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New to biking

ski&bfree

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#1
I looked at my lonely bike sitting in our furnace room and figured I should give it a spin! I discovered a nice trail by our waterfront and have been going there every day since Sunday. I hope to continue leisurely riding until school starts back up.

The problem is, my seat is killing me. I woke up this morning and the bones where my seat touches hurt me. I have a gel cushion seat cover but it doesn't seem to be helping. Should I maybe get a wider seat? Do they even make those or am I inventing something? Or am I just not used to riding and the pain will eventually go away?

What do you think?
 

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Robyn

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#2
First, welcome to cycling! I took it up 3 years ago sort of but then this year have really gone at it. Tonight is my weekly group ride. :D

As for the seat, a few things that can help. First, no don't get a wider seat. If you think about it that actually gives you more surface area pressing on your rear end, not what you want. Second, think about investing in a pair of cycling shorts (whether they be spandex or the looser type) or a cycling skort. That little bit of padding does wonders. Finally, yeah, some of it is just building up the tolerance. At the beginning of the season it hurts more. Now, if it hurts at all it's usually for about 30 seconds the next day when I get on the bike again.

There are lots of far more experienced cyclists here so as you get into this more feel free to ask more questions!
 

Robyn

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
FYI, REI Outlet has some good deals right now on cycling clothes you might want to take a look. :smile:
 

SnowHot

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#5
Mostly what Robyn said is true, but I'll add.......you'll get tougher in that region, believe it or not. If you ride consistently, with a good saddle, soon, it won't be so tender, down there.
 

Consuela

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#6
Yea! Biking is AWESOME!

So, I agree with Robyn (EDIT: and SnowHot & Sheena), as I often seem to. Here's my thoughts for you...

1. Your Sit Bones will build up a tolerance. If you are biking regularly, you will probably experience minimal discomfort in a week or two.

2. Don't get an even bigger seat. Stick with what you have for now. If you get into it even more and decide to upgrade bike later on, you will end up with a smaller seat eventually.

3. Most importantly, get some nice biking shorts with the padded bum. You'll want to get a good pair and those aren't cheap. So, if you can only afford 1 pair, do a little shopping around and make that one pair count. Some have better padding than others. I just picked up an awesome pair of Cannondale shorts at REI ($45). They have the padded lining with the best padding I've see ever. The liner shorts snap into a pair of baggy shorts that has pockets with zippers. I love :love: these shorts and want to wear them on every ride!

So, a few things to know about biking shorts.. I'll bore you with all the details... :laugh:

1. Buy a good pair with good padding.
2. Try them on (with undies) before you buy.
3. Wash them when you get home from store. (I line dry mine, which usually only takes an hour, since it is wicking material.)
4. Wear them while riding without undies. Yes, really. :becky:
5. Putting them on can be a little like putting on panty hose. You don't want that pad slipping around while you ride, so take the time to get them on all the way... no snowboarder-baggy-crotch-style on the liner, k?
6. If you are "celebrating your womenhood" and worried about leaking, it's okay stick a panty liner right onto the padding of the shorts.
7. Have fun!

PS. Apparently, I like lists... hehehe :laugh:
 

volklgirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#7
s&bf,

Robyn gave you solid advice. DO NOT get a wider seat.....they are actually more uncomfortable. Instead, you need to find a seat that fits your sit bones. This may take lots of searching. Terry Cycle has a program where you buy one of their seats and if you don't like it, you can exchange it for another (I adore my Terry Butterfly and have them on 3 of my 4 bikes). Many shops also have this type of program, but you'll need to go to a real LBS (local bike store). Also, ditch the gel pad - they usually only push the really soft gel material up into your soft bits, causing everything from mild discomfort to excruciating pain.

Instead, purchase a really nice set of padded bike shorts. You'll :eek: at the price, but it's really, really worth it. Make sure that your new shorts (or the liner if you get baggies or a skort) fit super snug and DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES wear underwear of any kind underneath. That just adds seams and edges that will rub you raw.

You may also want to go to your LBS to be sure that your bike in general is fitted to your body dimensions. That really can make a huge difference on how your weight is distributed between the seat and the handlebars.

After that, it just takes time to build callouses in that area. :(

OK, this took me long enough that everyone else answered in the mean time. :-)
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#8
REI is an american outfit, try our MEC or Velotique in Toronto. They have an online store too. Your local bike shop - not Sportchek should have a good supply. Good luck. I use bike shorts for kayaking and dragon boat!
 

itri

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
A big yeah, that to everything said above. I have a gel saddle on my mountain bike that I bought when I didn't know any better and was barely riding. I bought my road bike last fall and asked about changing the saddle out and the salesman told me that I really didn't want to. It just *looked* so hard and uncomfortable, kwim? Now that I'm used to it, the last time I tried to ride my mountain bike, I thought I was going to keel over from the pain of that d@mn gel saddle!

It just takes a little time to build up a good callous in your girlie parts! Totally agree on getting some good bike shorts, though. You might try Sierra Trading Post, too, they have GREAT deals sometimes.
 

Skier31

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
Don't skimp on the bike shorts. I like Terry/Pearlzumi.

It also takes some time to develop some callouses.

As my BF said last year on a 100 mile ride we did: It's a hundred mile ride but I only have a 60 mile butt.
 

altagirl

Moderator
Staff member
#11
Ditto on all the smaller is better, good bike shorts are key, no underwear underneath, blah blah blah..

AND -

Learn to stand up more when you ride.

Beginners are notorious for trying to sit on the saddle the whole time they are riding. It's not a chair. It's just to give you leverage to pedal against, (and rest on occasion... but not the whole ride).

If you are going downhill - stand up. ALWAYS. You have much more control over your bike and you are giving your butt a break. If you are going over rocks, roots, curbs, you name it - STAND UP. You want to use your arms and legs as suspension and it's not possible to do that if you're sitting. Plus your butt just gets beaten up if you're sitting and bouncing over stuff.

Finally - even if you're on a nonstop long road climb - every once in a while - stand for maybe 5-10 pedal strokes. It lets the circulation return, changes things up for your leg muscles, and keeps you from feeling stiff all over.

As much as it's true that your butt will build up something of a tolerance, and that you need a good saddle and shorts... learning to get out of the saddle when riding will do wonders for you not only in terms of comfort, but in making you a better rider too.
 

Consuela

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
Bwaaah hahaha :ROTF:

AG, I love your commentaries and always learn or am reminded of something good from each of your posts. :clap: And, sometimes, I am entertained at the same time. :laugh:
 

Sheena

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
^^^^

This is so simple, yet so true. When I really first started biking I was afraid to get out of the saddle. Now I realize how much more control I have out of the saddle.
 

altagirl

Moderator
Staff member
#14
Hey, I try! :D

And I just looked at the pic of your saddle. Get rid of that thing immediately. I had one just like it (gel cover and all) on my first bike and the pain was indescribeable. Trust me when I tell you that thing is causing you a lot more pain than you need to deal with.

This is the absolute MOST padding I can stand:



Maybe you might want a LITTLE more and you may or may not want a cutout (personally Terry saddles don't feel right to me - I've tried the smaller Damselfly saddle too, but I know lots of women love them) For me - this is too big and I can't get behind it easily on descents.



Or you might like something with even less padding like I have on most of my bikes:

 

volklgirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#15
AND -

Learn to stand up more when you ride.

Beginners are notorious for trying to sit on the saddle the whole time they are riding. It's not a chair. It's just to give you leverage to pedal against, (and rest on occasion... but not the whole ride).
Yeah, what she said!

It's funny how something this simple gets ingrained into your riding style so well that you forget about it
 

Little Lightning

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#16
Saddles are very much a personal preference. Some women love cutouts, some like me hate them. There are many models of women's specific saddles but some women prefer men's saddles.

No matter how great the saddle it will not be comfortable unless the bike fits. Find someone who is a certified bike fitter and have your fit checked out then start looking for a new saddle

From the picture it looks like the saddle nose is very high. Saddle position should be flat or slightly tilted up/down.

Check out Team Estrogen.com for bicycle clothing and beginner rider information. I think they ship to Canada.
 

LilaBear

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#17
You are all awesome. I just got into biking and got a lot of good advice from Robyn, but it's still taken me weeks to put together the information you've outlined above.

Connie what a great informative, matter of fact list of do's and don'ts telling us about the things we've been thinking and didn't like to ask.
 

altagirl

Moderator
Staff member
#18
Ditto on the seat angle. Maybe it's photographed at an odd angle, but it should be close to parallel to the ground, not pointed up or down.

And if you don't find a new saddle immediately, at least take off the gel cover. I know I bought one of those things for my first bike - with all the best intentions. Like it's a fancy upgrade and should feel so nice - it all seems like such a good idea in theory. But the squishy gel just moves away from the butt bones and then squishes your delicate parts and makes things even worse.

Oh - and one last thing - don't hang out in your riding shorts after riding. Sometimes you have a long drive home, or everybody wants to stop and get burritos and beer or whatever. Bring another pair of shorts, (or even more convenient - a skirt you can slip on and then pull the shorts off underneath without stripping in the parking lot) and change right away. Baby wipes also come in handy, but the key is to get out of the sweaty shorts as soon as you're done riding and your skin will feel a lot better.
 

ski&bfree

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#20
:D

I leave for a few hours and come back to all this wonderful info. You girls (women) are amazing. I learned so much in this post and I really appreciate all of your input. You girls know so much, can I take all of you shopping with me? hehe

I will eventually upgrade my bike, but for now, this will do. I am slowly getting back into my routine of exercising and working out. I lost my routine a few years back when I quit playing soccer/volleyball/hockey. Damn that soccer & hockey - I gained a ton of weight and am finding it hard to take off.

I will make sure to get rid of the evil gel pad and purchase some nicely padded biking shorts. I would've liked to respond personally to all of you but for now I must get going...I have a date in an hour:love: wish me luck:eek:

Thanks again, you guys rock!
 

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