When I got my new bike, I had a call from my step dad, suggesting that I shouldn't get the clip-in pedals where you attach yourself to your bike, enabling full 360degree (why is there no degree symbol available on the keyboard?) power, not just pushing down on the pedals, but pulling them round. My wife, brother and best mate have all had issues falling off bikes (at zero speed, just embarrassingly not being able to put the foot down) due to being clipped in.
Slight tangent – I’ve not been able to get a proper definition when referring to cycle pedals. Officially I’m getting “clipless” pedals, referring to pedals which don’t have a toe clip, a toe clip being a sort of cup/strap affair which you clip your toe into enabling the pulling up on the pedal as well as the pushing down.
Normal pedals (like on every other bike) don’t exist in the cycling world, otherwise they would be “clipless” (I think they are actually known as platform pedals or something like that) therefore pedals where you actually “clip” yourself in to the pedal, using special shoes with plastic attachments screwed into the sole, (and you know you are clipped in, as you hear a clip sound and you feel all clipped in) are known as “clipless”. I believe this is so that proper cyclists can feel superior to muggles in having their own, contrary language to speak which makes completely no sense to the casual listener.
Back to the step father - he thought I’d also end up falling off and damaging myself (potentially under a bus), but I want to give myself every option of becoming a mediocre cyclist (I’m currently firmly in the “poor” category). I thanked him for his concern and advice, and promptly visited the cycle shops of London in an attempt to buy pedals and shoes.
Evans Cycles Clapham were shocking - the guy I spoke to didn't have a clue, but seemed too proud to admit this (he was a mountain biker) and ask his colleagues to assist, or admit to me he wasn't the best person to advise me. They probably had suitable equipment, but I didn't buy them, as he'd all but talked me out of it.
Bikestore at London Bridge were lovely, offering excellent advice, and telling me just what I needed to get. after sending the girl upstairs to check stock 4 times, we discovered they didn't actually have any shoes (not in my size anyway) so I left empty handed again.
Evans Victoria were very good - I tried some shoes on and they were too small, and they didn't have the size up, but now I’d make the decision, I was able to go mail order.
Wiggle came up with the goods, and a box containing shoes and pedals arrived at work only a couple of days later.
While my enormous brain was pondering this state of events, I worked out that my step dad must have contacted every cycle shop in London, ensuring they came up with plausible reasons not to sell me dangerous shoes. He even kept the reasons varied, and as planned, I gave up without anyone needing to repeat a story.
Step dads however have no power over the internet (I’m guessing he's sent photos of me to all the shops, but the internet never saw my face) and I thwarted his plans.
I've been out on the pedal/shoes combination a few times now, and the closest I came to falling off left me leaning gently on a parked VW Beetle, and all was well. I fell off twice while not attached to the bike, so the pedals must be a good thing.
As you'll be aware - I’ve entered a triathlon. I need to improve my cycling and my swimming (my running is beyond help) hence the mad shoes, the carbon fibre bike, and the occasional trips to the local baths.
Unfortunately, it seems the stepfather has decided I shouldn't swim either. My risk of drowning is too great for him to allow me to train for the triathlon.
Last week, he arranged for a ladies only aqua aerobics session to be taking place exactly as I wanted to visit for my lunch hour.
This week however - I arrived an hour ago and noticed no lanes marked out and no-one in the pool. I got to reception and found a concerned staff, who asked if it was my intention to swim - I said yes, with a knowing "but you aren't going to let me are you" tone to my voice, and she kindly explained that they weren't sure when the pool would be re-opening. I smiled and told her I’d return on another day.
As I left - I noticed the fire doors were all open, and two more staff members were walking towards the water's edge carrying buckets and sponges.
I checked the timetable (that I took following the aerobics based thwarting) and noticed that 11-12 was OAPs only.
My step dad is retired, although he's not over 60. He’s quite unwell and lives over 100 miles away.
Did he really bribe a pensioner to make my leisure centre un-usable? I wouldn't put it past him.