I am here to testify that even if one grows up in Texas, it does not guarantee a love of hot weather. For seven and a half years, I lived on the east coast, two and half years in Boston, and five in upstate South Carolina. In both of those places, September is a month of respite, of enjoying the coolness of fragrant Autumn breezes from the north, of the gorgeous colors of deciduous trees. Then, for some strange reason, I moved back to Austin, where a 10 degree dip in the temperature only barely gets us out of the 90's. Augh!
We got a brief little hiatus after Ike hit, but it's beginning to feel a lot like summer again. For the last week and a half, I have enjoyed not sweating profusely while biking home in the afternoons. In the graph above, it's usually at the max temperature that I make my ride home, and today was well into the 90's again. To think that a week ago I was actually a little cold on my morning ride!
The weatherman says we should have a slow, steady decline in temps for the rest of the week, but after having lived elsewhere and realized that this is not normal, I'm getting impatient for those Autumn breezes. After graduation, it's Northward Ho! Anywhere with four seasons!
Alas, my faithful and intimate companion is close to retirement. I speak of my bike seat, which has served me well for many years. It took me a while to find just the right one, and I have a few old seats in my shed which did not pass muster before, inevitably leading to numbness and later to soreness on account of being too soft. Many recreational seats are marketed for their padding, but after more than a few miles, all that squishy padding ends up acting like a tourniquet on some pretty important arteries. I will say no more.So, the question arises of what to replace with. I'm thinking of two options, and they represent two quite different approaches. The first is less expensive, will not last as long, but would probably be OK for several years more. The critical feature is the cut-out, as shown in the $40 example below:
The other option appeals to the pay-for-quality buy-it-to-last-forever side of me, which is the fabled Brooks saddle: You have to read the website and look at a couple of pages of Google search on "Brooks Saddle" to understand just how truly special it is. It is in fact a stretched leather upper that breaks in over a month or two and becomes personalized to one's own particular shape. There are plenty of stories of people riding the same saddle for 50 years and more. Apparently, after it's broken in, it more or less disappears from underneath you and you don't notice it any more. The only catch for me at present, and the reason that I hesitate, is the usual $80+ price tag. It is ill-advised to buy one used since it may have broken in on someone else's bottom...
So, that's the dilemma. I'll post a photo of the new saddle once I've decided.
I am a sub-slave, I mean graduate student, at UT working toward a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. I hope to graduate in 2009. Pray for me.
I love playing with my kids, riding my bike a lot, and making a joyful noise to the Lord with other lovers of Jesus.