Hi All (questions at the bottom!) -
I've gained weight and am 44 now so decided that since walks aren't as exciting to me, I might try cycling for fitness as opposed to for just getting around or fun. About a year ago or more I bought a new Trek FX 7.5 - I think it's a 2012 model. I bought it for everything but the handlebars (don't love the feel of the straight bars) so I had someone keep the shifters and switch it over to more of a cruiser-style handlebar (maybe not quite as dramatic as the true cruiser style, but sorta like that). Today I took the bike on a paved bike trail along the river (gorgeous) and rode fairly hard for 6 miles (3 and 3). It was fantastic - it's a fabulous bike if I do say so myself.
My hands always ache and feel tingly though (always have) and I remember padded cycling gloves don't help, so I'd like to pick a more serious handlebar with more hand-placement options. Furthermore - even though I changed the seat to a wider women's cushioned seat, I was surprised that I was pretty uncomfortable there, too. I looked at online images of the pelvic area and it *seems* that the area that hurts (feels too "bony" - as if getting bruised - not necessarily the soft tissue) is what are called the "sit bones." That said, I don't have any real cycling clothes so maybe something padded clothes-wise would help.
Here are my questions (and I hope it's okay to list them here rather than creating separate threads or each one)!:
1. What type of handlebars offer the most options for numb or tingling hands and would also give the option of leaning forward or sitting more upright? Some that I've seen so far are handlebar ends, aerobars, butterfly bars, figure 8 type bars (if they're even different), etc. and then are there options re. how you configure them too? Can you attach them facing toward or away from you and does it become awkward to break in some cases? I seem to recall that I upgraded to an adjustable stem when I got the newer handlebars, if that matters.
2. Can anyone recommend a women's seat that makes things easier on what I assume are the sit bones? I know every woman's different as is every seat, but still I thought I'd ask! don't know if I'm ever going to get around to measuring the distance between the sit bones as some online articles suggest, but I think I have wider hips than some (not sure if that means sit bones will be wider too). I also wonder if the seat should be very slightly tipped upward or downward - or neither.
3. I've been reading online comments about the benefits of cycling shoes and clipless pedals but are they only necessary if you have road handlebars and are leaning forward so much? Can anyone recommend a pair for people with wider feet than narrower, as well as for those with higher arches if that matters? Are there general rules about sizing? E.g. for some athletic purposes, shoes that are slightly snug are better, while others are better if the opposite.