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This NOS (new old stock) Eddy Merckx Podio cycling-shoes-and-pedals package was a fun find on eBay this week. They may not exactly be what 'The Cannibal' used to win his five Tours de France in the 1960s and '70s, but there's evidence that he may have given them a go a little more recently.
Eddy Merckx mainly wore Adidas cycling shoes during his racing career – classic black leather ones, with the famous three white stripes. These 1990s Eddy Merckx shoes, then, are a far cry from those classic black-and-white photos of 'The Cannibal' in full flight, but for Merckx fans – and for collectors of Eddy Merckx bikes, clothing and equipment – these could be right up your alley.
Of course, neither Adidas nor perennial rival Nike mass-produce cycling shoes anymore, although Nike has recently dipped its toe – so to speak – back into the cycling-shoe market with these new indoor cycling shoes, aimed more towards the spinning market, although also perfectly usable outside thanks to them being both two- and three-bolt-cleat compatible.
Like Nike, Adidas continued to manufacture high-end cycling shoes deep into the 2000s. By then, they were very different to the black, lace-up leather models used by the likes of Merckx back in the 1970s, instead mainly using a combination of buckles and Velcro straps to secure the mesh-nylon main body of the shoe.
These French-made shoes by Podio – who appear to have obtained the licence to use the Eddy Merckx name – even use a carbon sole, which was relatively rare until the late 1990s and early 2000s. Two wide, Velcro straps ensure that your foot is locked down, and the seller says that the rest of the shoe is made from leather and microfibre.
A trawl of the internet also reveals that the shoes should be paired with proprietary pedals. Lucky for you, then, that the pedals and cleats come as part of the complete package in this eBay listing.
The slide-in pedals are quite different to almost every other type of clipless road bike pedals, which generally tend to still utilise the same click-in, ski-binding-style developed by Look in the 1980s.
In fact, back in 2006, Cyclingnews got a picture of what at least looks to be the same model of pedal on Merckx's own bike when he was in Melbourne, Australia, for the Bicycling Australia Show and to watch the final stage of the Herald Sun Tour, as written about back then by ex-pro and Merckx contemporary John Trevorrow, who remains involved in the organisation of the Sun Tour today as the race director of the women's race.
That means Merckx may well have used the matching shoes and cleats, which are from 1994, according to the seller, which is Islington, London, vintage bike shop Pedal Pedlar, who have the shoes and pedals ready to ship in whole EU sizes from 40-42, plus sizes 44, 45 and 48, at a cost of £125 (US$158).
We're constantly on the lookout for unique and rare cycling relics on eBay. If you have any suggestions or leads, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org with 'eBay Finds' in the subject line.