Back in october I was at Dunedin Cyclery buying tires and I talked to one of the guys about clipless pedals. I had never used them before so I wanted to learn more. I spoke with Dave, who told me that once I tried them I would never go back. That intrigued me and I wanted to order them right away but Christmas was coming up and I couldn’t be thinking of myself.
The next time we were there my wife bought me a $50 gift card that she gave me for Christmas. Of course, I wanted to apply that toward the shoes and pedals so shortly after Christmas we went back and I tried shoes on but, as usual, it is very difficult to find shoes in my size. I usually wear a size 14 but sometimes I can fit into a 13 if it is very wide, which they never are. This time the largest they had was a size 47, which equals “a little small” in American size. This time I worked with Jim and he told me that a 48 was as big as he could get without having them custom-made, so we ordered that and I hoped they would fit.
I waited weeks for them to arrive and I was starting to think they forgot about me but they finally came in after more than three weeks, perhaps four. To be fair, I was told that they needed to wait for a bigger order to get a better price. I understood and was in no hurry, but I was hoping it was sooner rather than later. I got a call the Monday before last that they were in and I had to wait until that Saturday to pick them up.
This time I saw Dave again and he found the size 48 among all the shoes and to my surprise, they fit. Also to my surprise, they were not the shoes I ordered. I wanted the Diadora Escape 2 because I needed a shoe I could walk in and they seemed like the best choice. I don’t need to walk far but I typically stop at the supermarket on the way to work to get something for lunch and again on the way back to use the washroom (I drink a lot of water at work) and to pick up anything we need at home that will fit in my bag. The shoes I just tried on were definitely not good for walking.
I was starting to worry that I would have to wait another three or four weeks but it turned out there was another pair of size 48 shoes that were overlooked. Fortunately they were mine. Those fit too, which I was very happy about. I then needed to get pedals.
I decided to pay the extra $25 for the Shimano PD-M324 pedals. They are two-way pedals that allow me to ride with my regular shoes if I need to. I paid $85 for the set and just noticed they are $49 at Amazon. Damn. Oh well, that’s what happens when you are learning. I don’t feel too bad though because good customer service has a value of its own. I also got a good deal on the shoes.
I went for a short ride that Sunday and was amazed at how much easier it was to pedal. I felt like I had been riding with one muscle group tied behind my back all this time. The next day was the real test when I rode to work. I noticed my cadence was faster than usual with little or no more effort. Everything went very well with a few minor exceptions.
There is a stoplight that I go through that is sensitive to the weight of a car, so naturally when I get to it, my bike does not trip the sensor and I am stuck waiting for a car to come by and turn the light green. Sometimes it is a long wait, so when I turned the corner and saw it was green, I peddled as fast as I could to get through the light but it turned yellow and I had to break quickly. When I did that I nearly fell over because I couldn’t disengage my left foot fast enough. The bike fell over but I was able to get my foot out just in time to save myself. That happened, to a lesser degree, a couple more times before I got used to it.
All in all, I am very happy with my purchase. Now I need to get some cold weather clothing before winter is over.