THE STRAP TO SPD SWITCH

I was never in to the idea of ‘clipping in’.

Clips – (especially when racing BMX back in the day) – just seemed like signing up for suicide.

You’re essentially wearing shoes that clip in to pedals on your bike that allow you to be more efficient but with this new efficiency comes a new element of danger that everyone fears – getting UN clipped.

The entire concept of actually clipping in to your bike and not being able to get out quick absolutely frightened me. As a daily rider, I have so many close calls with drivers and pedestrians that slowing down a dismount from a close call seemed insane. I mean, I get WHY you use clips but I thought it wasn’t for me.

Until I tried them.

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Andrew over at Adams’ Ave Bicycle Shop laced me up proper. Andrew, and everyone that rides with / for AA are pure bred cyclists plus a lot of these guys and gals have been riding longer than most of us have been alive. So, needless to say, Andrew knows a TON about bikes and ESPECIALLY the proper fit for you on your bike.

I went with Shimano SPDs and Vittoria 1976’s and here is a step by step installation and thoughts on learning how to ride with them :

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1. First, grease up the screws. Do this so that they don’t rust!

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2. Put a mark on the side of the widest part of the front of your foot.

That way, you can line the clip up with this dot.

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3. Put the cleat on. For me, it needed to be almost all the way towards the front.

*SPDs are NOT allowed on the track. This shoe is a ‘MTB’ shoe technically but, there is nothing ‘mountain’ about these shoes. The difference between a ‘road’ shoe and a ‘MTB’ shoe is the sole.

Road shoes, you actually step on the metal part of the cleat. This can wear out the metal pretty quick and you’ll have to replace them if you walk around in the shoes a lot.

MTB shoes have a bit of a sole around the cleat so you don’t step directly on the metal. The protected sole of these Vittoria’s make them great for bouncing in to a coffee shop real quick + the leather upper makes it comfortable for walking ( although some power will be lost which I’ll explain later ). These shoes in particular are kind of in a class all their own.

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4. Put the pedals on.

***IMG_3200 5. Adams Ave Bicycle Shop has this great little room where they will get you all kinds of fitted for your ride. They have these rollers and mirrors so you can easily see how far your legs extend and if your back arches and such. My ride was already pretty proper but for someone who is new to riding, I would tooootally recommend getting fitted for your bike like this.

After I did some test clip in and outs, I felt confident.

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6. We celebrated with some espresso then I took them out the next day for the first time on the DDDT.

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Not gonna lie. Learning where the ‘sweat spot’ is is difficult. Clipping OUT is just as hard at first.

My first time riding SPDs was on our 40+ mile DDDT and I was having a super hard time clipping in and out of them at first. It felt like I was learning how to ride my bike all over again. Especially stopping was tricky as I didn’t have brakes on this bike. After a few red lights, I was getting the hang of it. I made sure to ride within my limits and stayed extra aware.

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When I got to the Torrey Pines Hill, I could really tell a difference with how these shoes HELP riding.

This hill is infamous in San Diego. Its a hefty climb, long, and just seems to keep going and going. I dread this hill but this time I decided to really use the new shoes to my advantage. I had always heard of clips helping you be able to STOP better on a fixed gear but I really wanted to see how they help you CLIMB.

See, the reason why clips are more efficient than straps or cages is this : You gotta think of your power transfer. When you’re STRAPPED IN and pull UP on your pedal, a lot of energy is not utilized because the strap and your shoe, are stretching before actually pulling up. Get it? Clips make for a direct contact between you and your bike which allows for instant results. With shoes like this, you can pull UP so much better with one foot, and push DOWN with the other to make you just a damn MACHINE on your bike.

Needless to say, climbing the hill was a breeze! Not saying I wasn’t tired, just saying that I did set a Personal Record up Torrey Pines Hill as well as some other little milestones and I have the Strava to prove it.

If these shoes had a carbon upper or even some straps to synch my foot up a bit more, these shoes would be eeeven more efficient. But thats the pay off. If these shoes had the straps and synches and stuff, they wouldn’t look nearly as clean. Personally, I prefer a little fashion with my function. Eventually, I might upgrade to a ‘better’ shoe. Eventually. But for now, these will be just fine.

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I’ve been riding around with these Vittoria shoes for well over a year now and have grown to love them. Skidding / stopping is soooo easy and responsive with them. I’ve walked all day in them and even rocked them without socks. Highly recommend them.

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Just can’t believe it took me so long to make the SPD switch.

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www.theawarewolfs.bigcartel.com

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