Facing Fitness Fears with Propel: Clipping In

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Propel. I was compensated and all opinions are 100% my own.

I’m currently training for several triathlons. I’d burnt myself out on pushing myself in marathons for time, and I needed a new challenge. At least right now, a marathon doesn’t sound fun and exciting, and I strive to keep my workouts fun.

As you know, I’m a Propel Ambassador, which means I have more Propel at my apartment than I previously knew what to do with. Now, my training volume can match my workout water volume!

Hydration is key in endurance sports, and my stomach can’t handle traditional sports drinks, so Propel is perfect to give me water and some vitamins without extra sugar.

I’ve done several triathlons before, but I didn’t train much for them. I swam a bit, took spin classes for the bike and…well, didn’t do anything different for the run. That’s my jam, baby.

This year, I’m taking my training a little more seriously since it’s my main race/sport for the year instead of something I do to break up my training.

This = totally serious training, no?


For those first few triathlons, I vowed to never clip into a bike. That is SCARY, and that’s something real triathletes do. I’m not a real triathlete. I can’t do that. I don’t need to do that.

Just like if you run, you’re a real runner, if you compete in a triathlon, you’re a real triathlete.

But this year, I decided I needed to face that fear. I know how clipping in at spin class gives me a better workout, allowing me to challenge my quads and calves to spin harder, rather than work harder to stay in the pedal cages. So I imagined the benefits would be similar on a bike that, you know, moves. I’m not a very strong cyclist, so I need all the help I can get.

A few weeks ago, I met my friend Shannon in Central Park for a little lesson.

You see that goofy drawstring bag on my back? I hate those bags with the fire of a thousand suns, but it was the perfect size to hold my bike shoes as I rode uptown through city streets to the park.

Shannon had recommended I buy pedals that had clips on one side and were regular pedals on the other side, which ended being a really good recommendation. If you’re an urban cyclist who’s not super familiar with clipping in, I think these pedals will save your life.

I met up with her, put on the shoes, and it was time to clip in.

Wait, crap. No. I don’t want to do this.

We met at the 72nd Street Transverse, and she had me first clip in while holding on to a wall. I looked up at her “okay! Not too bad.”

“Now, move.”


I rode approximately one foot and grabbed onto the wall again.

“Okay, what about you ride with one foot clipped in and get comfortable with that?”

That sounded like a perfect compromise, so I did that for a bit, riding back and forth across the transverse, feeling like a giant child in a 31-year-old’s body. (Oh wait, that’s how I usually feel.)

“Okay, what about both feet?”

DONE. I’d built up my confidence by the silly-feeling riding back and forth, and I was ready to roll.

I clipped my other foot in, and started riding back towards her.

I rode about 20 or 30 feet, and then practiced unclipping.

That, of course, is the scary part. It’s not actually that scary to clip in, it’s the idea of getting out and the fear you might not be able to.

YOU GUYS. It’s so much easier to unclip from a real bike than a stationary bike. I was so pleasantly surprised.

We rode for about an hour, and I am pleased to report I did not die. There was one incident where a big family crossed our path. Usually I’ll yell out “on your left!” or “on your right!” if I am passing someone closely, but these people were on both sides, and I panicked and forgot my words and immediately played out in my head how I was about to crash into this family.

“Heads up!” Shannon yelled. Oh yeah, that. Right.

I survived! I’m still working on drinking and riding, ESPECIALLY when clipped in, but I guzzled Propel the second I unclipped.

I’m still waiting for someone to teach me the secret handshake of the Society of Those Who Clip In To Their Bikes, though.

What fitness fears have you faced recently? Are you part of the Society of Those Who Clip In To Their Bikes?

9 comments on “Facing Fitness Fears with Propel: Clipping In

  1. elizabeth e

    I’m super impressed with this. I’ve just barely “mastered” clipping in in spin class, so a real bike feels way more advanced than I am. I didn’t know they made the two-sided pedals, so that’s something I may look into. Good job!

  2. Kim

    I broke down and bought the clip less pedals after clipping in so long in spin class, my first ride out on my bike I felt like I was just jamming down on the pedals. I can TOTALLY tell a difference between riding with and without them. I also got the pedals that are one side flat and the other with the clips. LOVE THEM, definitely made me more comfortable making the switch. Even though I’m still a newbie, I feel like a badass riding out on our bike trails clipped in.

    I think the secret handshake of those that clip in is the road rash on your legs that happens when you fall at a complete stop. After I got the pedals put on my bike I got home and set up right next to my car to hold onto while I clipped in, of course I fell the other way. I haven’t eaten it since, but I’ve had some scary moments at intersections when I’m coming to a stop and forget I’m clipped in. I’m overly cautious and unclip both feet when coming to intersections now because I KNOW I’ll try to put down the foot still in the pedal.

  3. amrapCindy

    I’m a card carrying member of the society. I have the gold start on my membership card that signifies I’ve also fallen over while clipped in. Twice, because I’m extra talented. Fortunately, the actual falling-over-while-clipped-in isn’t NEARLY as bad as I played it out in my mind. I was so terrified of being clipped in, but now I’d never go back!

    Welcome to the club. : )

  4. Angie

    Welcome to the clipped-in club!

    I know this is a very old post, but I was catching up on your tri training and thought I’d comment on the drinking while riding issue. I’m in my 5th (6th?) season of doing a few tris a year, but I still do not feel comfortable pulling a water bottle out and drinking while continuing to cycle (have been using a camelbak which I have come to loathe). I am in no way a serious triathlete. I doubt I will ever feel comfortable with aerobars, so I knew I couldn’t get the between the aerobars type of bottle. I recently got a speedfil bottle that attaches to the frame and has a straw that sticks up near the stem of your handlebars (length of straw is customizable). I love this bottle – just lean down a little and take a sip, awesome!!


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