Rainbows of Death and blue shoes…

July 14, 2015 at 13:14 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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rainbowofdeathAfter recent heavy rains, there has been a lot of these on the roads recently – iridescent patches of oil. They are often quite pretty to look at, although of course they can be slippery. Not that I’ve really had any problems with them, but one contributor to Sydney Cyclist memorably called them ‘rainbows of death’, which is certainly poetic, if rather hyperbolic.  Every time I see one I am reminded of the phrase…

In an unconnected matter, I needed some new cleats recently, so went to my LBS to buy some. Up until now, I’ve always used the yellow ones. These are the ones that have the most ‘float’; which is to say you can blue shoeswiggle your feet around in the pedals even when clipped in. However, with my new pedals I’ve been struggling to get the cleat positioning correct such that  it’s comfortable to pedal, but I can also unclip easily. It was suggested to me that, possibly counter-intuitively, cleat placement was actually easier with cleats that have less ‘float’. So I bought some blue ones, which have a little bit of float, but not as much. And, lo and behold, it turns out to be true – they are more comfortable and also easier to get out of the pedals. Hurrah!

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New pedals – at last

April 17, 2015 at 09:28 | Posted in bicycles | 1 Comment
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pedalsI’ve been riding my fixie for nearly ten years, pretty much every day. And, for the last few years I’ve noticed that my feet seem to slop around in the pedals rather, even with new cleats.

Anyway, I finally got around to buying new pedals to replace the ones that I got with the bike all those years ago.

It was only when comparing the old ones with the new ones that just how worn they were became apparent! Still not bad going for a set of basic, no-frills pedals (Shimano PD-R540, for those interested). Amazing how much of the actual metal structure of the thing has work away!

So now I have my shiny new ones on the bike. I daresay I’ll probably find them really stiff to unclip and end up doing a sprawl of shame. Hey ho! In another ten years they should have loosened up nicely…

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..

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