I only have my one road bike, and up until now I've always used it just for exercise, because wearing cleats to the store or other recreational destination wasn't practical. (I don't like tearing up my cleats by walking a lot in them, and if you ever walked a while with cleat covers, you know this isn't very fun either)
So since I had a little downtime (long, gross story) I decided to figure out a simple super-cheap design - something that would let me cruise to the ice cream shop or the park with the wife, wearing regular shoes. A trip to the home improvement store netted me all the parts I needed:
1 - 7/32" Drill Bit (5.52mm)
6 - 5mm Screws (w/ nuts and washers)
And I already had the other stuff:
1- 24" Carpenters Square
2 - Cleats of the appropriate type
Tools I used include:
Angle grinder w/ cut-off wheel
My main goal was to build as cheap as possible. Well, a pretty piece of aluminum (and even steel) was running $10-$15 or more, because you have to buy 3 ft. of it, nothing smaller was available (at least not without burning a bunch of gas going from place to place looking). As I wandered, I saw the carpenters squares - $6.00 for all the steel I needed, plus some. The bonus was I already had three at home, and one was a $0.50 garage sale score - so that solved that.
Screws and drill bit were $7.00 (and I thought I had a drill bit, but wasn't sure, so I got an extra to save a trip, just in case).
I clamped off the square in the vise and used the cut-off wheel to make 2 - 5" long pieces (just a guess on my part, but seemed about right) because I needed enough extra material for some leverage to yank them back off when not being used. You can use a regular saw as well, but if you got the tools, you got to use 'em!
Next I centered the cleat and marked the holes for the screws. Then I stacked the two plates in the vice and drilled the holes - the 7/32" bit is perfect, screws went through but no sloppiness feel.
After deburring the holes, I bolted the plates together to shape them and smooth the edges.
Time to let the creativity fly! I'm sure I will revisit this step to add a little more "style" to the plates, but for now it was still a proof-of-concept kind of project, so just rounded the edges and made sure there weren't any sharp edges.
Unbolted them and sprayed a little black paint to cover the rust on the steel. Now I have to admit, at least the number scales on the metal still show through - and I like it as a badge of cheapness, a tribute to spending as little as possible and embracing the re-purposing lifestyle!
Next morning, after giving the paint time to dry, I bolted on an old set of cleats (I hung onto them knowing this project would get done eventually). The screws are just right, sticking up enough to get some traction without being uncomfortable.
Only issue really is getting them off, I have to use my tire prybar to do it. I hoped they would be long enough to get some leverage to remove without assistance, but I have too much tension on the cleats. I chalk it up as a feature - "difficult to steal"!
There you have it, and now I'm a happy camper. I can cruise the neighborhood with family and enjoy a stop at the park. They aren't made for the Tour, just the occasional evening outing - and for $7, I'm very happy with the outcome.
*and if you're dying to know why I had time to do this - let's just say chains, sprockets, and fingers don't mix. I'd post a pic but don't know how to do it NSFW. But it would graphically scare you from wearing flip flops while riding ever again...*