Monday, May 14, 2007

Talking About Leather Saddles

Leather saddles are awesome!!--At least in my opinion.

As hard as I know the Elite Tour will be, one of my greatest concerns is saddle comfort. I take training as seriously as anyone, so I know I'll be as physically prepared as possible. But my real worry has been what happens if I develop nasty saddle sores and still have to keep climbing on the bike day after day in spite of them. Sounds fun huh?

I'd read over the past couple of years how a lot of the elite ultra-distance riders ride on Brooks saddles. (I think Brooks is the only company left still making leather saddles). In fact our Elite Tour director and two-time RAAM champion Lon Haldeman rides a Brooks model B-17. But I resisted trying one for some reason. They look as uncomfortable as hell and they're heavy. And besides they're like from the 1970's aren't they? I rode a Specialized Body Geometry saddle from Los Angeles to Albuquerque. Sure I got saddle sores, but I got used to them. Ha-ha.

This spring I bought 2 Brooks saddles; the models B-17 and Team Professional. I love them both. Sure they required a little break in time but not as bad as people say. In fact the second ride I took on the Team Professional was 180 miles and I was comfortable. They say that a leather saddle is sort of like a baseball glove. After a while the leather conforms to your personal anatomy. I'm a convert I tell you. I've never been so comfortable on a bike. Sure they're a little heavier, but who wouldn't sacrifine a couple of hundred grams for all that comfort. And lets face it, people get so uptight about the weight of their bike. Who couldn't lose a little weight aroung the old beltline anyway? I'm not saying its like sitting on the sofa. I went out for a 215 mile ride yesterday and I'm a tad tender down there in my privates. But not bad at all.

I'm not going to knock any of these ultra light modern racing saddles. Hey maybe they work for some. If you never ride your bike more than 50 miles at a time, leather probably isn't for you anyway. But for the kind of training I'm doing for the the Elite tour and for the Tour itself, it is sure the answer for me.

For what its worth..................