Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bikes and Saddles - A shopping list

I need a bike for the expedition.  My old mountain bike is clapped and my other bike is an old Dawes road touring bike.  I’ve consulted my old flatmate from Hong Kong, the great Steve Coward, who runs a mountain bike tour company, for advice on what I need.  Steve’s done several long distance cycling epics including London to Hong Kong and halfway around Australia.  So according to Steve, here’s what I need:

·         A steel framed bike rather than aluminium.  Steel can be welded if it breaks, aluminium can’t.  Only problem is, steel frames are like hen’s teeth.  Hmm, might have to settle for aluminium but I’ll keep looking.
·         A mid-range bike rather than an expensive one. They usually have holes to fit a carrier, to carry all my gear and are less likely to get stolen.
·         V-brakes rather than disk brakes.  The old fashioned ones are simpler and easier for me to repair if anything goes wrong.  I’m mechanically challenged to put it very politely.
·         Front shock absorbers only, better for touring.
·         A good touring saddle.  This isn’t a super big comfy, gel injected thing, but a very slim narrow one.  The theory being, I’m told, the less contact the bottom the better.
·         A set of road tyres and a set of knobblies for the rough sections.  Road tyres make for less effort and faster pace on the tar.

I’ve been testing out saddles lately.  My old saddle is big and very uncomfortable after an hour or so.  I am trying to find saddle that’s ergonomically designed to reduce my current problem of numbness in the, er, male department.  I tried out a Specialised saddle which was better, but the problem hasn’t gone away.  I’ll have to up my saddle budget.

If you’re a cyclist and want to add any advice or comments, please do!

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