"Sam Ford" <[email protected]
> wrote in message news:[email protected]
> I've just returned to cycling on retirement after a long absence and have gained more technical
> knowledge of the vast changes from this news group than anywhere else. I would greatly welcome any
> discussion of the changes in saddle technology that seem to have been made recently. I am not
> finding the saddle on my new bike at all comfortable although it appears that it should be as it
> is broad enough for me and has the new gel filling that is said to be so good. I like the look of
> the saddles with cut away areas to remove pressure from the coccyx and groin but have no
> experience of them.
New riders have the hardest time with butt pain. This comes from a number of factors. If you
consider that a cyclist's weight is supported by the hands, feet, and butt, you'll understand that a
more developed cyclist will place very little weight on the saddle, most of it going to the pedals,
so sore feet can become a bigger problem than sore butts as the activity becomes more like running
The pelvis is a basket shaped structure that holds your guts, and provides attachment for your legs.
Since your legs need to move constantly to propel you, you don't want to sit on the muscles that are
in use (you'll get "recum-butt", a problem with some recumbents that use lay-z-boy seating). The
bottom of your pelvis has two convenient protrusions that are supported well by a fairly narrow,
hard saddle, holding your weight without pressing on soft tissues, or chafing, or otherwise getting
in the way. Less is more in this situation.
It takes some time for the skin to toughen up, and even longer to get the leg strength and aerobic
conditioning that enables supporting most of your weight on the pedals. Novice cyclists try to
improve things with wider, softer, saddles. That doesn't work well. The "cutaway" saddles, as you
call them, are designed to prevent a tipped pelvis from pressing on the nerves and blood vessels
that run beneath the perineum. Novice cyclists generally adopt an upright posture, which makes this
particular problem much less likely. Good cycling shorts have no seams to chafe, and have a pad
that's designed to absorb sweat and reduce friction, both help keep the skin from breaking down at
the contact points.
For all this to work well, a rider has to become somewhat fit, have a good posture and fit on the
bike, and use a saddle that's well shaped to their unique anatomy. The last issue can be somewhat of
a trial and error process.