You didn't notice it getting dressed and it wasn't there early in class, it just kind of snuck up on you. One minute you're JRA (Just Riding Along) and the next you begin to catch little whiffs of an odor, not pleasant, that makes you appreciate your position up front and away from anyone else.
What is that smell? Where is it coming from and how come I'm just noticing this now?
It didn't take me long to discover the cause of the foul odor, my trusty old Sidi Mega Cycling Shoes were rank.
But I wash my shoes (somewhat) regularly and they smelt fine when I put them on… why do they stink now?
The culprit are bacteria and odor causing microbes that love warm, humid places. In fact they thrive on it, eating, growing and multiplying at an astonishing rate once they are in the right environment – my warm, sweaty shoes must have been about as perfect an environment for bacterial growth as possible 🙁 The by-products of all this multiplying are toxins and toxic gases that our noses identify as stink. I don't even want to think about what all those little buggers are eating in my shoes. All these nasty critters are sitting dormant in your cool, dry shoes. Add some moisture and warmth and they come to life, with a potentially embarrassing affect.
What can I do to fix it?
I tried on multiple occasions to wash and dry my shoes using just clothes soap/detergent/vinegar/baking soda without success. If your shoes are old don't waste your time with these methods. The only thing I found that worked was a three day (I forgot them in the tub) soak in Oxi Clean. If you have white shoes you could try a small amount of bleach, but I can't vouch for this method, so I'd stick with Oxi Clean .
Blanks Mays was telling you the truth when he would say; “the power of oxygen!” Oxygen is a powerful disinfectant and has the power to actually kill bacteria and odor causing microbes, rather than simply surround them and wash them away with the surfactants that make soap, err… soap.
It's a chemistry thing. Oxygen exists in nature as a component of the air we breath as a pair O² and in stable compounds like water as in H²O. Whenever an Oxygen atom finds itself alone (free ) it gets ugly, looks for something to attach to and in the process converts whatever it attaches to into another compound. Many of the products you use to clean with contain a free Oxygen atom; Hydrogen Peroxide, Bleach, Vinegar and household Ammonia are a few.
The free Oxygen atoms found in Oxi Clean are as deadly to bacteria as sunlight is to a vampire. So the next time your shoes get warm and sweaty there are fewer (you'll never get rid of them all) little friends to cause a stink – if you'll forgive the pun.
How can I prevent the stink it in the first place or prevent it from coming back?
Wear clean socks in your shoes! I'm guilty of trying to pull off the Triathlete look by riding sans socks – or sometimes it's just that I forgot to pack a pair. OK, I'll say it; they're eating the dead skin off your feet. Socks keep their source of food away from surfaces that are harder to clean, like the inside of your shoes.
After washing and drying your shoes, I suggest the regular use of an antibacterial foot spray.
The same goes for your Instructor Mic and windscreen if you use one.
You need to kill all the bacteria, viruses and other icky stuff that you've introduced after each class, with no exceptions. This is doubly important if you share a mic with other Instructors.
The solution here is much easier. All it takes is a quick dollop of hand sanitiser that you can work through the windscreen, wipe over the headset and let dry for the next class.
Originally posted 2013-07-09 09:46:52.
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.
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