Sunday, July 5

Bike Shoes for the Rest of Us

One of my engineers bought his first "real road bike" last fall. He went to a large bike store over in Dallas County. Never been there myself. They fixed him up, not even trying to talk him into a Exotimundi Carbone Speciale. They did, however, sell him stiff road shoes with external cleats, telling him that's what he needed for a road bike. Now, if he gets off his bike, he waddles around like a duck - like the other roadies. This is a guy who may never ride more than ten or twenty miles at a time, mainly along paths or on charity rides.

The bulk of my bike mileage is commuting. The distance is far enough that my main concern is whether I can afford the time. One thing about commuting is that you have to do a little walking when you get to work. If you stop somewhere, you have to do a little walking. My bikes all have either spd pedals or toe clips, even my road bike. I wouldn't argue if you claimed that Eggbeaters might have been a better choice, but the pedals are bought & paid for. Mainly, the recessed spd clips let me walk like a human being. I could wear the bike shoes all day if necessary, although the reflective features give "high visibility" a whole new meaning in an office environment.


Keri said...

I've long had a beef with the bike shops for telling people they have to have road cleats with their road bike. A few years ago a woman in our training program bought some used SPD pedals and went into the bike shop for shoes. She was told those are mountain bike pedals, she needed road bike pedals and shoes. She ended up leaving the shop shoeless and confused. Came back to the next training session still with platform pedals saying the bike shop told her she had the wrong pedals.

I always recommend newbies get SPDs, even if they decide to get road pedals later. on-sided Road pedals are very frustrating for someone who has never been clipped in before. The spring tension can't be loosened enough for an easy last-second exit. They fall a lot and get discouraged.

I've used both kinds of pedals and I've come to hate roadbike pedals. They're harder to clip into when accelerating from a red light. And the cleats are a pain in the butt to walk in.

It's funny you're writing about shoes. I just went out for a little recreational ride and was contemplating a shoe post all the way back. I recently bought a pair of shimano sandals and am finding the shoe bed is miserably uncomfortable after about 10 miles.

My regular commuting shoes are pearl izumis, I can wear them all day and feel like I'm wearing regular shoes.

Steve A said...

My road bike uses real purty single-sided SPD Wellgo pedals. Buddy uses double-sided Ritchie pedals. Single-sided pedals are almost second nature for people used to toe clips.

I will keep those Pearl Izumis in mind when it comes time to replace my Specialized Sonoma shoes. I'd be willing to trade off a little more than optimum walking stiffness for better support while cycling. I'm also keeping my eyes open for a good pair of "big tread/colder weather" jobbies. Cyclocross season will be here before we know it - and my feet got real cold at times last winter.

Rantwick said...

Another commuter, another pair of recessed spd shoes. Mine look kind of like low-cut, light weight hikers, and are made by Louis Garneau.

My summer fixed bike has 2-sided spd pedals, while my Winter bike has Wellgos with a good size platform on one side and the spd cleat on the other... (I don't know if that's what Steve A was describing) in certain snow and ice conditions you simply can't be clipped in if you want stay upright, but most of the time you certainly can.

Steve A said...

My Wellgos are, as I recall, the MG8 model. They have the spd cleat on one side no platform at all on the other.

This seems like "bike shoe day" today! Commuteorlando's got Keri Caffrey holding forth on spd sandals. Golly, now we need an spd post on the Rantwick blog.

Rantwick said...

There's a winter boot/shoe (spd) that I've been meaingin to review... might be a little overkill for your winters though.

Steve A said...

I'd certainly be interested in hearing about winter gear from a true expert, though probably not this month or next. It was cold today. Barely got up to 33 (C).

Cold piggies, to me, are a much bigger deterrent to cycle commuting than 38+ temperatures.

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