Now, it has been known for some time that I haven't exactly done more than a pootle on the Brompton recently, and in this there has been a conflict in reasoning in that I've wanted to look more stylish but rather not wanting to break my neck. Stylish is one of my favourite women to look at Lucy Liu, perticuarly as Dr Watson in Elementary. She quite simply wears the most gorgeous stuff in that show, all low waisted tunics, tights and clumpy high heeled boots. She looks elegant, and slender and she inspires oddly creepy feelings that I only have about Cheryl Baker - who incidently is not only a pop princess but also a philosphy for life: Cake or a scone? Left or right? Another drink? Just ask yourself WWCBD*? She'd do them all!
So, after asking myself that very thing, I purchased these:
Which are both high and clumpy and something Dr Joan Watson would wear. They area alot more comfy than they look - I managed to wear them all day on Thursday without feeling that awful pressure on the balls on my feet - and after much deliberation I set out on the Brompton.
POINT 1. - You don't need your seat as high as you think you do.
I had to fiddle with the seat. Alot. First of all I had the seat so far up my arse it was pulling faces at my belly button. Then after lowering it my knees thought we'd joined the ministry of silly cycling and protested in earnest. After that it was every forty yards out of a mile of Not Quite Rightness. But eventually I found my optimum seat hight and got underway. It was actually only a couple of inches higher than normal, which considering these are 5 inch heels isn't as much as I thought.
POINT 2. - Wear close fitting shoes.
I have mostly come a cropper when my feet slip inside my shoes and I end up getting a cross bar in the crotch. This always and without fail has happened when the lights have gone green, there are people everywhere, and I have the quintessential Angry Middle aged in either a giant 4x4 or his (and occasionally her) natty little roadster that they bought for showing off. Give your feet a wiggle in your shoes, and test the boundaries of movement. All shoes expand and stretch as they are 'worn in' and it's best to be careful. Trust me, this is one of those times (or one of many of those times) where I've made an arse of myself so you don't have to.
POINT 3. - Find your optimum foot position.
I felt mostly fine in this position:
But then wanted to go up hills in this position:
Note that the pedal is tucked into the arch area, and considering that high heels were originally worn by horse riders when they horse rode (is that the right phrase?), so that the stirrups would sit nicely on the foot and not slip off it shouldn't be a surprise that this is comfortable. But be aware, that did this to my heels:
Now, I'm not going to let that stop me, these were only £20 from of the T'interweb so it's not a big deal on these shoes. However, have a pair of black suede Carvela heels I shan't be wearing when I cycle because of this.
POINT 4. - Take it easy, do a trial and error if you're unsure.
I went round the glorious Seaton park to see how I got on first. I didn't want the rush of traffic, or a particularly large audience if I ended up kissing the tarmac or breaking an ankle. I also threw my foot around my pedal, wiggled it and tested the grip of the shoe. Obviously you don't have to do any of this if you're comfortable. If not, a quick run up and down the roads of your neighbourhood - practising mounting and dismounting (not in the carnal sense obviously) - wouldn't be a bad thing if you felt the need.
It was easier than I thought it would be. I had envisioned broken foot tendons and apocalyptic carnage but at worst I got a chunk taken out of the side of one heel. I think you certainly have to be aware of how you put your foot down, taking time to make sure it is planted firmly on the ground but my ability to do that isn't really down to the type of shoe I wear.
Have you thought there's anything you can't wear when cycling? What is it and why have you not worn it particularly.
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*WWCBD - What Would Cheryl Baker Do