Here I am in Holland, at my parent's place yet again. Last Saturday Kamil and I cycled from Rotterdam to Amsterdam, then Amsterdam to Texel, then Texel to Harlingen, and then we had to take the train back home because Kamil's knee gave out. I hope he gets well soon, and I hope he has enough sense to RICE.
It was the first trip with my new bicycle, and I managed to reach 1000km on the odometer. Yay! Today I cycled around the lake at a record 25kph average, something I can't remember doing after I came back here from Japan. I think it's because Japan hardly ever had a long flat stretch of road I could cycle non-stop on, whereas I've been doing a lot of that since I came back; around the lake in Holland and in the gym at Google. It does seem to have a small effect on my ability to cycle at constantly higher cadences over longer periods of time.
Wind. Wind sucks. Wind sucks even more if you are going upwind and downwind on the same day. If you're touring then you're usually always facing the wind from the same general direction, which seems easier to get used to than if you're doing a round trip. Anyway, wind bad.
The trip around the lake is the only trip I've done with both my old and my new bicycle, so I finally feel I can compare a little. The new bike definitely seems lighter, mostly because of the absence of a front suspension (which was broken on the old bike anyway so it was just dead weight). I've long thought that my new bike did not have the 'sweet spot' gear that I used to have on my old bike, where I could do around 24kph at a comfortable cadence. Now I'm starting to wonder if it was just my lack of strength that made me think that. During the tour of Holland I managed to hit a very comfortable cycling rhythm around 21, 24 and 27kph, so the gears are perfect.
One thing that's far from perfect though, is the saddle. I bought a Serfas gel saddle on the recommendation of another touring cyclist, but I'm not very happy with it. It's quite comfortable, but any time I lean even the slightest bit forward I end up with numbness in my crotch area. Very bad. I was about to buy a Brooks saddle before leaving on this trip, but a salesperson recommended against it. He said Brooks saddles were too slippery for him and that choosing a saddle is a very personal experience. He showed me some other ones and recommended I try out some saddles for day trips, but the shop couldn't help me with that, of course. I'm really not sure about Brooks. They seem overpriced and hipster-y, and there's zero guarantee that it'll be a good fit for me, so I might as well try out some other saddles first. I might try and get a hold of my original bike's saddle, since I already know that it's comfortable to me. I have no idea where to find one though..