The Soma Saga Disc with a light load at the tippy-top of the La Cueva Picnic Grounds.

The whim of the editorial calendar has left me, briefly, with nothing that needed doing, and since nothing is what I do best, I’ve been doing it, and plenty of it, too.

Yesterday, just because I could, I slapped an overnight load on the Soma Saga Disc and went for a two-hour ride to see how it felt. And it felt pretty damn’ nice, is what.

I have a rolling route through the ’burbs that I favor for bike tests, and despite having 15 extra pounds for company I was enjoying the ride. On a whim I took a detour up to the La Cueva picnic grounds to see how I’d fare with a low end of 30×34 (call it 24.3 gear inches, more or less). And that felt pretty OK, too, though I was down to 3.5 mph at one point (that’s one steep little hill).

Alas, the chores are sneaking back into the picture. I have an All-City Space Horse Disc to review, and that Bicycle Retailer deadline has crept around again, too.

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, of course. Imagine my suffering.

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26 Responses to “Picnic”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    With a 9 speed I would have preferred a 12-36 in back for a 30-36 low gear. Or make it a 2×10. Since the broken foot and shoulder surgery, I am carrying around an extra 10 lbs and its not in the panniers….

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      This is an oddball drivetrain, K. SunXCD derailleurs with an IRD crank and SRAM cassette/chain. I don’t even know how fat a pie plate I can rock with this weirdo.*

      How’s your comeback? Did you do any part of the Santa Fe Century? I gave it a miss for various perfectly indefensible reasons.

      * Actually, I do, now that I’ve done the math: Capacity is 39T, so I’m maxed out.

  2. JD Dallager Says:

    PO’G: Changing subjects just a tad……I hope you’re planning to whip up some of your favorite Hispanic/New Mexican/SW cuisine for the weekend……and maybe share a recipe or two?

    As the weather turns from 12 inches of snow last Friday to 71 degrees today in the Bibleburg environs, I’ve started to have a craving for New Mexico/Santa Fe/ etc. food.

    Any recommendations would be appreciated.

    Meanwhile, to all who have served/are serving our country and their families…..Happy upcoming Memorial Day and THANK YOU!!

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

    JD, I served, and you are very welcome! This country, and ALL the citizens that keep it going, have given me more than I can ever repay.

    Patrick, how do you like that Arkel Tailrider? I simply don’t need any more panniers or rack trunks. But, I am lusting after one of those Tailriders anyway, and I have been since ACA started carrying them in the Cyclosource catalog. The video was enough to sell me.

    If I could have only one bike, it would be my Saga. Are you considering doing an overnight or two night tour? I keep thinking about your idea about riding to Interbike. Scary shit.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Pat, I like the Tailrider a lot. I have two, one with the Dry-Lites saddlebags attached and one without. It’s no trick at all to get enough kit for a bike overnight in the Tailrider-Dry-Lites combo.

      And yup, I’m contemplating an overnight, maybe to Santa Fe, if I can find the damn’ time. My windows of opportunity keep slamming shut on my fingers. Gah, etc.

  4. Herb Clevenger Says:

    Hopi Kingos! Is that a broken in Brooks Saddle I spy on the Soma? I spent years and years and miles galore trying to break those things in over the early decades of my cycling career. But they broke me instead.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      It’s a Brooks, a’ight, but not broken in — I’ve ridden enough of them on review bikes that I decided to get a couple for my own use. So far, so good. I find that if you tip the snout up more than usual the agony dials itself down to simple torture.

      • JD Dallager Says:

        My first road bike was a Bottecchia (circa 1972) with a Brooks saddle (I called it a seat then). My bride and I rode them 15 miles from the point of purchase to our home. We didn’t ride again for 2 weeks due to bone bruises and other unglamorous and debilitating soft tissue issues.

        Maybe you should consider having someone else break your Brooks saddles in for you a la HWSNBM! 🙂

        Can they be soaked in some sort of leather creme solvent? Maybe aged for 10 years or so like a good Scotch Whisky?

        I’ll give ’em one thing…..they’ll last a lifetime…..if you can stand the first 20 years of breaking them in.

        Another example of a legacy product IMO whose reputation/cultural icon status has far exceeded its functionality.

        Which now brings me to our two major political parties. Ooooops, sorry, I let my curmudgeonship (or enlightened, experiential pragmatism?) creep in there! 🙂

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        Back in my bike retail daze I experienced enough of those saddles to last a lifetime! Just a brief test ride on a bike-in-for-service had me shaking my head as to why, why, why? I experimented more recently with similar saddle on my epoca bike, similar to Brooks, but with a big cutout – their advice was to tilt the nose up until you didn’t feel like you were sliding forward. Worked just fine as long as you wanted to ride bolt-upright, but bending over to grab the handlebars was, well…unpleasant to say the least. I lucked out when SMP decided to make some of their standard saddles in a retro color scheme so I could ditch that torture rack!

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Larry, you like the SMP? Never tried one, but I like the look of that downturned nose. Reminds me of the old WTB I had on the Voodoo Loa (I think).

        How’s Italy treating you this year?

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        SMP was at the end (I worked my way up from the bottom price-wise) of a long, painful and expensive trial-and-error process. Neuvation, Specz Body-Geo, Selle italia, Terry, Fizik all got a try based on “This will be perfect for you!” advice from those using or selling them.
        None of ’em were any good. SMP took a couple tries with various models, inspiring (as I became good friends with the importer/distributor during this process) a demo program, but once I found the “just-right” model we (the wife switched too…to the same model!) have never looked back. The large cutout eliminates pressure on the tender vittles while the dropped nose lets you lean over and use the drops on those drop bars without pain in the nether regions. At the recent NAHBS a urologist stopped by the SMP/Favaloro stand to tell us he writes RX’s for SMP for his patients. He claims only SMP (and one other brand which I never tried) actually have the proper shapes to avoid pressure in the wrong places. He also backed up SMP’s idea of trial-and-error vs those ass-o-gizmos you sit on as the “sit bones” that make those impressions actually have little to do with what is actually in contact with the saddle when you’re in a riding position.
        Meanwhile, Italy is here, but it seems the Greasy Orange Turd has scared away most people this season (unless you can come to Taormina with your own plane and security detail) but we’ll have fun (starting in a few days with our 1st guided Sicily tour) and survive to do it all again in 2018. Who knows, Mike Pence might be prez by then?

  5. Carl Duellman Says:

    Did you camp or just load up for a ride? I always ride with a bag just to carry all the necessities plus whatever I find on the road. A friend of mine carries his alcohol burner and a kettle on cold winter rides so he can make some hot tea mid ride.

    I’m looking forward to the Space Horse review. That is a nice looking bike and my girlfriend is in need of a new ride. That frame looks like it has a longer head tube than a lot of touring bikes and being as both the girlfriend and I are both on the tallish side, a longer head tube is preferable than a stack of spacers. However finding a touring bike with a long head tube is not easy. Why do they make them so short?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I just loaded up for a ride, Carl. Never hurts to remember how carrying weight feels. Well, OK, so it hurts. But not much.

      If you like a tall head tube you might have a look at the Soma Saga, too. 185mm for a 58cm frame as opposed to 175mm for the Space Horse. Booyah. I’m seeing more tall tubes on bikes lately.

    • Jim Githens Says:

      Kona Sutra: 58cm frame is built with a 191mm head tube. Plus, the bike comes with a fresh Brooks B17 & a price that is hard to beat… yup.

  6. Herb Clevenger Says:

    One final Brooks story. Back in mid 70’s we had a mechanic who bought a Brooks Pro despite our advice. We told him he could speed the break in process by using the Brooks oil and taking two smooth rocks (trying to duplicate your sit bones) and wrapping them up inside the saddle and leaving them on a warm register vent or sunny windowsill for a few days. He decided to “speed” the process by putting the saddle with rocks tightly encased and heavily greased in his Mom’s oven overnight at 200 degrees. The next day he showed us this horrible shrunken head Brooks. And his house smelled like a refinery for six months.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Herb, that may be the best Brooks story I ever heard. A shrunken-head Brooks definitely belongs in the Bisbee Bicycle Brothel’s Collection o’ Curiosities.

      I have a wide range of saddles that I’ve come to favor. N — although it goes without saying that most of the fleet sports Selle Italia Flites because that’s what God rides.

      Other Selle Italias in use include a Turbo (Bianchi Zurigo); a Gel Flow (Voodoo Nakisi); and Nekkar (Co-Motion Divide Rohloff).

      The WTB Team Laser V is a good saddle for the very upright position on the Jones.

      And the Rivendell Sam Hillborne and Soma Saga Disc both have Brooks B-17s, just ’cause.

  7. Carl Duellman Says:

    i’m surprised someone hasn’t developed custom saddles. like those custom shoe inserts that you heated in the microwave and then slipped into your shoe and they mold to your foot.

  8. ryansubike Says:

    Like the Soma stuff and hope they get you one of them fancy Wolverines to test soon, there’s a Hugh Jackman joke in there someplace. I guess I am going to have to give the disc thing a try some day but I am full rim brakes in my fleet, currently; canti, V and center pull.

    Ryan “Rim-less in Seattle”

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