11 Apr 2010

Brooks Pro (the remake)


I am going to try publishing each new post automatically (in reverse order like most other blogs) 

The previous method of deliberately dating new posts into the distant past made logical sense. It reads just like a book. However, most visitors may not have read the warning at the top of the page and will assume otherwise. They will probably assume the newest posts (dated 2008) are old hat and ignore them. I'll leave the original postal format for a while until I decide what to do about re-dating the entire blog to run in reverse order. (ie. Last post at the top. First post at the bottom) 

11th April 2010. I used the wet pad treatment for an hour on the Brooks left cheek. Then applied the G-cramp and rubber pad on top of the damp tissue. An hour later the saddle looks amazingly symmetrical! The left side has finally sunk to match the right. Something I hadn't achieved previously despite 650 miles and the application of saddle oil to the offending area. I have removed the cramp and pads and will allow the leather to dry overnight just to see what happens. If the left side springs back up I shall just have to repeat the process. The leather looks darker where it is still damp but it hasn't obviously discoloured. If it stays depressed, as hoped, I shall apply some more Proofide to nourish the leather.

Here's my source for the wet saddle break-in treatment:

 Brooks Pro

Use the advice contained there at your own peril! I accept no responsibility for your ruined saddle if you get it wrong.

 Mr Higgins goes to the seaside. I should have taken the usual big bag but thought I'd try a more compact one to see if I could tell the difference in drag. I couldn't and ended up bringing shopping home with a carrier bag swinging from the handlebars. Which was just silly. The Brooks Pro still has its gel tea-cosy fitted.

12th April 2010. 40-48F. Sunny. Thankfully the left side of the saddle had dried out overnight with the matching dent still there. In the interests of comfort and continued recovery I put the gel saddle cover back on. I had a ten mile distant appointment and didn't want to risk further damage to my nether regions. I felt more comfortable today apart from new pains in my legs. My knees kept aching today. Coming and going regardless of incline or effort. 22 miles with a strong headwind all the way back.

Another day. Another mirror. This is my impression of  Cyclops the Tricyclist. What you can't sense from the silly picture is the foul stench of ammonia emanating from the industrial pig unit behind me. I wouldn't want to be their neighbour in this tiny rural village at any price. There are many delightful rural properties completely blighted by Danish "pig farms". Can't live there. Can't sell their homes. Trapped, while some subsidised, weekend "farmer" rakes in taxpayer's hard earned money. Without the EU none of this would be happening. These industrial pig shit production facilities have the unique ability to make cattle farms seem almost pleasant.

13th April 2010. 48F and the wind is weaker today. A rest day to give my legs a chance to recover from these odd aches and pains. I was sprayed by a farmer as I passed his field on the way to the shops. Only 10 miles today in watery sunshine. Had a  chat about the trike with a regular at the local supermarket. I was a bit depressed about the pains in my legs. My fear is that I may end up unable to ride through injury or simply wear and tear. It has now brightened up and is nudging 50F.

April 14th 45-48F Sunny. Cool north-easterly breeze. I put the gel saddle cover in the saddle bag for insurance and set off into the low, blinding sun and a headwind. It couldn't actually be called comfortable but the pain of breaking in the saddle seems to be finally over. (Or so I hope) The first ride in over 600 miles where I wasn't constantly shifting position to try and get comfortable. I seemed to forget all about the saddle after a while.

Note the surface wrinkling and matching indentations for the pelvic bones in the pressure areas. It is hard to match the wonderful colour, lustre and variations of a real leather saddle with anything man made.

Quite a hard but pleasant ride with a couple of chats with strolling pensioners.  I was already stopped. Once to take off my jumper when I turned out of the wind and later locking my trike to shop at a supermarket. Even the checkout girl asked me if my knees were cold at this time of year. It must be the sunshine making people cheerful. No unusual aches or pains to report today despite pushing myself hard again. I had a tiring afternoon yesterday clearing heavy branches. I also climbed one of the hardest hills in the area today without too much effort. Having only a short ride yesterday must have allowed my legs to recover from the strain of trying to achieve a 30 mile daily average.  26 miles today and feeling quite fit and positive again.

 The Brooks Professional sunbathing in warm, spring sunshine. It is already looking quite tanned. Note the indentations where the sit bones rest on the broadest part of the saddle. It took a long time but finally it begins to look (and feel) like a real saddle instead of a marble sculpture. The slight surface scratching is due to lifting the bag handle loop over the saddle.

I have also lifted the bag higher to try and reduce drag by placing it more in the wind shadow of my upper legs. Wind resistance is by far the greatest impedance to higher speeds on any pedal driven machine. Frontal area is an important resistance factor in forward movement as is velocity. Denmark is a fairly windy country. Which inevitably means headwinds at some point on every ride. So my efforts to reduce drag from the large shopping bag are probably well worthwhile. 

I am trying to come up with a bag support attachment which will allow me to have the bag as high as possible without it swinging about on corners and catching in the back wheels. What I don't want to do is add more weight. It might be possible to have a simple platform to carry the bag like a normal luggage rack but few standard bicycle racks are light enough. Large, specialist, trike, baggage racks are available, at a high price, but may need braze-on fixing points on the widely splayed, trike seat stays. A streamlined shell behind the saddle may be the ideal but would mean serious problems lifting one's leg so high over the obstruction.

April 15th. 42F. Sunny. Winds light. Saddle okay. Bag becoming a nuisance. Will have to lower it again. Saw a recumbent bike going the other way. He was smiling so I bet he doesn't have saddle problems! ;-)  Spent the afternoon repairing several punctures on kid's trikes. (not mine) Kid's Banana Peel trikes may have the makings of a leaning system for adult trikes. In fact there is a Fun trike for us which could be developed into something a bit quicker and far more sophisticated with much bigger wheels. 23 miles today.  

A couple of interesting web pages full of (potential) inspiration:

Googles billedresultat for http://www.industrialbicycles.com/images/banana%20peel.jpg


April 16th. 45-48F. Sunny, cold and windy. Roaring in the trees. I made the mistake of going downwind first. Then had to do 15 miles straight into the teeth of a 25mph wind to reach my real goal! All on a wide open main road without any shelter at all. Talk about exhausting! The saddle hurt now and then but not badly. The roads are covered in thick mud and the air stinks of pig shit everywhere I go! My clothes stank of it when I stripped off for my shower. 32 miles.



  1. Thank you. While I see the logic of your previous set up, when saved as a Favorite it would always open to the first posting, like opening a book to the first chapter and being forced to page through the entire book to get to the chapter desired.

    I have saved a Brooks by wrapping it with cord and soaking in in a pail for a couple of hours before slowly drying out.

  2. Hi Gunnar

    I was loathe to overdo the "water boarding" treatment with my new saddle. A carefully placed pad of wet tissue did the job to perfection without spoiling the rest of the saddle. The water left a dark stain stain on the leather but this has since disappeared. The leather marks fairly easily but has remarkable self-healing properties in use.