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(Note: I hope this isn't a repeat entry. I just started using a new Internet connection because my last one was constantly losing connection. I tried submitting this earlier, using the shoddy connection, but I'm not sure it made it through all right. I'm sending it now, but I apologize if this comes through as a repeat. In any case, this one is slightly better. Thanks!) I had never ridden a Brooks. But everyone told me they were the best, so when it came time for my first cross-continental tour, I decided it was time to see what all the fuss was about. The day my package arrived, I was thrilled to see such a fine, well-crafted, high-quality box. If this is merely the box, and it’s the nicest box I’ve ever seen, I thought to myself, imagine how incredible the contents must be! I slid the box open and gazed at my future throne: rivets, leather, beautiful embossing, and those distinctive interlocking O’s. The craftsmanship and classic styling that had so apparently gone into the construction of the box, the included newsletter, and especially the saddle I then held in my hands certainly inspired thoughts of moustache wax, knickers, and wool caps. My reveries were cut short, however, with the reminder that tweed would not be the best clothing for a summer-long, 4,200-mile tour. In fact, there was still much I needed to do to get ready for the tour. I was a rookie, learning the wisdom of more seasoned touring veterans, who all repeatedly told me that the single worst thing for a long-distance cyclist is saddle sores. Their tales of blisters, puss-filled boils, and irritating pain in the most intimate of all possible places haunted me. But I knew that my new Brooks saddle held the key to my success. With excited confidence, I bolted down the saddle, slapped on some chamois butt’r, hitched up my chamois-lined drawers, and set off to conquer the world. I started on the Pacific coast of Oregon and headed east. The more I pedaled, the more comfortable my saddle became, and the more I fell in love with it. The suffocatingly humid heat of the American Midwest left everything sweat-soaked and damp. The saddle eventually took on a deep, rich color, and molded to the shape of my butt cheeks. It was like riding atop a giant cloud of frozen custard. Not only did I successfully avoid the horrors of saddle sores, I completed the tour feeling comfortable, strong, happy, and ready for more pedaling. As far as I’m concerned, Brooks saddles are a requirement for any bicycle that wants to look as classy and beautiful as any self-respecting bike should, and that wants to give its rider a truly joyful pedaling experience.
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