Power Grips

The battle against toe overlap has been won.

I have finally gotten my Power Grips and have been using them for quite a few weeks now, including our big bike ride to Kinglake and back. What can I say? I’m in love.

Touring with power grips

I got my power grips delivered from the UK as there are no stockists in Australia. I got them from Chain Reaction cycles. Unfortunately, as I excitedly opened my first package from them I thought I had gone crazy – the box was empty. I contacted them and it turns out someone had actually forgotten to put them in the box. So another 2 weeks wait for them to be delivered – well worth the wait.

The Power Grips are easy to install, and look so much less ‘clunky’ on my bike then other velcro alternatives.

Touring with Power Grips, is it a good idea?

Since I have taken off my toe cages I have not had any problems when my toes do (very occasionally) hit my wheel, not like the huge spills I was taking with the cages on.

Without my toe cages on I did miss the power of the upward stroke and the Power Grips provide this in spades. I may even go as so far to say that the power grips feel like I get even more power in my upward stroke then when I used my toe cages.

The power grips are so easy to get your foot in and out of. No scary stops at all.

I left my straps a bit long and did not cut off the excess (as the producers recommend on the directions), this means I can tighten and loosen the straps according to what shoes I am wearing.

Another delightful effect also seems to be that the numbness in my feet that I often get on long rides has disappeared. I don’t know if this is the combined effect of my new saddle and Power Grips, but whatever it is I am not complaining. Touring is hard enough, but touring with power grips should make things just a little easier.

Toe/wheel overlap

The Bianchi Volpe Banoffee: 1 – Jo-Roxy: 0

My Bianchi and I are getting along great since I brought it back from America. So far the only problems I have had with it are aesthetic (besides handlebar issues that I will discuss in a later post). But then on my Sunday bike ride a few weeks ago it happened- touring bike toe overlap. My toe cages got caught in my wheel as I turned sharply at low speed around a steep corner leading to an overpass bridge.

At first I was more embarrassed at falling off my bike, but soon realised that my foot was a little sore. Instead of checking if my foot was alright, I obviously instead checked if the Banoffee was alright. Luckily, only my chain had come off and my mudguard needed readjustment. I fixed up my bike and continued to ride the rest of my usual route around theYarra Bend Boulevard. I knew my foot hurt a little, but I thought of Johnny Hoogerland in the Tour De France and kept peddling. It wasn’t until I got home an hour later and took off my shoe that I realised that I had a bad cut on my ankle and was bleeding quite a bit. I put some butterfly clips on it and waited to see the doctor until the next day (which I got into trouble for as he could not do stitches by then).

Touring bike toe overlap

I know that some people are fine with touring bike toe overlap, but mine was particularly pronounced. My frame is 51cm and I have 27 inch wheels. I didn’t want smaller wheels on it as the Husband and I don’t want to have to carry extra sets of bike repair stuff and also I don’t want to go slower! I am short (164.5cm) so I needed a smaller frame, otherwise I start to get lower back and shoulder pain due to bad positioning.

I tried again next week around some corners going up hill and soon realised that it happened very frequently. It would be fine if I wasn’t planning to tour acrossAmerica, but the injury it gave me put me out of commission for a week. That is time I can’t waste on my trip.

Temporary solution to touring bike toe overlap

Subsequently, I decided to take off my toe cages. It seems to have cured most of the problem, as long as I am careful about my foot positioning. However, I now need an alternative to the toe cages, as I have noticed  a huge difference in my pedalling power without them.

I do not want clip-in shoes, I would prefer to take only one pair of shoes on my trip with me, they are expensive, and they are largely not to my style. So I am researching other options.

Power Grips

Touring bike toe overlap

I am very interested in Power Grips, however, there are no stockists in Australia and to get them shipped here is more expensive than the actual product. There are also the Velcro type straps for fixies, however, they really wedge you foot in and look very bulky compared to the power Grips. I will post again once I have come up with a solution.

Here’s a great article on Toe Overlap from Lovely Bicycle, one of our favourite cycling blogs.

Read here for our review on Power Grips, they work!

 

Cycling to Kinglake from Hurstbridge returning to Fitzroy

Cycling to Kinglake map

My image didn’t work out so great, but what you see above this text is a scale representation of the ride that Jo-Roxy and I finished today. We caught the train from Clifton Hill to the end of the line at Hurstbridge. We nearly missed the train, we always nearly miss the train (or the bus, or plane). I’ve decided, above anything else, that bicycle touring is a good idea for us because our bikes don’t leave at a particular time thus we can never be late for them. Cycling to Kinglake from our house could have been an even better idea.

Cycling to Kinglake by train to Hurstbridge

Cycling to Kinglake

Kinglake was at the centre of the Victorian Black Saturday fires, and is also up a really big long hill. The town seems to have recovered. We saw a few houses being built so it is nice to see that people still want to live there. I can see why, it is seriously beautiful up there. But I digress, the hill is long and the road is skinny. I don’t want to get hit by a car but I also like to see beautiful towns. We made it. I had this photo taken of me in a pink shirt out the front of the Kinglake pub.

St Andrew’s Market

At the bottom of the hill the St Andrew’s Market is on every Saturday and it is amazing. I ate a Lamb Souvlaki, Jo-Roxy had a burger with the lot. Jo-Roxy wins, her burger was delicious. Bands in the bush and urban escapees mingling with hippies, I was digging it. The pink shirt was a hit.

I was riding through Kangaroo Ground minding my own business when a magpie attacked me. I’m a Cats fan so I suppose I deserved it. Go Cats.

The ride back to Fitzroy was nice. We headed towards Warandyte and then picked up the Main Yarra Trail all the way home. Cold beer in the fridge, job done. Cycling to Kinglake isn’t all that difficult.

Not on the trip of a lifetime, on a lifetime trip. Writer, traveler, gentleman surfer.