This is my third year where my bike will travel to a race in a box. Coincidentally, it's the third year where I could not remember for sure which way to turn the allen wrench (aka hex wrench or key) to remove the pedals to fit the bike in the box.
In 2012 I had the bike shop pack the bike. Last year I took the whole bike apart THEN remembered the pedals had to come off. It's way harder to do once the bike is apart; so hard in fact I couldn't do it and I was too stubborn to put the bike back together. (I needed that time to fume.) Equipment Coach Bryan bailed me out and got them off in maybe ten seconds.
They are not that hard to get back off after a race weekend, but after a full year of riding it can take a little effort so you don't want to be turning the wrong direction! I was determined to redeem myself and do it on my own this year, with this little practice session two weeks out.
I remembered something about turning the allen wrench toward the back of the bike, but one can turn toward the back up from the bottom, or turn toward the back from the top, and they are two very different directions!!
I did a quick search from my phone, and site after site just said, "turn toward the back of the bike". That is not at all helpful.
Some sites try to explain that the pedal goes this way, the crank arm goes that way, you are pedaling forward, so it's threaded this-a-way, and from that information even the biggest moron will instinctively know which is counter-threaded and which way to turn the wrench. Sorry! My gifts as an engineer lie in information design, not spatial/mechanical/directional abilities.
So..... I am a dummy and this post is for me.
It's also for anyone else who is not willing to take the chance that they may be tightening, rather than loosening the pedal based on the half-information of "turn the allen wrench toward the back of the bike."
How to remove bike pedals: Insert the allen wrench so it is pointing UP, THEN push it toward the back of the bike!
There!! See what a little bit of extra information can do?
A pedal wrench doesn't work on Shimano pedals, but if you have one of those, I can only guess it moves in the same direction. Point it up, push it back.
Here is my pictorial guide:
non drive-train side
drive train side
stand on the pedal then pull the wrench back against that downward force
One can also have the allen wrench a little closer to the crank arm, grasp allen wrench and crank arm, and use that leverage to push the allen wrench toward the crank arm.
Cort the Sport: 1
Even the little victories feel good ;-)