We’re getting pretty excited to go do this thing. Just 16 weeks until we get on the train. Every night Deb and I are perusing the blogs of other riders to see how they are doing and what equipment they are using. Then we are on Amazon looking to see how much the latest gizmo cost and deciding whether or not we can live without one. Usually we can live without, but its good to see what’s out there.
When I tell people about our ride one of the first things people comment is “I couldn’t ride that far. My butt would be killing me” They then proceed to tell me about the sheepskin wool seat cover that doesn’t seem to help. No wonder they don’t like to ride their bike. Over the years I have found out a few tricks about saddles and riding position.
The number one thing I tell people about bike riding is to take the saddle that came with your bike off and throw it in the driveway and drive over it. New bikes almost always come with a crappy saddle because the manufacturer expects that you are going to change it. You can go into any bike shop and look around and find a plastic tub full of new take off saddles that people changed out. Everyone has a bum that is different and you have to find a saddle that works for you. Another thing that doesn’t work well is to put more padding on the saddle( i.e.sheepskin). That just puts the pressure on the soft tissue and causes chaffing. You really don’t want that. You should feel pressure on your sit bones, they should be carrying the weight. A harder, less padded saddle will do that. An entry level saddle that’s decent will go for $35- 40. Most of the local bike shops will let you try the saddle for a few days and let you return it/ trade for a different one. As long as you end up actually buying from them. (no amazon after you’ve picked the one you want). Deb and I both have Brooks saddles. They are the Cadillac of saddles, although I’m sure many others people will disagree. Deb’s saddle is a Model S Champion Flyer
and I’m riding a model B 17 Imperial.
Brooks makes many different models, so you have a lot of options there. They usually run around $120 -$140. (Again, no ever said hobbies were cheap) Be forewarned though that most of the Brooks line is made of leather and they take a little care. They also take some miles before they break in.(300 -500 miles usually). Once it gets broke in it is the most comfortable seat you will ever have on a bike. It will last you a lifetime too.
Another trick of the trade is to get a good pair of riding shorts. Many people I know say they wouldn’t be caught dead in tight spandex. Yeah I get that, but I never cared about fashion anyway. The fashion police have long given up on me anyway. (After all I’ve worn a blue on blue uniform every day for the last 40 years). I like to get the kind of shorts that have the tight spandex inside and a baggy shorts on the outside.
One last thought about saddle comfort. No matter how much good equipment you have, someday you are going to get a saddle sore. There is some miracle stuff called Bag Balm that works terrific. Really made for cow udders, but all bicyclists know about it and refer to it as “butt butter’. Lots of riders even use it every time they ride as more of a preventive thing.
Neither Deb nor I suffer much after years of riding. Hope this helps!