Yesterday I put my new saddling device on my bicycle cycling device and went for a ride.
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "You've been going on about this stupid seat for like three days now, you lousy Brooks whore. How can you be so shameless?" Well, I can assure you that whoring for Brooks has nothing to do with it, and the fact is that this is by far the most interesting thing going on in my life right now and it's all I have to talk about.
So deal with it.
Also, my enthusiasm for bicycle equipment has a direct relationship with how much time I have to ride my bike. So if I'm really busy and haven't been able to get on the bike much I hate every bicycle part and think it's all marketing gimmickry. However, if I've been managing to get some rides in I start dorking out over stuff like a total Fred.
It's called being a hypocrite. Look it up.
(Sorry, I think I used the wrong link there but I'm too lazy and apathetic to change it.)
Right. So of course like any Fred worth his chamois I have my seatpost and saddle rails duly scribed, marked, and so forth so that if I need to remove them for any reason I can replace them exactly as they were and keep my scranus happy. However, when you change to a completely different saddle all that goes out the window, and this one differs dimensionally from my previous one enough to render all my markings meaningless.
Still, I figured maybe I could account for those differences by employing a tape measure. Unfortunately, I could not find my tape measure, so I was forced to resort to this toy one I found in my kid's kiddie toolbox:
On the plus side, it has markings in both inches and centimeters. (Though my kid already knows we're American and that if he starts talking metric in this house I'll put him out on the street.)
On the minus side, the tape itself is all stretchy (probably so it's harder for children to strangle themselves with it), so I doubt very much I was getting consistent measurements. This was confirmed when I finished measuring and tightening and I straddled the bike only to find my new saddle was nowhere near where I needed to be.
So I proceeded to adjust it by feel. The way you do this is you close your eyes, meditate for a few moments, and become one with your scranus. Then you ride for a bit and ask your scranus, "How's that?," and it says, "Nose it down a little." Then you stop, adjust, ride for a bit more and it says, "No, nose it up a little." Stop, ride, adjust. "Move it forward now." Stop, ride, adjust. "Move it back now." Finally, my scranus sighed and said, "Ahhh, just right." As it happened, the seatpost clamp was pretty much dead in the center of the saddle rails, and the saddle itself was pretty much dead level, so had I just started out that way in the first place I would probably have saved myself a lot of trouble.
Once I had the saddle where I wanted it, I could relax and figure out if the thing was actually comfortable, and my first impression was that it was. Was it more comfortable than the plastic saddle I had on there previously? Yeah, possibly, but it was too early to say. Then I turned onto a dirt trail:
Here, it was definitely more comfortable, and it would appear that sitting on rubber when you're riding on irregular surfaces is in fact a pretty good idea, because it provided a little bit of suspension effect similar to what I've found you get from a leather saddle:
Granted, I only spent about two hours riding the thing, including stop-and-futz time, but so far I'm very pleased.
By the way, the little manual that came with the saddle says:
The Cambium Saddles are designed for immediate comfort from day one, and require no special initial or ongoing care or maintenance.
But then it says:
The organic cotton fabric has been treated with Brooks Numac to make it waterproof and create a protective barrier. Brooks Numac can be periodically re-applied.
Phew! For a moment I was worried I wouldn't be able to buy a special artisanal proprietary Brooks saddle treatment for this!
Anyway, as I continue to ride it hopefully it continues to get along well with my crotch.*
*[You are welcome to use the sentence above in your wedding vows.]
Speaking of dirt paths, what's better than riding on one on a lovely autumn day?
Not a whole hell of a lot, that's what:
By the way, in addition to dirt, there were also some spots of gravel here and there, and between my bouncy rubber saddle and my wide-ish tires I might be forgiven to think that my perfectly ordinary road bike also functions quite acceptably as a "gravel bike." Obviously though I'd be foolhardy to think that, and it would behoove me to rush out and buy a proper gravel bike immediately.
Also, suck on this, Thomas Cole:
And oh, what's that? You want some foliage porn? Well, here you go, you perverts:
So taken was I by all the red and gold and amber hues that after my ride I went home and pounded an entire bag of Terra chips:
(Look at those colors! It's like eating the fall.)
Then, in an attempt to really become one with the season, I stuck each foot in a pumpkin to cool my bunions and listened to Samhain while darning my Halloween costume.
Now, if you don't mind, let's look at this picture again:
"You know what I like about it?," he asked rhetorically. What I like is that you can look at this and see what the area must have looked like over 100 years ago when it was still "the country." In 1900 there were fewer than two billion of us, and now there are seven billion assholes on the planet earth. That's why last night I finished watching that documentary I mentioned yesterday, and here's what it was called:
Obviously they should have gone with this if they wanted to convey the head-in-the-sand theme, but whatever:
Basically, the movie says that human civilization is a succession of increasingly large oligarchical societies, each of which collapse predictably and in turn, and most likely things will continue this way until we ultimately prove to be a failed evolutionary experiment and simply go extinct.
I'm not sure why it even matters anyway, since my understanding is that eventually the sun's going to blow up and the whole solar system will turn into a black hole--though in the movie Stephen Hawking says this is why we should all move to space, so maybe we can planet-hop throughout all of eternity and civilization will eventually reach its apotheosis by evolving into a fun-filled Douglas Adams-esque intergalactic romp.
Yeah, right. Really, given the utter futility of human existence, it's no wonder I spend all this time fucking around with a bike saddle.
Lastly, on a similarly depressing note, I'm not so sure about this Bill de Blasio guy:
And at a debate on Tuesday, the candidate endorsed by the city’s forward-looking transportation crowd surprised some supporters with a sudden skepticism about the picnic-table pedestrianization of Times Square.
“I have profoundly mixed feelings on this issue,” Mr. de Blasio said, less than two months after lauding the pedestrian plazas as “wildly successful.”
He also wants everybody to know he's a motorist:
"I'm a motorist myself, and I was often frustrated, and then I've also seen on the other hand that it does seem to have a positive impact on the tourist industry. So for me the jury's out on that particular question. I think it's worth assessing what the impact has been on traffic, what the impact has been on surrounding businesses. I will keep an open mind."
I'm beginning to suspect that de Blasio's plan was to push the whole pro-bike lane, pro-pedestrian thing because this is actually popular with New Yorkers and it probably helped give him the edge he needed to secure the democratic nomination and avoid a runoff. Now, though, he's pretty much a shoe-in for the general election so he can start reassuring people like the taxi lobby that he's going to take care of them since they give him a shitload of money. (You know, you can't have taxi drivers getting in trouble for trying to run down messengers and maiming tourists.) This is because de Blasio knows that, while most New Yorkers want safer streets for bikes and people, the most the advocates can do is throw hissy fits on Twitter, whereas the taxi lobby and all the rest of them can give or withhold hundreds of thousands of dollars from his next campaign. So I figure by the time he actually takes office, "Vision Zero" will have morphed into "Vision A Couple Hundred, Give Or Take."
Hopefully I'm wrong, though, because if there's one thing I'm good at, it's being wrong.