Oct 18 2010
Given a choice, I take the road less traveled by, but there’s one thing you don’t often find along rural byways—a roadside bench. And I’ve often felt the lack. It might seem counterintuitive that a cyclist would want to sit down after a couple of hours in the saddle, but I often do. I don’t mind sitting on the ground, but the road verge doesn’t always offer a comfortable sitzplatz, particularly for a rider whose nether regions are clad only in lycra bike shorts. Even if the verge isn’t littered with broken bottles, it’s probably garnished in coarse graveI. And if by some great good fortune you happen find a patch of grass without glass shards or dog turds, it’s almost certain to be damp. But I don’t want to carry a camp chair around on my bike, so for years now I’ve taken my rest breaks standing. Recently, though, it occurred to me that there was a happy medium. The idea came to me when I was collecting my kneepads in preparation for a canoe trip. They’re nothing special—just squares cut from an old closed-cell foam sleeping pad. Why, I wondered, couldn’t I use something like that to pad my bum during breaks in a bike tour?
Why not, indeed? Foam squares are light, resilient, and easy to clean. They’re the perfect portable seat, in other words. But how best to carry one? Then inspiration struck. My new Axiom Champlain panniers have replaceable hardware, and the nuts which secure the suspension hooks’ Allen screws protrude into the panniers’ main compartments. I’ve been looking for a way to pad them. And now I’d found it.
Better yet, the padding would do double duty. So I cut up an old foam pad into rectangles sized to fit in each pannier’s backing sleeve.
And it worked. I’d taken the edge off the protruding hardware, and I’d insured I’d never be without a cushy place to park my butt.
Now, whenever I want a roadside break, I can reach into my pannier and pull out a chair. It’s not a park bench, and I’ll still have to keep my eyes peeled for dog turds, but it’s a lot better than standing!