Bike Friday Pocket Expedition

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Bike hack — making a Brooks saddle even more comfortable

A Brooks saddle, after a few thousand kms of riding on it, will conform naturally to the seat-bones of the owner’s bum, making it more comfortable to ride on. But, when the saddle softens and stretches to conform, the sides tend to flare out a bit. And I’ve always noticed that riding on it again after a long absence hurts my inner thighs. I’ve also noticed that after a few days on the road, the pain will wear off… more likely the muscles got used to it.

I’ve been looking at it and I know it doesn’t have to be so. In fact, Brooks has a model that will never flare at the sides — the B17 S Imperial, which looks like this….

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Increasing fibre intake for better health

Once upon a time, I was a roadie. My first speed-steed was an electric-blue, Italian-made Detto, and I had loads of fun with it. I raced regularly on it, too — mostly around Penang island where I used to live.

Steel was real then. I remember my housemate Tom Smith who rode a custom-built Reynolds 531 bike. Very light, very fast and super responsive, and it cost an arm and a leg (two legs if I counted in RM instead of pound sterling).

Since getting my Surly Long Haul Trucker, I’ve been  doing a fair bit of road riding … so much so that the roadie that was buried deep inside in me began to resurface. So I did what any sane bicycle enthusiast would do…I succumbed to it.

I had been eyeing the full-carbon 2009 Giant TCR Advanced 3, and research seemed to point to this as the best-bang-for-the-ringgit ride (I am kinda partial to Giant bikes). So I bought it.

The TCR Advanced 3 is a monocoque full-carbon wonder; compact, light and more importantly, stiffer even than last year’s TCR, especially the bottom bracket.

Nice bike … but one decal too many, if you ask me. If I had my way, I’d also drop the double strip of yellow on the top tube.

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Pain in the butt, but loving it

Tourers think the world of it (well, their butts do anyway). Many swear by it and would never subject their behinds to anything less. We’re talking about that British icon of the bicycle world — the all-leather Brooks saddles, and I finally got my hands on one, thanks to my good friend Yin who came back from a shopping spree in Hong Kong recently.

For now, I have no choice but to suffer the almost rock-hard leather during the breaking-in period. Eventually, after about 500kms or so, the seat-bones should begin to make an impression … literally. Once that happens, it will be like a butt hammock 🙂 Or so, I’ve been promised.

I can’t wait for that day to come.

Holding up bottoms since 1866. B17s come in a nice little box. The tin of Proofide and the propriety Brooks saddle wrench for tightening the saddle when it stretches are extras. Actually, Brooks saddles now come with free wrenches, but I needed the Proofide so no choice, I had to get the restoration kit.

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