Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The War Between Bottom and Brooks: a butt of a problem

There may be a land where saddles are made of rainbows and stuffed with clouds…… (Three Men on Wheels, Jerome .K . Jerome)
Planning is everything.  Which  is why I decided to buy new leather Brooks saddle one month before setting of on an extended cycle trip. For those hillwalkers of a certain vintage, those of a pre-Gore-texed age may remember dubbin and blisters stacked on blisters as they tried to break in a new pair of Scarpa leather boots.  It took about ten Munros, three strips of moleskin, and a trip back to the cobblers to get your old boots resoled.  You told yourself that it would all be worth it in the end, as you hobbled down the Lairig to  Luibeg. Your mates faked sympathy, always fifty yards in front.  As with Scarpas, so with Brooks.
They are the first choice of the long time, long distance cyclists.  We met Eric and Amaya in northern Uruguay, who had had a new Brooks DHL'ed  out to them in French Guiana when the old one collapsed, not prepared were they was to accept any substitution.  However, like  your 1970’s boots, they take a lot of perseverance.  You know from experience that eventually a love affair will blossom, it’s just that at the moment it’s all loathing, revulsion and red inflamed sores. To convert these devils to angels will take the power of a saint and a tub of Hypercal, probably from fiend to  friend somewhere around Asunción.
In the interests of a photo montage I had considered taking a series of pictures, say one every 100 kms to show the slow but inevitable conversion of raw cow hide to a seat for a journey. Then I realised that the other side, the back-side of the problem might need depiction.  That’s a picture too far.
So for now it’s regret that I didn’t plan a new saddle sometime last year, calendula cream and the desire to find a cloud stuffed rainbow.