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  1. #1
    saddlesore weldandride's Avatar
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    Journal of a noob sorting things out

    Hi all,
    My intent is to go bicycle camping several times this year. Nothing new there, but what makes this a lot of fun is that I stumbled into a nice bike with panniers before I knew what touring was. I traded labor to a bike store owner for a 2009 Fuji Touring bike and a set of classic back rollers, front rollers, and a handlebar bag all made from Ortlieb. So I have been trying to put all this together for about 9 months and have decided I like the sound of loaded touring. I have been riding the bike, but I made some changes two weeks ago; I added fenders, lights, tubus front rack, toe clips, and a Brooks B-17 saddle. NOTE: Brooks saddles from what I understand are like Berkenstocks for your backside, aka Berkenass, however I wasn't expecting to ride on top of a chunk of wood trying to bruise me like an 8 year old with a pinata! Sorry for the rant, but the break in period is trying to break me.
    Ok, so this past weekend I went on my first ride with the new saddle and my front panniers. I rode to a farmer's market about 22 miles from my home, loaded up with about 12 pounds of fruit and veggies, and rode home. 44 miles for me is a fairly normal ride for a Sat. or Sun., but this ride was great feeling. The fruit added some weight to my front end and I was very surprised when then steering really was more stable (not that I think you guys on here are lying, but I didn't think it was that drastic). Anyways, long story short, I rode 44 miles, half of which was done with 12 loaded pounds of organic goodness, and I got my first, many more to come, butt kicking from the Berkenass.
    Till next time,
    Weld and Ride.

  2. #2
    djb
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    Bernkenass, that did make me laugh.

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    Nice! Keep at it. I like that you traded labor for your bike

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    I just ordered my berkenass today, you got me wondering if we rubbed some water on it before long runs if that would help it break in faster

  5. #5
    djb
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    topp, do some searches with B17 in it and you will see diff opinions and experiences on the breaking in period. Follow the instructions that come with it re: using Proofide, the Brooks stuff. Mine was alright after about 100 miles of 1 hour rides leading up until the 100mile-ish mark.

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    Quote Originally Posted by djb View Post
    topp, do some searches with B17 in it and you will see diff opinions and experiences on the breaking in period. Follow the instructions that come with it re: using Proofide, the Brooks stuff. Mine was alright after about 100 miles of 1 hour rides leading up until the 100mile-ish mark.
    Thanks djb, I'll look it up now

  7. #7
    Life is a fun ride safariofthemind's Avatar
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    Sounds like you are doing alright. Your sense of humor will carry you a loooong way

  8. #8
    saddlesore weldandride's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your comments,
    Well ride two of the Bernkenass was completed earlier today. I sat on the bike and was immediately aware of my sit bones, not good, but after about three miles in the pain subsided. I actually got nervous and had to get off the bike for a few minutes to make sure my backside wasn't just going numb. Grand total today was 38 miles of the American River scenery. The ride was beautiful, the stars aligned themselves (or so I thought), and when I got home I noticed no pain and my saddle had started to form two dimples from my sit bones. This was all a deceptive facade, I am not in pain so much as sore and bruised feeling. I am going to reduce my future rides to about an hour until this saddle breaks, however I have great hope for the saddle named Bernkenass. I have decided that phase two of getting ready will be learning how to ride hills, that should be an experience.
    Have a great day all!

  9. #9
    djb
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    your experience is pretty much how it was for me, do put proofide on it as instructed, as I am pretty sure it helps a bit with break in.

    good riding.

  10. #10
    saddlesore weldandride's Avatar
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    This is going to be a lot of postings as I plan to journal my transition from putting the bike and accessories together through my first overnight camping trip, so if you're interested pop in once in awhile. Today I purchased and install a VDO cyclometer to track my average speed and my millage. I hope this will help me train my body to maintain a steady pace, rather than trying to be a speed demon. After installing the cyclometer I rode an average of 15 mph for 22 miles with my 3 year old son sitting in his seat attached to the bike. That, I think, is a good way to start getting used to a load, plus we get to go park hopping! I am hoping to bring him from downtown Sacramento to Folsom Lake, by way of the American River bike trail, camp for a night and then ride back. That should be a blast for us. Anyways, I'm off for a nap before bike ride round two.

  11. #11
    saddlesore weldandride's Avatar
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    So, I've ridden about 70 miles since my last post and the Brooks saddle is breaking in nicely. I am having a bit of a frustration, I ordered a pair of front and a pair of back panniers, Ortlieb, and a handlebar bag. I received the panniers about three weeks ago and I found out that my handle bar bag was shipped yesterday. It should finally get here on Tuesday, yay! I'm frustrated because the salesperson seems to think I am too impatient, but I have called them twice, once two weeks ago, in which they said they'd ship it the next day, and once on Wednesday. I feel as though I have been patient since I ordered and payed for them altogether in mid-April. Is this kind of service normal? Is there a better source to order gear from? What about camping gear for touring? Please help me, my patience can only last so long before I do something dumb like tell the salesperson over the phone he smells like feet. Thank you.

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    So how/when are you applying the proofide? I got my seat a few days ago and have a few hours on it, for me it's comfortable, I can't keep from sliding forward on it, I have it tilted up and if I tilted it anymore up I'd have a serious problem in the taint area.

  13. #13
    djb
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    dogg, they do get less "super slippy" after a short while. Did you put a bit of proofide on the top too? I found that helped a bit for slippyness, but no matter, when new it was really really slidey. It should improve.

  14. #14
    Cyclist storckm's Avatar
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    I've never had a problem with Brooks B-17s, once I've found the right position.

  15. #15
    saddlesore weldandride's Avatar
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    I apply proofide once a week so long as I will ride within that week, then before every ride I rub down and buff the seat as recommended by Brooks.

  16. #16
    djb
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    weld--Brooks themselves do not recommend putting it on that often, once a week????? You may end up making the thing so soft that you screw it up. Ive only had mine a season, but after putting it on originally, I went a whole season without any more. Yes, I put a little on the sitbone area after a few weeks, but dont overdo it. (dont know how much you are putting on, and where-bottom, top? both? liberal amount, small amount?)

    There's a guy on BF who wrote a thread about how he overdid it with too much Proofide and made it so soft that it "hammocked" too much.
    Last edited by djb; 05-14-11 at 09:43 PM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    My Brooks saddles are far from perfect. They're hard and they're slippery. On tours my butt gets sore. But they're better than the 12 or so other saddles I've tried. I have Brooks on three of my bikes - my road bike, my tourer, and my newly-built 29er (for the Great Divide trail this summer.)

    My butt never gets sore on a one-day ride, but when I ride day after day on tour it gets painful. I get off the bike from time to time. When I get back on I feel fine for the next stretch of highway. Take a break to take a picture, have a snack, eat lunch, see a sight, etc. Even 10 minutes off the bike helps a lot. Another thing to do is to stand up in the saddle for a few seconds occasionally. If I'm coasting downhill and my butt has been bothering me I stand up and coast out of the saddle. (I don't like to stand and pedal; it tires me out. Okay, I'm a wimp.) That affords a surprising amount of relief.

    I liked your post and I think you'll enjoy touring. The fact that you got your bike and panniers for labor is cool.

    About the Fuji tourer: I think it's a solid, low-price touring bike. However, I've heard several reports of issues with the wheels - lots of broken spokes. On my first big tour I had a lot of broken spokes. It was a huge drag! I'd suggest you take the wheels, especially the rear, to a good mechanic and have him/her check the tension. If it was me I'd probably even replace the rear wheel with something more robust. After the tour with the broken spokes I've put quite a bit of attention and money into having strong, well-built wheels, especially the rear. I haven't broken a spoke since. It's so much nicer to complete a whole tour without any mechanical problems.

  18. #18
    saddlesore weldandride's Avatar
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    I was told to put a small amount under for the first time, then a very small amount once a week for a month, and lastly once every 2-3 months afterwards. A small amount to me is a glob about the size of a pea, maybe a little less. I am not scheduled to put anymore on till August and the seat is just now getting to a good point for me, and no hammock effect yet. The sit bone points are just now a little supple and the rest is still hard like a chunk of wood, so I am inclined to say that it is working for me. Oh I was also told to put it on, buff it, and not to ride it for a day during the first month. Perhaps some would say I put too much on, but everything is appearing good so far. I guess if I damaged it then time will tell and I will have learned an expensive lesson.


    Big Blue- I have heard the wheels for fuji are pretty bad, I am having two 32H wheels built for me, Mavic rims, an ultegra rear hub, a shimano dynamo front hub, and swiss 14G spokes in a triple lace pattern. I had a mechanic tell me I would have a very stout wheel and can put 700C x 32 Marathon plus tires, which I guess is a good tire for touring from what I hear.

    Well I'm off for another ride, I need to loose some more weight to help those spokes survive!
    Have fun riding all!

  19. #19
    Senior Member simplygib's Avatar
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    Sounds like the Brooks is working for you. Mine too is taking awhile to break in, but right out of the box it was better than any other saddle I've ever owned. I've got about 500 miles on it now and although I still feel it some on the sit bones, I think that's more because I haven't been riding as much as usual. The flesh over the sit bones needs to get adjusted to the saddle as well as vice-versa.

    Good choice on the bags as well. I too have the front and backrollers and love them.

    I see you're riding the American River Bike Trail. I used to commute to work on that daily. IMO that trail is the best thing going for that entire area. It's a gem. I sure miss it (but not enough to want to move back).

  20. #20
    djb
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    Quote Originally Posted by weldandride View Post
    A small amount to me is a glob about the size of a pea, maybe a little less.
    ah heck, thats not much. Disregard my concerns, I was worried you were slathering it on. The fellow I mentioned who put a lot on said that he ended up putting nearly the whole can of proofide on, so I was worried you were going nuts with it.

    In fact, what you are doing is pretty much what I did during the first weeks. (cant recall what I already said to you, but the first time, I put liberal amounts on the underside, where it soaked in quite readily, I warmed it with a hairdrier and in the sun)

    safe riding and gradually getting into better shape and Have fun.

  21. #21
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    My brief experience with a Brooks B17 Narrow saddle was the most painful biking experience ever, other than crashing. I may try the B17 Imperial, with cutout, since they dropped in price.

  22. #22
    saddlesore weldandride's Avatar
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    Saddle is doing well, just got my handle bar bag on the bike. Ortlieb does a fantastic job of making a very stable mount for that bag! I am amazed with the HB bag and both sets of panniers, I cannot wait until it's time to load up and go. Anyways, I'm off to bed, I've got my last final this semester tomorrow, and I hope everyone else is as enthusiastic as I feel about their own set up, or how it is shaping up. Bye for now all,

    Weld and Ride!

  23. #23
    Senior Member irwin7638's Avatar
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    Welcome to the niche inside the niche! I'm having some ortlieb front rollers delivered today. I'm looking forward to trying them this weekend.
    Can't say I've had a problem with a Brooks saddle so just keep adjusting until it fits.

    Marc
    Read Simply Cycle

    "I can still do everything I used to, but now I'm mature enough to take a nap without being told." - Me

    "You don't deteriorate from age,you age from deterioration" --Joe Weider

  24. #24
    saddlesore weldandride's Avatar
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    Ok, so I made a list of all the I thought I might need for a four night camping trip, packed all of it into the new panniers or handlebar bag. I have about one fifth of each rear pannier and one third of each front pannier leftover for food and small souvenirs. After this I went for a three hour ride just to see how a bike loaded feels, and I must say it is very different. I am going to leave the panniers full and on the bike, so I can get used to riding with the additional weight. Does anyone have any tips for helping the legs get into better shape for the tour? Aside from just ride, I think I could help utilized my time during the day to give me some help. Also has anyone toured in Northern California? Where did you go and would you recommend a noobie give that ride a shot from Sacramento?

  25. #25
    saddlesore weldandride's Avatar
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    Amateur's camping mistakes

    I am going on my first tour in early June and one thing I thought might help is hearing from experience. What are some of the less obvious things that experience has taught you not to leave home without?

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