Riding Single Track in Non-SPD, Slip-On Sandals

sandals1Well, that was different!

Yesterday, after finishing up work from home, meeting Debbie for lunch and running a quick errand I found enough time to throw the Ventana Marble Peak into the truck for a quick trip to the local trail.

I did a pretty good job of getting just the bare essentials loaded up — no tool box or pumps, just helmet, Camelbak, bike and shoes — and headed-off for a little on-bike therapy.  Well, OK… I also threw my GoPro kit in the truck, which is now very easy to do: probably need to do an update on how I store/carry all of my gear.

When I arrived at the trailhead parking lot I had the bike out and together with the cameras mounted in no time at all but when I went to put on my cycling shoes I discovered they didn’t make it in the truck.  I’d picked them up and headed to the truck with them, but got distracted and put them down.  So, here I am with just enough time for a quick loop at the trail, not enough time to go back home and get the shoes: what to do?

Solution: Screw it:  I’ll just ride in the Nike slip-on sandals! I took a short test ride around the lot just to see how well the sole would do sitting on top of the Speedplay Frog pedals and was satisfied that it was good enough for the fairly flat to rolling terrain at our local trail.

With the GoPros installed and my helmet on off I went.  Yeah, well… my forgetfulness was still dogging me:  I’d left my Camelbak in the truck which was now about a mile behind me, noting it also had my tools and flat tire repair stuff.  Once again, screw it: I can certainly walk a few miles if I somehow puncture a tire…. something I’ve only ever done twice riding off-road.

All said and done, it wasn’t as hard riding in sandals as I’d expected.  The trouble spots were steep, short climbs where I instinctively wanted to pull-up on the pedals for added torque and, well, that wasn’t going to happen wearing flip-flops so I had to stop and dismount mid-hill twice. After that I remembered to get into granny gear and just spin up the ridges.  The other thing that was a bit of a challenge were the fast, rugged downhill sections where the challenge was keeping my feet from bouncing off the pedals.  Again, instinct was the enemy here since I assumed my feet would remain connected to the pedal.  Wrongo….  I was in the danger zone here, at risk of losing my footing, until a very old set of instincts learned snow skiing on moguls kicked-in: relax those legs and let them work as shock absorbers to soak up all of the bumps.

Anyway, it made a familiar loop a little more interesting and forced me to “think” about things I don’t normally think about while riding, and that’s not a bad thing.  It was a good ride.  But, I’m pretty sure I’m not ready to ditch clip-in cycling shoes just yet. And, I do prefer to have a bit more protection for my feet and toes when putting them in close proximity to rocks, sticks and other aspects of nature at a high rate of speed.

The obligatory 1 minute video:


About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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3 Responses to Riding Single Track in Non-SPD, Slip-On Sandals

  1. Smith Michael says:

    Did the lady from St. Louis with the high end tandem sell it? Im interested

    Michael Smith

  2. Marv B says:

    Funny how a different setup can in fact engage the brain more, and make it a different experience. We’ve found that different bikes can bring out a different flavor and experience on trails too–from full suspension, to hardtail, to 29’r, to fatbike, to 29’r, to full-suspension tandem, to hard-tail tandem, the variety helps keep interest in the same trails, throughout the year. Glad to hear your perspective on a “what the heck” situation–make lemonade when life gives you lemons!

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