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My friends convinced me to try clipless pedals, that I never trusted too much (BMX background). Now while I'm getting used to them and experience very funny falls, I try to figure out, can a used-to-cleats rider drop his foot in a sandy corner, or the only thing he can do is to get used to proper race style cornering?

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Something I feel that needs to be said in many of these clipless threads is that there is nothing wrong with using flat pedals if you don't feel comfortable using clipless. – user1049697 Jul 8 '13 at 20:18
How can I expect to feel comfortable using them after two rides? I need a few months to compare :-) – J-unior Jul 8 '13 at 21:34
Both systems (flats, SPDs) have pros and cons. If one had only pros then the other one would not exist any more. – cherouvim Jul 9 '13 at 4:46
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Yes it is possible and some times necessary. It's best though if you already know the trail you are riding so you can prepare yourself at the right moment. For a classic example see in

how the rider unclips at 1:10 in order to save himself at 1:12.

This of course will work well as long as you've set a moderate tension so you can unclip pretty easily (but not very very easily).

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That means that it could be done, but only if you calculated this to happen and not to fix things that went wrong, like you do it reflexively with flats? – J-unior Jul 8 '13 at 15:43
Exactly. With SPD you have more work to do to fix things. That means that it may take a couple of milliseconds more. – cherouvim Jul 8 '13 at 20:25
Wow, that announcer. – sixtyfootersdude Jul 15 '13 at 22:30

As your pedals age and cleats wear it will get much easier to unclip at a moments notice.

Until then, you can try adjusting the tension of your pedals or do as I did and just ride at slower speeds until more comfortable with cornering while being locked in.

Even with looser clips and experiance I still fall, but that wasn't any different then when I was using flats :)

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