General Cycling Discussion - Newb Help Please!
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This is the bike I bought recently to get a little exercise and see some interesting places in NYC.
I love the bike, but I am about 300 miles into the ownership and my butt is not holding up very well. I went through some of the normal tenderness issues you might expect from someone that hasn't ridden a bike in 20 years. And also the numb hands and sore elbow tendons. But I think I worked through a lot of that. The thing that stands out to me the most now is my tail bone. I ride about twice a week (about 24 miles on a weeknight, and try to do a 30 mile ride on the weekend). I'd like to ride more but the weather and my sore butt has been holding me back. I've talked to a few biking friends and they have never heard of a sore tail bone before. It is so bad that at about the 15 mile mark, I am shifting around trying to get off the sore spot or just limp to the end of the ride. But I can't even sit down on the edge of my bed to take off my shoes after the ride. I have to roll onto one cheek or the other. That's how bruised it feels right on the end of the bone. That lasts/subsides for a couple days and then I ride again and start the whole thing over again. But I am getting to the point where I dread the thought of trying to ride at all. Maybe I am developing a deep bone bruise that is going to be more of a chronic problem if I can't make some change.
The bike came with a Giant Unity SuperSoft Venture seat (if that means anything!). The seat seems to be mounted horizontally and in relative terms seems to have a decent amount of padding (but no real channel per se). I must confess that I ride in cargo shorts and underwear. I first thought the seam would be my problem and a pair of bike shorts would help. But I tried to see where the indentations from my sit bones were a couple times (after reading that you should pick a seat this way ...the bones being centered in the padding of the seat), but I couldn't see any indentations in the seat at all and gave up. Also, I did this in underwear in my apartment and even with no seam, it hurt my tail bone just to sit in the saddle. So maybe there is some other issue with the seat? Or I am an anatomical freak of nature?? Incidentally, I don't know exactly where a sit bone is but my perception is that my weight is resting on a bone a lot closer to my centerline than out toward the bones that are under the butt cheeks. Maybe that is why I am not seeing the seat indentations like I am supposed to.
So I don't know what to do. I imagined I would buy some bike shorts and stop riding in the cargo shorts to rule that out. But I am not sure that will actually solve the problem. So my questions I guess are what do you guys think about my situation. And is there a non-spandex bike short that would be good for me. I absolutely will not wear classic bike shorts unless I cover them, but the over-shorts are likely to have a center-seam and offset a lot of the benefit I might have gotten from the bike shorts themselves. I looked at some Fox MB shorts on-line, but they don't really discuss the seam issue or construction of the shorts, so I hate to spend the money just to try them. And I don't know if the removable liner is going to be as effective as a spandex/chamois short.
So can anyone pick through this and offer some patient advice to a low-timer??? I really don't think my bike shop is going to do much for me other than suggest a new seat, which seems to be a lot of expensive trial and error anyway.
08-28-09, 08:50 AM
Get a road bike with a hard narrow seat and get over wearing spandex.
23,000 miles on a hard seat in 20 months for me.
Is this (http://taylorsbikeshop.com/itemdetails.cfm?libid=55862) the seat? Soft seats like that are more for short and occasional rides.
You sink in more with soft padding, so you get pressure on other places than just the seat bones. ( Which are at the bottom in this picture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelvis) of the pelvis bones) You can feel them toward the bottom of your butt cheeks.
My local LBS will take a saddle back if it's in new condition and has all the packaging. I've put masking tape on the rails so I wouldn't scratch them up.
Bike shorts with no underwear are primarily to keep your skin from getting rubbed raw on longer rides.
Yes, that seems to be the seat. Mine is a different color (two-tone) and maybe a little more waffled, but I think they are the same. And from the picture your linked, I would think I am probably contacting the seat on my sit bones, but if so, it is more likely the inner part near the V on the sides of the centerline of the pelvis than on the bottom part of the bones out a little firther to the sides.
I don't really think I am getting any chaffing rubbing type soreness. So maybe the shorts are not as big of a concern yet.
I think I will get down to the bike shop at some point and see if I can try some other narrow seats like you both suggested. And if they let me take one home for a ride or two, it would be worth a look at some other models. Do you think there is any benefit to a channel design? Even though i am not in any serious discomfort besides my tail bone, it still might be more comfortable to have a little more room under tha soft spots!!
Channels or cutouts are good for a lot of riders. It's interesting how one rider's perfect saddle is the worst one for a different person. You could test ride a bike at the store with a different style of saddle, too.
08-28-09, 06:27 PM
You won't be made to feel ashamed for having a hybrid over in the Hybrid Forum. There are many choices available regards changing your saddle. My Trek 7.5 FX came with a truly bad saddle also. I now ride on a Terry Fly Gel saddle. I forget it's there. But one man's comfy seat is another man's torture-instrument.
Bike short gave me relief from pain. My first pair, from Borah, are loose fitting mountain bike shorts with a medium chamois, the triangular pad in the seat area. My other pair is from Pearl Izumi and have an even thicker chamois but they're spandex. With those, I wear a long t-shirt. Bike shorts may well be what you need.
Get some decent padded cycling shorts. If you don't like the tight fitting ones the roadies wear, try padded mtn bike shorts. Also get a new saddle. I have a Terry Fly (http://www.terrybicycles.com/saddles/mens/detail/2164400/current/fly-tri-gel-saddle) on both of my bikes. :thumb: :thumb: The cutout saves the sensitive area you're sitting on. A correctly fitting saddle allows you to sit on your "sit bones".
08-28-09, 11:33 PM
Get a good pair of padded baggy shorts, You can probably find some you'll be comfortable wearing.
They make biking shorts for a reason, you wo'nt believe the difference,I could'nt.I do'nt think you'll find a saddle that you'll like until you do.
08-28-09, 11:36 PM
"Get a road bike with a hard narrow seat and get over wearing spandex.
23,000 miles on a hard seat in 20 months for me."
08-29-09, 12:15 AM
2 years ago and I got a friend into cycling with an FCR3. The one complaint he had was the saddle and it was not long before he changed it. He now does his 10 mile commute in less than 30 minutes and for fun takes a 20 mile detour home on the good days in summer.
The bike works but will need some adjustment to get it to fit you.
08-29-09, 12:16 AM
I am not sure 300 miles are enough to tell if the saddle is the problem. When I got my bike it was suggested that first I get it fit and then I should adjust the saddle to get as comfortable as I could. Once my bottom was used to riding then I should look for a new saddle if I decided I needed one. If you can’t wait then your best bet would be to find a bike shop that will let you try before you buy a new saddle. I understand there are places on the internet that will allow you to try before you buy as well.
Go to a Specialized dealer and have them measure you for one of their BG saddles.
08-29-09, 07:43 AM
This is the bike I bought recently to get a little exercise and see some interesting places in NYC.
I love the bike, but I am about 300 miles into the ownership and my butt is not holding up very well. ...
The nuke-from-orbit option:
You might consider switching to one of the RANS crank-forward bikes. http://www.ransbikes.com/
It is not a bike you are likely to win any races on and they have a few unique issues of their own, but it still looks fairly normal, and is more comfortable to ride than a regular bike--they use a different style of seat entirely. Prices start at ~$1000 for a whole bike, or they also sell framesets (since you already have a newer donor-parts bike anyway).
There is a website/message board specific to these style of bikes: http://www.crankforward.com/
(other relaxed-geometry uprights are discussed, there is no "RANS-bikes only discussion" rule... but the general opinion of people who've tried them all is that the RANS examples are the best)
... So can anyone pick through this and offer some patient advice to a low-timer??? I really don't think my bike shop is going to do much for me other than suggest a new seat, which seems to be a lot of expensive trial and error anyway.
You learn fast, little grasshopper.
However I am somewhat anti-upright-bike biased, having switched to recumbents a few years back. I had "normal" bikes for a long time and remember them well.
I don't have any now, but I did in the past.
No upright bike I've ever test-rode or owned was anywhere near as comfortable to ride as the recumbent bike I have now.
First off,,,,,,, if it is possible, you might want to take a medical detour, and investigate if anything is wrong with your tailbone (such as possibly a Pilonidal cyst forming). Even if that turns out to be true and you get that fixed, for a few months afterward you're still not going to want to ride any bike that puts pressure on that area.
Second--the saddle switch might work. You might pick out one cut-out saddle (with less padding than what you've got now) and try that. It might help, and is cheaper than $1K bike shopping.
I don't think that trying the smallest, hardest saddle is worthwhile, however--certainly not if you have to buy it to try it.... Some people around here have the unique problem of confusing the terms "comfortable" and "tolerable".
Third.... Also the position you are in on the bike can make a big difference in how agonizing it is to ride. Having it properly sized and adjusted won't make it perfectly comfortable, but will reduce the pain a lot. If possible, you might post a couple pics--side shot of the bike, and side shot of you on the bike in your normal riding position (lean against a wall).
On the other hand, get a recumbent bike. Most recumbents only have one seat available, and it fits 99%+ of the human population just fine. (also no more hand or neck pain either...)
08-29-09, 08:44 AM
I use those Fox Racing MTB shorts for everything except races and they are great. I have no seam issues and the padding works very well. I had similar pain issues and they helped worlds and they look completely normal.
You don't have to wear spandex to be comfortable.
08-29-09, 12:47 PM
. Also get a new saddle. I have a Terry Fly (http://www.terrybicycles.com/saddles/mens/detail/2164400/current/fly-tri-gel-saddle) on both of my bikes. :thumb: :thumb: The cutout saves the sensitive area you're sitting on. A correctly fitting saddle allows you to sit on your "sit bones".
That's exactly what I have on my hybrid. Like it's not even there.
08-29-09, 01:28 PM
You need a firm saddle with a groove in the middle (Specialized BG and others). Make sure the shop will let you swap the saddle for another model, if it doesnt fit after 2 hrs riding. Maybe you are sitting too far forward so your sit-bones are not resting on the wide part of the saddle.
Have you got the saddle at the right height? You should only be just able to reach the pedal with your heel with straight leg at the bottom of the stroke.
Bar ends to give a change of hand position could help with your ahnds and elbows.
Thanks or all the answers. I was away this weekend but I am going to get a pair or two of bike shorts soon. I need to be able to rule that out and I'm sure they will be much more comfortable to ride in anyway.
I too think I may have been sitting too far forward as someone suggested. If I move back to the fat part of the seat, I can feel my sit bones contact the middle of the saddle pads. My tail bone isn't even on the seat at that point. It feels odd, like I am hanging off the back of the bike, but that is the place I need to be to get my bones on the thick of the seat.
I still think there is some benefit to be gained from a channeled seat too. I have never sat on one, so there might be some other issues that come from the swap, but intuitively, I think it would feel better.
I am going to hit the bike shop as soon as I can get out of work early enough. Stay tuned!!
PS. For what it is worth, I tried my best to measure my sit bone gap. As near as I could tell, it is 3.5", but I am not sure if that is very accurate.
08-31-09, 03:04 PM
It seems to me that if your tailbone (coccyx) is hurting, then you're sitting WAAAY to upright. If you were just referring to your sitz bones, then I don't have any words of wisdom; I stopped doing saddle soreness when I got my first recumbent.
08-31-09, 07:47 PM
Yes, it seems to me that as much of the problem might be fit and your position on the bike rather than the saddle itself.
Go back to the shop and have one of the more senior people examine your position and the way the bike is set up. It may be that a few adjustments will improve things dramatically.
08-31-09, 09:16 PM
If adjustments to your fit and riding position don't do it, go to WallBikes and buy a Brooks B17. It is about 80% sure to be the answer. If not, they will take it back at minimal loss to you. Or sell it locally.
Do give it a chance, the first reaction is "God! This things hard!" but after a decent mileage, you realize, that doesn't matter!
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