Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Cycling-Saddles

Well I have finally done it. After a lot of thought I have invested in a Brooks Saddle for my folding hybrid cycle. When I bought the bike it came with a unisex velo saddle.After the first few miles it became obvious that my saddle and I were going to have to part company. At any distance greater than a trip to the local shops the sit bones on my posterior ached like crazy. That saddle had to go, so off I went to the local cycle shop for something more comfortable. The saddle I purchased was a sports style which was narrower than the original saddle supplied and this seemed to do the trick- well I thought it did. It was certainly kinder to my sit bones (men need a narrower saddle than the girls) and on journeys up to about 50 miles it was fine. Where I found a problem though was on journeys exceeding this mileage. The problem seemed to be caused by the 'squidgy' material most modern saddles are made with. It looks comfortable but on longer distances the 'squidgy' material flattens out and stops giving your bottom full support.
Now don't misunderstand me, most of my journeys are under 50 miles and it is only now and again when touring that I might exceed this distance. However with my LEJOG coming up in September with a proposed daily distance of 100 miles I needed to do something now in order to address the problem. Years ago I had a Brooks saddle on a bike that I used for touring from one Youth Hostel to another. I was about 14 years old at the time but I always remember that my old saddle was so comfortable. Now a Brooks saddle doesn't 'look' comfortable. The model I have chosen is a Brooks Team Professional and it sports huge copper rivets that look as if they alone could do you serious and permanent damage. The saddle also needs breaking in (a bit like leather walking boots do.). But I must say that even though my new saddle is not broken in yet and won't be for many miles and in spite of it being rock hard it is surprisingly comfortable. I am also led to believe that the level of comfort improves over time and mileage. So it is a bit like pedaling towards a 'posterior comfort holy grail'. The further you pedal the better it becomes.
Brooks have a really interesting website with lots of information on the history of the company and products, well worth a look on http://www.brooksengland.com/
Brooks list my saddle at a retail price of £86.59 but I managed to obtain one from http://www.sjscycles.com/ for £65.00. Apparently Brooks saddles are in short supply at the moment (wiggle are quoting mid September delivery) so if you want a specific model you might have to search around a bit. I will keep you all posted as to the ongoing comfort or otherwise of my new purchase and no doubt some reference to saddles will be made during our LEJOG in Sepember.

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