Hey Divas -
I hope people had fun on last week's ride which took us from Elmore Road across Russian Jack Springs park & back. Pavement, some dirt, a guy smoking a pipe as he biked! One moose. Three varieties of tea and snacks at the end of the ride. Twenty-five divas; only one little crash.
Afterward, in the parking lot a few people started talking about saddles and how they can made riding not so fun. From minor breaking-in after not cycling for a few months to can't ride for a few days "issues," this can be serious stuff. Any time your bike equipment keeps you from enjoying riding, it's time to check it out. Your saddle can cause you to suffer terribly or to forget it's there.
So, a few pointers:
Do get the right women's saddle, one that fits your body (see your local bike shop). Most women's saddles are wider in the back than men's models. They support your sit bones better and most offer a pressure relief channel - you know, for soft tissue. Not sure what to get? Try one out to determine which shape is for you. Don't keep it if it doesn't work.
Inspect your women's saddle on your bike to make sure it's level or as close to level as possible. Nose up = ouch! Nose down = pitches you forward, putting more weight on your wrists. Also make sure it's the correct height - slight bend in the knee when the pedal is in the lowest position.
Veer away from: too wide a saddle - tough to maneuver on when mountain biking; gel covers - can shift around and are usually merely a bandage placed over a saddle that's not the right shape for you; your husband's old saddle that he says worked just great for him - honey, we're just not built the same!
Always wear padded cycling shorts or pants with nothing underneath them. The pad should be against your skin (think swimwear) and fit "comfortably snug." Too loose and they'll shift under you & cause chafing; too tight = more suffering. Wash after each use without fabric softeners.
See me, or another female bike salesperson with whom you feel comfortable talking about the "saddle issue." Don't be afraid. We've heard it all before... some of it we've even experienced so we can relate to what you're talking about. It's worth it to figure it out early in the riding season - we've got hundreds of miles lined up for you. Don't let your saddle stop you.
posted by Rose