Dropper post

If you look very closely at the above photo, you can see a cable sticking out of the bottom of my saddle. A few months ago, I hired a bike with a dropper post and although the snow meant that the only trails I could go on didn't really benefit from a post and although I kept dropping the seat post instead of changing gear, I got an idea of how useful it could be. And then, a couple of weeks ago, I went cycling in the Eifel. There were enormous storms, with some of the paths turning into small rivers with much erosion, so that I spent a lot of time going slowly and carefully down the steeper hills. Neither hanging over the back of the saddle nor stopping to put it down and then up again every few minutes are ideal solutions for that situation. However, when I got back and started searching for possibilities, it was clear that there was a bit of a problem. The bike industry is rubbish when it comes to defining standards and sticking to them and one of the things that varies unnecessarily between manufacturers is the diameter of the saddle post.  Apparently, my three-year-old bike has an 'old fashioned' diameter and it turns out that most dropper post manufacturers don't make posts in its size.  My LBC also tried really hard to find something for me but without success, unless I was willing to pay a ridiculous price for the most expensive ones in existance. However, just when I was about to give up, I found an English shop that did have one that fitted, with good reviews and the right price. And what is more, I did not even have to indulge in dubious import practices with the help of English relatives, but they shipped to the Netherlands for me.

And so it was that yesterday I headed for the Posbank, a trail with some reasonable hills (but nothing really dramatic) and my new dropper post attached. Would it really be useful round here, or only with the 20-30% slopes of the Eifel? Indeed it was! On slopes of 10-15% with slippery loose sand, I could definitely go faster, more confidently and quite likely even safer down them, with my centre of gravity moved downwards, and I could hang just above the saddle without being so far up in the air that I felt like I was hovering over the handlebars. On the way back I also found an unexpected benefit.  There is a tunnel under the railway line, I think originally built for animals to get through, but now also in use by mountain bikers. I am always a little nervous of it as it is just a little lower than my head height, but if I bend my head down then my helmet obstructs my vision. Lowering the saddle a few centimetres turn out to be very handy in that situation too.