Anyone remember the scene from Halloween where Donald Pleasance’s Dr Loomis shrieks, “The evil is out! The evil is out!” Well, he could've easily been referring to my beloved winter shoes. Regular readers will be only too aware of my quirky ways and it will come as little surprise that my winter footwear of choice are mtb race shoes-sans studs of course. Why? Well, they’re robust, great for cross, provide excellent all conditions grip and mean my six year old and I can take a short cut home through the fields/forest if he’s feeling chill on the tag-along. True, time trialling and road racings out but for everything else, they suit me just dandy.
Alas, today they have joined the Sachs Modolo levers en route to the great bike shop in the sky…I was partaking in the usual Saturday housework, changing the bed linen, purging the dirty laundry bag etc when confronted by a most unholy odour. Having interrogated the feral cat as to any recent abandonment of small, decapitated mammals, I located the toxic stench, strong enough to be employed as biological warfare to my beds’ integral pull out drawer and said shoes.
Once more the parent/child dynamic was reversed and I found him stood behind me reprovingly, clutching a black bin liner. “Daddy, they stink- give them to me, they’re going in the bin!”
I couldn’t disagree but was in no mood for surrender. Regaining some parental clout, I reasoned their replacement would severely compromise my ability to furnish him with £265 worth of Lego Star Wars Death Star come Christmas. Father Christmas wasn’t far from his lips but I had this base covered too, explaining the bearded fellow wasn’t quite so generous this year due to global fiscal deficit. Said child looked at me quizzically but before his interrogation could regain momentum, I busily extracted insoles, cleats etc wrapping the shoes in an old towel and into the washing machine. Alas, cooking with industrial quantities of detergent failed to exorcise the demon.
My son re-emerged clasping the open refuse sack and I obediently, if resignedly cast said footwear inside. These were promptly spirited into the outside rubbish before any attempt at retrieval could ensue…
For a moment, I completely forgot matters feet and went on a quest to find another dynamo lamp…. Convinced I’d squirreled one away with some other stuff consigned to the loft there wasn’t a moment to lose. With nothing better to do, the young apprentice found himself steadying the aluminium ladder as I gingerly ascended through the loft hatch. Opening a bag closest me did not bestow a new lamp but one pair of sturdy looking Lake road shoes and a pair winter mtb boots both with only moderate use! Before I could become engrossed in this Aladdin’s cave, I showed phenomenal restraint and headed back down.
A slight deviation from my traditional script, the boots are overkill pre November so it’s SPD trainers with the Univega and the Lake road shoes for riding the Holdsworth and Teenage Dream. The latter machine is set to enjoy fairer weather off-season fun courtesy of these 28mm Maplewood guards before the Univega sees us safely through the tougher months. As for the Holdsworth, come October’s close he’ll be safely tucked up in bed until the spring….
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)