Pootling and Fettling

Mrs. Wow has complained that the Madison saddle supplied with our tandem is a little too robust for her delicate nethers. I bought her a Brooks Flyer and thought I would featherbed this with a good suspension seatpost.

Well, the seatpost turned out to be more of a problem than I thought. The old one was only tightened sufficiently because a previous fettler had made a “shim” from an orangeade tin (I read about that sort of thing in “Zen & the Art of Motorcycle maintenance” but had never put it into practice) so when I took it to the LBS it was not entirely clear what diameter of seatpost I required. I described the requirement as a 1980s Claud Butler Majestic Tandem made of plain gauge Reynolds 531 so he provided me with a 27.2mm post. Of course, it didn’t fit.

I put the shim and old seatpost back in, fitted the Brooks saddle and then started to fit the dynamo. That was quite easy, but I cannot fit the new lamp without buying a longer bolt for the front mudguard as well as a few washers / spacers to ensure that the lamp bracket doesn’t foul the chrome bit at the bottom of the headset. I was also a bit miffed to find that Bikeplus supply their lamps without bulbs. (Edit: yes they do – this was an aberration which they have promised to put right).

Well, we tested the saddle. I had it pointing downwards a little and my wife spent about 3 miles sliding forwards. I also needed to push the sadddle further back in its mountings so that her knees were less likely to come into contact with her bars. While I was at it, I checked the height of my saddle against that of my ridgeback and found that it should be raised about three-quarters of an inch.

Once all that had been achieved, we pootled once more and I believe that it’s now set up fairly well. What we need is a good long day ride.

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