This for my girlfriend. Since I am a cycling-fanatic and commuting year round and such, she has wanted to join me for some fun rides, short & sweet ones preferrably.
Last summer we went on an easy trail for her first ride. She had a decent time except her bum developed painful swellings right around her sitbones. She also subsequently developed a UTI which may or may not be related to the ride (11 miles of flat, groomed trail). And the seat was a bad, cheap one, she is in her late 30's, her rental bike was cheap, etc, etc. (I am just naming possible contributing factors).
Now, last Sunday, we found ourselves bike shopping for her, tried out some hybrids at Trek, then REI, also the Townie frames, and some others. The best one we found is REI's Metro, a 26"wheeled hybrid, so we ordered one for her. The thing we learned, as she tried the different bikes, is every seat bothered her. She even developed the swellings again, and this was after a few extremely short test rides! A bright spot occured when she put a gel padding seat cover on one bike (she tried 3 gel seat covers actually) and said "Ok, this is more tolerable". But her butt was STILL sensative. She doesn't believe the cut-out seats helped much at all, though she only tried one version and was already sore when trying it.
At the end of the shopping/testing trip, we agreed that she should get padded shorts and put a pad on the seat and that that combo may be what's needed to keep her from getting swollen. But I also said to her that this particular activity may not be for her. We can give it a shot but if the rides continue to bring pain and worse, we'll return the bike to REI and quit trying. I am hoping she can get with a woman bike-sales associate at REI to find some solutions but with her work its proven to be difficult.
And so I would appreciate any feedback from forum members, especially the women.
Thanks - the boyfriend