Experimental music, photography, and adventures


Monday, July 30th, 2007

Well, after reading a lot about Brooks leather saddles, I finally took the plunge and ordered a B17 from Wallingford Bicycle Parts. I got it in honey brown, which in all honesty looks a little funny on my bicycle as it is right now, which is red with mostly black components. However, I think that I’ll put some tan handlebar tape on there when it’s time to replace it, and that’ll help it make a bit more sense. I thought I had taken a photo of my bike with the new saddle on it, but I can’t find one.

The advantage of leather saddles, aside from looking sexy, is that they’re supposed to conform to the shape of your body. There’s a break-in period of a few hundred miles, and leather requires some maintenance — mostly in the form of rubbing proofide (sort of like shoe polish) on it regularly during the break-in period, and then a couple of times per year after that.

Saturday morning, I installed the saddle and rode it around a nearby neighborhood to try to get it adjusted to my liking. I found that I need to angle the nose up a bit to be comfortable. I went to see Sarah tell the “Caps for Sale” story at the public library, had lunch with her, and went for a ride later on Saturday. I was hoping to get a good long ride in, but I wasn’t feeling up for it, so I did a brief 30-mile ride to Fairfax State Recreation Area, on Lake Monroe.

The saddle worked pretty well — in fact, I made some progress on a problem I’ve been having lately (feeling too far from the handlebars) by moving the saddle forward slightly. I’ll probably need to get a shorter stem at some point, but this definitely helped. I only brought half of my multitool, and wasn’t able to straighten the saddle — it was pointing off to the right a little bit. I’ve also noticed that slight changes in angle/height/position make a big difference with this saddle. But, I think I got the angle set right, and you know what? The thing is pretty darn comfortable, even though I haven’t broken it in yet. I’m really looking forward to seeing how it improves as I break it in

I got to Fairfax and realized I’d forgotten my state park pass. I only had a couple of dollars with me, and I didn’t feel like paying to get in anyway, so I turned around and headed back. I was disappointed, though, because I really wanted to go down by the lake, relax a little, and snap some photos before heading home.  Last time I rode there, I didn’t need my pass, as the office wasn’t even open yet. There are also some photos on the page about my last ride to Fairfax.

I took Smithville Road home, which has a big descent, and then a long climb. As I was going down the hill, approaching 30 mph, I hit a rough spot in the pavement that made the velcro on my camera case (which I attach to my stem) come undone. The camera and case went tumbling behind me, and I hit the brakes, turned around, and rode back up the hill to retrieve them. The camera still worked fine. I took a photo looking up the hill so I could get a shot of the rough pavement that caused the problem.

Smithville Road
Rough pavement on Smithville Road

Once I collected my camera, I continued the descent, and then had a long climb ahead of me. I also added in a jaunt down Moore’s Creek Road to get some more big hills in my ride. This also put me by part of the lake for a short stretch.

It was a pretty good ride, even if it wasn’t as long as I’d hoped, and I couldn’t get down to the lake at Fairfax. I’m looking forward to riding more and seeing how much more comfortable this saddle gets.

I have a ton more to write about, things we did on Sunday, but I’ll wait to do that until I sort through my photos.

2 Responses to “Brooks”

  1. Marty Says:

    I was wondering how you were attaching it – glad to hear that the tumble didn’t harm the camera.

  2. John Says:

    My B-17 was extremely comfortable from the get go. I don’t even feel like I’m sitting on anything when I ride. I have done no profhide or any maint. I tried a B-67 on the road bike and that was a horrible experience. After every ride, I couln’t piss for two days. Now it’s on my upright commuter and that too is working great.

    My wife was recently telling a friend about all my scrapes and bumps caused by falling while taking pictures. I keep the camera in my handlbar bag, whip it out and snap a photo when I see something. I have drifed off the road and into stationary things (cars) a few times. All part of the fun.

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