I cycle so much nowadays I wear cycling shoes with metal cleats in the bottom that lock into the pedals rather than choose my comfortable leather loafers. I’m writing and thinking about bicycles so much that when I close my eyes I can see wheels within wheels like a hula hoop party.
But there’s only so much cycling and cycling related thought a cycling related writer can cycle.
So I’ve taken to walking in my cycling shoes. “Damn these shoes,” I think. ( For I think in a kindly 1950’s RAF kind of way. Where shoes are damned and handkerchiefs jolly)
For all the excitement of cycling there is an equal and indivisible excitement in walking. A pause of a breath in the slow lilt of a good stroll. When I walk in my cycling shoes the metal “cleats” in the soles crunch against the grit on the pavement. Like celery being munched on mercury fillings. You may not like celery but it is a very present meal. And every step in the crunchy walk of a cycling shoe is a very present walk.
Crunch. Leaf blows from branch and flip flops onto windscreen like autumnal parking ticket. Crunch. Woman peers into bakery in moment of cake uncertainty. Crunch. Puddle shakes like granny wrinkles. The walk of the cycle shoe has the power to make the world brace and shiver in all its mundane brilliance.
The walk of the cycle shoe is a low wire circus act of incalculable bravery and Buddhist foolishness.
The walk of the cycle shoe is a deceleration into hob nailed contemplation and velorapture.
So here’s to walking in cycling shoes.
And here’s to cycling in flip flop blues.