Myth #8 – Adjusting bicycle shoe SPD cleats correctly is hard/confusing/frustrating/impossible and should be left to professional bike fitters or the guy at the local bike shop.
This actually wasn't a myth (as far as I was concerned) up until yesterday. Properly adjusting cleat position can be a maddening process to get right. So I wouldn't have included this in my 10 myths of Indoor Cycle Rider Setup / Bike Fit, but I can now after the UPS guy delivered this amazing $25.00 Ergon TP1 Bicycle Pedal Cleat Tool yesterday.
If you've ever tried to adjust the cleats on your own shoes you're probably nodding your head in agreement to how difficult this is to get right.
- First; with your shoes on, find the joint of your big toe it's under the fleshy bump on the inside of your foot – the widest part – and mark it's location.
- Then loosely attach the cleat.
- Move the cleat to what looks like the right position and then tighten the two screws securely.
- Clip the shoe into the pedal to see if you got it right… you didn't?
- Note the change(s) needed and un-clip.
- Flip the shoe over and prepare for the inevitable confusion; I want the shoe to go forward and in and rotate out a bit more… but everything is backwards so I should move the cleat back, out and rotate it in… but this is the left shoe so it goes; down, over and in?
- After a dozen or more attempts you throw up your hands and declare; this just isn't so important and call it good, wherever it ends up. You then vow to ignore any feelings that your feet aren't quite right while riding, choosing instead to get used to it 🙁
So it would make perfect sense that you would shy away from offering to adjust one (or both) of your participants cleats.
After trying out this new tool last night, I found myself rummaging around the house for every old pair of shoes I could find, so I could adjust their cleats. It was so easy (and efficient) to use that it became like a sort of therapy for me. I was actually enjoying adjusting cleats! In mere minutes I was able to adjust both cleats properly; ball of the foot over the pedal spindle, Q Factor and rotation all perfect – and perfect mirror each other's settings.
Notice in this before picture how both Amy's shoes are rotated inward = her knees would need to move out to compensate, not good.
Here's a short video showing how simple this tool is to use.
John is a member on the AFS (Association of Fitness Studios) Advisory Council.
Holding certifications from; Schwinn, Heart Zones, Team ICG and Life Time Fitness, John's held regularly scheduled cycling classes between 1998 and 2015 when he moved to Florida.
When the weather permits, you'll find him riding and leading outdoor groups by himself or with his Tandem partner (wife) Amy.