the bike photo

Bike Seat Blues


Those of you who have known me for a long time know I use to ride bicycle quite a bit. The last few years have been kind of spotty when it comes to riding. This year I have been working hard to get back into it. I did a lot of work on a tight budget to get my bikes ready to ride.

My Raleigh was pretty much ready to go. I did get a new seat for it since my other seats were pretty well worn and not that comfortable. The riding position felt ok and I did most my early season riding on it. It is a bit of a tank and I wanted to get a lighter bike on the road.

My weight has gotten out of hand these last few years and I had to take this into account. The first thing I had to do was put a triple crank on the bike to get lower gears for hauling my big butt up the hills. I started working on my Specialized Epic Comp (my old race bike). I had a bunch of parts around and got it running. I had to put down tube shifters on it because the STI (brake shifters) were messed up and cost too much to replace this year. I took it out on a few rides and discovered that the rim on the back wheel has some cracks in it and was not safe to ride. I have other wheels but not 8 speed which this one has.

So I started working on my Bridgestone 450 (a late 80’s steel frame racer). I got it in the early 90’s used. It was my first bike shop bike and opened the door to real cycling to me. It had a double crank (two chain rings) which I switched to a triple (a story in itself). Then I had to put on the proper derailleur that would work with three chain rings.  I had to change the rear derailleur also. I put on a new chain I had stashed and found some decent tires to put on the wheels. I got it so I could ride it but riding position was not that comfortable. Next came a lot of changing things around to I got it set up similar to my Raleigh. After all that the seat was not that comfortable and all my remaining seats were pretty worn. So one day up in State College I bought a seat at Dick’s Sporting goods. Finally it felt ok to ride and I started mixing in rides on it till most my rides were on it. This went on for a month or two.

Then one day I went out for a long ride. I felt good and was taking my time riding along. I was almost to the end of the road where I had to turn. Something didn’t feel right about my seat so I stood up on the pedals and my seat fell off to the ground. I was able to stop the bike and get off without incident (a little tricky though). I looked down on my bike where the seat should be and just saw the seat rails. I walked back and picked up the rest of the seat. Then found a place across the road to park my bike.

I have put in a lot of miles on bicycles and worn out many seats but never have I had one fall apart on me. I looked it over and saw where it had failed. I was able to put it back together, but could see it would just fall apart again.

Then I did something I have not done in the ten years I have known Polly. I got out my cell phone and called her to come pick me up. I was lucky I had service as at least half my ride has no cell phone service. While waiting for Polly I ate the Cliff bar I brought with me. At least it was a nice spot near a creek. After getting home I would go out for a ride on my Raleigh.

The next day I would steal the seat of the Raleigh to put on the Bridgestone. After about a week I ordered a new seat for the Raleigh and my mountain bike. I just got them today and will probably install them tomorrow.