CRASH! Me, terror and “clip-on” cycling shoes thing.

Me, terror and the clip-on cycling shoes thing…

Everyone tells me that I cannot possibly, ever, ever, ever attempt to ride the 56-mile biking portion of my Half-Ironman without those clip-on bike shoes.

I’m told things about efficiency and blood flow and muscles and feet and time.  I get all of this knowledge and technology; I really do… but you are stuck on a bicycle with your feet stuck on the pedals.

People acknowledge that learning to “clip-out”, as I’ve heard one too many times, is not easy.

But I tried.

And tried and tried and tried.

Here is what happened when I tried to master the clip-on shoes thing 4 years ago when I challenged myself with finishing a Half Ironman – 70.3 miles – 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run…


Note that Barry keeps filmingCommenting.  And I dare say, joking as he narrates the scene even as a good samaritan, carrying a baby no less, comes to my rescue.  Good times.

Oh, and also note how Jane casually saunters to the site of the crash.  Yep, good times.

I tired the clip-ons several more times, suffered several more crashes (no cameras, please) – attached to my pedals.  DownBoomOuch.


No thanks.

To the disdain of my former bike shop personnel, I detached my clip pedals and replaced them with my regular pedals.

And I did finish that Half Ironman with those regular pedals and a sound mind…


The greatest physical challenge of my life – on the same route as my daughter Jane, daughter-in-law Nicole and son Keith!

I am currently training for my second 70.3 (I came up with the idea of doing one in my 50’s, this one in my 60’s and, well, we’ll see!) and gave a moment of thought to trying my clip-ons again. I even consulted my new bike shop peeps with some alternatives – shoe straps, cages, etc., but there is something about confidence and fun on a bike that supersedes terror – and these bike guys didn’t try to slap me senseless into doing something that terrorizes me.

I love my bike.

I love riding my bike.

I know 56 miles in a race is more efficient in clip-on shoes than not.

But I’m doing it with a smile, and that’s good enough for this Grandma!


About Audrey

Audrey McClelland has been a digital influencer since 2005. She’s a mom of 5 and shares tips on her three favorite things: parenting, fashion and beauty. She’s also a Contemporary Romance Author.

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  1. 4.19.14

    Absolutely do it the way that you feel the most comfortable with. You’ll do amazing how that is. I know you will be a total rock star. xoxo

  2. 4.22.14
    Troobeesez said:

    You are a womn after my own heart!!! I most certainly will NOT be getting on my (10,000 lb.) bike again. Ever. But I relly don’t care about that. I kind of want to take a spinning class, maybe, but realize they use those stupid cage thingies (i think its mandatory, from the department of CYA) or even stupider (!) clip dealies. (I’ve always ridden using the power of my whole leg, by pedaling from the arch area of my foot; I would never be able to do so from the ball of my foot in a cage. Plus my feet are not dainty, and would likely not even fit into the cage.) I never realized they were used on “real” bicycles! That has got to be the MOST STUPIDEST idea of all! Howya spose’d to catch yourself if you start to fall?

    You can be very proud of yourself for keeping active and staying fit. If I ever get the gumption up to try that spinning class, well, we’ll see. Anyway, fwiw, you’ve inspired me today (we are the same age), so thanks for that!

  3. 4.22.14

    You are a rock star for completing a half-ironman!! I fell off my bike just riding in the park at my son’s 10th birthday party haha!

  4. 5.4.14

    Those clip on shoes are no joke. My husband ended up needing shoulder surgery because he tore his rotator cuff from falling. Basically he was stopping the bike and was unclipped and his foot accidentally clipped and TIIMMMBEEERRRRR! Down he goes. Poor thing.

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