Rule 8: It’s Gotta Be The Shoes

Rule 8: It’s Gotta Be The Shoes

by / / 211 posts

What Gianni humbly omitted from his last article is that once he finishes ranting about sock color (actually, the lack of need for any color other than than white), he recovers quickly and we wrap up the Keepers executive board meeting with him tearing our legs off on the ride home from the bar with his magnificent stroke.  Because after all, he is Rule #72.

But I digress.  All the chit-chat Gianni’s article generated, and the timing of it with a new shoe purchase on my end, has me ruminating on Rule #8.   Matching saddle, handlebar tape, and tires is, for the Velominatus at least, quite the no-brainer as it were.  The only really poignant question I recall ever being raised is whether Vittoria Open Pave’s have an exemption because they are awesome and scream hardman tire (I think they are acceptable).

But what of shoes?  They are the one piece of kit that most often throws a rider’s coordination out of sync.  Of course this has traditionally been fine as shoes are such a personal matter that expecting one to match one’s shoes with the rest of one’s kit is hopeful at best.  That being said, I wonder if  shoes are less kit  and more equipment.  They transfer power directly from rider to bike and thus they are mechanical, they are engineered by smart people using fancy computers, and they render the machine virtually unrideable without them.  In fact, I’ve often wondered why retailers list them under “clothing” and why online review forums don’t put them under “drivetrain” instead of “clothing and accessories”.

So if you don’t accept my premise, at least humor me here.  If shoes are equipment and not kit, why would anyone buy a pair that didn’t match the rest of their bike?  Surely, with the abundance of shoe choices on the market these days I would think one could make every effort to find a pair that fits, has the features and performance characteristics sought, falls within price range, and matches the rest of the bike.

I happened upon this concept casually deliberately this week.  You see, I’ve been sporting considerable carbone over Fi’zi:k’s new shoe line ever since they were introduced (you might say I have a thing for shoes).  So when a new pair of R3’s fell into my lap for number 1 I was forced to shift the Yellow Princesses over to number 3.  The yellow decals and accents on the Serotta look awesome with the YP’s and the new R3’s are oh so sublime with the BMC. Splendid, indeed.

So I’ll put it to you, the Velominati. Does Rule #8 need amending?  Are shoes equipment and not clothing?  Do we, perhaps, need a new rule pertaining to shoe/bike matching (I think not but a suggestion might be in order).  These are the things that keep the Keepers up at night.

// Accessories and Gear // General // Kit // Look Pro // The Rules

  1. @Ali McKee
    Admittedly Rule #41 doesn’t address which side of the bike skewers go on because it is just one of those things that is unsaid: they go on the left. This is because the rear skewer always goes on the left so that it doesn’t interfere with the rear derailleur; the front follows the same location. That skewers go on the left is just . . . . how it is. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Skewers go on the left. Stick around here long enough and you’ll become a raving neurotic about your bike, its set-up and how you look/dress on the bike. It’s all part of the fun.

    But seriously, shave those guns.

  2. @wiscot

    Understood. I will attend to the skewer. Steerer will require my Cycling Sensei’s assistance.

    Gun shaving is still a big hurdle for me to get over, nevermind my wife, but the neuroticism is growing so maybe it’s just a matter of time!

  3. @Ali McKee

    @wiscot

    Ha! You’ll have to excuse me as I am only a Pedalwan in his third year on the road

    I was aware of the stem/steerer violation – it’s on the agenda. Wasn’t aware of the front skewer one – what Rule is that? (Rules page isn’t loading for me for some reason)

    Clear up the steerectile dysfunction as well. STAT.

  4. @Ali McKee

    Gun shaving is still a big hurdle for me to get over, nevermind my wife, but the neuroticism is growing so maybe it’s just a matter of time!

    Recently took the plunge and worth it. Tan easier, feels great, and although I’m not sure the wife 100% approves, she hasn’t really complained, either. Showed up to a group ride last week, and although 90% of the riders were blatant multiple rule violators (ignorance is bliss, I guess), the leader picked me out and told me ‘don’t be afraid to go ahead of us as you look like you’re a serious rider.’ Although I am not, as the Keepers found out in Europe, the Rules work! ps – I did stay at the front for the ride.

  5. @wiscot

    @Ali McKee
    Admittedly Rule #41 doesn’t address which side of the bike skewers go on because it is just one of those things that is unsaid: they go on the left. This is because the rear skewer always goes on the left so that it doesn’t interfere with the rear derailleur; the front follows the same location. That skewers go on the left is just . . . . how it is. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Skewers go on the left. Stick around here long enough and you’ll become a raving neurotic about your bike, its set-up and how you look/dress on the bike. It’s all part of the fun.

    But seriously, shave those guns.

    A good explanation but my inner pedant takes exception with describing the sides of the bicycle as “right” and “left.” Proper terminology is “drive side” and “non-drive side.”

  6. @Nate

    @wiscot

    @Ali McKee
    Admittedly Rule #41 doesn’t address which side of the bike skewers go on because it is just one of those things that is unsaid: they go on the left. This is because the rear skewer always goes on the left so that it doesn’t interfere with the rear derailleur; the front follows the same location. That skewers go on the left is just . . . . how it is. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Skewers go on the left. Stick around here long enough and you’ll become a raving neurotic about your bike, its set-up and how you look/dress on the bike. It’s all part of the fun.

    But seriously, shave those guns.

    A good explanation but my inner pedant takes exception with describing the sides of the bicycle as “right” and “left.” Proper terminology is “drive side” and “non-drive side.”

    My apologies for the erroneous nomenclature. Twenty lashes for me tonight with a non-drive side skewer!

  7. @frank
    Affirmative. The stem and bars were a donation to my build from my cycling sensei. Plan is to replace them with Ritchey WCS to match my saddle and seatpost. Don’t quite understand how I’m going to flatten stem and keep spacers to 10mm max and still make it fit right – will it just lower my upper body to a racier position?

    @Tartan1749
    I know this is an often debated topic. I’m an ex motocrosser and mtb’er so it’s a big step!! And my wife is already complaining about my cycling obsession as it is (which I interpret to mean I’m on my way to la Vie Velominatus)

  8. @Ali McKee
    Nothing wrong with the stem, just flip it and see how it feels. Give your self some time to adjust and see if you like being lower. You can always put the other spacers back under the stem to come back up a bit. But in all seriousness, don’t do it if its not comfortable.

    You may find, however, that you’re more flexible than you think (many people just *think* they can’t go down) and you’ll also find that with the lower position, not only are you more aero, but more stable. For me, when I finally went really low, my back pain went away – the back pain wasn’t, as I though, from reach or from bending over too much, it was from not bending over ENOUGH – with the higher center of mass, I had to stabilize the bike more with my lower back and that was causing the back pain.

  9. @wiscot

    @Nate


    @wiscot


    @Ali McKee
    Admittedly Rule #41 doesn’t address which side of the bike skewers go on because it is just one of those things that is unsaid: they go on the left. This is because the rear skewer always goes on the left so that it doesn’t interfere with the rear derailleur; the front follows the same location. That skewers go on the left is just . . . . how it is. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Skewers go on the left. Stick around here long enough and you’ll become a raving neurotic about your bike, its set-up and how you look/dress on the bike. It’s all part of the fun.

    But seriously, shave those guns.

    A good explanation but my inner pedant takes exception with describing the sides of the bicycle as “right” and “left.” Proper terminology is “drive side” and “non-drive side.”

    My apologies for the erroneous nomenclature. Twenty lashes for me tonight with a non-drive side skewer!

    Now that could leave a mark.

  10. I think that in addition to flexibility, another thing that gets overlooked in maintaining a low position is good functional core strength. If you’ve got a strong core, its your core that is holding much your upper body in position, not your arms. It is also doing much of the work stabilizing you on the bike. I see so many cyclists (including one every time I look in the mirror) with complaints of shoulder and back pain, much if which could most likely be alleviated by a dedicated regimen of core work. After a lower back injury last season, I know its something I’m really trying to focus on improving this year.

    Back to the shoes – what the fuck is with these smurf-kickers?

  11. Check out the special fi'zi:k R1s Alessandro Ballan is kicking for il Giro:

  12. @The Oracle

    @wiscot

    @Nate

    @wiscot

    @Ali McKee
    Admittedly Rule #41 doesn’t address which side of the bike skewers go on because it is just one of those things that is unsaid: they go on the left. This is because the rear skewer always goes on the left so that it doesn’t interfere with the rear derailleur; the front follows the same location. That skewers go on the left is just . . . . how it is. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Skewers go on the left. Stick around here long enough and you’ll become a raving neurotic about your bike, its set-up and how you look/dress on the bike. It’s all part of the fun.

    But seriously, shave those guns.

    A good explanation but my inner pedant takes exception with describing the sides of the bicycle as “right” and “left.” Proper terminology is “drive side” and “non-drive side.”

    My apologies for the erroneous nomenclature. Twenty lashes for me tonight with a non-drive side skewer!

    Now that could leave a mark.

    No fun if there’s no pain!

  13. @Nate
    Is there a map of Denmark on the other side?

  14. @Nate
    The map is so WADA knows where to find him for doping controls…

  15. @The Oracle, @sgt
    Here is a link to the “Garabaldi” for the race, which is what the Giro calls its routebook. You can see Ballan’s hard copy in the background of the shoe photos.

  16. @frank

    @Ali McKee
    Nothing wrong with the stem, just flip it and see how it feels. Give your self some time to adjust and see if you like being lower. You can always put the other spacers back under the stem to come back up a bit. But in all seriousness, don’t do it if its not comfortable.

    You may find, however, that you’re more flexible than you think (many people just *think* they can’t go down) and you’ll also find that with the lower position, not only are you more aero, but more stable. For me, when I finally went really low, my back pain went away – the back pain wasn’t, as I though, from reach or from bending over too much, it was from not bending over ENOUGH – with the higher center of mass, I had to stabilize the bike more with my lower back and that was causing the back pain.

    I wonder – just come home from my regular hilly ride and I’m really struggling to achieve last year’s times on a bike that’s clearly a lot faster on the flat and uphill than the set of welded scaffolding poles I was using last year. I don’t feel fantastically confident going downhill – could it be a function of steerectile dysfuntion or am I just a wuss? The roads round here are shocking too which doesn’t help – I had to buy two adjustable bidon cages (like the ones they use on the pave) to finish a ride with a bidon still attached to the bike. I’ll risk posting a picture on the morrow perhaps and see if, between the many observations of rule violations, I can get an opinion.

  17. @the Engine

    @frank

    @Ali McKee
    Nothing wrong with the stem, just flip it and see how it feels. Give your self some time to adjust and see if you like being lower. You can always put the other spacers back under the stem to come back up a bit. But in all seriousness, don’t do it if its not comfortable.

    You may find, however, that you’re more flexible than you think (many people just *think* they can’t go down) and you’ll also find that with the lower position, not only are you more aero, but more stable. For me, when I finally went really low, my back pain went away – the back pain wasn’t, as I though, from reach or from bending over too much, it was from not bending over ENOUGH – with the higher center of mass, I had to stabilize the bike more with my lower back and that was causing the back pain.

    I wonder – just come home from my regular hilly ride and I’m really struggling to achieve last year’s times on a bike that’s clearly a lot faster on the flat and uphill than the set of welded scaffolding poles I was using last year. I don’t feel fantastically confident going downhill – could it be a function of steerectile dysfuntion or am I just a wuss? The roads round here are shocking too which doesn’t help – I had to buy two adjustable bidon cages (like the ones they use on the pave) to finish a ride with a bidon still attached to the bike. I’ll risk posting a picture on the morrow perhaps and see if, between the many observations of rule violations, I can get an opinion.

    Why the fuck did I just post this on a thread about shoes? Eejit!

  18. @the Engine
    Getting your weight distributed fore and aft, and getting lower can both have a big impact on downhill handling.

  19. @frank

    @wiscot

    @The Oracle
    Cheers gentlemen. So I have to

    1. Thrash myself with my non-drive side skewer
    2. Shave my guns
    3. Cut my steerer
    4. Change my stem (believe it or not that is it flipped – some crazy angle on it but it was free at the time of build)
    5. Improve my core strength

    Should I ride my bike at some stage also?

    @Nate
    I am liking those shoes!

  20. @Ali McKee

    @frank

    @wiscot

    @The Oracle

    Should I ride my bike at some stage also?

    Of course. All hill intervals, with generous applications of V.

    Note, accomplishing all of this may require reference to Rule #4 and Rule #11. If they complain, refer them to Rule V.

  21. @Vin’cenza

    @Mikel Pearce

    Check these out. These should be the official shoes of the Velominati! A big fucking V right on the arch strap! http://pezcyclingnews.com/cgi/gallerypicget.asp?pic=http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/photos/tech/vittoriashoes/vslarge.jpg

    Contacted Vittoria USA and provided local dealer info. Hora! Hora! (image) http://www.vittoria-shoes.com/products-dett.php?id_art=13&cat=STRADA

    No Vittoria Hora — for now. Yes Giro Factor Easton EC90 44.5 Black — let’s go! There should be no tolerance for your shoes that just “ain’t” right. If you can feel the [slight] foot swell — it “ain’t” right. Keep riding, testing and sizing until you “amn’t” got any issue with shoes. I simply needed to go from 44 to 44.5 (Giro size), but can’t resist not trying a different or comparable shoe while I’m at it. Vittoria Hora, you’re next.

  22. @frank
    Re-reading some old posts, and stumbled on the one about getting lower to removthe back pain; very interesting.

    I have had my ‘road bike’ for two years now and have been tinkering away with set up and seem to be there but still get the lower back pain as I increase my distance.  It’s technically a cyclocross bike (Boardman CX Team) but removed the interrupters,nobblies and put a Flite on it.  The discs look good through!

    I have been perusing your site for three years now and have only left one or two comment.  Time to up my game.

  23. @Ali McKee You need to shave the guns.

  24. Dromarti

Leave a Reply