Cleats, lattes and lycra: Slappa’s guide to the Tour Down Under.
On February 16th to 26th, the South Australian streets come alive in the city and hills for the Santos Tour Down Under.
There will be more lycra and saddle sores than you can shake a spoke at… and if you own a coffee shop; well, all your Christmases are about to come at once!
Jokes aside though, the Santos Tour Down Under is Australia’s greatest cycling race, with a rich history as the highest-regarded and most popular bike race in the southern hemisphere.
The event was first staged in 1999 with local rider Stuart O’Grady taking the win. Since then, numerous internationally renowned cyclists have joined the Honour Roll. The event has grown year-on-year to become the biggest cycling race in the southern hemisphere.
Proficient cyclists and amateurs alike will don the skins and saddle up whilst many will spectate in awe of the speeds some of these guys achieve in what can be gruelling conditions.
Now, whilst we love our Slappa’s Thongs, we are the first to admit they are probably not totally appropriate for mounting the deadly treadly and we would highly recommend a suitable cycling shoe.
So, if you’re going to splash out on a professional pair, what should you look out for?
The key features when it comes to cycling shoes are the fastening system, the sole, the cleat style and of course the fit.
Here is some more information:
- Fastening system: Ratchets, often found on cycling shoes, offer precise closure but are difficult to loosen while on the move. Velcro is usually the cheapest but can come loose more easily. Laces are lightweight and secure but impossible to adjust as you ride. Boa dials are specialist fastenings and offer the most precise fit but are the top of the pricing scale.
- Soles: Carbon soles are light and stiff, making them the more desirable option for most riders, and of course more expensive. Cheaper shoes will have plastic soles, and mid-range options often come with a composite mixture of the two. Super stiff soles don’t suit everyone.
- Cleat style: Most road cycling shoes are designed to take three-bolt cleats. However, some are compatible with two-bolt cleats only, and some can accommodate both. Two-bolt SPD cleats are popular among commuters and touring cyclists. Check individual products for details.
- Fit: Perhaps one of the more difficult elements to get right, riders tend to find shoes from some brands suit their feet better than others, as sizes can vary, and some seem to be made for people with narrower feet. Try some before making a decision, if you are planning to spend a considerable amount of money.
Of course, even with the best cycling shoe money can buy, you will still look forward to the dismount so you can head home and slip on your super comfortable and personally moulded Slappa’s Thongs.
Because, as we all know, they are so comfy, you’ll never want to take them off!
Happy Tour Down Under!