OK, I’m not writing about Fantasy Island, but I AM going to attempt to wax eloquent about some shoes.
Recently, I found myself feeling down in the dumps and decided that I needed to take some action and what’s a guy to do but…check out some bike shoes? Let’s go back in time about 10 years ago, and in another life, when I had been introduced to Sidi mountain bike shoes at a store in Hayward that EC’s own J Mo was managing. I believe Scott was also working there as a part-time mechanic as well. Both of them had told me that if I needed new shoes, that Sidi couldn’t be beat. So, I naively tried on a pair and, after walking around, jumping up and down and looking at myself in a mirror, I told Jeff that he was a true bastard, that I hated him and that I had to buy the shoes because I didn’t want to take them off!! I got a good deal but still had to pay in excess of $200 over ten years ago in order to walk out with this magic foot ware.
Fast forward to the very recent future (like about now). I took a look at the bike shoes EC now has to offer, tried some on and decided I wanted to stick with mountain bike shoes regardless of whether I was riding the road or trails. I had a bad experience with road bike shoes when I used to commute to work via bike and BART. I found that I needed to perfect the “heel walk” after having fallen while walking on the slick BART platforms with exposed cleats. I really wanted to “walk the talk” when on a road bike by having the proper shoes but I realized that BART platforms, nice floors and the potential of having to run away from bad guys weren’t suited to roadie shoes. I guess if I were on a supported road bike team, only having to have the shoes on when I mounted and dismounted from my one-off, $50,000 carbon nano-tube bike (my soigneurs would surely be there to assist me), I probably would have really appreciated the feather weight and stiffness of good road bike shoes. Unfortunately, I’m not that person.
So there I am, trying out shoes at Endless. I slipped on the Bontrager RL MTB shoes and was transported back to when I bought the Sidis. There was Jeff at one end of the shop and Scott at the other, both encouraging me to try on shoes (I should have known. Bastards!). I tried on other 43mm shoes but this model not only felt totally comfortable but had more room in the toe box than other 43mm models. The soles were super stiff while the uppers felt compliant without being mushy. They were also a hell of a lot less expensive than the Sidis I purchased over 10 years ago. This made it a whole lot easier to sell on the home front (aka ‘She Who Must Be Pleased’) by making a comparison. (My God, how did I get away with buying those Sidis in the first place? I think there must have been some jewelry involved.). After wearing these shoes for over a month, both on and off-road, I’ve decided to make them my road bike shoes. I can keep them looking spiffy with minimal effort as road shoes whereas if I used them equally for both road and off-road, they’d be pretty trashed. I’ve kept the old Sidis as dedicated MTB shoes, but when they’re toast (and that’s almost now) I may be looking at another pair of the Bontrager RL MTB shoes.