Dropper Seats & DIY Arm Warmers

This post is all about saving you money (and life).

As some of you may know (though don’t feel bad if you didn’t, cuz now you will) when you are about to ride a bunch of downhill on your mountain bike, it’s common practice to lower your seat. This is done for a handful of reasons that I’ll get into at another time – but trust me, it’s just better. When the downhill is done, you move your seat back up to your ‘normal’ riding height for climbing or cross-country riding. It’s way more comfy that way.

My first few years riding, I just opened my little quick-release lever on my seat post, pushed/pulled the seat to the right height, locked it back again and was on my way. No biggie, right? Totally. Which is why the first time someone told me about dropper-seats on mountain bikes I thought it sounded ree-diculous. (What’s a dropper seat? Well if you haven’t been to my handy-dandy-factually-questionable Glossary, you should pay it a visit. You’ll learn about everything from dropper seats to when it’s best to Ride the Lightning©.)

Okay, so Ridiculous Dropper Seats. Who needs em? They sound all fancy pants. They sound like something that would break easily. They clearly aren’t necessary since I’m already able to raise and lower my seat just fine. Another bike gadget that this pragmatic gal will pass on – thank you very much…

How wrong I was. Dropper seats are gonna save you money, and save your life.

Whoa, hold up – how does spending between $150-300+ (installation not even included!) on a stinkin’ seat post end up saving you money?! Here’s how. When you have to stop and adjust a seat by hand, sometimes you do it and sometimes you don’t. Which means not as much fun on the downhill, and (this is where the savings come in) doing a number on your knees by riding with a seat that’s too low for too long. Over time, that damage accumulates. Before you know it, you’re turning 40, 45, 50. You have regular appointments with a physical therapist. You’re buying neoprene sleeves to wear on your achy knees. You’re stocking up on Ibuprofen and drinking more beer to help ease the pain as you reminisce about the good ole’ days when your knees didn’t hurt after a ride. It’s all money down the drain, and it’s all because you wouldn’t invest in that damn dropper seat post. Not only that, you start adding up the seconds it’s taking you to adjust your seat manually – minutes if you have friends there heckling your analog ways – and you are literally losing bits of your life each and every time. You deserve better.

So next time you go to grab that quick-release lever, remind yourself that you’re worth it. Go get a dropper, save some money, and save some life.

And here’s a little bonus tidbit of goodness…

Now that you’re buying dropper seats, it means you’re probably also buying yourself expensive wool socks. And then, because you don’t have that many pairs of $20+ socks cuz that’s a lot of money for socks, you wear that one pair all. the. time.

And then, before you know it, that one pair gets a damn hole in the toe and you’re like, “What the hell, these are $22 socks! They should last forever!” And you feel like crap and can’t even imagine throwing them away, but you’re not gonna darn them anytime soon (do people still darn?) and so you think you’ve just poured money down the drain, but you haven’t!

Go grab a pair of scissors, snip off the toe, give those fancy wool socks new life and put em on your arms for chilly rides. Now you’ve got yourself some sweet, super fashionable, highly functional, bad-ass arm warmers! The heel of the sock even fits real nice on your elbow. And every time you look down at those cool sock arms as you push the button to lower your dropper seat you’ll feel proud.


fullsizerender

I’m right. You’re wrong.

I usually ride clipless, but this morning I borrowed a bike with flats. It was horrible. I rode awful. I wanted to blame the pedals. I had to blame me. It’s a totally different experience. I’m used to being connected to my bike. This morning my feet were on their own – free to do what they please – which was to slip and slide all over. When I asked a fellow rider, who prefers flats, for some advice she said that first off, it’s important to get “good pedals”. When I pushed for a bit more info she said that the “little grippers” on the flats can really make a difference. When I pushed a little more info she said “if the little grippers on the pedals hit you in the leg by accident, it should look like a cougar attacked you. That’s how you know it’s a good pedal.” And since she is a scientist, I consider this information to be scientific. But I digress.

Decision-making. We do it a million times a day. What to wear? Who to invite? Where to go? What to eat? How long for this? How much for that? Person to marry? Kids to have? And…then you’re dead.

It’s amazing we get anything else done in life besides decide, decide, decide. That’s why I’m here to help with at least one of those decisions –

flats vs. clipless pedals?

It’s a mountain biking decision as old as the hills themselves. From cavemen riding stone-wheeled steeds, and now, perhaps, to you.

To start, let’s make sure we’ve all got the basics. Flat pedals are flat. Usually with little grippers on them that keep your foot from slipping all over the place.flats_Funn-Funndamental-Platform

You can wear whatever shoes you want with these pedals, but there are shoes made especially for flat pedals (stiffer, grippier etc.)flat shoes_OCDEPClipless pedals are different. First of all, their name is a lot more confusing than flats. You actually do clip into these pedals – the name comes from them not having a toe cage – or toe ‘clip’.

(Clip & Strap sounds like a hipster S&M bar.)

Toe clip with strap.

(Clip & Strap should be a hipster S&M bar.)

 

With clipless pedals, you wear special shoes with cleats on the bottom. These tiny chunks of metal actually click into the pedal so you’re attached to the bike – until you twist your heel outward and disconnect them. Click!

So maybe you’ve done your research, read other blogs, pored over gear reviews, talked to your friends…and now, you’ve arrived here, exhausted and grateful that someone is finally going to just tell you what to freakin’ do!…Well then, you’ve come to the wrong place.

I don’t know what you were thinking. If you wanted someone to tell you what to ride there are two-zillion-gabillion blogs/websites/opinions out there telling you what to do. They’re likely written by folks with a lot more experience, and time to research, than I have. And I can guarantee you that whatever you decide, you will absolutely be able to find whatever reassurance you need to support your decision.

But hey, I did say I was going to help you make this critical decision, so here’s my advice – just get out and ride. If you’re on flats now, spend a week on clipless. If you’re riding clipless, throw on some flats. Borrow a bike, borrow some pedals, whatever. Then you can add your 2 cents to the interweb of opinions and decide for yourself. Now, stop wasting your time reading this blog and go hit the trails!