Obviously, this will be quite a bit different look on the "Rear View" than I have done in years past because of the ongoing pandemic. For one thing, there will be no real event reviews due to all my events having been postponed. There will be reports on "The Quest", of course, and the Single Speed Century, and the failed Solo GTDRI from this Summer. I'll have reports on all the bikes used throughout the year, and the changes to them, if any.
Plus I will have an essay, maybe two, on the COVID-19 affected landscape as it affected myself and my immediate surroundings. Obviously, THAT will be the #1 story of 2020. How could it not be.
I'll be talking about the first (almost) year at Andy's Bike Shop, how the pandemic affected that scene, and why this change in my work life has been one of the best things to have happened to me in years. Speaking of work, December 1st 2020 marks six years of RidingGravel.com for myself and I want to take a quick look at where that ride has taken me as well. So, stay tuned for the "Rear View 2020" and "Bikes of 2020" and more starting now through the end of the year.
Marketing. Ya just gotta love it, right? A niche of cycling gets started and the next thing ya know every company has some specific thing made for that discipline. Whether it matters or not. Such is the case with these specific saddles from 'fizik'. These are their Argo range of saddles and are the short/wide type of saddles I first noticed coming out for triathlon purposes.
These saddles made sense for me in terms of tri pursuits since those riders tend to ride bikes with very steep virtual seat angles and they also tend to position their bodies up on the nose of the saddle. Also, since there are arcane rules regarding saddle to bottom bracket relationship in place for road time trialists, their saddles also need to be shorter. I get that. Okay, what I don't get is why these saddles work in other disciplines of riding.
The nose of a saddle is used to steer your bike, by the way. If you've ever ridden one of those nose-less, supposed 'comfort' saddles, you would get this immediately. Anyway, with a shorter saddle, you lose some of this effect. Also, these saddles are really pretty wide and the transition from wide to narrow is a lot more abrupt. Huh....... Color me as one who doesn't 'get this'. I've sat myself on customer's bikes with these types of saddles on test rides and, well.......nope. I just don't see the appeal here.
So, all of that to say this- If you ride one of these saddles, what is it that makes these work for you? Enlighten me, please. I ask because to my way of thinking, these short/wide saddles go against every ergonomic and technique driven attribute most cycling saddles for enthusiasts exhibit. Thanks in advance. The gravel specific thing? Whatever......
Okay, so there is a period of time during Winter that the gravel roads get slicked up with compressed snow and ice and this pretty much makes it so that I have to abandon riding out in the country for a while. Of course, there are solutions to this 'problem', if you want to look at this as a problem to be solved. I mean, you could just say it is a golden opportunity to ride in the woods, or, ya know, stay at home with a hot cup of coffee and a book. (Do people still read books?) But staying indoors is not an option for me, so yes- this is a problem to be solved.
Now, I have some 40+ mm studded gravel tires. They are the 45NRTH Gravdal models, but have you seen how uneven gravel roads get when they are frozen over? My issues with a narrower tire is that these undulations and ruts could upset the bike enough that stud contact on the surface is not going to be sufficient enough for stable riding. I don't need to biff it on a rock-solid road in freezing temperatures. The risk is too great for the reward.
Fat bike tires have a LOT more surface area contact, and therefore have the potential for more studs to be engaged than a narrower gravel type studded tire. So, my thoughts have been that if I can get a set of studded fat bike tires that look like they have a decent rolling resistance and are not like tractor tires, then I might consider going that way and riding my Ti Muk 2 this Winter on gravel. These 45NRTH Wrathlorde tires look pretty good in that regard. The thing is they are $250.00.......for one! Spending a half a grand just to be able to ride a couple months on gravel?
Hand me that book and that cuppa joe.........
Naw.....just kidding. I'm going outdoors to ride, but probably not out in the country if things get iced up. I'll figure something else out. Just like I have for since......well, a long time now. But if those tires were a more reasonable buy, I would do that. Anyway, just a thought.
That's a wrap for this week. Get out and enjoy the outdoors,however you can! Thanks for reading!