I'm a flat pedal covert. There, I said it.
It's been a drip, drip process over the past few years. It used to be that I wouldn't be seen in anything less 'aero' and 'race' than human cling film. Then my lycra shorts all started to wear our, giving the lazy bastards drafting behind me a lovely view of bum-hole. When I went to replace them, I realised just how expensive sausage shorts had become. The only possible answer was to buy some nice pairs of baggies instead and a bit like turning your underpants inside out, I was suddenly able to reserect previously unwearable lycra.
With the shoes, I have spent a king's ransom over the years in a bid to keep my feet warm during the winter months. I have everything from Gore Tex SPDs, overshoes, waterproof socks, merino socks, all manner of leggings with the net result that I am cold, wet and skint all winter. I realised that lots of the blokes I was guiding were just wearing trainers and did not seem to be in the least bit bothered by the conditions. So I bought a pair of dodgy-looking Shimano AM 41s, when I perhaps should have got some man-up pills instead.
Now we all know they look like special needs shoes. Bit clumpy and make me look like a golf club but when paired with a decent pair of flat pedals these are tops. Stick to the pedals like shit to a blanket, laugh in the face of the winter weather and don't make you slide on your arse when you walk on a wet, polished, wooden cafe floor. You can stick your carbon SPDs.
Now the cons. They take an age to dry out once wet. When you ride every day, this is a bit of a ball-ache, but only for those first few minutes once you've reluctantly slid your feet in and jogged round the car park to get the blood flowing. Nowhere near as bad as putting on a wet wetsuit, so we are back to the man-up pills. They don't exactly tick the 'down with the kids' box, so you couldn't really wear them down the pub in your best froggy-goes-a-courting outfit, like some of their competitors . After a year in the possession of the Fully Sussed wrecking crew the soles are remarkably intact, which can't be said for the rest of the shoe!
I started to notice scuff marks on the front instep pretty early on, on the part of the shoe near the ball of my foot. Usual wear and tear, I thought, but it just got worse and worse. The material started to wear through and the sole of the shoe has started to part company with the rest on just about its first birthday. I've tried to look at how my feet look on the pedals, if I have a crappy pedal style, but can't spot anything. I wear a size 44, which doesn't seem particularly wide, and Maddie's little Geisha Girl versions are fresh as daisies, so I don't know why, but their days are numbered.
A year is pretty crap life span for a pair of shoes, but then again I've worn them loads and they cost less than £60-00. I probably spend more than that a year on tubeless sealant.
I've had a look around at some alternatives, but frankly these actually worked faultlessly until the day they fell apart, and compared to £150 for an average pair of SPD shoes, they are good value. Winter isn't to far away, and my chilblains are already twitching in anticipation so I'll just buy another pair.