Monday, July 13, 2009

My sagging seat




My Brooks B17 is, oddly enough, 17 years old. It was bought for my first Orbit, a glorious Reynolds 531 ST tourer, a Gold Medal Alivio. I still have that particular velocipede, all hand-brazed, double-butted, entirely Sheffield made, lugged to within in inch of its super-comfortable life. The finish on the original bike was appalling, the paint flaking off at the slightest impact. It's been resprayed in satin black and looks a treat. It hasn't been ridden for three or four years.

But this saddle...it was broken in over punishing, main road trundles between Cromarty on the Black Isle and Inverness. It lurked, covered with a plastic bag, on the bike rack of many camper vans, including the infamous sewage-leaking Fiat that was parked in the BBC Highland grounds for a year. It has been to Orkney, it has covered the 330-mile epic from Hillswick to Campbelltown, it has suffered canal towpaths, the Tay and Erskine Bridges, and my increasing weight...

This is the perfect saddle. Perfect for me, that is. The most comfortable seat a man could have. What nobody understands, it seems, about bike saddles is that they should be slippy. Those sticky gel things are a nightmare of chafing over a long distance. The worn smoothness of the Brooks, coupled with its gradual moulding to my exact, ah, proportions, makes it as much a of a joy as an overweight, unfit bottom can have aboard a bike.

Five miles on Sunday. Nothing like so much pain and angst as Saturday's creaking return to the diamond frame. Pint of lager on my return. Tasted great (Stella 4 per cent) but it probably outweighed any fitness gain. But hey, life's too short. Isn't it? I'm a drinking, fat-eating cyclist. And my life is in that somewhat saggy saddle. Pass the Thorntons mini-caramel shortcake...

2 comments:

iRight said...

Ah the Brooks B17. Like all worldly goods from my childhood and teens it was purloined by my younger brother who usually broke them
But you are right much more comfortable than a modern day plastic affair - will they ever be made again?

crosser nut said...

They are still in production http://www.brookssaddles.com/en/Shop_CategoryPage.aspx?cat=saddles+-+touring+%26+trekking

Tho I prefer the plasticky things cos they are really comfy