Last Autumn my 11-year-old gel saddle finally split under the strain of carrying my backside for several thousand kilometres and after much consideration (putting it off) I replaced it with a Brooks Flyer, which I was assured by those in the know, was the best -indeed the only- saddle for a regular cyclist like me.

This winter was less than comfortable. Come to think of it, that may be partly why I used the Bakfiets so much.

To be fair, the Brooks has to be broken in, and it had a tough act to follow: I struck lucky eleven years ago with the Gel saddle: it’s like sitting on a sofa, but never caused the sort of ailments that are the regular stuff of message boards and letters to bike magazines. I don’t have much natural padding either, so getting on a saddle of tensioned leather was a bit of a shock for my rather bony anatomy. I’m glad I didn’t get an unsprung version like the B17.

It’s always darkest just before the dawn: after much muttering and almost religiously applying proof-hide over winter it seemed to get worse, but since the weather warmed above freezing I’m finally beginning to see a difference. I wouldn’t describe the saddle as comfortable just yet, but it’s certainly less uncomfortable, if that makes sense. Cycling is becoming enjoyable again and I’m beginning to think about venturing a bit further afield to try the Brooks out over a longer distance.

I’ll take my old Gel Saddle and a set of hexagonal keys though, just in case.