Blazing Saddles

Having last completed a bike tour in 1988 with a map tacked to a handlebar bag and bubble wrap on the seat, the Editor suspects bike tech & equipment might have moved on just a tad bit in the last 30 years.  What will the Four Mikes on Bikes use to ensure they get from A to B to C to Rome?   What will they sit on for 8 hours a day?

First off, the map is now on a small GPS (satnav) computer, waterproof and shockproof, which is strapped to the handlebar.  The Mikes draw maps on a PC, then transfer them to their GPS units.  As they ride, they see a guideline of the route they need to follow, plus the equivalent of a whole map atlas in case they need to work out a detour.  The GPS will show the climb profiles for each route and current altitude, temperature, time, speed and distance covered.  It will also tell the rider details like heart-rate and how many watts & calories they are using up.   gps-screen A couple of Mikes have models that will make phone calls over Wifi  – the Editor imagines this being put to good use for pizza delivery when the calorie count get too high.   Malcolm and Denese will have copies of the maps and each day’s route has mile numbers marked, so if anyone gets into trouble, the support van can find them.

Turning from eye and brains to other parts of the rider’s anatomy, the saddle design is an important choice;  Mike Carney admitted it took him multiple seats before he found the best fit.  The Editor imagined a wide softly padded cushion would be comfy, but was put straight by Mike Burton.  “Saddles are deceptive – a wide padded one will rub, which is the last thing you want, “ he said.  “Hence we all have skinny saddles and use a chamois cream of some form.”  Chamois cream is an anti-bacterial viscous substance that helps eliminate friction between skin and clothing and therefore the chafing that can occur during a ride.   “For long daily rides it is a must – part of each morning’s ablutions, along with copious lathering of sunscreen!”

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The Four Mikes on Bikes 2019 Tour is raising money for the London & Slough Run;  you can make a donation at