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The Art of Sitting - How often do you pause or stand?

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The Art of Sitting - How often do you pause or stand?

Old 11-01-20, 07:45 PM
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mattscq
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The Art of Sitting - How often do you pause or stand?

I've got this sneaking suspicion my fit or my saddle is off. I've had my road bike for just a bit over a year now and after a few thousand miles on it, I'm wondering if it's my saddle/fit or me.

It set the seat up using the extended heel method and also that ratio thing and both got to me exactly where my saddle height is now and as for how low my bars are, I just sort of picked a middle ground of spacers from the day I assembled my bike (2 out of 4 spacers) and it's always sort of worked. It looks a little aggressive but it's a race-forward bike (Canyon Ultimate) but for rides around 2-3 hours long or less, it's fine.

It's usually around mile 40/50/60 when it starts getting uncomfortable in the sit bones. It's also pretty bad on the trainer if I'm doing a straight 60-90 minute session where I don't really get up or stop much and I'm constantly pedaling.

Do I just need to pause/get up more? Could it be my saddle? Is it just inevitable that you get some discomfort from a 60+ mile ride?
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Old 11-01-20, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by mattscq View Post
.

Do I just need to pause/get up more?
yes
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Old 11-01-20, 09:41 PM
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If feasible, a 15 to 20 min rest break off the bike halfway through the ride should help dramatically. Says the guy who did 56 today and has a sore behind because of no breaks. Do as I say, not as.... oh never mind.

Actually did a 70 miler with a friend not that long ago and we did have a nice bakery stop for 20 mins and it made all the difference in the world.

You might want to brave going to a bike shop and sitting on their saddle sizer device to make sure you have the right size. Shops that sell Sella Italia seats, have a ride and try program.
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Old 11-01-20, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by mattscq View Post
I've got this sneaking suspicion my fit or my saddle is off. I've had my road bike for just a bit over a year now and after a few thousand miles on it, I'm wondering if it's my saddle/fit or me.

It set the seat up using the extended heel method and also that ratio thing and both got to me exactly where my saddle height is now and as for how low my bars are, I just sort of picked a middle ground of spacers from the day I assembled my bike (2 out of 4 spacers) and it's always sort of worked. It looks a little aggressive but it's a race-forward bike (Canyon Ultimate) but for rides around 2-3 hours long or less, it's fine.

It's usually around mile 40/50/60 when it starts getting uncomfortable in the sit bones. It's also pretty bad on the trainer if I'm doing a straight 60-90 minute session where I don't really get up or stop much and I'm constantly pedaling.

Do I just need to pause/get up more? Could it be my saddle? Is it just inevitable that you get some discomfort from a 60+ mile ride?
Are there no hills on your rides? Little rises you can get up out of the saddle and storm up? Or descents where you stop pedalling and tuck in, lifting your butt ever so slightly off the saddle? Plus, when you're going from tops to hoods to drops, sometimes just stand on the pedals for a second before sitting back down.

I don't think it's the saddle-bar drop, and I don't think it's the saddle height. The former usually manifests as lower back pain, and the latter as knee pain front or back. or course, I could be wrong, I'm not a bike fitter. It may just be the saddle. I went through 5 saddles before I settled on the one I have. It takes different amounts of time to figure out if it's right for you or not.

Some will tell you on a single, short ride that they're wrong, like the saddles that came on my Bianchi and my Canyon. Others take longer - I rode a San Marco Regal for a while, which was great till I started going farther than 40 miles.

The one I finally settled on works very well for me. When I heard the company went out of business, I found their local connection and bought 3 of the remaining 4 they had in stock. This year - 13 years later - I mounted the last one on my new Canyon. Now I can't get any more bikes!
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Old 11-01-20, 10:21 PM
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Are you riding 40/50/60 miles nonstop without ever getting up? Wow! I'd call that torture. The sitbones - this could be simply never getting up or your seat might not be in exactly the right position and it may be the seat isn't the best for you. Try going for a ride with all the seat wrenches. Stop and tweak, making small changes that you can undo. (This can be very difficult with many 1-bolt seatposts where, when you loosen the bolt, all reference is lost. I hate those posts and switch to a good 2-bolt post as soon as I can. Thompson and Nitto both make very good ones.)

For me, tilt is critical. I need to have the seat fit against my soft parts in a way that works. (And I suspect because those soft parts are supporting some weight, the sitbones get some break) I used to race the very common Italian racing seat, leather over very thin foam and a narrow hard plastic shell. This worked for many thousands of miles until I changed going into my 40s. A few years of saddle hell, then the Specialized seats with full length groove came out. And seats with cutouts. My current favorite is that old racing seat, but with a cutout. (Same manufacturer. Same seat I loved but now it works again.)
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Old 11-01-20, 10:26 PM
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When my butt begins to ache. I stand on the pedals and clench my butt to get the blood moving. That helps most of the time.
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Old 11-01-20, 11:33 PM
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Stand upright for at least 15 minutes to let your butt breathe
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Old 11-02-20, 12:06 AM
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I don't wait to hurt. I stand early and often. Every down slope is an opportunity to let tender tissues recover and blood to flow.
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Old 11-02-20, 06:58 AM
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To be an echo, stand up more. YMMV but I find that standing for 30 seconds every 5 minutes on the trainer works wonders for me, and on the road I take every hill-esque object as an opportunity to stand and let my backside have a rest.
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Old 11-02-20, 06:59 AM
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I do 60 -100 mile rides with no butt problems, but I'm typically taking at least one 5-10 minute rest stop every 2 hours or so, doing enough hills that I'm pushing down hard a good deal of the time, and standing to pedal probably every 30 minutes or so. Around here it is very rare to not have to stop and unclip at traffic lights or stop signs or crossing busy roads, so that is additional time of butt off seat.

Seat fit and pedal cleat placement also figure in there, as does pedaling style and flexibility. When I bought a new bike in 2017 it came with a professional fitting, ended up raising my seat a bit, moving my cleats back in my shoes and convincing me to do hip flexor stretches several times a week - made noticeable differences.

I carry a lot of "relaxed muscle" as portable padding on my butt, I haven't seen saddle changes really make much difference for me.

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Old 11-02-20, 07:54 AM
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I regularly ride up to 3.5 hours with no more than a nature break, but with all the climbing on my routes, I have ample opportunity to get out of the saddle. I often ride out of the saddle on easy slopes where I can still ride at 12-15 mph. I would never bother to take a 15 minute break. At 67 years old, I still use a 10cm saddle to bar drop. I even did this after coming back to cycling after 8 years off, with a pair of new knees. Using an SMP saddle has been a big improvement. SMP makes many models. I may have just got lucky, but I followed their width recommendation based on waist size and got standard padding in the Stratos model. Waist size can't include increases from excess weight. Good quality shorts with good padding and some type of non greasy crotch lubricant are also wise. I use Cetaphil cream that's readily available at Walmart.
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Old 11-02-20, 09:16 AM
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Generally not an issue riding outside unless there is a fit problem - standing on hills, traffic lights, just changing position around curves, etc.. All of these make it easier.

The trainer is much harder. It's not just sitting the whole time, but you're not modifying your position, shifting your weight on the curves and hills (virtual hills aren't the same). Changing your position on the bars should help (and you should be doing that anyway, to work different leg muscles). On the trainer, I can go the first 20 minutes without standing on the pedals. After that, it's one minute standing for every 10.
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Old 11-02-20, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by jack1234567 View Post
Stand upright for at least 15 minutes to let your butt breathe
15 seconds is more like it.
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Old 11-02-20, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Generally not an issue riding outside unless there is a fit problem - standing on hills, traffic lights, just changing position around curves, etc.. All of these make it easier.

The trainer is much harder. It's not just sitting the whole time, but you're not modifying your position, shifting your weight on the curves and hills (virtual hills aren't the same). Changing your position on the bars should help (and you should be doing that anyway, to work different leg muscles). On the trainer, I can go the first 20 minutes without standing on the pedals. After that, it's one minute standing for every 10.
Boy is that the truth! I did a 1 hour Zwift workout last week and my sit bones hurt more than the do after a 4 hour ride in the real world! I wasn't standing to sprint or get through steep sections, I wasn't lifting my butt out of the saddle on descents, I wasn't stopping at traffic lights, etc.

I found somebody's video on YouTube, where he'd ridden pretty much the same routes I ride. I strung a couple of them together to make a 1 hour ride, and used my knowledge of where he was at any give point to guide gearing, standing, even leaning with turns (he did my favorite descent after my favorite climb). That session I did NOT have the same sit bones problem.

So I guess I'd say if you're riding the trainer, use a little imagination to throw in some position changes, stops, etc. like you'd do on a real ride.
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Old 11-02-20, 10:21 AM
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If setting your saddle height by the heel to pedal method or any method was a one and done thing, then you might still be at the wrong saddle height. However fore and aft adjust as well as tilt can play a lot for saddle comfort too. While many will say you need to go aft with a saddle, I found moving it forward better for me. But I'm not you, and if you don't try different, you won't know which is best for you.

I'll sit comfortably for a minimum of 2 to 3 hours. Even 5 hours is nothing to gripe about. I don't have any set method of when I stretch, stand or whatever. Just that I don't like to get off the bike for any length of time. That does make the butt seem sore and leg muscles too stiff to pedal comfortably.

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Old 11-02-20, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
If setting your saddle height by the heel to pedal method or any method was a one and done thing, then you might still be at the wrong saddle height. However fore and aft adjust as well as tilt can play a lot for saddle comfort too. While many will say you need to go aft with a saddle, I found moving it forward better for me. But I'm not you, and if you don't try different, you won't know which is best for you.

I'll sit comfortably for a minimum of 2 to 3 hours. Even 5 hours is nothing to gripe about. I don't have any set method of when I stretch, stand or whatever. Just that I don't like to get off the bike for any length of time. That does make the butt seem sore and leg muscles too stiff to pedal comfortably.
Oddly, I'm only comfortable with a slight tilt forward - about 1 1/2 °. Experts and fitters tell me it is wrong, but it works for me.

One challenge about saddle tilt though is it makes measuring saddle position harder. Unless I'm comparing identical saddles on different bikes (in fact, 3 of my bikes have exactly the same saddle, but the other 3 don't), measuring to the position on the saddle that matches the sit bone spot is harder when the saddle is tilted.
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Old 11-02-20, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Oddly, I'm only comfortable with a slight tilt forward - about 1 1/2 °. Experts and fitters tell me it is wrong, but it works for me.

One challenge about saddle tilt though is it makes measuring saddle position harder. Unless I'm comparing identical saddles on different bikes (in fact, 3 of my bikes have exactly the same saddle, but the other 3 don't), measuring to the position on the saddle that matches the sit bone spot is harder when the saddle is tilted.
When my saddle to bar drop was almost non existent, I tended to have a saddle a little more nose down in the front. Now that I have a lot of drop from saddle to bars, I like the saddle pretty much level.

But that is just by eyeballing it for organics (whatever that means). If I was to try to measure and included the slight rise at the back of the saddle profile, it might be considered nose down 1 to 1-1/2°

Not sure why moving the bars lower made me want my saddle more level but it did. Maybe it was more just getting fitter and the saddle itself changed several times too.
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Old 11-02-20, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
When my saddle to bar drop was almost non existent, I tended to have a saddle a little more nose down in the front. Now that I have a lot of drop from saddle to bars, I like the saddle pretty much level.

But that is just by eyeballing it for organics (whatever that means). If I was to try to measure and included the slight rise at the back of the saddle profile, it might be considered nose down 1 to 1-1/2°

Not sure why moving the bars lower made me want my saddle more level but it did. Maybe it was more just getting fitter and the saddle itself changed several times too.
I put a level on the saddle and measure.

Interesting comment about relationship to bar drop. My road bikes have more of a drop than my gravel bikes, but I don't think it makes a difference for saddle angle. For me, that is.
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Old 11-02-20, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Are you riding 40/50/60 miles nonstop without ever getting up? Wow! I'd call that torture. The sitbones - this could be simply never getting up or your seat might not be in exactly the right position and it may be the seat isn't the best for you. Try going for a ride with all the seat wrenches. Stop and tweak, making small changes that you can undo. (This can be very difficult with many 1-bolt seatposts where, when you loosen the bolt, all reference is lost. I hate those posts and switch to a good 2-bolt post as soon as I can. Thompson and Nitto both make very good ones.)
I mean when I'm out on the road, I do have the usual stops (traffic lights etc.) and I go get up now and again if I need a boost. I'm terrible out of the saddle (I can't seem to stand up for more than a few seconds before it begins to feel like a sprint and I'm burning more than I feel like I'm getting out of it. I'm generally a spinner up climbs and only stand if I need to power up a short segment.

I did have to do a long ride today and I forced myself to get out more (not least because I'm also recovering from saddle sores) and I feel pretty good right now.
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Old 11-03-20, 04:11 AM
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To be clear - I stand while coasting, mostly. Standing and pedaling is a different kind of pain.
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Old 11-03-20, 07:03 AM
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I don't stand that often, maybe a couple of times an hour, mainly for accelerations or very steep inclines.
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