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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
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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

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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
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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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