AT with more of your weight — like ~100% of it if you stand on the pedal.
    Maybe there’s a (3), too, since clips sometimes cause spills, though you may be too experienced for that.

  5. ryanb on March 15, 2012 9:49 am

    I’ve been riding clipped in since (dating myself) they first came out circa 1983.

    They do let you pull up, but almost as importantly, they let you pull back through the bottom of the stroke. To a lesser degree, you can push over the top of the stroke too, which again, is a very low load on the Achilles.

    However, the biggest benefit (I think) of clips, for an ATR recovery, is that they precisely, and predictably, locate your foot on the pedal. During my first attempts to ride (spin bike at the gym, in tennis shoes), I was putting such little downforce into the pedal, that my foot was moving around on it. Probably because I’ve spent so much time in clips, I still found myself subconsciously trying to pull back and up, which just made things worse. As my foot wandered around the pedal (in all directions, due to the very compromised ankle strength) the load into the Achilles would change and shift, and I just didn’t feel secure. Once I clipped in, I felt a whole lot better.

    Now, if you’ve never ridden in clips, post ATR is not the time to learn (outdoors). Everybody I know who’s first tried them has done the embarrassing slow to a stop, flail, and flop over to the side when first learning. Also the motion of clipping in can be a little tricky, depending on the specific pedal (for an ATR patient, I think Speedplay Frog’s would be easiest). But, if you’re a long term clipped in rider, I think clipless pedals offer more benefit than risk.

  6. pablomoses on March 18, 2012 11:28 am

    I agree with ryanb… If you’re used to riding clipped in, and you’ve tried it on a stationary bike - go with clipped. At week 11 I feel like I need that pressure to the ball of the foot as much as possible. Also, I can get a pretty good Achilles stretch by dropping my heel while coasting downhill without the fear of my foot slipping off the pedal.

    **I am riding with them pretty loose for easy release.

  7. mljackson60 on March 18, 2012 8:26 pm

    Thanks. My hesitancy with clips was that I tend to clip in and out with my left foot first and that is my injured foot. I read a few people’s blogs who had re-ruptured their Achilles on bikes and I really don’t want to do that. One mentioned the angle of the shoe as a problem but I can’t remember who it was now. It’s all a trade off. I will probably go back to the clips soon though because I really am used to them.

  8. pablomoses on March 19, 2012 11:53 am

    Right on… One thing I found helps me feel safer is clipping in with the good foot first and clipping out with the bad foot first. So you never one-footing it on the weak one. I also live on a five mile hill with no stops or intersections, so I don’t have to put a foot down at all during a ride…
    Happy riding!

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