After a week of work, grim weather and lockdown torpor I finally had an excuse to get on my bike today – meeting a friend for some outdoor exercise, fully within the lockdown rules (at least at the time of writing). The forecast was for it to be as decent as we could hope for in January: dry, relatively unwindy and not as bastarding cold as it’s been recently, so we grabbed the opportunity while it lasted.
Unfortunately, while still within the letter of the forecast, the weather that greeted me this morning was not really in the spirit of ‘decent weather’ in that it was extremely foggy (and indeed, stayed that way all day) as well as a bit icy underfoot. Fortunately my ice tyres had no problem with the slippy stuff, but (as I’ve mentioned before), switching to my winter wheels means losing my hub dynamo so I had to take an improvised approach to fitting the Brompton’s front light onto the big bike, having not left enough time to switch the bracket over properly.
Amazingly, this worked, which is far more than I deserved.
Anyway, duly lit and shod, the bike and I made it safely to our rendezvous, we had a lovely and rather atmospheric (if less than scenic, in the sense of being able to see any actual scenery) walk and a natter, and just as I was moving the bike to head home we heard the ominous clatter of something that sounded important falling off the bike and found a sheared bolt.
After some head scratching about what it could possibly be, and even whether it had come off my bike at all (not to put too fine a point on it, it didn’t look either filthy or rusty enough to belong to my bike), I checked the moving parts over carefully, found nothing obviously loose or hanging off – and then attempted to mount my bike only to discover it had been the tensioning bolt of my Brooks saddle.
This made for an … interesting five-mile ride home, attempting not to put too much weight on the partly unmoored saddle. I’ve put a fair few miles into my bike’s saddle and I didn’t want to damage the leather if I could help it, as it’s reached sofa levels of comfiness.
Anyway, Twitter has confirmed that this is a known thing with Brooks saddles, that a replacement bolt can easily be purchased for a fiver, and that fitting it requires much swearing and the sort of mechanical ingenuity that someone who can’t even work out which way round her tyres should be put on (even when there is an arrow on the tyre to show her) is ever going to muster. So although I have ordered the bolt, I will be taking it and the saddle down to the bike shop as soon as it arrives. Some things are just best left to the professionals.