Posts tagged ‘pedals’
Before I was a cyclist, I was a swimmer. Not competitive or anything so “serious”, just a devoted lap swimmer. I love the water, and I find swimming to be very relaxing – especially given my level of (non)-exertion. I have almost perfected a technique for napping while swimming, if that gives you any idea …
I still get in the pool once or twice a week throughout the year, and more often in the summer when I can swim outside – which is what I love the most. For several years there were a group of us who would swim together on summer mornings. We jokingly called ourselves the Aqua Geezers. (Well, maybe not so jokingly. ;-))
During the summer, the early mornings are reserved for lap swimmers. This morning, I was the only one in the water (much to my delight, and probably not so much to the lifeguard who had to stay on duty). Early in the season, in the cool morning air, it takes a little effort to jump into the cold water … but once I’m in, like when I’m on my bike, all reluctance disappears.
The repetition of the strokes, the breathing, had me thinking about rhythm – and a compelling passage in one of my knitting books. In Sally Melville’s book, The Knitting Experience: The Knit Stitch she talks about these “feel good” activities that put us into our right brain mode – the beauty of the physical rhythm, the meditative state. She writes,
The right brain is the place where new ideas form, where entities that don’t belong come together, where intuition rules, where time has no meaning… We need to get out of the dominant, full-of-rules left brain and into the more innovative, solution-advancing right brain. And we get into the right brain by engaging in activities that are
- physically repetitive,
- intellectually undemanding,
- visually stimulating.
Which, for me, perfectly explains why so many of us love the rhythm of cycling – or swimming, or knitting, or running, or any one of these activities that makes us “feel good”, give us some clarity, peace of mind. Foster creativity. Induce that state of contentment.
So today began with swimming, a little knitting during the afternoon, and ended with an evening road ride on the Xtracycle. The end of the day was as lovely as the beginning. Engaging the right side of my brain through the swim strokes, the click of the needles, the pedalling, the breathing. All of these things … the beautiful rhythm of the day.
They may not get me to Oz, but …
Decided to try out some new cycling shoes for around town on the Xtracycle. These have intrigued me for a while now: the Keen Commuter – a hybrid sandal/cycling shoe featuring a full-length SPD-compatible plate, along with AEGIS Microbe Shield™ technology (free of environmentally harmful substances) to prevent odor-causing bacteria/fungi in the footbed. Seemed like a great combination for summer riding.
I also prefer riding with cleated shoes, but road cleats just weren’t practical for running errands, popping into the store, etc. The recessed SPD configuration makes these beautifully walk-able for off-bike. They are cool and very comfortable, and, well … dorky in that outdoorsy kind of way.
Pedal choice was a toss-up. I knew I wanted a dual-use pedal: platform on one side, clipless (cleat-compatible) on the other side. Debated between a Shimano and the Wellgo, but finally decided on the Wellgo. The Wellgo has a wider (BMX?) profile, and the platform has 8 substantial screw studs. So if I need to pedal in a pair of sneakers or other shoes, I can still get a pretty solid grip on things.
Specs on the Wellgo: magnesium body (weight-saver), sealed bearing, Shimano SH-51 cleat compatible. All for a very reasonable price – around $60.
So far, I’m well pleased with the combination. Haven’t put many miles in yet, and a real test will be coming up in about a week when Mark and I plan to head toward the mountains for a weekend bike camping trip. But so far …
The Pro’s: cool, comfortable, walk-able and versatile commuting shoe – with or without socks. Wide and solid pedal platform, decent profile for street use, great versatility (clipless/platform). Studs/pins on platform side allow for great traction for riding in non-cycle shoes.
The Con’s: Open design of shoes tends to lose some desired stiffness, although not as much as I expected. However, I did find it necessary to loosen the clipless tension on the pedal – felt like I would twist right out of the shoe when releasing if the tension was cranked down.
Will continue to evaluate over the course of summer and more miles. But for now, I give the combination two thumbs up! Not as cute as a pair of Ruby Slippers, but what can you do?