Thursday, 14 July 2011

My next cycling dilemma – what to buy next?

Some of you will know that I have a policy of spending what I save on public transport in new equipment for my bike riding. I save about £130 a month by cycling to work. When I started cycling I needed a whole raft of clothes and extra bits for the bike (for example 3 sets of pedals before getting ones that suited). The net result was that I ended up spending more than the £130 a month, this was further compounded by that fact that once I had stocked myself up for winter, it started to get warmer, this meant stocking up on Summer clothes.

I don’t really mind this process – it is a bit like renting a house or buying – paying for train journeys is like paying rent – I will never see the money again. At least when I buy new things I have them going forward (well till they wear out) so next year I will need to buy less and less. Also last month for example I only spent £35 on a new short sleeve top – so it was a definite saver month.

So here’s my dilemma – I need two items quite urgently. A new rucksack and overshoes (I count this as one item) and a new saddle.

Cost of rucksack and overshoes about £90
Cost of new Saddle about £160

I really can make up my mind what I need! I need the rucksack because I am tired of my back being so sweaty – I have a £11 “Sports Direct” Karrimor rucksack – it does the job well and is excellent value for money, but I tend to sweat more than most when riding (must be old age) I therefore need a rucksack with a mesh back so I can get some air between me and the rucksack. It is genuinely a troublesome thing for me – I would also like the weight in my back pack to be more evenly distributed, and the ability to add a hydration bag for longer rides.

With respect to the saddle – I have been reading (maybe a bit obsessively) about all this crushed nuts problem cyclists can get. Since setting up my bike slightly more aggressively (see learning to peddle properly) I have noticed this starting to slightly affect me – I have a body Geometry Saddle from Specialized – but it is a cheap end one and I think I should set myself up seriously and for the long term – this is why I need to go up scale a little on the saddle. Anyway over the next couple of days I shall go into my ruminations as to what may be best in each category.

But what is bugging me is – what should I buy first? Common sense says the saddle but I am becoming obsessed with trying to make my back more comfortable, I have been meaning to buy a back pack for the last 4 months!

As a side point I would like to thank the PCSO (part time policeman) for making me fall of my bike yesterday! They decided to move a bloke, who was standing in the bike lane talking to a taxi driver, out of the way – yes all very admirable. Unfortunately in the process of doing this they pushed him in front of me whilst I was cycling past, a little warning would have been appreciated chaps.

To be honest, I shouldn’t have fallen off the bike but I ended up with this guy’s plastic bag hooked on to my handle bars – this odd scenario coupled with a minor collision meant I forgot to un-clip as I stopped to give the bags back – comedy dismount ensued in front of a thousand or so people at London Bridge – thanks Mr PCSO. Yes partly my own fault but I didn’t want to stop as I had about 10 cyclists behind me in a restricted area, also I wasn’t expect someone to do a  “Emily Wilding Davison” (Google it) on me whilst cycling. 

The PCSO could have helped by just sticking his hand out to stop traffic or be a little more aware of the potential problem before going all Sweeny on this guy.

Anyway my pride has been sufficiently dented that I will consider wearing a bur-qua next time I cycle past London Bridge train station.

So what is it to be – saddle or rucksack?


  1. Boring answer; if you're sick of a sweaty back and can fit a rack on the bike, don't get a better backpack, get panniers.

  2. I did think about panniers - quite a bit! But I just can't get used to the idea of having them.

    This is going to be vain - hey what do you expect from me - but for me having panniers would be like going to the shop with one of those granny shopping trolleys (you know the ones with wheels at the bottom).

    On a more practical side - I am worried about the extra weight on the bike, the extra width allowing someone to clip them (and the extra drag) and the main problem that I just don't have the space on my seatpost. Currently I have space for a detachable rear mud guard and my saddle pack - I have to attach my light to the saddle pack.