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Velocipede Verses #8: On the Rivet

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I'm an avid cyclist who has ridden 36,000+ miles in the past decade or so. 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 (

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 (

© 2020 greg cain