One With the Bike

Monday, April 25, 2005, at 07:49PM

By Eric Richardson

I've mentioned in the last few posts that over the past few days I bought pedals (the SL-CR's) and shoes for my bike. Last night I very unsuccessfully tried getting my old pedals off to put the new ones on. Having failed at that, this morning I tried calling the LA County Bike Coalition (whose offices happen to be across the street, so it's not as random) to see if by chance they might have a pedal wrench lying around the office. They didn't, but they pointed me to a bike shop on 8th & Main, just three blocks from my apartment. A couple minutes and $3 later, I had new pedals on.

Tonight I finally got a chance to try them out. I'll admit it: I was a little scared. Even though I knew it was the way to go, I still wasn't sure about this whole thing of having both feet attached to the pedals. I practiced first in my apartment, holding myself up against the wall and then rolling from hallway to bedroom doorframe and working on unclipping a foot. Then, very cautiously, I headed outside.

I'm still sure that at some point I'm going to come to a stop and just fall over, but I haven't managed to do it yet. I rode up to Phillipe's, in Chinatown, and then later down to USC and back. I only had one swipe with destiny; coming up to a red light on Spring crossing the 101 I just about went down. I was starting to fall when I worked my right foot loose and caught myself. Other than that I did ok.

I still need to practice getting out with my left foot just in case. So far I've only used the right to prop myself at stops.

I do love the extra power from being hooked in. Being able to push forward and pull up is very cool. I find I ride in a lower gear and just torque through instead of shifting up much. I also felt like I was working a different part of my legs than before, so I need to start building that up.