The series of unfortunate events that led to this all too common newbie cyclist folly:
In July of 2004 I was still a newbie to cycling and had just purchased a new Specialized Allez; my first real ride. I needed an upgrade from my SPD pedals to compliment the new bike, so I installed a new set Look A5.1 pedals that were still a tad too tight on the cleats. I knew I needed to break them in but had yet to learn proper “on the bike” dismounting techniques.
Excited, I decided to go for a spin to try them out. I pedaled about a block away from home and rode toward an uphill stoplight which had just turned red. The light took its sweet time and I felt the bike slowing down fast. As I rolled closer to the light, I panicked and scrambled for every last bit of momentum I could muster, steering and jerking my bar in every direction in an attempt save my balance. Suddenly, I realized that it was too late; I was completely stopped. I was confused as to which shoe needed to be released to plant on the tarmac while I struggled to free the stuck cleats from my pedals. I was in trouble. I fell to the right in slow motion and all I could think of were what kind scratches I would put on my brand new bike from this mistake.
I ended up with a bruised and scraped right elbow, a scraped left hand from trying to catch my fall, scratches on my wheel skewers, handle bar, right pedal, and a battered ego. To make things worse, a car drove up where I had crashed to check on me. The passenger, a strikingly beautiful southern California girl looked out of the window and asked if I was okay. Dumbfounded and embarrassed all I could muster up was “Ya, I just slipped.” I didn’t even say thanks for asking. The car drove away. Embarrassed, I got back on the bike and rode a few blocks to make sure anybody who saw the incident didn’t think I was just going to turn around and go back home. That day I gained my first bike crash story and I tell it as a self deprecating joke to everyone who cares to listen. To this day, I’ll blame it on those damn pedal cleats.