Friday, November 25, 2011

Biking Butt Bliss has been Achieved - FINALLY!

Aside from a few crazy snow storms, it's been an unseasonably warm autumn here in the Mile High City. This has meant that I've enjoyed plenty of long bike rides. Unfortunately, it's also meant that my rear end has been in a considerable amount of pain.

I've sort of avoided writing about this long saga because I wanted to have a nice conclusion before I just started whining.

So the long and the short of it is, that after getting hit by a car on my bike a little over a year ago, I finally overcame my fears this summer and started enjoying bike riding again... sticking mostly to the bike paths this time around. In fact, I've probably ridden more this summer and fall than the whole rest of my life put together... which has all been totally great... except for one tiny thing.

Bike riding can be a real pain in the butt!
The first problems started happening with rides over 10 miles or so... I started noticing a distinct and severe pain in the... um... girly parts. Let's just say I was starting to fear that I'd never have an orgasm again.

Anyhow, CatMan suggested that I try an anatomical saddle. For those of you who don't ride, that's basically a bike seat with a strategically placed hole to relieve pressure on the sensitive areas. So... I went over to my LBS (that's code for "local bike shop" - learned that from cruising the cycling forums) and purchased a ladies saddle with a cut out.

And the results were great! Well, sort of.

Once I had relieved the um... feminine pain, I was able to ride longer... and discovered that somewhere between 15 and 20 miles, a deep and abiding pain started forming in my sit bones. Everyone I talked to said that I just had to toughen up and it would get better.

So I tried to tough it out...

and I tried...

and I tried...

I bought every kind of underwear known to mankind, and even tried riding without it... no luck.

I even bought some really expensive biking pants with a HUGE gel pad in the rear... seriously, it felt like I was wearing diapers, but to no avail.

I read all about proper bike seat adjustment and made some changes which helped a tiny bit. But finally, after returning home from several long bike rides in so much pain that I was literally in tears, I decided that something was just not right.

So I hit the internets and did as much research as I could. Everyone said that finding the right bike seat was a very personal journey, and you pretty much just have to keep trying until you find one that works for you. Now, being the cheapskate that I am, the thought of buying a bunch of bike saddles didn't really sit well with me (yuk, yuk) but I was at my wit's end.

So I bought one...

and another...

and another...

I even went so far as to have my sit bones professionally measured to make sure I was buying the right sized seats, but all to no avail. I just couldn't escape the feeling that there was simply "no place to sit" on any of these saddles. But according to the measurements and the charts, my sit bones were positioned correctly.

Then one day, after returning from a bike ride in so much pain that I literally had a hard time sitting in the bathtub, it occurred to me... I don't really need fancy measuring devices to tell where the pressure points are... it's frickin' bleeding obvious at the moment, because those are the two points from which all pain in the universe is currently emanating!

So I measured from pain point to pain point and it came out to 160mm! 160mm?!? That's a good 20mm wider than what the fancy measuring device had shown, and significantly wider than your average female sit bone width, AND, about 5mm wider than all of the anatomical saddles I had purchased! Suddenly it all started to make sense. Apparently, I just have a big ass!

Soooo, the next day, having finally decided that if I could afford to buy a zillion bike seats, I could afford to treat myself to socks without holes in them, I ended up at Target. While I was there, I wandered past the bike section and noticed a cheap seat that looked much larger than all of the expensive saddles I had been trying.

It was big and heavy and made by Schwinn... which CatMan said wasn't a very good company, but it had the strategically placed hole, and actually looked like it might be wide enough for my portly rear end.... and at this point I figured I really didn't have much to lose.

So I brought it home, stuck it on the bike and.... It was better... MUCH better!

Except for one little thing... It just felt like the darned thing wasn't on straight.

I kept checking and checking to be sure that it was... but I still kept feeling some pain in the right side of my rear end. Finally, after putting about 50 miles on the thing I decided to try something seemingly crazy.

I turned the seat so it's angled a bit off to the right... and amazingly... THE PAIN DISAPPEARED!

I have absolutely no idea what conclusion to draw from this... I do have LOTS of problems with my right hip, and my right knee is the one that I blew out a few years back, so maybe I'm just built a bit crooked.

All I know is it sure is nice to be able to ride 30 miles with no pain.

I guess in the end, after six bike seats, two pairs of bike shorts, every kind of underwear ever made, and a total sh!t-load of pain, it all boils down to this...

I'm just a big-ass woman who's slightly off center.

No surprises there!


  1. I'm out of center? You're out of center!

    The illustrations killed me. Literally. Glad to hear your lady-bones have found some relief.

  2. Great and really cute post, love it! So glad you finally found the right seat :-)

  3. God what a funny post. Just goes to show though, that the solution isn't always fancy expensive gear, and using your head is the best remedy of all :)

  4. I can relate so much to this. I've gone through so many seats back when I barely had money, and it is simply unreal. I too have an enormous ass and have suffered from severe pain. I finally bit the bullet and got me a Brooks saddle which took forever to break in (2,000+ miles) but now, COMFY and no ASS PAIN! Hallelujah.

    Yay to riding without pain!

  5. Duck - Perhaps it's the world that's off center...

    Martha - So glad you liked it...

    Nail Buff - Thanks so much for stopping by. Perhaps I should have tried riding on my head! That might have solved it all rather quickly! :)

    Sam - 2000 miles to break it in?!? Holy Moly, you are much more patient than I am! But I'm glad neither one of us has to suffer the pain in the ass anymore!

  6. Don't know what all you tried, but I've been quite happy with the nose-less style saddle (i.e., two but pads for your sit bones). Mine is the Easy Seat, and I think the two pads can be moved farther apart to accommodate different sized backsides. Anyhow, glad you found something that works for you and makes biking enjoyable again :)

  7. Hey Melissa - Funny you should mention that... That was actually going to me my next move if the cheap Target seat hadn't worked out. I remember seeing a picture on you blog and I was going to ask you about it. Anyhow, if the pain returns, that's definitely the direction I'll be heading!

  8. Thanks for calling a "big ass" a "big ass" without using a euphemism. I have such an ass, and am making peace with it myself. Some of us are just proportioned that way.

    I'm more of a runner (and a sometimes biker) and found a great shirt on this subject: "Born to be a hill runner."

    So, somewhere along my evolutionary line my ancestors must have been scaling mountains and hills.

  9. ahahahahahahahah Oh lord, this was hi-larry-us.

    In other news, Sam does NOT have a big ass. But as a lover of fat asses, I can say that she does have a spectacular tush, albeit not a big one. If anyone contradicts me, I will start kicking ass.

    I see dudes on the trains who have these super slim, rock hard saddles. They all say that they pretty much just never sit on them. Um, say what? How does that work?

  10. Janeen - You know, I think that just about every woman I've ever met has a complex about her ass. It occurs to me every time I watch figure skating or gymnastics... like somehow we all think the ideal female body is a pre-pubescent 12 year old girl. Here's to the big-ass women I say!!

    Demandra - I'm so glad that my trials and tribulations can at least serve to amuse the masses... or maybe that's the asses. Well whatever, I'm glad I could give you a chuckle. And I totally don't know what's up with those rock hard saddles either... some part of me thinks it must be some sort of macho-tougher-than-thou bullshit. At least, that's my theory, and I'm stickin' with it!

  11. I once devoted a whole post on Cranky Fitness to the subject of bike seats. Loads of opportunities for bad puns, but it's no joke when you want just one bike ride without pain.

  12. Merry - When I first read your comment I thought you said "loads of opportunities for bun pads! How's that for a bad pun! I'm so glad I sorted it out... of course at the moment there are 8 inches of snow on the ground and it's not supposed to get above freezing for the next week or so. Sigh.

  13. Oops... forgot to end my quotes there, but you know what I mean. :)

  14. LOL, that was funny. I'm so glad that you finally have relief though! Way to go, girl. A 20 mile ride is a HUGE accomplishment!


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