My well-worn Vibram FiveFingers finally gave out after a couple of days riding around Queenstown, NZ. A blowout along the lacing on the right shoe rendered them unable to lace up.
About 18 months ago, I made a conscious effort to adopt a “slow speed” traveling style during future cycling adventures, which wasn’t a bad thing. Getting away from the daily push for distance and concentrating more on exploring has dramatically enriched my travel experience. Going slower is a better fit for my traveling style.
As part of my new slower, more deliberate travel style, I also made the jump from clipless to flat pedals so I could wear my beloved Vibram FiveFingers minimalist shoes while riding the bicycle — which was no easy decision. Like most road cyclists and many mountain bikers, I’d cycled with toe clips or “rat traps” in the 70’s. In the 80’s I began riding clipless pedals for the higher efficiency, convenience, and comfort. Well, the cycle has come full circle. I’m back to rolling on flat pedals again.
If you’re looking for an alternative pedaling solution, FiveFingers and flat pedal may be what you’re looking for. Read on.
I recently nabbed a pair of Ortlieb’s Gravel Pack panniers to replace a pair of front Ortlieb Roller Plus panniers I’ve been running on the rear of my Divide for the past couple of years.
Still, with years of life remaining in the Roller Plus panniers, they’ve found a new home on the rear rack of my wife’s touring bike. Ever since last summer’s cycling trip to Hokkaido, she’s adopted then as her own and I’m sure they will give her with many years of trouble-free service.
Here’s my initial take on the new bikepacking lineup offer from Ortlieb…
Needing a Little More
My beloved and highly ventilated Mavic Alpine shoes just weren’t cutting it while cycling in eastern China’s cold wet winter weather. The ventilated mesh shoes are great for riding in the warmer climes and veterans of many cycle trekking miles but do little to keep the cold and the water out went the mercury drops and gray skies open up for days on end. I needed something a little more substantial.
Earlier this year, I had a chance to nab a pair of Shimano’s new XM7 Cross Mountain Adventure Shoes before heading to Taiwan for a little winter wet weather island cycling adventure, followed by subzero foray across South Korean peninsula, and finishing up with a brief soiree through the humid tropics of China’s Hainan island, where the shoes were exposed numerous wet and cold conditions. After about 5000 km on the bike and afield, here’s how they did…