The other day, I went over to the LBS to drop some coin on an accessory I’ve been putting off getting for far too long. I finally got some replacement cleats for my cycling shoes.
I have a bad habit with cleats — I keep them on much longer than I should. The pair I just got rid of had been worn down to nubs. They’re Shimano SPD-SLs, and the yellow band around the clip had completely worn away. On both cleats.
Oddly, it didn’t seem to affect their usefulness. Either that, or I’d just gotten used to them. In fact, they were still on my shoes last month when I did the epic century ride.
But it being the beginning of the month, we had a little extra in the bank account, so I figured it was a good time to get the much-needed replacements.
It’s been so long since I’ve had new cleats on my shoes, I’d forgotten the difference. All of a sudden, clicking into the pedals became much easier. I could do it by feel again — nudging the pedal forward with my toe, and dropping the cleat right on top of it with a satisfying click! With the old worn ones, I was often moving my foot around, trying to find just the right interface between cleat nub and pedal.
And maybe it’s just the placebo effect, but I think I’ve got a little more power to the pedals now. On a ride the other evening, I easily cranked along in the big ring in a higher gear than normal. (Maybe it’s just that I’d had two days off the bike, so was fully recovered from the weekend rides.)
To make sure these new cleats are around for awhile, and function as well a year from now as they do today, I also sprang for a pair of cleat covers. Sticker shock — these things are now up to $17 a pair! The tab for cleats and covers came to over $51. That’s a good argument for keeping the covers in place whenever my feet are not in the pedals.
Not a big deal, but it’s a bit like washing your car. Suddenly, it seems to run better. Suddenly, I seem to pedal better.