Old new cleats

December 10, 2019 at 18:10 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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My cleat wore out. It was getting harder and harder to engage with the pedal, and then one evening it just would not go in, and I had to limp home sort of one-legged.

Looking at the cleat, I could see why. It was trashed. This was the cleat from my left shoe. I’m right foot dominant, so it’s my left foot I put down when I stop. And so that cleat gets trashed much faster than the right. Indeed, my right cleat was still in reasonably good shape.

Actually, there’s a subtext to this story. I am really bad at unclipping with my right foot. I just don’t do it. I used to get concerned about it, and practise, but then I gave up. And if I need to get my right foot out in a hurry I fumble, like a beginner. It’s a clipstack waiting to happen. But then, I’ve been like this for about fifteen years, and I haven’t had a clipstack for at least ten. Hey ho.

Anyway, I needed to ride to work; there’s a bike shop on the way where I can pick up new cleats. But I couldn’t easily ride there with only one working shoe. But then I dimly remembered something – when I last replaced the cleats, I kept the (less worn) right hand one, for just this reason – so I could replace the left one when it wore out, and eke a bit more mileage out of them.

I dug around in the shed for a while, and (amazingly) managed to find it. Hurrah! So I can ride again.

I still haven’t bought new cleats though. Probably I’ll forget until this cleat is too worn to engage….

Shiny new shoes

April 22, 2014 at 11:47 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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new shoesIt’s been a bit over three years since I bought my last pair of shoes. How long are cycling shoes supposed to last, I wonder? The old ones were getting really tatty and starting to stink. And, most ominous of all, the little clip things that do up the ratchet fastener seemed to be on their last legs, slipping and not working unless held in position.

I realise, if you’ve never used silly clip-clop road shoes, that that last bit might not make much sense. A ratchet fastener? On a pair of shoes? What is this nonsense, and what’s wrong with laces anyway? Well, we shall see…

My new shoes are not white, but black and grey, And very very shiny. They came in a very nice box, packed in a special carry bag (which I can’t see me using; my shoes stink enough when left out to air, goodness knows how they would fester in a waterproof bag) with various bits and bobs to stick on them to ensure a perfect fit to your feet.

This is, of course, very important. This ‘excellence in technology’, together with that ratchet fastener, is what delivers the ‘power, speed and a lot more time on the podium’ promised on the box. Thus I am looking forward to more podium finishes along Mowbray Road, or perhaps even a stage win over Gladesville Bridge. So out of my way, you mere mortals with your lace-up shoes. I am coming through, and I have shiny new shoes…

Cleats, creaky knees and global shortages

March 28, 2013 at 21:02 | Posted in bicycles | 1 Comment
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cleatsSo my knees have been aching slightly the last couple of weeks. Serve you right for riding a fixie, I hear you muttering, and indeed for a few days I did think about whether I was getting too old for all of that.

But then I remembered the thing I always seem to forget; my knees start aching when my cleats / shoes are worn out. It’s when my feet are not secure in the pedals and roll around that I get knee issues. This thought struck me on the way to work, and as soon as I thought about it, I did realise my feet were slopping around in the pedals, and when I was climbing and pulling up on my feet the cleats were going ‘click clack click clack’ with what seemed to be an inordinate amount of play in them.

So when I got to work I had a look at them. At first sight, they didn’t seem too bad; the yellow bits weren’t especially worn. But then I realised the body of the cleat – where it contacts the pedal – was work right down to the metal (who knew they had metal in them?). I think that since I learned to trackstand and no longer have to walk up the SHB steps every day I don’t actually put my feet down very much, so those protruding bits of the cleat don’t really wear – it’s the main bit of it that is wearing out first.

So I popped into the LBS to pick up a new pair. Too easy, you might think. But apparently not – there is a global shortage. No-one has them, and there’s been none for months. My LBS owner has resorted to buying dozens of the cheapest Shimano road shoes, just so he can sell the cleats that come with them.

None online in Australia. Even Wiggle have none. I managed to turn up a pair in eBay, from a seller who bought them by mistake (he wanted the red ones). they were a good price too – little did he know that he could have charged a premium for them, given their scarcity.

Anyway, I hope they come soon, as I’d like to prevent the creaky knees making me feel old..

The White Shoes

December 4, 2010 at 00:35 | Posted in bicycles | 2 Comments
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Today, I bought new cycling shoes. I’ve been needing a new pair for a while; I always know when my shoes are wearing out as my right knee starts to ache sometimes on longer rides. But actually that wasn’t what tipped me over the edge; what really did that was the smell.

We’ve had a lot of wet weather recently, and my old shoes stank. Really really stank. I had them under my desk at work, and it smelled like a tom-cat had pissed on the carpet. I had to move them out of the office, it was so bad. Worse than a teenagers bedroom. The time had come – I needed some new shoes.

So at lunchtime I headed out to my favourite bike store, and tried on some shoes. Now, I’m not a real roadie type. However, I do like SPD-SL cleats. They just feel much more comfortable than regular SPDs, and on the fixie I appreciate the comfort and the power transfer when grinding up the big hills. I also find them much easier to align than SPDs (which I also use, on my tourer). So I wear clip-clop roadie shoes when riding the fixie, even if they are sometimes a big incongruous with the rest of my commuter outfit (I do wear full lycra often enough, for example for a longer ride, or if it’s raining. It’s very practical, after all).

Up until now I’ve stuck with basic entry level shoes in black. Easy and low profile. However, the guy in the store was an absolute master, and I was putty in his hands. Was a carbon sole better? Oh yes, no doubt. Much stiffer for longer. He stopped using anything else five years ago! Definitely worth it; absolutely no doubt I would feel the difference. I would be able to get better power transfer and go faster. And there was 20% off that model.

But they were white. A bit, well, bling, don’t you think? Oh no! Very stylish. And you’re riding a bike – you don’t need to wear school shoes!

But this cheaper black pair are very comfortable. Oh yes, they are very comfortable. A nice shoe. But not in the same league. They are fine, sure, and will do the job for you, but they won’t be a stiff for as long, and you’ll notice the difference. I really recommend the carbon fibre.

I bought the white shoes. I have no idea why. I went into buy another pair of entry-level black shoes, and came out with a white carbon fibre pair that were twice the price.

I mounted the cleats on them for the ride home in some anticipation. Would I feel the exceptional power transfer? Would I be faster? Would my feet smell less?

In the end it was a bit hard to tell. The cleats weren’t quite in the right place, and rather annoyingly the bit of the strap that sticks out on the inside was catching on the crank each time the pedal goes round (I like to have my feet close together, so tend to mount the cleats right on the outside of the shoes). Hopefully I can solve this by shortening the strap and re-aligning the cleats.

I did successfully fend off two roadie competitors on Anzac bridge, so I guess they worked OK. Still, some purchases you love straight away, and some you come to love. I think these shoes fall into the latter category. Perhaps I’ll like them better when they start to smell a bit.

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