Thursday, February 26, 2009

GamJams Reviews: Saddles & Seat Posts

Before I start my review I have a couple of observations. Since they are mounted on a "seat post" shouldn't they simply be called bicycle seats. Or, perhaps since we call them "saddles" we should call the things they are mounted on saddle posts. Sorry, I digress. Maybe its because I have "bling" envy after seeing all the high dollar/high tech saddles and seat posts on everyone else's bikes. That's right! When it comes to bike components, I have very little bling. Alright, alright, I have no bling at all. That is why I had no review for handlebars a couple of weeks ago because I have the handlebars that came with my bike and I don't even know their brand. This applies to all my bikes. Yes, the road/racing bike, the TT bike, the MTB, and the beater/bike on the trainer. So, blingless as I am, I will share with you my saddle/seat post experiences.

Road Bike: My road bike is a Performance Forte. OK, go ahead and snicker. I will ignore you. I believe it has the standard Forte seat post that came with it. The saddle I rock is a Forte Pro. It is not the saddle that came with the bike (that saddle is on the beater/bike on the trainer bike). I actually liked the saddle that came with the bike but it got worn out so I replaced it with the Forte Pro which is tolerable. Let me put it this way, I've ridden on much worse saddles and my junk only falls asleep after a few hours.

TT Bike: My TT bike is a Kestrel 500SCI. I got it used from an ex-teammate. It is very nice! It came with a Bontrager 2014 seat post and a Fizik saddle but I am not sure of the model. It is two tone back/grey. I could not get comfortable on it on this bike in the aero position so I replaced it with the same saddle that Karen's Got Wheels uses on her tt bike, the Performance Forte T1 Tri Saddle. This one works great and is comfortable, especially down in the aero. I just hope I don't get Swanned on it.

MTB: My MTB is a GT Avalanche 3.0. This bike was voted the best entry-level mountain bike a couple years ago. Until last year it had mostly stock components. The only things original right now are the frame, stem, brakes, shifters and handlebars. The stock seat post failed about mid-2008. At least it failed slowly, not catastrophically. I noticed during a ride that the seat was too low and seemed too far back. So I adjusted it back to where it should be. During my next ride I noticed the same thing. So I got off and inspected the seat post and it was arched like the letter "C" toward the back wheel. I guess the metal reached it failure point and gave way and started bending back. I could feel it bend farther with every bump/log. So, I went to an LBS and picked up their standard seat post which happened to be a Bontrager. So far so good. The saddle that came with my MTB was a stock GT saddle. It was too wide, so wide, in fact, that my skinny ar.. sit bones would never adapt. Now don't laugh. I mean it. While at a K-Mart, (OK, OK, laugh all you want) I saw a Scwhinn MTB saddle that looked halfway decent and was inexpensive enough that I thought it was worth a try. Guess what. It worked. It was comfy and light and I rode/raced on it for a year before it broke. So I said, OK, I'll just go back to the Big K and get another. Sure enough they had them. I picked one out of the litter, put it on the bike, went for a ride and it broke. Lesson learned. So now I rock the Fizik unknown model saddle that came with my TT bike. It works but it probably is not the best saddle for the job. In fact, I might switch the Fizik saddle with the Forte Pro from my road bike and see if that works any better. Yes, I think this might be a win-win situation for both bikes. But for now I can only say that while saddles are not my forte, Forte's are my saddle of choice;-)

Beater/bike on the trainer: My beater bike is a Univega Sportour-S from 1985. It has its stock seat post and it looks rather neanderthal but it is functional. The saddle I already told you is the one that originally came with my road bike. Since this bike stays on the trainer (because it has no brakes which is perfect for the trainer but not so perfect for the road) I decided that it needed some extra padding. Back in the 80's when this bike had brakes and I rode it outside the saddle that came with it was so uncomfortable it had to be called the "cruel saddle." To make it more bearable I went out and bought a gel saddle pad. I still have the pad and use it to cover up the worn and torn parts of the saddle on this bike and provide that extra padding it, or shall I say my sit bones, need(s). Problem is that it is over twenty years old and the fabric covering the gel is beginning to bunch up and cause me problems from all my winter training. So now I've had to resort to using Balmex on my bottom like a baby. I'm walking around smelling like a freshly changed babies diaper, but I don't care as long as I get relief from my saddle sores. Thanks again Flamenco Chuckwagon! Or did he recommend A+D? Enjoy!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

GamJams Reviews: Chamois Cream - Body Glide

Let me first say that Body Glide is not exactly chamois cream. It is, exactly an anti-blister & anti-chafing stick. That's right, its the Mennon Speed Stick for your nether region. You apply it just like deodorant to your saddle's points of contact in your perineal area. This is a plus if you do not like dealing with messy creams and what not. One draw back though, if you are hirsute in the nether area, your stick can get a little fuzzy if you know what I mean. The stick does not care but you might. I have been using this product for several years now and had minimal problems related to saddle sores. When I have had a minor "issue", one or two applications of Body Glide clear them right up. In fact, I used Body Glide the day I spent ten and a half hours in the saddle riding stage 10 of the 2004 Tour de France from Limoges to St. Flour (L'Etape du Tour) and had no "issues" at all. Body Glide, it works for me.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I found some photos of me in the Snotcycle race from this past weekend. It is clear that the photog's believe that my backside is my better side since two of the three are of it. In fact, with this first one if you zoom in on the schnoz in the upper right you may see the source of the race name.

Did anyone mention that it was cold?

Perhaps the camera lens was damaged after the front on shot?

At least the kit looks good!