Saturday, October 17, 2009

Shake Your Bootie(s)

Biking shoes, at least mine, are basically mesh on the topside. That's great in summer because the air flowing by and through the mesh helps cool things down.

When it's cold out, though, it's not so great.

One solution is to get little toe covers, and pretend that they'll keep your feet warm and dry. They really don't do much, at least not that I ever noticed. (You might be noticing here that I have amateur hour biking shoes. I think they're more mountain biking than road biking? At any rate, I'm a biking noob and it shows in oh so many ways.)

I finally gave up on that and got myself biking booties. One thing about bikers: we try to pretend that we actually know what we're doing and look the part at the same time. It's not easy. For example, these booties, which bootie goes with which shoe? Do they go like this?

I asked Terry at the bike shop (who counts as a real biker, I gather) and he pondered for a few moments before deciding that we were probably supposed to put the light reflective label on the outside, so I can advertise and be visible to cars in a single pedal stroke.

Good to know, since I wouldn't want my noobness to be any more obvious at first glance than it has to be (though riding an aluminum rather than a carbon, ti, or ancient steel bike is a fair giveaway).

Notice that I gained about 20% sleekitude in my lower legs through this, and since your lower leg rotates (though not as fast as a tire), sleekness counts extra. I probably gained point oh something of a hundreth of a percent speed!

If I really wanted to look like a pro, though, I'd need a bright orange or pink or lime green or something bootie. In what other sport do pro male athletes where pink and orange or lime green?

Of course, what you can't easily see about the booties is super important, the cut out so my cleats will still work. (Yes, my cleats are another noob clue.)

In what other sport do you pay a lot of money for a shoe thing that doesn't even cover the whole shoe?

The ride was worth it, though. The leaves feel late changing, but maybe it's just the cold weather and snow we've already had throwing me off?

And my feet were pretty much toasty warm for the whole hour. My knees, though... I may need knee warmers next.


  1. In what other sport do you pay a lot of money for a shoe thing that doesn't even cover the whole shoe?

    Don't figure skaters wear booties over their skates that make them match their outfits but have cutouts for the blade?

    Of course, figure skating might be the answer for the pink and green and orange question as well.

  2. I'm so afraid to get those clip on bike shoes and pedals although I know they would make my pedaling more efficient. Here in the city and even in Central Park, there is just too much traffic and too many times I need to start and stop. I am jealous that you can use them where you are. Looks like a nice ride...

  3. How can you possibly consider yourself a noob? You cycle 60 bazillion miles a day, and you even have those bootie thingies that I had never heard of before reading this post!

  4. well, yeah. and you went on that amazing bike trip, too.

    my husband rides the bike that needs clip-on shoes sometimes, usually on weekends, but he also rides to work a couple times a week. lately, he has been riding a different bike that only requires shoes. he had to come back in the other morning, because the heavy hiking boots don't work with the bike that doesn't need clip-on bike shoes.

    so, you are not alone with bike, shoe, and coverage issues.

  5. EmmaNadine, Ooo, good call! I think you're right.

    TBTAM, I think I'd have skipped getting the clipless pedals if I rode in a big city; but now, I think I'd probably ride with them. Hard to say. How's your biking been?

    Sisyphus, Real bikers are just amazing. It's like the difference between real runners and the rest of us who can physically do the stride but...

    Kathy A., Commuting adds a whole new dimension of necessary choices, doesn't it?

  6. I'd say ditch the whole "noob" mindset. First, you ride way too much to be a noob! Second, the big players in the bike industry play on noobiness for marketing. I say, get out and ride, and just buy what you need. My recreational shoes are usually a pair of of old cross trainers, though sometimes I ride in sandals. I wear dressy walking shoes when commuting by bike.

    Arguably, except for racers, clipless pedals don't make you more efficient. I recommend Grant Peterson's essay The Shoes Ruse; even if you don't agree with it, it's worth reflection. Grant is a retrogrouch; I tend toward retro but I aim for less grouch.

    I also think that "real bikers" refers to anyone who uses a bike for fun or transport. What are you, a fake biker? :-) Professional cyclists can be impressive. Many are also doped to the gills and crazy (see Joe Parkin, A Dog in a Hat). The great thing about cycling is that it accommodates almost any skill level and degree of fitness.

  7. Anonymous8:16 AM

    I agree with the others: you are clearly no longer a "noob";-)

    But I understand the feeling: I was said something about the "real runners" who looked so elegant running even in the 13th mile, and a woman overhearing me said, "But I thought the same thing about YOU!"

  8. Bike clothing is really kind of funny, I think -- there are so many pieces you can get! Arm warmers, knee warmers, leg warmers, toe covers, shoe covers, short-fingered gloves, long-fingered gloves, short-sleeved jerseys, long-sleeved ones, shorts that go down past your knees, and on and on.