Monday, July 7, 2014

Still Squeaking

From a biking perspective, this has already been one of my weirdest summers ever.  Whereas I would normally have put in a thousand or so miles by now, I've been in a sort of bike limbo the past couple of months.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still in the saddle just about every day (the beauty of living a bike-commuter, one car lifestyle)  but nature and the powers that be just seem to be conspiring to keep me from racking up my typical summertime mega-mileage.  

Whether the move in May, the job change in June, or my littlest Bikeist's hospitalizations (she's doing great, by the way, almost fully recovered), life just keeps on happening to me.  Then, as you loyal readers already know, just as it felt like I was coming out of the other side of the tunnel, my saddle began squeaking to the point of distraction (for me and anybody unlucky enough to fall in next to me on our Saturday morning club ride).  As previously discussed, after endless attempts to eliminate the squeak through adjustments, oiling, voo-doo, etc., I concluded that the only reasonable solution was to buy a very expensive, solidly constructed, leather saddle.  The Selle Anatomica X got the nod, based upon the opinions of several Crown City Cyclists, some who ride it, and some who noticed it as the sadle of choice for Race Across America (RAAM) competitors.

So, I reached out to Selle Anatomica, which happens to be a San Diego company (how about that?!), and shamelessly begged for a free saddle based upon my prominent stature in the San Diego biking community.  After a little initial confusion ("the bike what?" -- "bikelist?"), they were so blown away by the opportunity to have a bonafide bike celebrity test their product that they offered to sell me the saddle at cost (same as they do for employees).  Score one for the Bikeist!  This blog hasn't made me rich yet, but we're getting there --

In a mere two days, I had a (gorgeous) Selle Anatomica X saddle in my possession:

So pretty!

It happened to arrive on a Friday, so, there I was Friday night, in the garage, carefully installing it to just the right position, with just enough tension (via the easy to adjust tension bolt under the nose) so it would be ready to go as I ser out with my club the next morning.  My minimal testing in the parking lot across from my house led me to believe that the squeak had finally been defeated.  But, much to my horror, as we started to get up to cruising speed on the Strand, south of the Naval Amphibious Base, the dude next to me asked what the deal was with my squeak.  I think I had been in denial up to that point (especially since the saddle, as advertised, was uber-comfortable right out of the box).  But, his observation burst my bubble instantly, and I quickly realized that the rhythmic eee-aww, eee-aww, eee-aww, was as bad as (or worse than) ever!


This, at least, confirmed for me that the issue was not with the saddle, but something else.  The hardware attaching the saddle?  The (brand new carbon) seat post?  A crack in the frame?  Thus, it was time to pull out the big gun -- had to go off-island and employ my secret-weapon bike-mechanic -- the guy who, through trial and error, always seems to be able to solve problems beyond the ken of mere mortal mechanics.  Drawback is that he can't just drop everything for my issues, so I had to leave my bike with him for the entirety of the holiday weekend.  I wound up doing some fun, shorter, rides on the (squeak-free) Urban Assault Bike during my 96 hours of liberty, but missed out on the several hundred I usually do 4th of July week. 

It'll all be worth it if my mechanic gets the squeak out.  Even if he can't, I really couldn't conceive of biking another mile with that incessant, grating, squeak shooting through my brain like a spike.  If he can't solve it, I'm just getting a new bike -- can't take this anymore!

I'll leave you all with a little piece of serenity from this morning's ride up to Cabrillo National Monument.  In the meantime, please pray for my bike . . .  

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