The best saddles I have found are either covered in leather or made of thick leather. I just noticed two nice saddles from Soma covered in vinyl. One seems to be a copy of the Selle Italia Turbo. The other, a copy of the Selle San Marco Regal. The seats on which these are based are both very comfortable and I have every reason to believe these would be as good. Affordable, too. Both would be right at home on a 1980s to 1990s lugged steel road bicycle.
Also, if you are trying to find replacement bar tape for your Bridgestone RB-1 or XO-1, Soma can help there, too. I think the original may have been Bike Ribbon, which is long out of production. I have one set I recently bought from eBay, but this tape from Soma looks like a pretty close match. Update: Looks like Bike Ribbon is back. Harris Cyclery has it.
Enough with things. How about a little therapy? I am, as always, the patient. Today I learned I need to be more careful when making comments on blogs. We all know this, but I get sloppy. I am lulled into a safe place by weeks then months of gracious support from the friends who read what I write here. Feeling fortified, I venture beyond the borders of my URL to write comments. It usually goes well enough, and why shouldn’t it? My comments are mostly positive and placed after posts written by copies of me and read by other copies of me. The blogger and a few folks typically respond with encouraging words and that is the end of it. We are a homogeneous crew complimenting each other on our good taste in identical uniforms. Silly, but sometimes it scratches a certain itch.
Not this time. I recently dropped a few morsels into the great digital colon we call the web and they were quickly passed in unrecognizable form. Nary a recognizable chunk of tofupup or a kernel of corn in the fetid puddle. Were those my well meaning words staining the bowl? I was embarassed and sad. It went something like this.
Blogger X shared with the world her new love of bicycle computers. Been there, done that, got over it and now I am going to save you the round trip, thinks I. Why couldn’t I keep it to myself and let her make her own journey, which begins harmlessly enough with her deriving enjoyment from knowing speed and distance traveled. Better to be oblivious to time and space, but I was more afraid she’d take the next step, which she she did without missing a beat. She asked her readers how fast she should be going when touring or riding in a training group. Could she have a competitive side? Taken too far, a need for speed can change the way you look at bicycles and pedaling, which become equipment and cadence respectively. Who cares what those new wheels look like so long as they help you go faster. Rides become training opportunities. Did I have fun? Was I being safe? Not important. What was my time? While I don’t reasonably expect this blogger to take it that far, even the remote risk bothered me in the moment.
Here was a new bicyclist and blogger who up to this point seemed to selectively throw her leg over and point her camera at only the prettiest and most sensible bicycles. She cut her teeth on vintage European transportation bicycles and quickly developed a taste for lugged steel beauties from Rivendell and masterpieces of utilitarian cycling from ANT. She developed crushes on other beautiful bicycles along the way, bicycles on which I shared a crush. With each post, my admiration grew. She loved pedaling beautiful machines and seemed to be oblivious to the idea of speed. It was all freedom, fun and safety and looking your best all the while. How terribly sensible and fun.
Now she had clipped to the bars of her new Rivendell a battery operated plastic coach. She wanted to know if she was fast enough to do this or that. I wanted desperately to believe she was immune to the go faster bug. To be sure, I sent a comment. I said I removed my computer when I realized it had made riding less fun. I had learned roughly what various speeds felt like and later realized I no longer cared what speed I was going. I also disliked the extra clutter on my bicycle. Pedaling was better without statistics. Carefree, I was. My bicycles were prettier, too. If I had to write anything at all, I should have stopped there. Maybe the blogger or one of her readers would have remembered the simple pleasure of pedaling in ignorance of speed and distance traveled, taken off their computer and liked it. One happier pedaler.
I didn’t stop there. I added, more as an afterthought than anything, that removing the computer probably made me a safer cyclist because I had eliminated a distraction. Who would disagree with a simple assertion that instant digital feedback displayed on your bars could be a distraction and that fewer distractions are better? Only everyone, I learned, as they all had computers, loved them, and resented the implication that they were something less than totally safe. Oops.
My ignorance is bliss argument cowered in the bushes while the computer lovers attacked my assertion that computers are a distraction. They took shots, one after the other, to discredit the devolutionary who dared to suggest they could be safer. Maybe they were right to do so. Why did I write anything less than positive in the first place? This is her blog, after all, a business I think. Maybe they should have ignored me. In the end, their arguments were just cluttering up an otherwise beautiful, useful and sensible blog.
From now on, when I disagree with a fellow blogger, I will write about it here instead. If you read this, Blogger X, please accept my apology.