Monday, July 2, 2012

More Miscellaneous Stuff

About the B-17
After almost 11 months the unthinkable happened; my Brooks saddle broke. The friendly people at Bikes and More said they’d never seen a Brooks break quite like it did. One of the rails snapped while clamped in place. Since my FNBS sells more Brooks saddles than anyone else in Florida it wasn’t surprising that they had a replacement. It also wasn’t a surprise when Paul handed me a replacement. They know their customers and asking for a proof of purchase would have been redundant. It is my misfortune to have to break in another saddle before leaving in a month. The saddle had performed as advertised, conforming to me in all the right places. While using a more modern saddle for a day I realized how much hotter other seats can be. The Brooks simply felt right.

Preparing a Brooks saddle is a lengthy ritual involving applying special dressing (oils) to the saddle to soften it so your hard parts can stretch and form little refuges for your sit bones. Stuff on. Stuff off. Repeat. It had worked well for the first one, but I wanted to hasten the process after a 50 mile ride proved that initially they’re awfully damn hard. It had occurred to me that heating the dressing might hasten it’s absorption, but heating a metal can of the stuff seemed equally tedious or messy or both. With ambient temperatures in the low 90s and a blazing sun about to appear over the trees I realized modern technology (like using a microwave) would not do the entire job as efficiently as the sun. With the dressing, the saddle and the application rag all hot, the dressing went from being a greasy surface slick to gone without a trace. Multiple applications took moments. Now, it’s all about getting miles on it.

The Brooks had about 4500 miles on it when it began squeaking. Leather squeaks as I learned years ago when I drove MGBs. The squeaking started about a week before I finally began tugging at the saddle to replicate the sound. The sound I produced was a soft ping when the broken end slipped out of the seat mounting bracket. Brooks provides a 2 year warranty, but I doubt I will ever have to invoke the warranty again.

About Body Glide
My verdict is in. It works and to ride without Body Glide became unlikely. No mess and no irritation. What more can someone say about a product after saying “it works.” Do I talk about how, when and how often to apply? Read directions and follow manufacturer’s advice.

It’s a lot like finding a tire that works well and reduces flats to almost nonexistent. Why would you not use them if you wanted to avoid flats? Any "Cons"? Their website is Flash. Tedious.

About Tent Sites in an RV World
I telephoned several campgrounds listed on the Adventure Cycling maps. Most expect to fewer guests in August, except “don’t show up on Labor Day.” One offers “no hook ups” for $10 and $15 with. Another is $19 and has water and electricity. They only have one tent site. One state park said it was best to avoid weekends. They charge $17.93. I didn’t ask whether the fee had some numerological significance. Another state park cost $20 and there were no amenities other than a bath house. The most expensive was $25 and $27.50. It was private and the person on the phone was not the kind of campground keeper I wanted. In the alternative, the man who answered the phone for Hughes Family Campground near Calabash, NC, said they’d make room for a tent and that water and electricity were available at all the sites. He also said if he wasn’t around to get comfortable and he’d be “around eventually.”

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