I have one pair of shoes. I have worn the same pair of shoes every day for the past three years (no exaggeration). There’s never been a day when I haven’t worn them. I like that because it’s simple. You go to the door, and you just have one choice. It’s not like I get to the door and think – which shall I wear today – the brown ones or the black ones? No, there is only one pair. I have shoes without laces because that’s simpler too.
Last summer my one pair of shoes was falling apart. My mother got fed up and gave me £50 to buy a new pair. I had nothing against a new pair of shoes, but I really don’t like shopping. It’s all that standing around and walking – it’s just not complementary to hard cycle training.
I was very bad, and didn’t buy any new shoes (I did buy some superglue to try and fix the holes though). But, I did put that £50 towards the £260 I later paid for one of the lightest pairs of Bont Zero cycling shoes mail-order. That made me very happy.
Except when I got the shoes, they were a bit tight around the width of my foot. This was a dilemma – I didn’t really want to buy a bigger pair (which would weigh more and be less aerodynamic) if I didn’t really need them. I ‘ummed and ‘ared and thought I could wear them in. Truth be told I regret keeping the smaller size. After four hours of cycling in the heat your feet get squashed and it’s not nice. I regretted my decision a lot this summer.
But, come the hill climb season, I’m not doing many four hour rides and its not hot, so the smallish, lightweight shoes come into their own. They are a bit tight, but it’s OK if you’re just racing for four minutes.
Furthermore I’ve seen something which grabs the eye of the hill climber fanatic. Yes, it’s so tempting to cut that flap. I don’t need the aerodynamics, and perhaps I will save 10 grams. Is it worth it? Will these then become my specialist hill climb shoes? It would be one for the marginal gains for hill climb bike
Or should I leave the flap on under the grounds that it might help keep water (and therefore weight) out of my socks. Perhaps I’ll leave it until the night before the national if a dry day is forecast, I’ll cut away the flaps. If it’s wet, they will stay.
Back to my worn out shoes, and I’m walking through Leeds in the rain this week. My soles have worn through so much my feet are getting wet. It really is time to bite the bullet and buy a pair of shoes. I went off to try and buy. Alas, I couldn’t find a pair I wanted to fit, and I ended up trundling from shoe shop to shoe shop, getting increasingly miserable at this unwanted foray into the world of shopping. This was supposed to be a rest day and here I am walking up and down the Merrion centre in Leeds looking for a simple pair of shoes which will last me another three years.
Back home, (still without any new shoes), and I later felt the faintest of muscle strains, I blame the mental unhappiness of shopping and walking, I can’t believe I was so stupid as to risk recovery by going shoe shopping in the hill climb season!
So there you go. From one extreme to another. I don’t know which is worse. The extravagance to save weight on the bike. Or walking in shoes which have several holes.
My top cycling tip of the day is – never go shopping for (non-cycling) clothes or shoes.