Regarding the saddle, in my experience a "softer" saddle actually brings on more problems than it solves. With a softer saddle you sink down into the padding, which permits the saddle material to push up against and between the more tender tissues of your bottom. Subsequently, as these tissues move around from the efforts of pedaling, chafing occurs. This chafing then opens up the skin to infection, and saddle sores and just general discomfort results. The softer saddles feel good for the first few miles, then the damage starts. I replaced all of my saddles with the Brooks B17's, which are seemingly as hard as rocks. Now I can ride for multiple hours at a time - taking a few minutes break every 20 - 30 minutes - in perfect comfort. I've reached this state of butt/saddle interface nirvana where I actually forget the saddle exists.
Your original post didn't state what type of bike you have, or with what type of bars it's equipped. I had similar issues with a mountain bike equipped with flat bars, of the type found on crossover bikes. Regarding hand numbness, I found that no matter how I raised, lowered, tilted, and adjusted my flat bars, I never really overcame the hand/wrist pain/numbness issues until I went with bars that permitted multiple hand positions, as I had on my road bike. Recently I replaced my flat bars with trekking bars, and this finally alleviated the problem. Before, with flat bars, I couldn't ride more than two or three miles without experiencing numbness. Now, with the trekking bars, I've ridden for an hour or more with no problems.
This is what worked for me - YMMV.
Last edited by tpelle; 07-31-08 at 07:32 AM.