After a pretty good day in terms of back pain, I thought I would have a crack at some turbo work whilst my wife took the boy to tea with her NCT friends, essentially a gossipy mothers club for those on maternity leave. A travelling band of cake tasters if you prefer.

I got myself set up with a few recorded programmes on the DVR box, mounted my steed and set off. The extension necessitated by reaching for the handlebars is actually fairly comfortable with a herniated disc as it relieves some of the pressure on the lower spine.  For a couple of minutes all was well, working through the gears and playing with the resistance on the turbo, until I started to get very uncomfortable in the butt region.

No biggie, think I.  I’m still setting the bike up to my specs, and I suspect that I need to move the saddle forward a cm or two; so I unclip and disaster.

I hear the tinkle as a screw from my left cleat drops to the floor. I can’t unclip my left foot. I delicately untie my laces and slip my left foot from the shoe (for my back, whilst enjoying being stretched out for the ‘ride’ really doesn’t appreciate the twisting required to reach one’s own foot whilst trapped on a pedal!).

Not sure if I’m alone in this experience, but trying to remove an SPD shoe from an SPD pedal whilst it just spins around the cleat is a complete pain in the ring. Eventually I rotated it enough that the remaining screw pops out. Pedal and shoe are separate entities again! I have a celebratory soluble codeine with paracetamol and ponder my next challenge.

The cleat, whist no longer attached to the bottom of the shoe, is still clipped into the pedal.  I loosen the adjustment right off, and break out my ever faithful allen keys and, slightly nervous of b0rking the pedal, start to lever the back of the cleat to ‘rotate’ it out. Believe me, when there’s not 50lbs of left leg to help unclip it is NOT easy, but eventually 22stone of brute force win out.

I have a brief regroup, eat some ibuprofen and reattach the cleat to the shoe, mindful of properly torquing the screws. I suspect I left them slightly loose when setting up so that I could adjust easier, though I can’t remember for sure.

Back on the bike, 25 minutes after first trying to hop off, doing well. Then it dawned on me, the saddle was why I’d got off in the first place. It was still, literally, a pain in the arse.  I soldiered on, as I didn’t think I’d be able to duck and weave around the bike easily to adjust it, having used all of the goodwill my back was prepared to give me fixing the shoe.

I managed 20 minutes in total, over the course of an hour. Not great, but I worked up a sweat and I’m really glad to be ironing these problems out on the static trainer, rather than failing to unclip at a set of traffic lights on a major road! I’ll try a few more miles and a saddle adjustment later, once I’m feeling a bit more flexible!

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