saddles, rivets and happiness
When I was at Sweetgrass Cycles Monday, I had wanted to buy some Proofide, but alas, they were out. Pal Jeff came to my rescue by giving me a tin with a small amount left in it, and lo, it turned out to be just exactly the right amount for what I needed. Last night I pulled Julius's once honey-colored Brooks B-17 special off the seat post and yes, I super-glued the torn bit under the right front rivet together after encouraging it back together with a rubber mallet. Then I slathered the old saddle with Proofide, paying special attention to the nose and the corners near the ends of the cantle. I shouldn't let things get that dried out, now, should I?
It's the newest of my Brooks saddles, in use for 11 years now, the thickest leather, but with the most damage because of that little tear. I bought it from the late, much-missed Sheldon Brown at Harris Cyclery back during the great Brooks saddle panic when Sturmey-Archer succumbed to speculators before being rescued by Sun Race, when it looked like there would be no more Brooks saddles, period. I'll see how it fares, and I have not yet ruled out fitting it with an auxiliary rivet to take up the strain where it's damaged. We'll see.
I was awake right at 5:00, but chose to be lazy and stay in bed until the alarm went off 40 minutes later, when I did the usual drill of dress in cycling togs, eat something, grab a water bottle and pop down into the basement for the Gitane. Then it was out, the same road as yesterday and the ride before that and the ride before that one, too ... but I felt really, really good. As in, happy, joyful, and grateful that God had given me a really lovely morning and a smooth-running old bike to ride in the cool between the rays coming through the trees along the rail trail.
It felt especially nice, really, genuinely full and rich and spreading outward, and I felt all hippy-dippy-peace-love-'n-happiness and decided I could send my cynical inner voice back to its playroom with a popsicle while I enjoyed simply feeling exceptionally happy. So I did. I nodded or waved to just about everyone I encountered, and they pretty much all responded in some way that was above-neutral-or-nicer, if not smiling back. See, Greenwood County can be a pretty good place to be, after all.
Now, after the fact, I can look up the appropriate Scripture here - "But godliness with contentment is great gain," 1 Timothy 6:6 - and seriously, it felt like a gift and I was and still am most grateful for it.
The grin stayed on my face all the way up the hill on New Market, all the way along Robber Baron Row and back into town along Taggart Avenue. I weaseled along Reynolds to Gatlin and thence over to Sproles and the bonus hill climb. It was 6:53 when I muscled my way up to the top, so I swept around in a loop to take in the outer boundary of my neighborhood before coming back around to make it truly a bonus hill climb. It was NOT a fast climb with dancing on the pedals, more like a determined punch-punch-punch in slow mo' with the bike going way way over from side to side under me, but no one was rating my form, and anyway, I was still grinning with the sheer fierce exultant joy of being alive with metric-gauge Reynolds 531 doing its Gallic thing under me.
Home then, and rolling up to the gate at 6:59, and the morning's shave-shower-shampoo-slacks-and-shirt ritual awaited, followed by gainful employment and the opportunity to see if I could keep that grin going all day.