How to Clip-in & Unclip Spin Bike Shoes

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Screenshot 2022 05 17 at 3.12.25 PM
By Katie Pierson CPT

Certified Spinning® Instructor & CPT

Are you ready to take your cycling to the next level but have never used a pair of cycling shoes? Including quality cycling shoes in your gear can make a significant impact not only on your exercise output but also easier on your joints. So get ready to follow our tips on how to clip into & out the SPD pedals of a spin bike like a pro in no time.

Check out our video on how to clip in and out of spin bike pedals!

Cycling Shoe Options

Did you know that not all cycling shoes are the same? Although the overall look of the shoes is relatively similar, the cleat portion can feature either a Look Delta (also known as SPD-SL) or an SPD option. Indoor cycling bikes almost always have an SPD pedal, so most of the time you should have a pair of SPD shoes.

Some popular mixed cycling shoes are also compatible with both SPD and SPD-SL cleats.

So, if you plan to ride at a local studio or gym, find out what pedal option you will use. Also, select a shoe with a flat and stiff sole for indoor riding compared to a more flexible sole for outdoor riding that includes tread.

spd vs mixed shoes 2

How to Clip in on Spin Bike Pedals

To clip into spin bike pedals, follow these four steps.

  1. First, begin by sitting on the bike saddle and moving your dominant leg to the bottom of the pedal stroke.
  2. Next, line up your clip with the front SPD pedal.
  3. Then, lift your heel, securing the top of your clip into the SPD pedal. The first few times, this step might take a little longer.
  4. Finally, pop your heel down to secure the back of your clip into the pedal until you hear a clicking sound.

Once you feel that you have secured your cycling shoes into the bracket, slowly test that your shoe is in the clip frame firmly while pedaling in the saddle.

How to Unclip of Spin Bike Pedals

Follow these steps to clip out of the spin bike pedals.

  1. First, begin by sitting on the bike saddle and moving your dominant leg to the bottom of the pedal stroke.
  2. Next, ensure that the pedal is parallel to the floor
  3. Then, sharply pop your heel out to the side, away from the bike, until you hear a click and the pedal clip releases. You might feel like you will break your shoe, but if the clip is tight, there is nothing to worry about.
  4. Finally, rotate your pedals and repeat on the other side.

Inside Tip with New Cleats

I wanted to share this story so you can avoid the embarrassing situation I encountered as a new cycling shoe owner. When I first got into cycling, I decided to invest in my first pair of cycling shoes. I made sure that my clips were tightly secured before my first class. However, little did I know the screws holding the SPDs on my shoe would loosen after a few classes and what could happen. After riding about my third or fourth class in my new shoes, I went to unclick from my bike, and I couldn’t. Since the clips had loosened, there was not enough tension for me to be able to release my shoe. Therefore, my shoe was stuck! We will tell you in the next section what to do if this happens to you.

So, just make sure you continue checking the tightness of your clips. One indication that it is time to tighten them is how much play you have where the actual clip is located. If you can feel the clip wiggling more than your shoe, it is time to tighten them.

What to Do if Your Shoe Gets Stuck

Although the clipless shoe design has drastically decreased how often cycling shoes get stuck, it still happens. Since the toolbox is not always easily accessible at the gym, I always carry a set of allen wrenches in my gym bag. If you are stuck, use an allen wrench to pull the spring at the bottom of the clip towards the aft of the bike. This process will release the shoe.

Bottom Line

The biggest hurdle when you are new to clicking in and out of a bike pedal is getting comfortable doing so. The first dozen times might feel unnatural and awkward, but it will get easier the more you do it. Before long, you will not have to think about the steps for clipping in and out, but it will come second nature.

How to Clip In & Out of Spin Bike Pedals
Katie Pierson CPT

Katie has been a certified fitness professional for twenty years and holds ten fitness certifications, including Spinning Elite and Personal Training. She has shared her expert knowledge in many fitness outlets like Bicycling & Verywellfit.

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