Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Road cycling and Cleats

After much research and discussion about SPD versus Road cleats I have learned that the only rationale for road cleats is that there is a larger contact area and hence you can get more power transfer,

That is the theory. But realistically, it is a false argument for 99 % of us. The power transfer is really a function of technique and how your foot contacts the cleat. You DO NOT WANT to pedal flat footed and good technique involves pointing your toes.

The small difference in platform sizes between a shimano SPD pedal and say a Look pedal is minute.

SPD cleats means you can wear mountain shoes with recessed cleats. This gives you the incomparable advantage of being able to walk.

I recently did a bike tour that involved going on ferries and over bridges. In the rain, my race footed friends were slipping and sliding dangerously. My mountain shoes had no issues.

Unless you are doing a time trial where you will go all out and not dismount, or are in cyclo dome for track racing, I fail to see ANY advantage to road shoes. In fact, I see downright disadvantages in not being able to walk.

The Camelback

I like to road bike and like all road bikers have the bottle on my bike. However I recently tried a camelback system. This is a slim little backpack in which I can fit all my road tools, spare tube, my wallet and holds almost 2 liters of water.

The water stays COLD during a hot ride and keeps my back cool. I find I drink more, which is a good thing and don't get dehydrated or tired. It is light and areo and I don't need a little saddle bag anymore, or even a water bottle. The weight is hardly oppressive.

The only drawback is keeping it clean and the fact that it hides the great graphics on some of my jerseys.

To keep it clean I have learned the following:

Clean after every use
Store in freezer
Only use NUNO tablets or similar electrolyte tablets..no endurance drinks
Buy a brush system for it and a spare mouthpiece

So far, I am very impressed. It is comfortable and because I don't have to reach down and lose some speed, I am more likely to drink during a ride.

Road cyclists however are prone to fashion...and therefore I wonder if this will ever catch on!

Bike clothing....

Today I did a bike ride and was joined by members of the TREK cycling team, a world champion, the Discovery team and numerous members of Lance Armstrongs old Tour de France team. I was cycling on a road near Ottawa.

None of these cyclists would have made the tour de France and yet here they are wearing team kits with all the advertisements. Why? I suppose for the same reason that recreational hockey players buy jerseys from their teams.

I have a kit that is full of advertisements but there were sponsors who paid to be on our jerseys and shorts.

There is too much advertising in our cities already. We are deluged by ads and billboards and wearing advertisements while on a bike, in my opinion is simply offensive to the senses.

Karine's Blog

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