Some things are embarrassing to ask about at the bike shop. Like, “Do you have a special seat so that I will not be rubbed raw and in constant pain?” And then you find out that nearly EVERY serious rider has addressed this issue! Not that I’m calling myself a serious rider, but I have put some serious effort and miles into my road bike training.
Once I started to increase my biking mileage over 45 minutes regularly, I developed shockingly sore spots. I tried adjusting my form. I got help modifying the angle of the nose of my bike seat, which in biking circles is called a saddle. These things helped a little some days. I never got around to trying a Noxema buffer, as was recommended, though I did use vaseline a couple of times. It didn’t seem to make enough difference.
When someone mentioned the design options of bike
seats saddles, I felt a desperate need to get one that would relieve pressure points. The folks at Rolling H Cycles let me borrow two saddles to test drive. One had a split middle, still being attached at both ends. The other one had more padding and an open split all at the hind end.
The next step was learning to get bike seats on and off. I had never looked at it closely before. My husband showed me the correct tool (an allen wrench) and let me fiddle with the attachment metal. It took me a while to figure out that the top metal piece needs to be turned sideways for the bike saddle to slip off. There was no need to loosen the bottom bolt as much as I had at first. Now, I can remove and replace the saddle in a couple of minutes.
I rode each test saddle on our street in front of the house. I could tell right away that I preferred the middle split. The other was not appreciably better than the original saddle on my low end road bike. I rode a training ride that morning of 16 miles and was so much more comfortable.
Before I made a purchase, I decided to ask my bike savvy girlfriend what she uses. Don’t ask me why I hadn’t done this before. I had asked her a lot of other bike questions. All I can say is that it takes time to work out what to ask even when you know there is a problem.
The answer: a Specialized Women’s Dolce Sport Gel Saddle. It had the same split in it, but the word “gel” was very appealing. I hunted it down at Cafferty’s Cyclery in Nampa. “Specialized” is a brand name, which may have been mentioned in previous conversations at Rolling H and during the Ladies Only Ride, but since it just sounds like an adjective when spoken, I think it slipped by me while I thought, “Okay, but what kind of specialized seat do I need?”
One must be measured for this type of bike saddle, to make sure that the “sitting bones” end up on the gel portion. This is done by sitting for about 15 seconds on memory foam, in position that approximates the angle at which the bike is ridden. I was asked specific questions about my bike and the height of my handle bars compared to my seat. I ended up being “medium” is all respects.
I was so happy to be told that they had my size in stock! With the triathlon less than 2 weeks away, I had been worried about order time. I felt like a little kid as I walked to the car with my new bike seat.
It was too hot to go out on my road bike that afternoon, so I decided to check and see if it was interchangeable with the
seat saddle (for some reason, I feel strange calling it a saddle) on my spinning bike in the basement. I would probably have given up the idea upon seeing the different type of connection, but my husband had tools all over the floor due to working on his spinning bike. There was a socket wrench laying within arms length and it looked like that’s what I needed.
I don’t think I have ever used a socket wrench without supervision before. I got the bike saddle all the way on and off before I figured out that I was using the wrong size socket. Does that mean I have “special skills?” It does explain why the socket wrench kept slipping off, falling several times to the floor, and one time on my toes leaving a grape purple bruise. When I couldn’t get the saddle tightened enough to not slip around, it occurred to me to look for a size smaller socket. voila! The saddle was secured!
I proceeded to ride on the spinning bike for 90 minutes in relative comfort. The longest I had ridden previously was 75 minutes, which took mental fortitude. Now, I think I need to go get a duplicate saddle, because, even thought I CAN do it, it is NOT as straightforward to get the saddle on and off of the spinning bike.
So, there you have it. I not only have a new high tech bicycle
seat saddle, but I am already thinking of getting another. Maybe there are longer bike rides in my future now.