Cyclist shopping spree

I had an opportunity to act out my true Fredness and go shopping.  My list of desirables included:

  • Garmin 500
  • Sidi Genius 5 Carbon Pro Mega
  • Speedplay Zero Pedals
  • Cateye Reflex Auto Tail Light (for Old Blue, my commuter)

For various reasons which I will discuss below, the list ended up getting modified by the end:

  • Garmin 500
  • Sidi Zephyr Carbon Mega
  • Cateye Reflex Auto Tail Light (for Old Blue, my commuter)
  • Cheapy Cateye Velo 5 cycling computer – also for Old Blue
  • The opportunity to continue to use my Look Keo pedals

Sidi Genius 5 Pro Carbon

I knew right off the bat that the shoes were going to be the hardest part.  So my first stop was one of my favorite local bike shops, City Bicycle Works in Downtown Sacramento.  And I found exactly what I expected – they had the Genius 5 Carbon shoes available, but not in the Mega.

What’s all this ‘Mega’ nonsense you ask?  Basically the ‘Mega’ are a wide variant of their models.  I generally wear a size 43 shoe – but that is mostly because I have crazy wide feet.  I actually measure out at about a 40.5-41 EEE.  Yup – that’s triple E baby.  So the Mega is not really an option for me – it is a requirement.  I’m looking for a 41 or 42 Mega.

City Bicycle Works says they can order it for me, but I really want to try these on before committing to buy.  I didn’t ask them specifically, and I may have assumed incorrectly, but my guess is that I can’t return a special order.  I decide to roll the dice and look at a couple of other places to see if I can somehow find someone with a 41 or 42 mega in stock.

Garmin 500

My next attempt is Mike’s Bikes – not exactly a local bike shop, more of a chain, but not Performance bicycle either.  Same situation there – no Megas in stock.  I finally asked the sales guy, explicitly, and he confirmed that special orders are paid up front, no returns or exchanges.  Sigh.  However, as I head to the door I notice the Garmin 500 in the glass display case.  Turns out they have one (and only one) in stock – and it is the ‘bundle’ with the heartrate monitor and cadence/speed sensor.  I was actually on the fence, unsure if I was going to spring for the bundle or just get the head unit.  It is about $100 difference between the two.  Since I’m here, I decide to just go for it.  Garmin 500 – crossed off the shopping list.

Sidi Zephyr Mega

Next stop – REI.  I know they’re stocking the Cateye Reflex Auto tail light.  This light was actually recommended to me by a reader in a comment to my previous post about mounting lights on rear racks.  I grabbed the light first, and it turned out to be a great choice.  I’ll be talking more about this in a later post.  I try my luck with the shoes again.  Same story – no Genius 5 Megas.  However, they do have the Zephyr Megas.  Hmmm…

From what I could tell the most significant difference between the Genius and the Zephyr is the fact that the Zephyr has 3 velcro straps, while the Genius has a ratcheting strap on the top.  I decide to go ahead and give the Zephyrs a try – selecting a size 42.  I suspect the Megas are still too narrow for my crazy feet, but the size 42 felt reasonable good without too terribly much extra space in the toes.  The other thing is REI has an amazing return policy for its members.  100% satisfaction guaranteed.  In other words, if it turns out the velcro straps won’t just won’t hold my foot in securely enough, or these are still too narrow for me, I can take them back.  You can’t beat that.

I also indulged in an impulse buy.  I picked up a Cateye Velo 5 cycling computer for my commuter bike.  It is Cateye’s least expensive computer – a wired unit that gives you speed (current and max), distance and time.  My commute is hard on my bike and equipment, and I wasn’t keen to start traveling in that environment with my shiny new Garmin 500.  This Cateye fits the bill nicely.  My only complaint – I can’t for the life of me yet figure out how to change the display to MPH from Km/h.  Grrr…

That was a fairly large chunk of change to drop in one evening, so I decided to put off the Speedplay pedals for the time being.  I’m also being kinda cautious and want to try out the new shoes without throwing a pedal change into the mix.  And if these shoes don’t do the trick, I may be looking at the horribly pricey custom shoe option.

I got both the computers mounted as soon as I got home.  The Cateye went on just as expected – and I’ve now gained that oh-so-cool wire-wrapped-around-the-brake-cable look.  The Garmin was super simple as well – probably even easier than the Cateye.  Expect more details on the Garmin unit in future posts.