Alien life form or bicycle seat? You decide.
If you've ever tried riding a bike as an adult, after years of neglect or as a newbie, you'll quickly notice a fundamental problem in your fundament. In other words, bicycle seats can cause a lot of problems in the end.
Yes, I will stop with the end jokes. Eventually. Well, probably.
As one writer put it, "A seat is a bit like a pair of shoes. The same way you’d buy a certain sneaker for a particular foot and sport, you must purchase a saddle that fits your body and your style of riding."
You can get used to a seat after awhile, but if after a few weeks the agony hasn't abated, it's time to shop.
Some steps to take when you've got Numb Bum (or one you really wish was numb) are:
1 - If you've just bought a new bike, take it back and see if they'll swap the seat for one that fits better.
2 - If you've inherited a bike, first of all make sure it's the right size for you.
3 - If the bike fits apart from the seat, try out new seats. Buy them if you have to. It'll pay in the end. (Told you I wasn't done yet.)
4 - Before trying a new seat, ask yourself one question: am I a man or a woman? (If you have difficulty with this question, then you need to be reading a vastly more serious and responsible self-help blog, and quickly. For transgender situations, go with whether you have an XX or XY chromosomal pair.)
Bad things can happen if the seat doesn't fit right. One researcher claims, "bicycles should come with a warning label, similar to those on cigarette packs, that cycling may cause impotence."
On the positive side, there are lots of different types of seats out there. You can probably find one that will suit your seat. Plus, you won't have to worry about warning labels. (Unless you smoke, but that's the subject for another post.)
Well, that's my name for it. This is a type of seat that tries to take the pressure off the tender areas by cutting a hole in the middle of the seat.
My opinion is that this kind of seat is better than a filled-in seat, but if the sitz bones don't align with the seat, you're still going to get painful pressure. Men who lean forward while riding on a seat like this are still going to become numb, just not in the bum.
Again, not what the people who want to sell you one call it. These seats are filled with gel stuff makes the seat softer. You can still get pressure on the tender spots though, if the sitz bones aren't lined up with the sitting part of the seat. The one pictured above does have a cut-out middle section, so I suppose you could call this a jelly doughnut.
Other gel seats just slap gel on top of the original seat. Not sure if I would recommend these. (Though of course some people love them. this is just my take on it.)
These seats Just Look Odd to me. Not to disparage them, but I've been conditioned to expect bicycle seats to have a nose.
Supposedly, these seats make it a little more difficult to steer the bicycle. I should imagine that's a matter of becoming accustomed to a slightly different way of riding. So long as the seat is aligned with the sitz bones, there's no worry at all about sensitive areas going numb.
My bike seat has no nose!
Really? Then how does it ... okay, so it sounded funnier when Monty Python did it.
A variation on the noseless seat
The illustrious Dr. Mirkin seems rather taken with The Seat. (Yeah, they put a lot of thought into that name). It's a cross between a pointless seat and a gel seat -- it may not have a nose, but it does have plenty of stuff to cushion the ride.
Some bicycle seats look really, really odd to me -- like the Manta. It might well be comfortable, but it looks like it belongs in a modern art museum.
Other seats are realllllllly stretched out.
Traditionally, bike seats have been modeled after racing bike seats, i.e. long and narrow. Some people believe that a wider seat is more comfortable. The Real seat is extra wide. I thought that this was for people with extra-wide seats of their own, but it has a weight limit of 275.
To me, it doesn't make a difference how wide the seat is -- what matters is how well supported your own personal sitz bones are on a seat.
Another seat -- the bummer* -- you can make on your own. (See? I'm not the only one with a bottom-less fund of bad wordplay)
I'm not sure whom you would sue when it falls on while you're riding it. (At least, it would fall off if I tried to make one.)
If you want to read more information about different types of seats to try, you might want to check out these links below:
Reviews about Bike seats and saddles
The irrefutable Sheldon Brown's take on a comfortable bicycle saddle.
BikeHacks.com's article To banana or not: bicycle seat issues.
Bicycle seats explained (If you're interested in different types of seats, this link has a chart that goes into way more detail about the infinite variety of seats.)
I devoted a whole post to this subject because, frankly, this is a tender issue to me, as the result of tender tissue that really complains if the seat ain't sweet. And bike riding is tremendous fun and a great way to get around while keeping fit, so I want to keep doing it as much as I can. Yes, I'm biased.
Has anyone else experimented with different kind of bicycle seats? Do you have any hard-won words of wisdom to share? Or is this a ... sore subject?
Okay, now I'm done. Enough with the pun. For today.
Alien bike seat courtesy of Kris Cohen.