Okay, so to often we as cyclists and triathletes are afraid to talk about one thing in particular when it comes to bike fit. What is that? It is what some like to refer to as numbness “down there.” Let’s be honest, whether you call it your soft tissue, genitalia, Johnson, Va jay jay or any other little pet name you have for your nether regions, it doesn’t matter! Your “down stairs” is an important fact about being on a bike as one of your main contact points with your machine and for most of us an important factor off the bike too!
Now, let’s be logical about this before we just go Huffy tossing our valuable bikes. Start off with a proper bike fit performed by a knowledgeable and capable fitter. With that done and no relief in sight the next option is your saddle choice. There are so many choices it can often seem daunting, and RIDICULOUSLY expensive if you don’t find the right saddle on the first go around, but the biggest thing to keep in mind is that there are two things worth the money. Your helmet to protect your head and your saddle for your “down stairs.” You can’t repair or replace those two things if they are broken! Keep in mind there are several fit systems that are out there designed to help you find an
optimal fitting saddle more quickly and effectively which include, but are not limited to, Bontrager, Fi’zi:k & Specialized. The main factors in saddle fit include the Width, and the curvature of the top of the saddle and some are designed specifically for certain positions. Many of the great saddle companies are now using a very scientific design to their saddles and use such things are pressure sensors to better measure the displacement of a rider’s weight on the saddle. You can thank these researchers, doctors and bike geeks for all of their hard work because you no longer have to deal with discomfort, pain or numbness.So, I recently got a new Time Trial bike and had a four hour ride. Up to hour 2 I thought, “This saddle SUCKS!” and “Oh my god!” Well after 3 hours I thought, “Maybe I’m getting accustomed to this saddle.” I was very wrong! I got off the bike and from then on could not feel my nether regions. For hours this continued and since this is the first time that I have ever had this happen I knew that I had to discuss this here. Since so many are either embarrassed or afraid to bring it up what better forum than to those of you who read this blog. For those of you that come across this scenario every weekend, or even every ride, I do not know how or why you even continue to ride a bike! So… know this: You do not need to live with this pain nor should you.
So, once you find that dream saddle what do you do? First of all you enjoy riding your bike and being able to have the wonderful sensation of feeling after a ride. Then the next step is to buy a couple more of those saddles. It might seem crazy but saddles have a lifespan to them! The materials break down and lose their original form and can potentially lose their comfort. Much like shoes, cars and so many other things they are constantly trying to improve (sell more) items and this newest “improvement” might not be one for your body so save the headache of searching for a new one and stock up!