Monday, May 23, 2022

Two Favorite Saddles: Zefal and Nashbar FC1

Women's Zefal and Nashbar FC1
Zefal women's saddle and Nashbar's FC1.
In my quest to purge bicycles, I've been shifting around saddles lately, keeping my favorites. I've been partial to the Zefal, pictured on the left, and Nashbar's FC1. Neither are expensive saddles but are perfect for more upright riding, and sadly are no longer available.

Nashbar FC1
What I find interesting is how similar both saddles are in shape and weight, yet vary widely in fabrication. Both have a wide cutout area, that suits me fine, and in fact cradles my body - best way to put it! They have similar drop noses and are not chunky looking. Both are women's wider version with synthetic covers: Nashbar has one type of covering overall while the Zefal is partly constructed with lycra-type material on top for comfort and with smoother, abrasion-resistant grey material for a two-toned look.

Women's Zefal saddle
Don't touch my Zefal!

The thing is, while I work for Terry Cycling - and use a couple of their models - not one of their saddles comes even close to these dimensions! As I learn more about saddles, I realize how lucky I am to have found these two gems that should suit me for years to come.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Dahon Boardwalk Bike Overnight 2 - Doing it Right

Dahon Boardwalk, all packed and ready to go.

The Dahon Boardwalk, in it's current setup, is best suited for simple overnights. As soon as a weekend weather window opened up, I made hotel reservations a 30 mile ride away, doable at my current fitness level. The goal was to recharge in a different environment and pedal somewhere new or where I haven't been for a long time. 

I was also trying out a new front bag, attached with a Klickfix bracket to the handlepost. With a little cable management, and moving the water bottle holder to the seatpost, I added a bit more carrying capacity. I planned to head out early afternoon and our son would would meet me at the hotel after his shift, arriving around sunset.

I was so excited for this adventure, all packed and had leaned my bike against the garage door for a photo. But then I remembered to lock the front door, exiting into the garage - because it's easier - only to tap the garage door opener and watch the bike crash to the ground. Oooof! I was just talking to the neighbor also, who saw what happened. A little beside myself, of course, the equipment and bike were fine, I straightened the new bag bracket, and set out. 

After crossing the Lamoille River, the walking began.

I have always enjoyed the Lake Champlain Bikeways route. The byway hugs the lake, but steers a rider on roads less traveled.

I pedaled by older farms where the smell of cow manure was a comforting reminder of Vermont's agricultural past. Chickens and ducks, plus the odd inclusion of Canadian geese honked from nearby farm ponds.  I noticed the abundance of horse farms and/or small dairies. Daffodils and wild violets colored the roadside. 

Saint Albans Bay - a favorite stop.

Riding a 6-gear bicycle, of course, has it's drawbacks. I struggled against a 10mph headwind the entire way, and walked a few steep inclines, and noted the route was hillier than I remembered, but no amount of setback hampered my enthusiasm! I was traveling by bike and had allowed several hours of daylight to arrive at the hotel. As it turned out, it took me 4 hours to pedal 30 miles.

I arrived at the hotel by 5 pm, and stowed my bike in the room, showered, and walked to a brewery I'd been wanting to try, Mill River Brewing. I ordered BBQ takeout, their specialty, and the timing was perfect - I'd barely returned to our room when my son showed up! Hoofing it to get there before dark, it took him less than two hours to ride a nearly identical route. The fitness of youth!

We were both tired and just relaxed all evening. The next morning we took advantage of the buffet breakfast and pedaled south along a different, and equally pleasant rural route, this time, thankfully, with a tailwind. Two thirds of the way home we took a break and gobbled a huge ice cream cone, then rolled the few remaining miles home. 

This is my first experience using a hotel for a bike overnight, and it was a perfect getaway. Highly recommended!