"Is this what I think it is?," I wondered.
Yep, it's the new cowless saddle from Brooks!
I'm very excited about this, I'm not going to lie. Let's drop the pretense for a little bit and dork out over bike crap for a little bit, okay? Yeah? Good.
If you don't like it, watch this instead.
So until a few years ago I'd never even tried a Brooks saddle, but then I did and I was hooked and now have them on three (3) of the four (4) bikes I ride the most. (Yes, I have more than four bikes. Way more.) Those bikes are:
1) My Surly Big Dummy, which I use for child-schleppage and general family adventures:
(Laterally larval and vertically compliant)
2) My artisanal mono-speed Engin mountaining bicycle, which I congratulate myself for owning every time I ride it because it's awesome, and which I use for my sub-epic suburban offroad adventures:
(Real men do this. I ride half a mile from a mall with an REI.)
3) And of course my traveling bicycle, which I use for traveling, and for the sorts of rides they want you to buy gravel bikes for now, and for general inter-borough commuting:
That particular ass pedestal was hand-chamfered for me by Eric "The Chamferer" Murray himself:
And whenever I ride it I hear those five inspiring words he whispered to me when we first met:
"I'll fucking cut you, mate."
The man's as deft with words as he is with cutting tools:
You're welcome, it was the least I could do.
Anyway, I never much associated Brooks saddles with the offroad-style bicycle cycling, for no better reason than that you rarely see them being used that way. (Or at least I rarely see them being used that way, but then again I live in a bubble and ride near malls.) However, as it turns out, they're great in that capacity because they've got some built-in suspension. For example, I'm sure we've all, in a moment of inattention, ridden over a rock or a root without unweighting for a moment and subsequently experienced the concomitant jolt to the scranus that makes you curse out loud. The Brooks, I've found, mitigates this sort of thing considerably.
Given this, I'd been meaning to put a Brooks on the fourth (4th) bike I ride a lot, which is my Ritte von Finkelstein:
Because I have So Many Bikes (deal with it) I've settled on the fattish-tire-and-compact-crank configuration for this bike, which makes it perfect for the shitty roads and scruffy multi-use trails I find myself on a lot of the time these days. I find the Fizik Aliante saddles very comfy despite the fact I'm embarrassed to say the words "Fizik Aliante" out loud. However, I find the Brooks even more comfortable, and since this is my retirement chariot I figured a Brooks would plush it out completely and also lend it that little bit of additional foppishness that, together with my bloated gut, says, "This guy doesn't race bikes anymore."
Anyway, I hadn't gotten around to getting another Brooks for this bike, but now I've got this vegan one so I'm very excited to put it on there and try it out. If I like it I'll keep it, then I'll get some leather Brooks handlebar tape to offset the veganism, and then I'll grow a moustache and wax it and start wearing tweed underpants, and then you can all start calling me Clive or Smedley or something.
If I don't like it I'll trade it to you for some dignity. I could use it.
Also, the saddle has arrived not a moment too soon, because is there a better time for the enjoyment of bicycle cycling in the Northeastern United States than the Autumn seasonway?
That's my dainty little lunch ride climb. (Obviously looking down the climb, not up it.) Pretty, isn't it? It's steep enough that I can pretend I'm climbing but short enough that it's never, ever demoralizing, even when I'm completely unfit, which these days is always. In the year I've been using it I have yet to encounter another cyclist on it, and I hope it stays that way and never, ever becomes a Strava segment. (Actually, it could be one already. I'd never know because I'm not on Strava.)
In other news, the New York Times recently did a pictorial of nonplussed people picking up their cars after they've been towed, and this one in particular caught my eye:
Karl Rahn's car was towed from outside a bike shop.
Ouch. Somebody send that guy a copy of "The Bicycle Wheel."
Then, this guy walked in:
Nonplussed Bib Short Guy's car was towed as he was changing into his Fred gear on Riverside Drive.
Followed by this guy:
David Byrne does not own a car, he just stopped by to gloat.
Byrne's hard up for gritty entertainment these days now that New York City belongs to the 1%.
Lastly, a reader tells me that a dubious chapter in cycling history can now be yours for the low, low price of $450:
Surly Steamroller Actual bicycle bike from movie Premium Rush!!! Fixie - $450 (Hutchinson)
I have for sale the ACTUAL bike from the movie premium rush. If you google the bike you can see that it is the same bike. I bought it three weeks ago at a charity auction from Surly directly. If you need verification that it is from the movie, they will be able to provide that. The bike has a 53cm seat tube center to top. It is set up fixed with a front brake. The bike has no paint on it to give it that worn look of a messenger bike. The wheels were not in the movie but they were what Surly had on the bike when they got it back after filming. Here is your chance to own a piece of cycling and movie history! Call me at (952) XXX-XXXX
I'm not buying it without a certificate of authenticity and a DNA ass-sweat test.