Defeating the Cleats - Recycling Road Bike Shoes

My wife Gina and I, we have almost identical inseam and torso lengths. We are so close to where I can jump on any of her bikes and not even have to move the seat. Everything is in perfect proportion. Given she is a complete bike snob, this works out great for me. If I want to go for a road ride, all I have to do is grab one of her two road bikes, either a Specialized Carbon or a custom Serota titanium and carbon mix.

The only problem is my road shoes still have the same cleats on them from my old road bike. My bike had a pair of SpeedPlay, "lolipops," quite a bit different than the Shimano SPD road pedals Gina has on her bikes. The solution obviously is to take the old SpeedPlay cleats off and put the Shimano cleats on. It really sounds simple enough...key word...sounds simple.

These cleats had been on there for around ten years and were a little worn, to put it politely. In reality, they were beat to $%^. The screw heads had very little left. Attempting to get them off with a phillips screwdriver quickly failed. Being my grandfather's grandson, this did not pose a roadblock. Rather, it was a challenge.

Dremel tools are fun little gadgets. One of the heads is a small cutting wheel. The stubbon screws hold on an aluminum plate comprising most of the SpeedPlay cleat. The little cutting wheel was perfect for dicing up this aluminum plate so it could be removed...piece by piece...from under the screw heads.

With the pressure released from under the screw heads, it was not difficult to use a pair of pliers to break the screw heads loose and spin them out by hand from there. Afterwards, the midpart of the plate is removed. Nothing is securing it now.

The baseplate was easy enough to remove. The large phillips screws below were easy enough to break loose. Now the shoes were clean and ready for the new cleats. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here is the handywork sequence of photos.

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