Clipping out of pedal (shimano)

I was wondering if anyone has some tips for clipping in and out “like a pro”. Thanks

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Avoid clipping out like a noob, i.e. not clipping out at a stoplight and falling over. It’s absolutely hilarious… for everybody else.


I suppose it comes down to practice. Either practice in a grassy area where falling would be minimal damage or practice on a trainer. For me it is just a matter of just making the action instinctual so when you are riding outdoors and you have to stop suddenly then your next instinct is to clip out so you can stop safely.

Also when you’re at a stop (stop sign light) make it a practice to unclip on your non-dominant foot so when it is time to go you’re pedaling with your stronger, still clipped in foot.

Also depending on what type of pedal you have you can make adjustments on float, etc. so it feels best to to you.

If you have pedals that you can adjust the tension on dial it back to the minimum.


Might help if you identify the specific pedal system of interest. They are all similar in pure concept (step down to get in, twist to get out), but there is a bit of a different technique with some systems that differs from others.

Edit: I see you added “Shimano” to the title, but that can mean their Road (SPD-SL) or MTB (SPD) setups.

  • In either event, they are the prototypical systems that mean you effectively lead the entry with the “toe” and do a bit of a step down to lock in.

  • Release is the simple twist out, with potentially a firm push depending on the tension setting in use. I find the Shimano pretty reliable over time despite cleat wear (as compared to issues I had with Look & Mavic once worn).

  • If possible, repeat entry and release while on the trainer inside is a great place to start. Can even be done leaning on a wall at the house if needed.

  • But like anything else, practice…

practice riding around in the grass at a park - do it a bunch (100 times a day?) for few days to build that instinct/habit. Then it become pretty easy.

agree with Chad - models vary in clipping it - but once you’ve figured out the move - just practice it

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But we’ve all done it…:man_shrugging:


Have you got any specific problems, or are just worried in general? If you’re worried about falling over, practice on the trainer at first. Do a few pedal strokes, then unclip and clip back in. Then try outside.

But honestly, its easy and becomes automatic very quickly.

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I don’t know, I can’t decide if saying that “everyone does it” is a good or a bad thing. While I’m sure its meant to be reassuring, I think it can scare people that that will happen to them. Its absolutely possible to never forget to unclip at the lights.

There isn’t much to it. The “hard” part is the time it takes before you don’t have to think about it.
One small tip once you get used to it. If you’re coming up to something you might have to stop for, unclip but don’t take your foot off the pedal. If you do have to stop, your foot is free. If you can keep rolling you just put some power down and are clipped in again.

  • Possible? Yes.
  • Likely? Depends.

Over time, odds are in the favor of an inattentive rider, surprise situation (getting cut off or something else that leads to a sudden stop) and such that a fall from inability to unclip is a practical reality for anyone that sticks with this for any real length of time.

Not really a “scare” as much of a recognition that it is a possibility even it it’s not entirely inevitable. Not everyone will get that type of fall, but I know LOTS of riders and most of us have one or more of those stories.

Are we talking about unclipping for a red light? For CX racing? When you are about to fly off a cliff on your MTB?

Technically not much difference. Reality is, they are slightly different scenarios that you should handle differently.

Just my experience that the only time I had isssues with unclipping was when my cleats were worn. Never happened because I “forgot”. I’m pretty certain I even do a little twist when taking my foot off a flat pedal.

Maybe these things also help:

  • start with off-road pedals
  • use low spring tension
  • learn to ride your bike very slow, so you have more time to clip out and stay in control
  • challenge yourself to clip out at different points of the pedal stroke and with both legs, so you get comfortable
  • And I never said that either. It’s not about “remembering” or thinking about it in any way.

  • Strange stuff happens sometimes, and most of the falls I and others experienced were atypical situations when “normal” goes out the window and we deal with a surprise of some variety. Recognizing that as a potential risk is just a practical reality and not a scare tactic or disincentive.

Fond memories of buying my first “real” bike and riding it home. I gave others in the park quite the show the first time I had to stop in the path.

Wish I could say it was the only time I fell because of being clipped in, but I’m sure it happened well under 10 times in the subsequent 30 years. Hurts a lot less on my recumbents!

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Oh yeah, off course things can happen. I’m just not keen on telling every newbie to clipless pedals “ah, you’ll fall over at the lights and everybody will laugh at you”. I don’t think that is particulalry helpful in putting someone’s mind at ease when learning a new thing.

Exactly…I’d wager the overwhelming majority of riders with clipless pedals have done it. And it is no big deal. Get right back up and laugh it off.

Hell, I fell off my trainer on Saturday for god’s sake…dropped my WB and reached down to pick it up. Bike is on a homemade rocker board and, sure enough, as I reached for the bottle, everything leaned over far enough that the bike, trainer and I all toppled over. :rofl::rofl::rofl:


I think you are over-thinking it…again, if it happens, you just laugh it off. Jump up, do a “ta-da!!” pose and take a bow.


For us old farts, “unclipping” was unstrapping your cleat. Definitely fell a couple of times when I didn’t get the foot unstrapped fast enough. The first time was at a stop light, behind a car, that stopped quickly. My friend fell one way, I fell the opposite.

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Yup and that’s how we learn.