Posted on January 8th, 2017 No comments
As a new cyclist, one of the BIGGEST choices you have to make is what shoes will I wear? Unfortunately, depending on how you answer the question – there will be more questions. Some of them may actually be scary as answering the question a certain way will result in your feet being “attached” do your bicycle. My goal in this article is to help you answer the questions and help you get past any fear or anxiety. Let’s start from the beginning!
What shoes should I wear for cycling?
The answer is simple – cycling shoes! The reason is simple, cycling shoes are stiffer than most shoes you own. They are designed to push on a pedal and not flex, putting all the power into the drive train. Any flex in your shoe is a waste of energy, but more importantly – your foot does not like flexing that way. It leads to sore feet and hotspots on your feet that are very uncomfortable. There is no doubt in my mind that a good fitting pair of cycling shoes can/will enhance your cycling experience.
What kind of shoes should I wear?
Two things come into play here – Fit and Type. Fit is the most important thing. Your shoes need to fit and be comfortable or you will be uncomfortable and focussed on your feet, not on enjoying your ride. Shoes should fit snuggly, but be comfortable. No need to cram your feet in smaller shoes or any such lunacy!
Now what type? You will have to make a decision here. I’m not going to tell you what you need – I’m going to tell the pros and cons – and let you make the decision. I’ll also share my choice.
Road Shoes: Road shoes are made for road cycling, which rarely involves any walking. They are not designed for walking. They are characterized by stiff sole with a larger cleat mounted to the ball of the foot. The cleat is NOT recessed. Walking in road shoes involves a “toe-up” step with a “clip-clop” sound. You are able to walk around, get to your bike and stuff, but it’s not comfortable. Walking will also wear out your cleats. In general, road shoes will require a clipless pedal (more on pedals in a few minutes). Your pedal choice on road shoes will be much larger – and in general allow a larger platform to “push on”, based completely on the size of the cleats. The larger platform can help prevent hot-spots on your feet, but isn’t necessary. My personal preference is road shoes/pedals.
- More pedal choices
- Larger contact area with pedal
- Harder to walk
- Cleats wear out when walking
Mountain Bike Shoes: Before I get started, there are some touring and/or spin shoes on the market now that are not as aggressive as mountain bike shoes. They, in general, offer all of the same features I’m about to discuss. There’s very little differentiation, so let’s talk about them all together. This class of shoes has a “tread pattern” similar to a running or hiking shoe. Large, rubber lugs allow you to walk “comfortably” as the cleat is actually recessed. There is some degradation in comfort as the shoes don’t flex. That being said, they are much better than road shoes. Now, the cleat on these shoes is a little bigger than a quarter and made out of metal. It is hidden between a few large lugs of sole near the ball of the foot. Please note, it MAY actually touch the ground when walking, so you probably don’t want to run around on your hardwood floors. Unlike road shoes, you could use mountain bike shoes on regular pedals, or with toe-clips. They are a great option for mountain bikers or recreational cyclists.
- You can walk
- You can ride without clipless pedals
- Cleats are metal and rarely wear out
- With right pedals, same shoes can be used for spinning
- Smaller pedal contact patch
- Can be a little tricker to clip in
I hope I’ve painted a picture that allows you to make your best decision. I’ve found more serious road cyclist prefer road shoes. The rest of the world enjoys mountain bike shoes!
What pedals should I use?
I use Shimano SPD-SL pedals and love them. They only work with road shoes – now let me break down your choices:
Standard Platform Pedals: These are your most BASIC pedals. You put your feet on them and they work. You can jump on them with your running shoes or a pair of mountain bike shoes and pedal. The problem is your foot will move around a lot. This will be cumbersome and ultimately lead to more fatigue. Should you chose this type of pedal, I highly recommend getting some toe-clips and straps.
Toe-Clips and Straps: The classic set up. It offers you the ability to ride on the “bottom” of the pedals or put your foot in the toe-clips and straps. In the old days, we would snug the straps down to hold our feet in there. You do NOT need to do that, rather you can allow the clips and straps to hold your feet in place, eliminating the slip I mentioned earlier. It does take a little practice to pull your foot back, but it’s really an easy thing to train yourself on!
Hybrid Pedals: These pedals, I am putting in the middle – because they are part platform – part clipless. They are a GREAT solution for new clipless users as they can chose to use the clip-in feature when they want to, and opt out when they aren’t comfortable. These are only good with mountain bike shoes, but they offer a GREAT solution for recreational cyclists!
Clipless Pedals: I cannot capture all of the pedal options in photos! These are the best pedals for cycling, as they allow you to “clip in” and they hold your feet in place. This MAY SOUND SCARY – but they also disengage almost instantly when you fall off your bike. I have heard a story or two of people getting a twisted ankle, but generally I believe clipless pedals to be COMPLETELY safe. Mountain or touring oriented pedals are typical dual sided, allowing easier clip-in. (Speedplay road pedals are dual sided as well). Most pedals, you “shove your toe in” and then push your heal down to clip in. To get out, you simply push your heal to the outside. This DOES take some practice, but that’s what riding your bike is – practice!
In a soon to be published article, I’ll give you some tips and tricks to safely use your clipless pedals! It can be intimidating, but starting slow and understanding how they work can make everything better!
Posted on January 8th, 2017 No comments
A rider asked me about standing up. They said in spin classes, they could stand up and it was easy. On a bicycle, it always felt wobbly. This is TRUE!
A spin bikes contact point with the floor is at LEAST 18-24″ wide. Your bikes contact point with the road is about 1″ wide. Let go of a spin bike, it falls over. Let go of any bicycle – it falls over. That being said – standing up on a *REGULAR* basis is a key to keeping your butt happy on a long bike ride. It relieves pressure on your crotch, it stretches your legs, back, neck and anything else you want to stretch… but how do you do it?
Let’s break down some basics to get you started.
The first step is getting used to how the bike feels when standing up. I suggest you find a flat, open, car free stretch of road. Ride down the road at a good comfortable speed, hold onto your brake levers (on a road bike), with your pedals in a 3-9 position (level to the ground) gradually ease out of the seat. Rise up as much as you feel comfortable. Coast for a bit. Enjoy the feeling! As your speed slows, slowly move back into the saddle and start pedaling again. Each “try” should last from about two to ten seconds.
Try this basic step as many times as you want, as often as you want – for the rest of your cycling career! The more you do it, the more comfortable you will be. You don’t have to do this all day, just until you feel more comfortable or understand how the bike feels.
Once you are comfortable with this, you can try some “advanced” standing and stretching. That is, as you rise out of the saddle, put one foot at the bottom and drop your heel. This will stretch your calves. Pedal around half way and stretch the other. You can also push your pelvis forward and stretch your abs, obliques and other core muscles that have been “bunched up” for a while. This relieves your back a little as well. I find on-bike stretching to be very relieving.
As you progress in your standing – you can attempt to pedal while standing. This is MUCH easier “under power”. That is, when going up a hill or in a big gear. As you pedal, the bike will move around under you. This is COMPLETELY normal. The change of weight distribution and power delivery will move things around. Do not be alarmed. Your bike does NOT want to fall over when it is moving. Unlike our coasting standing up, I suggest you start standing up on a gentle hill, so you are applying some power. On the “downstroke” gently rise out of the saddle. and keep pedaling. You will feel a surge of power. Now, you are using your leg muscles and your body weight to propel the bike. This will make help you get up the hill or go faster. Unfortunately, it will wear you out faster. Your butt is no longer supporting you, your legs are! This is great for stretching, sprinting, climbing – see where YOU like to do it!
Eventually – this will become as natural as getting up and walking to the kitchen, it just takes some practice!
Special Note About Trainers: On any static trainer, your bike will feel funky when you stand up. Any time you stand up on the road, your bike moves around a bit. When the bike is fixed/held stationary, this movement is not possible. I’ve mastered standing up on a bicycle on a banked velodrome, but the trainer still feels weird. This is normal and not something to be overly concerned about! Relax, stretch and get back to riding!
Posted on March 17th, 2016 No comments
So – last week was a great week of training, up until the point where I got to Stone Mountain and shifted into the big ring and my shifter crapped the bed. WTF? This is not good. I guess you cannot expect delicate internals, sweat upon my be a sweating freak to last forever? Anyway – I disconnected the cable and rode home (after actually finishing my ride).
I made plans on sunday to fix my bike. It’s going to rain, right? Nope – no rain, beautiful day to have a broken bike… Le Sigh. After a trip to the shop, I started by pulling off the cables and such, and changing to some NOS 105 levers meant changing to NOS derailleurs. It also uncovered a thing I forgot I “had” … a broken rear derailleur hanger. It was cracked – I broke it all the way off. Another trip to the shop.
Great – all that is going well… I decide it is a good time to pull the cranks and get everything all super clean. Oh, this is gonna be nice.
After getting all the cables on, including the internal ones, I go to put ferrules on my cables. Since I worked on bikes a lot and now – they changed things and Shitmano has gone ferrule-less. The cables I had came with them, but they didn’t fit. To the shop I go to complain – but came home understanding. Joy.
Get the bike ALL put together and realize SRAM and Shimano need different length chains. I completely mis-judged this, need chain pins because that’s how things go now days. Back to the shop …. great, 4 trips in one day?
I finalize everything and ride it and feel a clunk. UGH… I re-seat the bottom bracket again – and again. I bug Barman – he says do it again. I do and it gets worse. I suck.
I decide my problem is ALL my seating tools or lack there of. I fashion a bearing press out of parts from Home Depot and it works very well.
Clunk… Clunk… WTF?
I decide Ghetto-Press v 1.0 isn’t good enough, so I head back to Home Depot and get stuff to make v 2. MUCH improved, but you guessed it…
I dork with it a lot longer and break a bearing – don’t ask – I’m not ready to discuss that yet. Finally I say “this is driving me crazy” and Barman says “Let somebody else fix it.” I take it to Snyder Cycles – which if you are near Tucker is about the only shop you need to deal with – period. David works on it for a while and installs a new bottom bracket and it clunks.
We try about a dozen things and it gets better, but I can still feel it, but I need to ride. I go home and try to ride and within a mile its making enough noise to make me want to beat oncoming traffic. I go home and think what else changed – maybe the cassette and chain are mad at each other…. try another wheel
The bike shop hinted it was my frame – the aluminum shell falling out or some such shit I just didn’t want to hear. I stared at my bike, about to go bike shopping and said “The only thing I havent changed is the frame and the crankset – I don’t have a frame… I have a crankset.”
Let me cut this short …. HOLY CRAP – it fixed it!
So … lets recap …
5 trips to the bike shop, 2 trips to Home Depot
+ 105 Shifters
+ 105 Front Brake
+ 105 Derailleurs
+ New (old) Zipp carpet fiber bars
+ New tape
+ New Chain
+ New derailleur hanger
+ All new cables
+ Two new bottom brackets
+ Temporarily new crankset
+ White seat because I am vane and got it for $20 (Fizik Alliante)
All that and my bike still isn’t happy – because I’m anal and my legs cant stand 175 circles, they can only stand 170 mm circles. Not 167.5… not 172.5… 170. That is all they like. Well, I do have hopes of warrantying my crankset – it should NOT bend like that, probably something way wrong with it – so I don’t want to spend $200+ on a crankset. I need something that isn’t ghetto…. cuz I aint ghetto (unless you are talking about my bottom bracket bearing press). I search and search – and my main man Stratton from Starlite Bikes comes through with a take-off for $50 delivered. By Saturday – my bicycle should be at one with the universe.
I did take it out for a 36 mile ride last night, and outside of the cranks feeling funky from being long, she’s working better than ever. I routed my cables very meticulously this time and I am much happier with her. I’m glad…. I don’t have another bike search in me!
Posted on March 10th, 2016 No comments
When riding a motorcycle, you need to wear boots for protections. Your feet are hanging down and out in the open, so a good pair of boots is critical. You also, on occasion get caught in the rain and keeping your little piggies dry is quite important. Having feet that are really weird shaped makes buying boots tricky. I needed some boots and found the "Velocitor Waterproof". Great, lets try them.
I loved these boots! $150, waterproof and ULTRA comfortable. I don't find that often. A string of events brought me to the the Bates website. I read the reviews of my favorite boots, but they weren't good reviews. I was actually – oddly – sad. But my boots were good… until about two weeks ago. I found the sole ripping. Well, for every bad review – there was a reply "Please call our toll free number and see if we can help." Well, rather than post, wait for them to reply, I just called!
I was greeted by and "on-shore" employee who was extremely helpful. (Please note – the easy to speak to on-shore employees added great value to this process!) We worked out a plan to get me some moderately upgraded boots and get them quickly. SWEET!
Unfortunately, the pair that I picked had a composite toe – something I just don't need and that makes my hard to fit feet very uncomfortable. Crap – what have I done?!?!
I contacted Bates – again and they were a little reluctant as re-returns goes against their policy, but they did issue me a new RA and about 3 days later, my new boots arrived! The new ones are Gore-Tex lined and seem like a MUCH better boot – AND …. They fit GREAT!
Thanks to the support folks at Bates Footwear. It's great to have good support – something that seems to be going away in this day and age!
GX-8 Side Zip Boot with GORE-TEX®
GORE-TEX® performance footwear is durably waterproof and breathable for all seasons. …More Less
Posted on March 10th, 2016 No comments
stolen from the internet…. but summarizes my childhood well (and looks like me)
Posted on March 9th, 2016 No comments
My son is raising money for his school by running. got any spare change? https://funrun.com/sponsor/1567f5cb8919f3b8b9c3e3644ef2bf5ce7b70f10 help if you can!
Posted on March 8th, 2016 No comments
Okay, in a single blog post I am going to tie together – in no particular order … Team Sky, track racing, blue cocaine, Mt. Evans, Sir Mix A Lot, professional wrestling, multiple KOM trophies and odd ‘hood happening! Let’s get started!
A little back story … In the late 90s when I moved to Colorado Springs, I started my track racing “career”. There was a professional wrestler named Scott (notice I have the same name) Steiner. He was called “Big Poppa Pump”. He also named himself the “Big Bad Booty Daddy”. Well, sharing his first name and a large gluteus maximus – my friend Terry and I some how or another named me the “Big Bad Booty Trackie”. The name kinda stuck around various trash talking circles!
My days of being BBBT have seemingly faded – but all of that may change…. Let me tell you the story!
My friend Chad went supplement shopping and came home with some strange substance. He and his wife consumed this substance and nick named it “Blue Cocaine.” Chad said it really helped and gave me a dose. I consumed this “blue cocaine” and headed out for a bike ride.
Please note: This was purchased over the counter – so one can speculate i’m still legal to compete in Rio!
On my way over to Stone Mountain, I was cruising through the ‘hood when these two black women pass me and yell ‘look at dat azz!” They probably didn’t expect the light we were approaching to change and/or me to catch them about 2.7 seconds later when I said “nothin but white chocolate” and made them laugh. Probably the strangest bicycle-vehicle interaction i’ve had in a very long time.
Now after all that happens, various rap songs all start running through my head … of course… big bad booty trackie got back some how happened. Trust me when I tell you this won’t be on your radio any time soon!
Anyway – I was really feeling pretty good. Maybe it was the simple fact that I have actually trained recently – or maybe I was just jacked up on blue cocaine? Who knows…
As I roll into the Stone Mountain Park and head down the hill to the “two steps” I see a rider off in the distance. Being as that the “old Scott” is starting to come out – I had to chase him…. which I did. We roll down the long hill going into the “Two Steps” which is two steep little pitches which I carry in a lot of steam. I roll past our Team Sky rider as we head up the second pitch. I hear him suddenly get motivated. I stand up and kick it, heck I even SHIFT UP and drive harder. He surges but never gets past my bottom bracket. BOOM! KOM points. Yeah, I keep track of random crap!
Over the top, I am rolling pretty well. He is smart and jumps on my wheel. I am not really worried about it, heck … i’m honestly trying to just keep a good tempo until we get to the NEXT hill. It’s a quick sprinters hill into the “special section” where cars cant bug us. I roll that and can tell he is sitting back there the whole time. Few small hills and here comes the big one. It’s about a mile long and it makes me start thinking back to riding up Mt. Evans. Okay – work with me here. They are both MOUNTAINS… i’m riding up both. One is like 28 mile long … one is like 1 mile… they both have a road. Same thing, right? I start thinking about how I beat my friend Terry up that mountain. It was one heck of a crazy ass day, but in the end, I did make it to the top first. I did that by “just riding up the mountain”. I kept pedaling, so am thinking … you have 2 KOM points, but this is the big one … double points! (yeah, all this REALLY does go through my head!) So here we go. I settle in and I can feel him back there. I even turn off my music so I can listen for his obvious attack. It never came! I even put distance on him going up the hill! (Yeah, its not really a mountain). At the top, he wasn’t to far back so I chilled for a second and gave him a fist pump. He said “Good ride, you made me work really hard”. I told him he did the same. (I took over a minute off my last trip up the hill… Strava told me). The feeling of going hard and accomplishing something was really fun.
So … maybe the Big Bad Booty Trackie still has a little something in there?
Perhaps the most fun I have had on a bicycle in 2+ years. Not just the crap I wrote about here – it was a good ride. I rode strong, I felt like a cyclist… without motor in front of it! Most of all – I felt my inner competitor waking up and taking on something non-trivial (even if in the big picture, it really is trivial).
Now – I’m going to mention George C. Scott Patton and the movie Avatar so I can completely confuse search engines!
Posted on March 7th, 2016 No comments
I'm sure somebody can more expensive jeans, but these top my list of viewed jeans! #silly
Rokker Revolution Waterproof Jeans Videos
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Posted on March 6th, 2016 No comments
completely epic adventure today!
Posted on November 22nd, 2012 No comments
Testing the next direction….