A couple of news items crossed my desk this week that I thought were worth sharing. But I’ll start with two follow-ups on last week’s 5-star review of ISM’s Adamo Breakaway saddle.
The first comes from ISM’s “Brand Commander,” Greg Kopecky, who wrote,
“Thank you for the great review. We really appreciate it. The only small note that I should make is that we actually call the front portion of our seat the “front arms.” [Note: I said the seat had 2 noses.] The reason we don’t use ‘nose’ is that, A) our design is very different ([e.g. patented, ergonomic split design), and B) the arms reside 2-3 inches further back than where a ‘nose’ would be on a traditional seat.
“We had to go with a completely different term because we had too many folks trying to set up their ISM seats in an ‘apples to apples’ manner with their old seat (putting the ‘nose’ of the ISM in the same spot as the nose of the old seat). A new term altogether has helped folks realize that our seats do require a different setup and position. Thanks, Greg!”
Then, an email arrived from RBR Premium Member Colin Drennanfrom Montreal, with an interesting question somewhat related to Greg’s comments about how the saddle is set up differently and requires a different position.
“I am in the market for a new saddle and was very interested in Jim’s review. I ride between 10 to 12 thousand kilometers a season. I rode on a Kontact saddle the past couple of seasons. It did go a long way to get rid of the numb problem. It was a lot better for that than my two previous saddles, a Fizik Aliante and the Arione. However I find it puts a lot of pressure on my sit bones which start to ache on long rides (100K or more).
“My direct question of the ISM saddle is did you try any significant downhill or fast cornering on the saddle? I try to use Coach Fred’s counter-steering method in the corners. He says to put pressure on the outside of the saddle using this technique. You mentioned in your review that you feel as if you are sitting on top of the saddle. I am wondering if this will make it difficult to put pressure on the saddle when cornering?”
My reply to Colin:
The ISM is very different from conventional saddles, like the Kontact. I have ridden lots of scary fast downhills on my ISM saddle, but it did take me some time to get used to the different feel. The ISM seats end up being in a different position than a normal seat, in that they are usually a little lower and a little further back.
It can feel like you’re leaning against the seat rather than sitting on it. That’s not a perfect explanation but it’s as close as I can think to what it felt like to me at first. After many rides, that feeling starts to feel more like a normal seat, but I don’t know that you’ll ever feel like you’re gripping the seat the way the same way you do on a conventional seat.
So, I think you’re going to need to try the ISM saddle to find out if it’ll work for you. And, I don’t think you’ll know right away. I think you’ll need to ride it multiple times. Now that I’ve been on mine a lot, I have no trouble descending on it.
And on my time trial bike, I descend faster than on my road bike, due to the aero wheels and bars. But, it did take practice for me to get used to how this seat feels. I should also mention that there are plenty of pro riders — far more skilled than I am — racing and descending very aggressively, and successfully, on these seats.
You might try to find a shop that stocks enough ISM saddles that they allow extended test rides, and you might need to try a few ISM seats over a period of time to develop the feel for them and also to find the best one for your anatomy.”
If you have tips or experience with ISM saddles you’d like to share, please pass them along and I’ll forward them to Colin.
The first L’Eroica California
Last week was a hectic time for a lot of retro roadies like me, because we all found out that the long-awaited first West Coast L’Eroica ride, which takes place April 11 and 12, was open for registration. These rides, which I believe began in Italy, require you to pedal a historic bike built in 1987 or before (or vintage-looking), and dress in period-correct clothing. The complete rules are here: http://www.eroicacalifornia.com/regulation
L’Eroica California takes place in the San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles area in Central California, beautiful terrain with rolling hills, scrub oak trees, warm temperatures and vineyards all over. The 2004 movie Sideways featured some of the roads, views and wine tasting locations.
Three rides are offered, a 41-mile/65-K, 65-mile/105-K and 123-mile/198-K, plus a festival including a Concours d’Elegance bicycle show and swap meet. In typical preserve-the-past L’Eroica fashion, there will be gravel sections on the rides.
I’m busy refurbishing an early 1970’s Peugeot PX-10, which was the dream bike all the cool guys rode when I was in high school. I could only afford Peugeot’s entry-level AO-8 model back then. A shout out to Bob Freitaswho provided the hard-to-find Simplex Super Competition front derailleur I needed to finish the project. It’s going to come in handy on those beautiful climbs.
If you’re interested in joining the vintage fun, don’t delay registering, as the cutoff is 1,000 riders, and it’s going to be quite the event. In fact, it was just announced that Andy Hampstenwill be there! Good luck.
Close Call Database
My last item is related to our ongoing discussions of sharing the road with traffic, and dangerous and distracted drivers. It’s the Close Call Database, http://closecalldatabase.com/, a fledgling online resource based in Boulder, Colorado, for reporting road incidents and for receiving alerts via email about them when they occur in your area.
This struck a nerve with me because several times over the years, while comparing stories with riding buddies who were buzzed or otherwise threatened on rides, we’ve realized that it was the same driver or vehicle that harassed us in different incidents. Once when this happened, we were able to help the police arrest and prosecute the driver because we both picked him out of a photo lineup.
The idea behind the Close Call Database is that if we record any facts we can remember about these incidents in a central and universally available online resource, we might be able to track down more repeat offenders and do something to stop them. By knowing where they’ve been reported,we can also avoid that area if we choose.
Once you register for free on the site, you can log in to report incidents and read reports from your area and others with details, such as the type of vehicle, driver’s description, license number, and what happened in the incident.
While it’s scary reading the reports, it’s satisfying knowing that these drivers can’t hide behind anonymity anymore and are at least one small step closer to a ticket, fine or possibly arrest.
I welcome this new way to record dangerous drivers and hope it helps the police catch, prosecute and stop more of them.