When I was still a kid living in Oregon, I loved bike cycling with my friends during the weekends. We started our routes in nearby roads that our parents permitted us to go. When we got to high school, we were free to ride in nearby mountain tracks that weren’t too dangerous for our level of riding. Those were the best times of my young life, and the passion for adventure never left me even though I have moved to New Zealand for work. During my free time, I still engage in mountain trail cycling—it would be a waste not to with all the possible choices in this place.
To be an efficient cyclist, I always looked to it that I took care of my bike and gear, especially my shoes. I have always been a sweaty person, and the dirt easily got into my precious cycling shoes. Also, it always hassled me that some pests could get into the shoes if they are not anti-pest or at least well taken care of. Luckily, my mother was very efficient in taking care of things, and she passed on some tips on how to prevent pests from infesting my shoes:
#1 Wash the Shoes
Washing my pairs is always a must. Once I had the time or if the shoes got a bit dirty from the sweaty activity, I see to it that they were cleaned inside and out. Some cycling shoes can be washed with a washing machine so I carefully read each pair’s list of instructions. Believe me, the time reading all those instructions are worth it because they saved a lot of time. But in case they weren’t for the machine, I just use regular soap and water. The bugs inside the shoes die from all the cleaning.
#2 Don’t Store When Wet
This would be a pretty obvious thing. Aside from the possible mold getting into the shoes, some pests like to live in humid or wet places so the bugs would really make them their living space. I always made sure that my pairs would dry out completely after washing. When they got wet from the rain, I either washed them immediately or let them air dry first instead of storing them in a cramped place.
#3 Put Them in Ziplocs or Boxes
I remember my mother using Ziploc bags for almost anything, because those are really great for keeping things safe especially for those which will not be used for months. At present, I still buy Ziploc bags for safe storage, particularly for my shoes and gear. But in case I run out, I just use clean and tightly secured boxes to keep my shoes safe.
#4 Use Cedar balls, Not Mothballs
Ever heard of cedar balls? I wouldn’t know of them if it wasn’t for my good ol’ mother. They are like mothballs with keeping the bugs out, but the cedar ones are non-toxic and safer. Personally, I don’t have sensitive skin, but it would really bother me if I put harmful chemicals near my skin. Another plus point for the cedar balls: those never made my shoes smell awful. Yay for freshly scented shoes!
#5 Bang the Bugs Out
This tip is kind of a no-brainer, but it does work for me. Whenever I inspect some bugs in my pairs, I always shook them out by banging them on a wall outside or even just somewhere outdoors. They eventually fall out so I made sure to step on them. They wouldn’t breed more of their kind with that.
#6 Use a Non-toxic Insect Spray
There are a lot of green insect sprays available in our regular supermarket so it wasn’t really difficult to find one suitable for my cycling shoes. I bought those insect sprays that are non-toxic to avoid harmful chemicals getting in contact with my feet. After spraying, I let them air-dry then I bang the dead bugs out. Voila! No more creepy crawlies.
So far with these tips, I had minimal problem with the possible pests in my gear and shoes. I guess I should thank my mother for that. Maybe she could have been a better cyclist than me.