You’ve decided to commit to indoor cycling and are ready to become one with your bike! This can be a turning point in your cycling journey – BC and AC (Before Cleats and After Cleats).
What do you need to attach SPD cleats?
- SPD compatible indoor cycling shoes.
- SPD compatible cleat set: I like these by Vilano Bike.
- 4 mm Allen Wrench (aka Hex Key): Some cleat sets include this tool. If you can’t find one around the house, $1 is all you need for this one.
The cleats should be centered under the ball of your foot. Most cycling shoes have two pairs of holes for the screws that are either closer or farther from the toe – a fore and aft option. While wearing your shoe, look at the two options and select the one that feels closest to the ball of your foot.
Slide the flat metal oval with two holes into the recessed cavity of the cleat. You should still be able to slide the smaller oval piece within the cavity. The other side of the cleat has small ridges that will touch the bottom of your shoe. Place the screws through the holes.
Once the cleat is assembled, line it up with the two holes on the bottom of your shoe. You want the rounded tip of the cleat to point toward your toes. Using your fingers, line up the screws and begin tightening a little on each side, alternating after a few turns before the cleat is too tight to move. As the tension increases, check to make sure the round tip of the cleat is still pointed to the toes.
If it looks centered, use the Allen Wrench to make the last few twists and really secure the connection. Take your new shoes for a spin to test out the angle, position, and tension. You should be able to clip in and out without the cleat budging. If anything wiggles, check the position of the screws and retighten. If you don’t feel like the connection between your shoe and the pedal is on the ball of your foot, unscrew the cleat and reattach using the other pair of holes. It may take a few adjustments to perfect the position and tension, but once it is done, it is done. You shouldn’t have to regularly tighten your screws and if you do, ask your strongest friend to help with extra torque.
After you get past the awkward stage of learning how to clip in and out of the pedals, you will enter the AC (After Cleats) portion of your life where you may wonder how anyone can ride a bike without them.