I’m Hooked: My Transition to Bike Shoes

By: Falon Sweeney

One of the things that sets The Handle Bar apart from other spin classes and studios is our strong encouragement of “clipping in,” or the use of bike shoes during your ride. Initially, I was a little apprehensive about using bike shoes. At other spin classes, I didn’t understand why people wore them, but one thing was for sure, it was usually the experienced riders that had their own pair. I often thought, “Nah, I’m not THAT into spinning, where I’d drop $50-$100 on a pair of shoes that looked a little silly and could only be used for one type of exercise”. I never had the chance to rent them and I had always thought that they were more for road cycling. Only the really intense riders wore them, right? Wrong.

I clipped in for the first time on Monday at The Handle Bar. By the end of the warm up, I finally understood why so many riders wear bike shoes. From the moment I started pedaling, I felt more connected to the bike and my ride as a whole than I ever had before. I was able to concentrate my energy through my leg muscles, rather than my joints to get a much more efficient, not to mention, safe workout. I could focus on the energy I was expending and direct it exactly how I wanted it, with minimal energy wasted. I’m now realizing that the spin workouts I used to do in regular running sneakers were not challenging my leg muscles nearly enough. I found that I was using my feet and knees to do the work, rather than the muscles throughout my entire leg. After just a few days of clipping in, my legs are more sore than they have ever been from a spin workout. I can’t help but feel like I’ve been missing out all this time, but all I know is that I can’t wait to see the long-term results of using bike shoes.

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If you’re having trouble believing that clipping in could make all the difference, think about it like this: If you’ve done yoga, you know that it would be pretty difficult to practice with socks on. You’d find it hard ground yourself and really connect with your mat. It’s the same thing with spinning. Regular sneakers act as a barrier between our body and our bike. But bike shoes help to bridge that gap and help connect us to our ride, making the workout all the more enjoyable and rewarding. I find myself better able to just let go and let the music carry me through the ride.

If you’re a beginner, you’re in luck. You don’t have to waste years spinning in regular sneakers to finally figure out that bike shoes will transform your ride. From the start you will experience the additional power, safety, efficiency, and muscle balance that clipping in provides.

At The Handle Bar, we give riders the option to rent shoes for two dollars, but we encourage you to buy your own pair. They’re a great investment and pay for themselves in just a few months. If you need advice on which shoes are the best for you, feel free to reach out to any of our instructors.

Don’t forget to come out this weekend for our grand opening! There will be prizes, giveaways, and freebees from our sponsors. If you weren’t able to reserve a spot, still stop in to check out the studio and take advantage of our Grand Opening 25% off special!

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