Posts Tagged ‘shoes’

Winter Draws On – but keep on riding …

Monday, November 10th, 2014

As the last leaves are falling off the trees thoughts turn to the winter. Yes, it’s possible to cycle through the winter, but you need to be prepared …

Prepare Your Bike : Riding cold salty pot-holed roads takes a huge toll on your bike. Salt etches away at frames, paint jobs and metal finishes, and grit and grime gets into bearings and friction surfaces accelerating wear and shifting mechanics out of adjustment. So if you have the choice don’t use your pride and joy.

Rather, pick a bike you can adapt without worrying ruining its expensive good looks. More than ever, ensure your choice is well-maintained and tuned up.

Nothing is as miserable as a preventable mechanical holding you up just as the street lights turn on and the sleet moves in. And of course, carry a small tool- and flat kit just in case.

The ultimate in winter tires, but won't fit all frames ...

The ultimate in winter tires, but won’t fit all frames …

Tires : In the winter flints, glass and rough roads subject tires to the limit. If you’re riding regularly throughout the season consider running heavier duty and wider tires on your road bike. Most road bikes will take 25mm wide tires and many will run 28mm wide tires.

Consider something like Continental 4-Seasons if you’re looking for toughness and performance. Continental GatorSkins provide great flat protection at a lower price and if you’re looking for the ultimate in winter protection look at the Schwalbe Marathons. If you’re regularly riding on ice and snow look at getting studded tires for greater control and security.

Fenders keep water off your back and muck off your bike - these are clip-on fenders

Fenders keep water off your back and muck off your bike – these are clip-on fenders

Fenders : Nothing says winter riding like the black streak up your back which accumulates after almost any ride. Fenders or mudguards not only protect you from the spray which splatters up your bike, but also helps protect the rest of the bike from excessive exposure to the elements and dirt.

Some bikes have fittings for fenders, but it’s possible to fit fenders to almost any regular road bike or hybrid.

Clip-on types are also available if you want the option of removing the fenders on fine weather days.

Stay Warm : Of course, you need to stay warm. As well as wearing winter-specific jackets and tights look after your extremities. Winter cycling shoes are, of course, ideal, but start with Merino wool socks. Wool can carry its own weight in water before it even feels damp and provides better insulation than most synthetics.

Insulated and water-proof shoe covers will help keep most feet warm. Use toe-covers if you’re looking for something you can stick in your back pocket as the day, hopefully, warms up.

Also, check your shoes for cooling vents. Some have the ability to be shut. Otherwise seal them up with some duct-tape or similar.

Lastly, resist the temptation to make your feet too snug. Leave enough room for circulation to help keep your feet warm.

Hands, of course, also need protection from the cold and wet. Choose a full finger, insulated glove, preferably with a high-tech synthetic barrier such as WindStopper or similar. Some people find their hands fare better in a mitten or lobster-claw variation. I find silk glove liners really help.

Heads are usually covered by a helmet, but features which make for a great summer helmet, like cooling vents, may prove too chilly for the winter. Look for a thin cap made from WindStopper or other synthetic which will help prevent heat loss through the top of your head and cover your ears. You might want to consider a face-mask or balaclava in really nasty conditions.

Get Lit Up : Never has effective bike lighting been so good and so available. Virtually all lights now use very bright and efficient LEDs, and many are re-chargeable. Re-chargeable lights cost more, but most are capable of, at least, 600 charging cycles. When looking at a regular battery light remember to factor in the cost of 600 sets of DuraCells into the true cost. A bright rear light is absolutely essential with most having a selection of steady and pulsing modes. Rear lights output from about 10 lumens of red light up to about 50 lumens.

Front lights fall into two types; conspicuity lights and headlights. Conspicuity lights feature a very bright, wide field beam which only minimally lights up the road, but ensures you will be seen – about 50 lumens to 100 lumens.

Headlight focussed beam lights tend to be more expensive, but really light up the road or trail, depending on their power – from about 300 lumens to 2500 lumens. Around 700-1000 lumens will be plenty for most road riders and commuters. The more powerful lights are for off-road use, although the extra power can be useful on the road too.


Visit Halter’s for :
Clothing by : Gore, Pearl Izumi, Castelli and other fine makes
Lights by : Blackburn, Cateye, Light & Motion and Knog
And, of course, we’ll tune-up and prepare your bike too …


If you’re seeking information on other topics click on any item in Halter’s Tag Cloud in the right hand column of this blog …


Alan That British Bloke


Feet, don’t fail me now …

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Let’s just spend a moment and think about our feet on a bike ride in winter. Speeding along, a few inches above a freezing and frequently soaking wet surface in shoes designed to keep your feet cool in summer. No wonder they get so cold …

A winter ride can be transformed just by having warm feet

A winter ride can be transformed just by having warm feet

So, to start at the beginning, many cycle shoes have vents in the sole and/or elsewhere. Take out the insole and cover the vents with duct tape.

Metal mountain-bike cleats can act as heat-sinks transferring warmth from your foot to the pedal so a couple layers of tape over the backing plate inside the shoe can help.

Look for merino wool socks. Don’t be tempted to wear socks which are too thick. You don’t want to restrict circulation. Wool can carry its own weight in water without feeling damp, and still maintain 70% of its insulation value. No synthetic comes close.

Goretex or neoprene socks may work for you

Goretex or neoprene socks may work for you

Toe warmer sachets may also work for you and can provide warmth for up to 6+ hours. These require space for a bit of air to circulate and feed their heating action.

Other next-to-the skin options include Goretex or neoprene socks. These cut wind-chill effects and thermal transfer, but may feel bulky inside your shoe. Personally, I like silk sock liners, available from some outdoor suppliers – an old motorcyclist’s tip.

Toe covers help resist wind-chill

Toe covers help resist wind-chill

Toe covers are great for when it’s not too cold, or it’s going to be one of those days which starts chilly but ends up nice and warm by the middle of the day. They also stow easily in your back pocket when they’re not required. Toe covers usually just stretch over the front of your shoe and are secured by an elastic strap.

Winter shoe covers provide varying degrees of wind-resistance, insulation and water protection

Winter shoe covers provide varying degrees of wind-resistance, insulation and water protection

If you’re more intent on serious winter riding or commuting, then you’ll appreciate the warmth and protection a full winter shoe cover can give you. The fabric may be neoprene, Goretex or other proprietary material, providing wind protection, insulation and water resistance.

Most covers are designed to fit very snugly. So if you’re looking for them bring your shoes to the shop to try different models and sizes for the optimum fit. Most are secured by a zip or velcro at the back. Prices are from about $60 to around $100 for the heaviest duty Goretex lined models.

Full winter shoes will give you the maximum warmth and protection

Full winter shoes will give you the maximum warmth and protection

If you’re looking for maximun warmth and protection you should consider a dedicated winter cycling shoe. Most incorporate a thermal/moisture barrier and are usually in an ankle boot type pattern.

Winter shoes are available in mtb and road pattern, but most riders prefer the mtb type which gives much better grip and security on slippery roads and paths. Consider winter road shoes if all you’re ever going to do is teeter from bike to coffee shop.

Halter’s stocks a full range of winter gear for your feet from Gore Bike Wear, Pearl Izumi, Cannondale, the Sock Guy and other good manufacturers.


If you’re seeking information on other topics click on any item in Halter’s Tag Cloud in the right hand column of this blog …


Alan That British Bloke | OldCranksCC Forum


Pedals … and shoes

Sunday, March 17th, 2013
Basic plastic pedal and quality quill pedal

Basic plastic pedal and quality quill pedal

Most lower priced bicycles come with pedals, but most higher end bikes don’t have pedals at all out of the box.

Most customers buying a higher end bike will already have a favorite pedaling system and new riders are best advised by their bike shop, so the bike manufacturers don’t guess what you might like. It’s up to you.

Anyone who has ever ridden a bike will be familiar with the basic platform pedal. Usually made from tough plastic and/or metal all you need to do is plant your sneakers on the pedals and cycle off.

In the past, people have made these pedals more secure by attaching straps and cages which wrap around the shoe. Indeed, some still prefer this method of locating their feet on the pedal.

These days anyone other than the most casual cyclist can make a choice from a number of clipless pedaling systems. That is where pedal and shoe locate and engage together to make a secure and efficient interface between your foot and the bike.

All clipless systems depend on a metal or plastic fixture known as a cleat, which is bolted onto the sole of the shoe. This cleat locates and engages into a mechanism on the pedal. The pedal holds the shoe firmly until the rider decides to disengage, usually by a deliberate twisting motion of the foot.

Although there are several manufacturers, each with their own system, clipless pedals fall into two categories.

Mountain bike pedals - some brands adjust release tension by means of a small screw

Mountain bike pedals – some brands adjust release tension by means of a small screw

Mountain bike pedals : This type of pedal/shoe combination is marked by a small metal cleat which is retained within the sole of the shoe and a double-sided pedal. This means that the shoe is easy to walk in and it’s easier to locate the cleat onto the pedal.

Even the most advanced mountain bike shoe with a carbon fiber sole is designed to flex to facilitate walking, so although this type of system was designed specifically for mountain bikes, many of its characteristics make it a favorite for many road and touring cyclists too, so the name is a bit of a misnomer.

Mountain bike shoe - Easier to walk in

Mountain bike shoe – Easier to walk in

We frequently sell “spinning” shoes to customers attending local gyms. A spinning shoe is a mountain bike cycling shoe.

So if you spin and become familiar with engaging and disengaging from the spin-bike pedals, consider having clipless pedals fitted to your regular bike.

The cleat is recessed into the sole of the shoe

In a mountain bike shoe the cleat is recessed into the sole of the shoe

A basic mountain bike shoe with velcro type fasteners, suitable for spinning too, will cost from around $100, and a high end shoe with light-weight carbon fiber sole and ratchet type fixings will be $200+.

Cleats cost around $22, depending on the brand, but are usually included with new pedals.

Road pedals - usually single-sided - also have adjustable release tension

Road pedals – usually single-sided – also have adjustable release tension

It’s worth noting that for Shimano pedals there are two types of cleat; black, which just hold your foot in one position, and silver which allow a little float so your foot can move around to a small degree on the pedal.

Some other brands also allow float by various means.

Road pedals : Usually consist of a large single-sided platform which engages with a plastic cleat which is bolted on the bottom of the sole of the shoe.

This means the cleat stands proud of the sole of the shoe which makes walking awkward and requires a little more attention to engage. At first you’ll only get it right 50% of the time.

Road cleats protrude from the sole of the shoe making walking uncomfortable

Road cleats protrude from the sole of the shoe making walking uncomfortable

The shoes usually have a smooth sole which is designed to be very stiff, making walking more difficult still.

So, why would anyone ever want to use road shoes and pedals when mountain bike systems are much more user friendly?

Road cleats are large and project from the sole of the shoe. Carbon fiber enables a very stiff foot-bed.

Road cleats are large and project from the sole of the shoe. Carbon fiber enables a very stiff foot-bed.

Well, road shoes are designed to give the maximum support to your foot and enable the most efficient transfer of power from your legs to the drive chain of the bike. They do this by providing an extremely stiff sole and comparatively large cleat to minimize flex in the shoe and pedal.

Imagine just sitting at home flexing a cycling shoe a few millimetres 120 times a minute as a pair of shoes might on a bicycle. Then consider the energy you’ve used to do this. That’s the amount of energy which could have been pushed out your back wheel.

Also, if you have foot issues, numbness, hot foot, pins and needles, etc, these can be alleviated by using a road shoe which will provide more support than a mountain bike shoe. If your left/right shoe size is radically different then we might still be able to help you.

Expect to pay $100-$120 for a basic road shoes. If you’re looking for a carbon sole, then expect to pay $200+. A high end road shoe will be up to $500.

Halter’s sell cycle shoes by Giro, Sidi, Shimano and other good makers.

We sell pedals by Crank Brothers, Look, Shimano and SpeedPlay as well as specialist pedals for downhill, BMX and other genres of cycling.

Cleat wedges may help align your knees

Cleat wedges may help align your knees

We stock shoe accessories such as adaptive insoles, arch extenders and cleat wedges to align your pedal stroke.

Consider buying appropriate shoes and pedals as part of a complete bike fit. This is free with the purchase of a road bike from Halter’s or available via appointment.

And don’t forget socks …

If you’re seeking information on other topics click on any item in Halter’s Tag Cloud in the right hand column of this blog …


Alan That British Bloke


 
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