Bicycle Seat

My bicycle seat broke on Thursday the 17th. I'm not sure quite when I bought it, but looking at my credit card history, the most likely date was 9/15/2018, when my statement shows a purchase at Performance Bike La Mesa, which is where I am certain bought it. I had been looking for bicycling shorts, since by then I had well established a routine of biking to work utilizing the newly completed path from Sorrento Valley to UC San Diego, and the La Mesa location of Performance Bike was one of only two where a particular pair could be found on sale in my size. (The other was in Oceanside, which I visited 2 days later).

And that is where I happened to see the Forté-branded seat on sale, something like 50% off. Long ago a sage professor at UC San Diego, who had seen my bike seat - which I already regarded as somewhat of a firm seat - suggested that I get something firmer. As with many pieces of good advice, though I remembered it, it took me many years to actually act on it. This seat seemed like an economical way to evaluate that suggestion. And I certainly haven't gone back.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, at least when I haven't been concerned about other health events, I've been trying to maintain at least a significant fraction of that effort. I am lucky to have a long, flat road with few stops nearby, which helps me maintain that routine. So at least in mileage, if not always in effort, I have been keeping pretty active on the bike.

So, I have put some miles on this seat: 1.5 * 50 * (3/5 * 16 + 2/5 * 9) + 0.5 * 50 * 6 * 14 = 3000 miles. Not a lot, but not a little.

And then it broke. I was riding along Sorrento Valley Road near the intersection with Carmel Mountain Road. I had just let two cars pass - the cars turning right are mostly heading towards the freeway, and have little patience for bikes. With the road clear, I was free to cross the turn lane into the through lane that leads into the roundabout-terminated cul-du-sac of what was once a major arterial road connecting Sorrento Valley to Carmel Valley. When the 5/805 Merge Bypasses were constructed, the road was closed for construction; after that construction completed, it was never re-opened to automobile traffic, and now serves as the only safe way for bicycles and pedestrians to get from Mira Mesa to Carmel Valley.

After those cars passed, just as I 'stepped on the gas', I heard a ping and felt myself drop a few inches. Thankfully there were no more cars coming, as I had no intention of hurrying to get out of anyone's way at that point. But I stopped and inspected my seat. One of the metal rails, which attaches to the seat post and provides most of the seat's rigidity, had snapped. But, it had held me, and, after giving it a firm shove, I felt trepidatious optimism that it would at least get me home. And since I was only a quarter mile from my intended turn-around point, I figured, meh might as well finish the ride. It did hold, though I rode ever so gingerly for the remaining 7.25 miles. (Yes, this is far from the kind of distances that many cyclists are able to brag about....)

Pictured here, the broken Forté seat rests by its front end on another seat - the one that came with my folding bike, which I will substitute in for now. The broken seat's side rests on a ridiculously beautiful hex wrench set that my dad bought me, which I used to partially disassemble my bike today to give it a deep cleaning - one more thorough than it has received since I first bought it. The red doohicky on top of it is the clamp that secures the seat to my seat post.

Photo of my broken seat resting on its replacement

And a close-up of the broken seat rail.

Photo of the broken seat rail on my bicycling seat

Sunflower - Black and white, or Color?

Hover for color

BW - full - color - full


Sunlight illuminates an argentine ant as it descends among a prickly forest of hairs on a sunflower, its gaster swolen with nectar.

Red Tail in Tijuana River Valley

How many cities can you name?

I saw this challenge to name as many US cities as you can posted on a blog I follow. There's no time limit - your only limit is your own persistence.

I scored 60,859,966 million people ("26.63% of the national urban population in 2010") with 201 cities before I gave up. Though if you actually want to try it with an uncontaminated slate, don't click that link or read the rest of my post until you've given up!

I was trying to think of places I've been, places with sports teams, places I've seen in TV and movies, or heard about on the news. With some cities, the challenge is spelling: It took me too long to recall that Lansing is spelled with an S.

That the game assumes a state when none is given helped. Trying to figure out a city in Vermont, I tried White Mountain, hoping there might be a city named after that mountain. There is not, but it gave me White Mountain, Alaska. (I never did recall a Vermont city, though I can't believe I failed to recall Burlington and Montpelier, despite my days rooting for Howard Dean's presidential campaign! And I failed to name either the capital or largest city of South Carolina, for the second of the two states where I failed to tally a single city.) I learned that Montclair, NJ is not a city, but got Montclair, CA out of it.

The largest city in the US that I failed to name was Nashville, Tennessee. I've never been a big country music fan. The next largest I missed was in the next state over, Louisville. Those two plus Albuquerque, NM (Go Isotopes!) round out the three cities with over 500,000 residents that I couldn't name.

The largest city I missed in California was Stockton - which is certainly a memorable sight when driving the 5 north. It somehow slipped my mind, even in the company of smaller nearby cities like Modesto and Lodi. The next largest that I overlooked was Irvine, which I've passed through uncountably many times.

The smallest city I entered was White Mountain, but again that was just by luck; the smallest I intentionally named was Industry, CA, a fiefdom with a notorious past

In Arkansas, the historically significant Little Rock eluded my memory, while the spawning grounds of mega-corp Benton did not.