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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 08-04-08, 10:26 PM   #1
instantsneaker
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n00b question re: seats...

So I am a little embarrassed to ask, but I have to. I started commuting this morning and my rear is incredibly sore. Will I get use to the very small seat, should I buy a bigger seat and work my way down? I haven't been on a bike in a very long time and don't remember being this uncomfortable when riding.
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Old 08-04-08, 10:33 PM   #2
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You'll get used to it. Your muscles have to adjust to riding. Make sure the saddle is properly sized for your anatomy. You should be supporting your weight on the "sit bones" (ischial tuberosities) not on the soft tissue. Depending on the distance you're riding you could get a padded seat (very short distances only) or padded shorts. But if you want the ultimate in comfort and aren't worried about weight a Brooks B17 is the way to go.

Sheldon Brown knows all: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/saddles.html
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Old 08-04-08, 10:36 PM   #3
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Completely normal, you'll be okay after awhile. I prefer bigger saddles though since i got a 8 miles commute, much more comfy.
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Old 08-04-08, 10:58 PM   #4
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But if you want the ultimate in comfort and aren't worried about weight a Brooks B17 is the way to go.
After reading a thousand threads with similar statements....I bought one, and I agree 100% (and it's not even broken in yet!)
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Old 08-04-08, 11:14 PM   #5
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Ride for a month, then come back. You need time to develop your posture/sit area. Once that's settled in, then you can start refining it.
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Old 08-05-08, 07:04 AM   #6
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+1
Don't even think about buying an expensive saddle until after you have ridden enough miles to give yourself a chance to adjust to the new demands/stresses of cycling.
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Old 08-05-08, 07:19 AM   #7
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The position of the saddle - up, down, tilted, back and forth - makes a difference too. Your sit bones should be on the wider part of the saddle.

Most saddle pain is caused by friction when the fabric of whatever clothing a person is wearing (or the saddle itself if they are not wearing any clothing) rubs against parts of their body that most people don't like having rubbed (at least not when they are riding their bikes).
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Old 08-05-08, 07:55 AM   #8
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I gave the saddle on my OCR2 over 200 miles. In retrospect, I should have tossed the thing out on day #1. A little soreness will probably go away as your butt toughens up. If you're super sore, you need a different saddle. Don't ride in misery for a month. All you'll end up doing is riding less and learning bad habits like transferring all of your weight to your legs and arms to stop your ass from hurting.

I switched to a B-17 and it was comfortable for me from the very first mile. Eventually I'll be putting one on all of my bikes. I've also ridden a few Avocet touring saddles from the mid 80's to early 90's recently and they've been super comfortable. I'm not sure what their current products are like though.
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Old 08-05-08, 08:06 AM   #9
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In the beginning, go for comfort. Don't worry about what you should do, do what works for you.

(edit) Brooks are not perfect for everyone. If you do decide to buy one, do it from wallbike.com. You can return it, no questions asked, for up to 6 months.
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Old 08-05-08, 08:34 AM   #10
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I've been where you are. The first reaction is to get some kind of super tech gel seat for comfort but I'll bet you go to something minimal later on. I use a Koobi, nice vent down the middle, minimal padding in the "sit" bone area and it works quite well. A good relationship with your LBS may result in them lending you a variety of used seats to try out, that's how I found my best choices.
The super padded seats actually create pressure in other areas causing problems. When you develop your nice circular rhythm, the seat becomes more of a guide for the top of your legs.
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Old 08-05-08, 08:46 AM   #11
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Dont be afraid to buy a more comfortable saddle. You can get one with gel padding for a pretty
reasonable price.
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Old 08-05-08, 08:52 AM   #12
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Also keep in mind saddle comfort is often related to bike fit. Your weight should be equally distributed between your bottom, legs and hands.
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Old 08-05-08, 09:01 AM   #13
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Do you wear padded cycling shorts? They can help cut down on some of the initial pain while you get back into shape and figure out whether or not you saddle is right for you.
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Old 08-05-08, 10:09 AM   #14
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also keep in mind you should not be putting all your weight on the seat all the time. for the most part, think of the seat as propping you up, not supporting your weight. put weight on your pedals and handlebars also. (kinda what Maddy said)
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Old 08-05-08, 10:44 AM   #15
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My 2 cents:

The "right" saddle varies. It needs to suit your body and your riding position. Some people have bodies that *like* gel padded saddles for riding hundreds of miles at a time. Other people have bodies that do best on hard saddles. Some need a cut out to allow space for delicate bits, others don't. (on my very upright Breezer, I'm a hard leather saddle no cutout type who rides happily in jeans... other people have very different needs)

There aren't a lot of hard and fast rules, and none of us can tell which bits are hurting you and which bits aren't. So keep riding, and pay attention to what hurts and see if you can figure out why. If your saddle hurts after only a mile or two, or it keeps hurting after a month of near daily riding, odds are it's not the right saddle for the combination of your body and your bike. If the pain goes away quickly, or only happens in Special Circumstances... the saddle is probably fine and you just weren't in biking shape.
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Old 08-05-08, 03:49 PM   #16
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Also keep in mind saddle comfort is often related to bike fit. Your weight should be equally distributed between your bottom, legs and hands.
I keep reading this but I'm not really buying it. By the end of 200 miles on the torture device Giant installed where a saddle should be on the OCR 2, I was placing a ton of weight on my hands and legs to get it off my ass. My butt felt better but I rode slower, my endurance was reduced, and my hands hurt.

I can ride my bike all day comfortably now and I'd guess I'm putting 15% of my weight on my hands, and 85% of my weight on my saddle. When I'm actively peddling, some of my weight will be born by the foot pushing down obviously. But when I'm coasting, I put it all on the saddle unless I'm "lightening up" to go over bumpy terrain. If you're putting 1/3rd of your weight on the pedals, there's no way you're pedaling in a smooth circle. Some of that weight has to be going onto the pedal that is on the upswing. Otherwise, the bike would be swinging back and forth wildly like when you pedal standing up.

I believe that if you can't sit comfortably on your saddle without using your legs for support, you can't pedal at your peak efficiency. I don't race so maybe the rules are somehow different with the power that those guys put out. I know *I* can't do any serious distance at a reasonable speed though if I can't SIT on my saddle. I don't want my legs to be doing any job other than making the pedals go around in circles.
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Old 08-05-08, 05:11 PM   #17
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I paid attention on my commute home and I lied about one thing. When I coast, I tend to transfer my weight to my lower foot. I actually put more weight on my behind while I'm peddling.. Go figure...
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