Unclipping on a hill

Can anyone tell me how to master the technique of unclipping on a steep hill, as I have fallen off and my confidence has taken a real knock?
Try not to have to. Try to time your run to the lights (or whatever is stopping you) so that you don't have to unclip. If you do find yourself having to stop, get your (left usually) foot out of the clips, before you run out of forward motion. You will need to get your foot out a lot quicker than you will be used to on a flat or downhill. that's the key. you need to really rotate the foot quite quickly, without causing a wobble. All you can do is find a quiet hilly bit, and keep practicing. Learning how to fall will probably be a skill you need to acquire as well. If you realise its game over, and you are going down, sink on to the cross bar / top tube with your legs bent at the knees, and try and roll over to the left side (there's less stuff to damage). I find it helps to move my right knee over so it's touching the top tube, to try and damp any 'wobble' caused by the quicker unclip from the other side. When you get going again, use a slightly higher gear than you might want to, and push off harder, you'll get a little bit more forward motion, which should buy you enough time to clip back in, and still have enough margin to have a second go if you miss clip on the first attempt.
 
Location
Midlands
No idea how anyone else does it – but this is my way (been using spd for around 20 something years) with next to no clipless moments (exactly the same technique I used for clips for the preceding 20years)

1. You need to decide that you are going to stop before you actually have to stop (only needs to be a second before)

2. Apply front brake hard enough so that you come/move out of the saddle into an upright position with your weight on the pedal that is not going to be unclipped (normally the right)

3. Unclip the left pedal, put foot down.


Being confident that you can balance for around 1-2 seconds after applying the brake helps – unclipping whilst still in the saddle is a recipe for disaster. I never ever unclip whilst in the saddle or while moving forward – Practise balancing – no need for track stand type thingy – just a few seconds will do – The important thing is that little jab of the brake to get you out of the saddle and into position
 
Last edited:

screenman

Legendary Member
I tend to think of it like, you do not apply your brakes after you have needed to stop, so why take your foot out after you have stopped, do it before.
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game developer
Have your release tensions set as low as possible so it is very easy to unclip, and anticipate the need to stop and do it by choice in a planned stop rather than falling off because you left it too late!

This has served me well on climbs up to and over 25% in gradient.

I fell off on the 30% gradient on one hairpin bend when an idiot driver decided to overtake me there and cut me up!
 

vickster

Legendary Member
You might want to practice before ride London, especially for leith hill where the number of people may lead you to slow to almost a standstill as well as the gradient
 
OP
Louise Harley

Louise Harley

Active Member
Location
barrhead
Try not to have to. Try to time your run to the lights (or whatever is stopping you) so that you don't have to unclip. If you do find yourself having to stop, get your (left usually) foot out of the clips, before you run out of forward motion. You will need to get your foot out a lot quicker than you will be used to on a flat or downhill. that's the key. you need to really rotate the foot quite quickly, without causing a wobble. All you can do is find a quiet hilly bit, and keep practicing. Learning how to fall will probably be a skill you need to acquire as well. If you realise its game over, and you are going down, sink on to the cross bar / top tube with your legs bent at the knees, and try and roll over to the left side (there's less stuff to damage). I find it helps to move my right knee over so it's touching the top tube, to try and damp any 'wobble' caused by the quicker unclip from the other side. When you get going again, use a slightly higher gear than you might want to, and push off harder, you'll get a little bit more forward motion, which should buy you enough time to clip back in, and still have enough margin to have a second go if you miss clip on the first attempt.
Thanks I do normally tiem my stopping so that I only unclip when I really need to but generally don't have an issue on the flat. I have also kind of mastered falling off without hurting myself lol. Can I ask is it easier to unclip at the bottom pedal position when going up hill, do you get more power that way? I think perhaps I tried to unclip at the top position :sad: Don't like falling off
 

vickster

Legendary Member
Do you use SPD (2 bolt cleats)? If so try the multi release SH-56 cleats so you can unclip all ways up. Also, check the tension on the cleats and loosen if needed (both sides if two sided pedals)

I unclip at the top of the pedal stroke I think, more leverage with a bent knee for me
 
OP
Louise Harley

Louise Harley

Active Member
Location
barrhead
No idea how anyone else does it – but this is my way (been using spd for around 20 something years) with next to no clipless moments (exactly the same technique I used for clips for the preceding 20years)

1. You need to decide that you are going to stop before you actually have to stop (only needs to be a second before)

2. Apply front brake hard enough so that you come/move out of the saddle into an upright position with your weight on the pedal that is not going to be unclipped (normally the right)

3. Unclip the left pedal, put foot down.


Being confident that you can balance for around 1-2 seconds after applying the brake helps – unclipping whilst still in the saddle is a recipe for disaster. I never ever unclip whilst in the saddle or while moving forward – Practise balancing – no need for track stand type thingy – just a few seconds will do – The important thing is that little jab of the brake to get you out of the saddle and into position
Thanks but I am not sure that I can even unclip on the flat out of the saddle. Also I have always been told that you unclip your with your left foot?
 
OP
Louise Harley

Louise Harley

Active Member
Location
barrhead
Have your release tensions set as low as possible so it is very easy to unclip, and anticipate the need to stop and do it by choice in a planned stop rather than falling off because you left it too late!

This has served me well on climbs up to and over 25% in gradient.

I fell off on the 30% gradient on one hairpin bend when an idiot driver decided to overtake me there and cut me up!
Thanks - not sure what happened with me, just think I ran out of steam and was probably at a snails pace before unclipping but if I had done it earlier I would have lost even more power. Do you unclip at top or bottom pedal position?
 

vickster

Legendary Member
Also I have always been told that you unclip your with your left foot?
Whichever works for you. I unclip the left, but others the right. Depends which works for you and your muscle memory (left enables you to put your foot on the pavement or out of the middle of the road however
 
OP
Louise Harley

Louise Harley

Active Member
Location
barrhead
This is exactly the way my thinking has gone. I generally fall to the left and land quite well. The thought of having to unclip up a hill scares the heebygeebies out of me as well so it's interesting to see some replies :smile:
Thank you for sharing my fear. Although I think its probably not helped me thinking about it lots. I don't fall on the flat, I have mastered that (touch wood)
 
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