The piggy bank has taken a bit of a hammering for the benefit of the bicycle in the past fortnight. I suppose it was partly a reaction to being unable to cycle due to foul weather. It was not so much the rain, which was frequently quite light, but the gusty winds make it all rather hard work. It was also partly a reaction to an enormous sum spent on essential servicing and repair work on the car – and you have to be fair, you can’t spoil the car and not give the bike a treat as well!
First, I wanted some sort of roof rack for my car, whose carrying capacity leaves something to be desired – especially when I want to bring timber home from the DiY shop for example. Ebay came to the rescue here with a pair of new roof bars which were quite reasonably priced. The mere fact that these were available still for my 20-year-old car was a pleasant surprise, though I think I bought the last of them.
That soon set me thinking. If I could get some bike carriers at an equally reasonable outlay it would be worthwhile. So it was back to Ebay again in search of some rooftop bike racks. I wanted to be able to transport various family bicycles to distant venues. I found some racks and, having assembled one of them, conclude that at little more than £40 for three (including carriage) I had another bargain. For all I know they may not be the finest bike racks on the market but I am quite capable of improving them if need be.
At the end of a recent ride I decided that the saddle that came with my Raleigh Oakland was simply the wrong shape. It was a bit short and noticeably dome shaped so that I kept sliding forward. Tilting it backwards didn’t solve the problem but simply made it more uncomfortable. I needed a saddle that was slightly narrower at the front and capable of being mounted further back on the bike, enabling me to stretch my legs further to reach the pedals but still reach the ground when stopping, without leaving the saddle.
I remembered having Brooks saddles on bikes many years ago and how they were so comfortable that I took them for granted. So when I saw Brooks saddles on Ebay I was immediately interested – and especially in a B66 that seemed to be as new and came with a Carradice saddlebag – and all for less than I had expected to pay for a saddle alone. Yes, as the picture shows, the saddlebag is a bit faded but otherwise in sound condition and the straps show hardly any signs of use at all. It is ideal for those local, and longer, trips on which the much larger capacity of the panniers is not needed.
I should add a note about Brooks saddles so as to avoid misleading anyone: These saddles are beautifully made using thick leather and an adjustment mechanism to tighten the leather. A new Brooks saddle, like new leather shoes, will need to be used for some time to “wear in” and match your shape. This may take a few hundred miles of cycling but, to quote the L’Oreal ad, “You’re worth it”. Likewise, a secondhand Brooks saddle may not be ideal for you at first but give it time.