Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Brooks and Me

Women tell me that childbirth can be a painful experience ( but obviously nothing as bad as man flu which can be verified by talking to any man ) but once the act is accomplished then the pain is soon forgotten.  Well in the world of severe pain then breaking in a Brooks Pure Leather Saddle can come pretty close to suffering man flu.

I wrote about this Battling With Brooks just after  my birthday when I turned 65 and acquired my custom made dream bike, a Mercian Vincitore Special.

My first Brooks saddle , acquired when I started cycling at age 62, was a Brooks B17 Honey Leather Saddle with copper rivets and after 8 years and thousands of kilometers it has at last softened and acquired a very comfortable shape.

Like many cyclists I am aware of the saying that ' Weight Kills ' , especially when climbing, so the obvious conclusion is to lose weight.  This can be achieved by one of two ways, eat less cake or reduce the weight of the bikes components...being a Tea Shop Tourist type of cyclist the former was obviously out of the question and so component weight reduction was the only option.

And so I have acquired a Brooks Swift saddle with titanium rails.  Being narrower than the B17 and with the lighter support structure this seemed the obvious way forward.

BUT..I had forgotten the pain and suffering involved in breaking in the new saddle..indeed I am not sure that my life expectancy is long enough to achieve that task and so far all I have been able to achieve is a load of saddle sores :-(

However there is a very good reason for riding a bike with a Brooks saddle in that, if things get really tough, you can always eat it. To do so would not be entirely without precedent. Snowbound in California's Sierra Nevada mountains, the ill-fated wagon-train migrants of the Donner Party resorted to eating their leather clothing and bootlaces, before moving on to eat one another.
There are no known cases of cyclists dying from starvation, resorting to cannibalism, or even eating their leather saddles, yet hunger is a regular companion on any long distance bicycle journey.

So think then of those outlanders who next March will be attempting the Indian Pacific Wheel Race from Freemantle to Sydney Opera House, a distance of 5500 km and which will be completed solo and completely unsupported


  1. Eating a Brooks saddle? Hmm....

    Anyway, you have, in essence, explained why I'm not going to put a new Brooks saddle on my Vincitore Special: I'm going to use a Brooks Pro I rode for about three years on my Mercian Audax.

  2. I have a Brooks Swift on the Tifosi and a Brooks Pro on my touring bike but as yet I have not had to eat either of them :-)

    Funnily enough I didn't suffer any pain breaking in either of these saddles so after reading your post I count myself lucky.....
    Your experience sounds pretty painful....

    1. Perhaps you need to try the Cambiun..though as that is NOT leather I dont believe it is in the proper tradition compared to the hand made leather saddles

  3. *Peter Roberts*
    I'm with you Peter...I am a lover of tradition and the Cambium saddle would never make it on to my wish list....