Cleated shoes and clipless pedals had been on my horizon for a while but this was the year that I finally took the plunge and got them properly fitted to me and my road bike.
And bar a couple of minor wobbles, I haven’t looked back – I love that satisfying snap they make when I clip in, and I love knowing my feet are in the most efficient position they can be.
A friend who knows much more about these things than I suggested I pay a visit to Ben at Bespoke Cycling in Farringdon, London, and not only did he biomechanically fit me to my bike he also measured and fitted me for cleats and shoes, aligning them perfectly.
On his recommendation, I went with a pair of Specialized Torch shoes with Specialized BG footbeds and Shimano SPD SL pedals.
While my bike was still securely in the fitting jig, Ben made sure I practised clipping in and out many times, explaining that it’s easiest to do it at the bottom of the pedal stroke.
I was tentative on the ride home, hesitant to clip in and unclipping way too early ahead of junctions, but that was back at the beginning of July and now, generally, I’m confident I can unclip as and when necessary.
While the shoes (and pedals) may not be the prettiest or most glamorous of cycling kit I’ve bought this year, the difference they’ve made to my riding is really noticeable and I feel faster and more powerful. Whether I actually am is unverified! And the only time I’ve come anywhere close to a cropper was cycling along the Thames path with my brother. One narrow gateway too many unsteadied me and thankfully he was close by to grab on to, else I’d have been in a heap on the floor.