I spent a morning at the bike shop trying on every road shoe known to man. The final verdict: if I wanted road shoes I'd have to have them custom made. That settled, we took a look at my current bike sandals. They accept SPD cleats, a viable option. The guys at the bike shop settled on small SPD cleats with a dual-sided mountain SPD pedal. The final touch was to adjust the pedals so that clipping in and clipping out would be as easy as possible.
The next day we had mile after mile of ultra-slow riding while I practiced clipping in and clipping out. Al pedaled slowly behind me, keeping me at it when I got frustrated. I had been so ridiculously certain that it would all come back to me easily.
I hadn't done this maneuver in a dozen years. The bracing I'd devised for my ankles did make the motion to unclip reasonably pain free. The ankle also stayed reasonably stable. After over an hour of practice, we headed home. I was adequate. Not good. Adequate.
The next time out we headed for the Rickenbacker and Key Biscayne. I practiced pedaling unclipped through the stop and go area near Mary Brickell Village. Then it was over to the Rickenbacker. Up and over the William Powell Jr. Bridge, down the causeway to Virginia Key, over Bear Cut Bridge to Key Biscayne.
Oh me. Oh my.
I'd forgotten how much easier riding was when you are clipped in. The bridge was half as much work. It was easy to chase Al and to ride faster.
This is going to be fun.