Brooks B17 Standard

Bicycle Saddle

After nearly 50,000 miles, and eight years of use, Garry’s Brooks B17 standard leather saddle, needed to be replaced. The rivets on the front had started to pull through the leather. Which apparently was due to Garry being a bit heavy-handed and over-tightening the saddle!

Unfortunately, the saddle was still really comfortable, and Garry was reluctant to replace it! But there was always the worry that the rivets would pull through entirely, and the seat would collapse! Garry was also getting through a pair of shorts on every tour! After tearing them on the rivets! There was also the remote chance he could cut himself, and not on his bum!

Brooks B17 saddle after nearly 50,000 miles
Garry’s Brooks saddle after nearly 50,000 miles

Because the saddle was so comfortable, and Garry hadn’t had any problems with it, up until now! There really wasn’t any choice of which saddle to replace it with! It had to be another Brooks B17.

Garry could have ordered a new seat online, but that would have been too simple! So he was going to ride to Birmingham and get one from the Brooks Factory instead. Any excuse to go away! Unfortunately, that would have been a four-day trip, at best, and Garry just didn’t have the time!  Instead, Garry decided to cycle to London, which was only a days ride. Brooks had opened a shop, named B1866 after the year Brooks was established. So one cold November morning in 2015, Garry set off for London to buy his new seat!

The new Brooks B17
The new Brooks B17

After cycling to London and buying his new saddle, Garry fitted it to his bicycle. Garry now has to break it in, which should take around 500 miles. Now if that’s not an excuse to go away touring I don’t know what is!

Here’s to many more years of cycle-touring in a comfortable saddle!

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Thorn Rohloff EXP


Garry brought his Thorn Rohloff EXP now called Passepartout from SJS cycles in Bridgewater, Somerset in May 2008. Why Passepartout? In the Jules Verne novel “Around the world in eighty days” Phileas Fogg’s manservant was Passepartout. And as a manservant would have helped to carry Phileas Fogg’s bags around the world! And as Garry’s bike had carried his bags across the globe on his world tour, it felt fitting to Garry!

Bicycle Thorn Rohloff EXP
Garry’s Thorn Rohloff EXP

Garry’s original touring bike was his old Marin mountain bike. Which he had converted into a hybrid bike, by adding front and rear racks. But after deciding to cycle from Spain to England, Garry decided he needed a new bike. And after a little research, decided to buy a Thorn.

Garry’s Thorn Rohloff EXP has now covered more than 40,000 miles. In 30 countries, across 5 continents! As of July 2015.

Bike and components List

  • Frame; Thorn Rohloff EXP
  • Handlebars; Thorn 6061 Straight bars with anatomic grips & zoom alloy ski bar ends
  • Gears; Rohloff Speadhub 500/14 in black
  • Wheels; Tungsten black carbide
  • Tyres; Schwalbe Marathon 26 x 1.75
  • Brakes; Shimano XTR V-Brakes with swiss top blue brake pads
  • Mudguards; SKS chromo plastic in black
  • Chainring; Thorn 110mm 5 Arm Reversible Single ring – Black 42T
  • Chainset; Thorn170mm 5 arm cranks (73mm shell)
  • Saddle; Brooks B17 Standard leather saddle
  • Front Rack; Thorn MkV low loader in black powder
  • Racks; Thorn Expedition Steel Rack in black powder
  • Dynamo; Schmidt 28 dyno hub 32 hole in black
  • Front Light; Busch & Muller Lumotec
  • Rear Light; Cateye LD1100
  • Pedals; MKS mtn-lite with Zefal easy clip mini strapless toe clips
  • Computer; Cateye CC-MT 400 Mity 8 cycle computer

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Marin Palisades Trail

Garry’s Marin in 2015

Garry started bicycle touring using his Marin Palisades Trail, mountain bike. Which he brought in 1992. Garry had always been a keen cyclist. But family life and work commitments, prevented Garry from cycling as much as he would have liked.

In 2002, Garry gave up smoking, after being a smoker for much of his life! And being a heavy smoker, smoking 40/60 cigarettes a day, it was a struggle!

Now Garry was riding his bike a lot more, he added a rear rack and some panniers. Making it more of a hybrid bike. After making these modifications, Garry went on his first long-distance cycle ride. An 80-mile bike ride, along the south coast of England.

After this first ride, Garry found he had a real taste for long-distance riding and cycle-touring. And soon added a front rack and panniers to his bike. Now Garry’s Marin was fully converted to a hybrid bike, he would get away as often as possible. Which wasn’t very often!

Garry’s Marin bike, a few years later on the Isle of Wight. Now with a front rack fitted

Unfortunately, in 2007 Garry lost his wife to breast cancer. After his sad lose, Garry decided to go on a long bicycle ride! From Spain to England! Unfortunately, Garry’s Marin Palisades Trail was now 17 years old, and bike technology had moved on. And as much as Garry would have loved to have ridden his Marin from Spain, back home. He decided it was probably better to get a new bike.

Although Garry doesn’t use his Marin for touring anymore, he still rides it every day.

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