The SIDIs cannot hold.
Last week I spent a lot of money on my new bike. In fact, it was the most money I’ve ever spent in one go. It was so much that the till in Brixton Cycles couldn’t cope with that many digits, and they had to give me two separate receipts. I gazed at them with a mixture of awe and dismay, and the uncomfortable realization that each amount was more than I would ever have considered spending on a bike four years ago. By a long chalk. And now I’ve spent twice that.
It’s alarming how quickly your standards (and limits) creep upwards. When I got into cycling it struck me as reasonable to spend £100 on a nice hybrid from Halfords, for a 5-mile commute and the odd 20-mile pootle at weekends. Four years later, I spend more than that on my shorts, and cover more miles than that every day. And most of the time that strikes me as perfectly normal.
When I got my first pair, about 18 months ago, SIDIs were the height of extravagance. Could I really justify spending three figures on shoes? (I’m not that sort of girl. I think the most I’d ever spent before was £60, on a pair of Doc Martens that have lasted me six years.) Until then I’d been wearing scruffy old Shimanos – usually other people’s cast-offs, or the cheapest I could find. SIDIs were a step up, in both style and substance.
And then they wore out. And I bought some more. And in the last week or so, I’ve had to admit that they’ve worn out too.
The sole is coming off one of them.
I’ve broken one of the fastenings (which means I have to sit down and fiddle with the spring for ten minutes whenever I want to take them off).
The treads are worn down to nothing.
(Though, incredibly, the amazing Time Atac cleats are still clipping in and staying in, despite having been worn down to almost nothing. This gives me a very rare warm glow – the warm glow of finding a piece of kit that really is worth its salt. I tried out Crank Bros (eggbeaters) before these ones, and the cleats lasted exactly three weeks. The pedals lasted four weeks. The ensuing dispute with Crank Bros lasted about three months.)
So I sought the advice of Carl at Condor. Like Chris from Swrve, he treats my alacrity at wearing out kit as a both an interesting scientific experiment and a personal challenge. He confirmed my fears, that it’s not worth buying a cheaper brand, because I’ll wear through them in four months instead of eight. And, as a solution to my wearing-out-the-soles problem, he got me to upgrade from SIDI Dominators (as seen on every courier, polo player and hipster in town) to SIDI Dragons, which have removable treads (like football boots), and cost quite a bit more. Oh god. In the same week I spent, erm… lots and lots on a bike, I’ve spent a three-figure sum on shoes. And none of those figures was a one.
I can only take comfort from the fact that the old Dominators really wouldn’t have lasted more than a couple of days. If I’d replaced them a couple of months ago, while there was still wear in them, I wouldn’t have ended up spending all this money at once, but I’d have spent more in the long run. I’ll probably get through another 40 or so pairs of these in my life. But if I wear them till they actually fall apart, I might squeeze it down to 35…