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Velocipede Verses #8: On the Rivet


I'm an avid cyclist who has ridden 30,000+ miles over the past seven years. I enjoy sharing the little I know with interested others.


Saddles used to have a rivet on the front to hold the crotch-numbing slab of leather in place because cycling saddles at the time were modeled after Western horse saddles. And whenever you were well and truly on your limit, you’d have your rump precariously perched right over that brass nubbin. Hence the term, “on the rivet.”

— Velominati, The Lexicon (velominati.com/nostalgia/on-the-rivet)

Here's the rivet on a modern-day Brooks saddle on one of my bikes

Here's the rivet on a modern-day Brooks saddle on one of my bikes

On the Rivet

On the Rivet
In the big ring
If you ride
You want to be there
With a Five Face
Tilting up a bidon
Squirting more water
On your face
Than in your gullet
Climbing the cobbles
At Koppenberg

Or Kapelmuur
Raising your arms
Celebrating victory
At De Ronde
Quoting LeMond
On the podium
More famous than Skibby
Luckier, too
No bent wheels
On a steed
In the lead
Of the epic Tour

Jesper Skibby's Bike Run Over by Race Director While Skibby's Leading the 1987 Tour of Flanders

Not famous like he
Who shall not be named
And for different reasons
Than altered chemistry
During training
And competition
Laying down The Five
The V
The VV
The V and VV
The five and dime
With a look like Pete Boydell’s
Five Face
In a pic for the ages
From races
In the day
When pedal clips were clips
Not clipless
When the blood in your body
Was made in your body
Stayed in your body
Au naturel
The bonk could happen
Because all you had to give
Is what you gave
Until sweat would
No longer come
And the drool on your cheek
Past your ear
Was dried
In a pattern
Like the wind
Did a Rorschach test
On your Five Face
Happy place
You want to be there
If you ride
In the big ring
On the rivet

Don’t ask me why we all slide forward on our saddles when we’re riding hard, but we all do. Slip your saddle forward a bit to accommodate the forward position and you’ll still slip forward once you start laying down The Five. It’s one of life’s great mysteries, alongside gravity and how the frosting got inside the twinkies.

— Velominati, The Lexicon (velominati.com/nostalgia/on-the-rivet)

© 2020 greg cain


greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on August 14, 2020:

Thanks, Nicholas. Quite kind of you, and I appreciate you giving it a read.

Nicholas W King on August 13, 2020:

That is an exceptional poem. I love the cadence and the rhythm of it. Just brilliant.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on July 20, 2020:

Sha - haha! Right! Lots of folks say that, think that I think. The added padding is actually, and counterintuitively, not good for long rides, though. All that extra padding has a tendency to make numb the perineum (I think I just thought of another Velo Verse topic here, thanks to you), particularly on longer rides where the cushioning pushes on the blood vessels in the nether region and squashes them. You'll see some seats have cutouts for this very reason. My seat pictured here does not have that (though I have one that does), but it's so hard I sit firmly and directly on the two butt bones, they carry the weight and keep me from going numb. Still, if I don't ride for some number of days or months (for some ungodly reason), once I get back in the saddle, so to speak, my butt bones are a little sore until they get used to it.

Thanks once again for the great comment and perusing my poetry. Have a blessed day, my friend.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 20, 2020:

Like Bill, I understand very little of this, but it reads so smoothly I couldn't stop. I did get the drool on the cheek past the ear dried in a pattern of the wind, tho.

Your seat looks hard and very uncomfortable. Bike manufacturers should consider adding memory foam to the seats. Just sayin'.......

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on July 17, 2020:

Bill - just think of really steep hills with lots of cobbles where a pro rider has to stand up and really get after it to make it up the grade. That’s pretty much what this is about, for the most part. Good weekend!

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on July 17, 2020:

Morning, Eric! Thanks for the words and also for not saying what I thought sure you would: I’m also the only cyclist you know! I hope you have opportunity to get stop your two-wheeled steed someday very soon. Have a great weekend...maybe a Saturday ride would be good!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 17, 2020:

I understood about 50% of this, but somehow it still added up to an enjoyable read, non-stop action that left me breathless. Excuse me, but I need to go drink some water. I'm parched.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on July 17, 2020:

Did you know that you are the best cyclist I know - just saying. Such a cool term over the rivet. I like your reference to the unnamed altered.

I really enjoyed this piece and thank you.

Yes I am motivated to call out my old nag and go for a spin today.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on July 16, 2020:

Thanks John, both for giving it a look and also for the grammar point out. I just copied and pasted from the website since it was a direct quote, but thanks to you I found that error and another, as well, on the other quote. I’ve fixed both now, and pretty much learned a lesson there. Thanks again, my friend. Very much appreciated.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on July 16, 2020:

This was a fun read about being “on the rivet,” Greg. I must admit many of the terms are new to me being quite ignorant of cycling terminology as I am. (You may just want to reread the last callout quote...”Don’t ask ‘my’ why..”)

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