Friday, May 28, 2010

On cycling shoes

I think part of the reason cycling is so prevalent in places like Copenhagen and Amsterdam is that people don't think twice about riding a bike to get somewhere. They just get on their bikes and go without worrying about wearing proper "cycling attire." They just wear their regular clothes. And regular shoes. And some look damn stylish doing it, too. (Also, see this article.)

The other day my 6-year old daughter wanted to wear her heels while we ran errands (Side note: I did not buy her these shoes). When we returned home, she wanted to ride her bike. First reaction: yes, of course! But then I balked and almost made her change shoes until I thought of the ladies in heels I've seen on the different "cycle chic" blogs and let her ride her bike as is. To compare:

                                                       Credit: Flickr / Amsterdamize

Now, mind you, she was just riding up and down the sidewalk and also went across the street so we could pick up her brother from grandma & grandpa's house. I can't comment on riding long distances in such shoes (for one, because I have never worn high heels), but it is apparent that, in general, cycling can be done quite successfully in various types of footwear. For further proof, witness the following gentleman in the minimalist, barefoot-like Vibram FiveFingers "foot gloves." I also have FiveFingers (and, yes, they are ridiculous looking), though, I have yet to bicycle in them. I will attest to having ridden my bikes in flip-flop sandals (aka slippers).

Credit: family//bike//words / Derrick Purvis

So, it goes without saying that you don't need special shoes to ride a bike. Many people will tell you that cleated shoe/pedal combinations don't even provide much (or any) benefit in terms of pedaling efficiency versus a normal shoe and bare pedal (or pedal with toe straps). I will not get into that debate here, but will concede that I do commute with dedicated cycling shoes with Crank Brothers pedals. My particular pedals have a large platform so that I can also ride with any type of normal shoe, should I choose to do so.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Getting my bell rung

Some of the bumps on my bike commute cause such a rattling that my bike bell will just ring itself. I guess it is a minor consolation when getting jostled about to hear the lovely ding of a fine brass bell.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bike Commutes #16 to 21, in review

The last Bike Commute I really blogged about was #15, I think. Bike Commute #16 was pretty routine, at least I can't remember a thing about it now. I managed to jam Bike Commutes # 17 - 20 all in one week.

During spring break, the elementary school was closed. My mom came down to watch the kids for the week, so we didn't have to take any days off of work. I drove in to work on Monday that week, like usual. Tuesday we decided I would leave a car for my mom & the kids to use and I would carpool with my wife part way and then she would drop me off and I would bike to work. This would be a longer bike commute than normal, but I was up for the challenge.