i believe the correct term is something like bums on seats whenever the intention is to garner the interest of an unspecified number of individuals. the more the merrier i should imagine, for there's undoubtedly a better chance of proselytising to the masses if they are comfortably sat in your direct line of sight. the meeting held in bowmore hall only the other evening to greet the secretary of state for scotland, alistair carmichael was likely quantified on that very basis. some of the audience would have been there due to a personal connection (mr carmichael grew up on islay and was educated at islay high school), some would have been there due to sympathising with his political aims, and at least one or two had their bums on those seats to argue the toss over the forthcoming independence referendum.
using bums on seats however, as a means of gauging the success of any given event is a bit like using a jcb to crack a nut. for in doing so, there is no discrimination over those bums (if you'll pardon my phraseology); they are merely a numerical classification. the only way to bring the statistics to a finer point would be to briefly interview each attendee by asking their true purpose in occupying a seat in the locale. though tuesday evening's weather was particularly kind, there's even the remote possibility that one or two had simply wandered in from the cold.
though i doubt it's a feature exclusive to islay, or indeed, the hebrides, we have what would be kindly referred to as professional funeral attenders. these are comprised a number of individuals who, despite no friend or family connection to an unspecified deceased of the parish, still find it almost compulsory to attend each and every funeral. or at least, as many as practicable. from a purely superficial point of view, their presence offers a greater number of bums on seats attesting ot the popularity of the departed during their lifetime.
those of us who consider ourselves to be members of the pelotonese are almost unconsciously guilty of conducting our own innocuous persuasion to the cause. i'm rather forlornly hoping that my perennial cycling about the estates on any number of different bicycles, might possibly rub off on the never ending stream of motorists that pass by. yes, you are correct in the assumption that i have no rational grip on reality, but you just never know. in our case, the proof of the pudding would be measured by the number of bums on saddles when the day of revolution arrives.
unlike the somewhat spartan seats on offer in bowmore hall on tuesday eve, there are almost as many variations of the humble saddle as there are bums available to sit on them. i consider myself fortunate that i have an agnostic posterior; very rarely have i come across a saddle that my padded cycle shorts could not live with. yes, there have been one or two that offered up less than parker knoll plushness, but on the whole, i'd be very hard pushed to choose between one and another.
that has not, however, prevented the world's saddle purveyors from creating an endless variety to keep the upgrading velocipedinist more than content. san marco, a company sharing their italian heritage with a similarly named, yet entirely unconnected pizza company, have pared weight and padding almost to the bare minimum with the latest aspide offering. in this case, the lengthily named carbon railed fx protek open saddle is listed as weighing 121g, a mere smidgeon greater than four ounces. as if to underline this almost complete absence of weight, when removing the incumbent from the colnago seatpost in order to fit for review, i sat the aspide atop one of the croft's wheelie bins.
the wind blew it off.
those carbon rails are, perhaps necessarily, a tad thicker than their metal counterparts, meaning not only a few millimetres of extra height, but in this case, the need to remove the twin bracket bolts in order to slide the saddle into place. and i figure it's worth noting that the box makes mention of this saddle being from the off-road range. the saddle doesn't seem to know that.
my regular saddles are completely devoid of any gaps in the middle, and though i cannot claim to be totally free of numbness in the undercarriage when slogging into a galeforce headwind for kilometre after kilometre, by and large i cannot say it is something that usually gives me great cause for concern. however, continuing in the vein of you don't know what you've got till it's gone, the aspide completely removed any notion of this unwelcome sensation over the period of review. the saddle's padding, to put it mildly is almost non-existent. press a finger into those red stripey bits at the back, and it will cause a depression, but hardly the sort of depression that occupies any meaningful space.
the aspide fx open saddle occupied pride of place on two colnagos: an old-fashioned but treasured c40 and a brand new frighteningly stiff cx-zero. the latter gave it a greater run for its money; the colnago is comfortable but it doesn't give much away in the lateral compliance stakes. at slow speeds (sometimes the sunday ride sets off at a remarkably modest pace), i'd be telling fibs if i compared it to the previously mentioned plushness of a parker knoll. however, saddles such as this are born with more athletic prowess in mind, and during my paltry emulations of a fast bike rider, it turned out to be a lot more comfortable than its composition deserves to provide.
there's also the rarely mentioned fact, allied quite likely to flann obrien's contention that regular riding transfers molecules from rider to bicycle and vice versa, that one's appreciation of any particular saddle may vary over time. for though those initial bum on saddle moments were not entirely encouraging, the more often, longer and faster i rode, the happier that posterior became.
i'd hesitate to recommend the aspide to fit atop mother's shopping bicycle, but if you're one of those who delights in hammering out the miles, training till your eyeballs ache and participating in a regular diet of sportives, this may just be the minimalism you've been searching for. granted, it behaves according to the law of diminishing returns; those 121 grams will lighten your bank account by a not inconsiderable £170. but quality costs, even though its lack of weight will remove any thoughts of its use as an excuse for poor climbing ability.
san marco carbon fx aspide open saddle selle san marco saddles are distributed in the uk by paligap.
friday 25 april 2014..........................................................................................................................................................................................................