Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The squeaky [saddle] gets the grease

I'm really enjoying the Let's Go Ride a Bike Summer Games, not only for the thrill of potentially winning some truly fabulous prizes, but also because the various "challenges" provide that perfect little push to do things you might not otherwise think to do or get around to doing.
Part II: June 7-June 27: Learning Experiences
  • Perform a maintenance task — big or small!
  • Decorate your bike
  • Read a book about cycling
  • Carry a load on your bike — groceries, etc.
  • Test ride a different type of bike than you normally ride
Last night, I took on a (very small) maintenance task with my Brooks saddle.  I'd been noticing on some of my quieter rides that the springs on this sprung saddle had been making a small racket, which I think made Frida sound like an old lady-- which she is not!  After some basic googling, it seemed that a few drops of 3-in-One on all of the metal bits on the underside would clear things up... and really now, when has a little extra lube ever been a bad idea?

Normally, I would've just held a paper towel under the saddle to catch the drips and done it without taking anything apart, because I am lazy.  But since this would be my official maintenance task and I wanted to be thorough, I went all the way and removed the saddle from the seat post.  I'd also read that when you first get your Brooks baby, you should put a coat of Proofide on the underside to help protect it from water; which seems less of an issue when you have fenders and non-porous skirt guards, but hey, here was my chance to do it up right.
Hello, squeaky.

I used a long, thin paintbrush to help me reach some of the nooks and crannies that would otherwise have been tricky.  Fairly obvious, maybe, but I still felt pretty clever and resourceful when I thought of it!

As I was sitting there lovingly spreading goo across my saddle and smelling all of the oil and grease and leather, I felt very "Charles Ingalls in Little House in the Big Woods"-- all those scenes of him coming home on winter nights to sit by the fire, greasing his bear traps and filling his gunpowder horn and repairing the leather straps on his bullet bag.  The Little House books were a huge part of my childhood, and I still read the entire series an average of once a year, so this was a very comforting parallel.
Totally Ingalls style.

Now I just want to color some butter with carrot peels and eat a roasted pig's tail, and I'll be all set.


Anonymous said...

I should probably oil the metal bits of my Brooks as well, as it's quite squeaky (though to be fair, it is 57 years old). I really need to give the top side a little love as well, it's still in good shape, but a little dry. Probably should give it some good care and oiling.

I think the paintbrush is a brilliant idea! :)

Anonymous said...

In Lithuania they eat roasted pigs ears as beer snacks. Regretfully, I never tried them, but I may remedy that in September :)

Dottie said...

Nice work! Great photo sequence. I really need to follow your example and take better care of my Brooks. I put proofhide on them in the beginning, but nothing since.

margonaute said...

Dottie: Thanks, though I have to admit, it felt a little silly at some points, trying to mime brushing action while steadying a camera with the other hand! I would recommend taking the time for the Brooks when you get a chance-- it was very satisfying, and a nice, easy way to feel like you were pampering your bicycle.

portlandize: The oiling seems to have been a success with regards to the squeaky creakies. You should do it! Nothing like sailing along on your bike without sounding like you're traveling in a 19th century buggy. Also, pigs are magical(ly delicious :-O )!

somervillain said...

you know what? every single brooks saddle i've had has squeaked, whether 50 years old or brand new. i find i have to do what margonaute did and apply some light oil to the saddle frame, usually about once a year.

MDI said...

Yeah, Brooks sprung saddles tend to squeak like mad. I have the ever-sprung B33 that has springs made out of springs. It S-Q-U-E-A-K-E-D when new. Took several applications of varied lubricants and gels to shut it up. Don't want to go through that again, and wouldn't wish it on a Brooks-newb. Thanks for the power of googles. :)

Anonymous said...

What a helpful blog. Thanks. Hopefully I'll be squeak-free soon!

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