Evolution

Most non-cyclists, like I was in 2008, would cringe at the thought of wearing skin-tight lycra.  I have even more reason to feel that way, since I’m still technically obese.

Most non-cyclists would cringe at the thought of shoes that snap into pedals.  You have to remember to unclip, by rotating your heel outward, or you’ll fall over when you stop.

I bought lycra bike clothes and clipless pedals a few years ago.  I found the comfort of bike clothes for longer rides is a necessity.  I’m still on the fence about my clipless (SPD) pedals.  I currently only have them on one bike – the Fargo, where they seem to work well.

A couple of weeks ago, I ordered my first two pair of bib tights.  Bibs, whether shorts, or longer, don’t have a waist band.  They have straps the go over your shoulders.  They’re still made of the skin-tight lycra, but better.

I don’t know why I waited so long!  They may look stupid when I’m not wearing a jersey, but they’re comfortable.  They don’t roll down (an issue when you have a big gut).  Your ass-crack won’t show when you’re bent over the handlebars.  They’re great!

I avoided them for years due to the strange look.  No longer.  The jersey covers the strange look, so I only I have to see my bare chest with the straps.

5 thoughts on “Evolution”

  1. I’ve been a cyclist for many years and *I* cringe once in a while about the lycra thing.

    Every pair of bib shorts I’ve tried on have been too short in the torso for me, with a direct result being extra discomfort in the exact area where cycling shorts are supposed to be more comfortable.

  2. I’ve never been brave enough to go for SPD pedals/ shoes yet. I love the thought of being more efficient while pedalling but the thought of being unable to unclip quickly enough scares me: I’ve heard too many horror stories!

  3. Dean, the reality is that there are two types of folks riding “clipless” pedals: those who have fallen, and those who will at some point.

    On the other hand, the fall is not a twenty-five-miles-an-hour wipeout. It’s more an “Oh, phooey! I forgot to unclip, and now I’m stopped, and I don’t have time to unclip!” as you fall over from essentially standing.

    It was seven years after I started riding SPD pedals before my first fall due to not being off my pedals, and that was a very sudden stop. I think I’ve fallen one time since due to inattention. My first pair of SPD pedals–still in use on my Vanguard–was purchased in 1994 for installation on my Linear.

    The simple trick to reducing the number of falls is to unclip if you think you will be stopping. You can always get back in if you don’t have to stop. Make getting off the pedals a conditioned reflex (like downshifting before stopping), and it’s rarely a problem.

  4. Dean, I fell once, just a few days after getting my SPD pedals. That was a few years ago.

    Now that I’m trying mountain biking with SPD, I’ve had a few “emergency unclips”, but that’s all.

    Once you ridden SPD for a while, it becomes second nature. I still don’t use them on all of my bikes though. I like the ability to “grab and go” and not worry about shoes. I also find myself to be more comfortable on plain pedals.

    Why SPD then? Well, when the going gets rough, you won’t bounce off the pedals. They also force you to turn your feet in circles, and promote better pedaling technique.

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