One of the biggest turn offs for the majority of people trying out bike riding is coming to terms with the seating arrangements. Saddle selection is a personal choice of which some will give up after a few attempts because its all too hard in both the saddle selection and to get comfortable. A general rule for saddle selection is the overall length of the saddle is longer and narrower for men, where as women’s saddles are more likely to be shorter and wider. It is also best to check that the saddle is level as a starting point and not tilted forward as some may think as this can create more pressure.
Before jumping too far into what saddle may suit there are some skill techniques that can contribute to poor comfort and changing over many saddles may not be only answer. New riders starting off adopt a posture that is more upright and select a mountain bike or a hybrid as these lend more to this style of posture. This is not unrealistic but it does place the larger portion of the body weight directing onto the bottom, sit bones and spine. Cycling with ease and comfort is best achieved when the body weight shared over the feet, hands and bottom. When evenly distributed over the three areas the weight on the bottom is reduced. The core strength of the individual will dictate some comfort, if this is lacking then leaning over for any length of time will be a challenge.
The distributing of the weight on the hands is to suggest that people learn how to lay on the bike in a relaxed posture. Arms slightly bent at the elbow to act as shock absorbers. The wrists in line with the arms not bent reaching over the bars. For the feet to share the weight this can be the biggest hurdle to overcome as it takes time and practice in developing a pedalling action that shares the weight. We are riding bicycles not the old term of a push bike where there is only one part of the pedal stroke utilised and the other three are missed. The down stroke is a natural pushing action, the other three take some development to be enable the body weight to be evenly distributed through the feet. The up stroke is not too hard it is the two dead portions for the circular action across the top and bottom of the pedal stroke where it needs concentration. Having the feet attached to the pedals with cleats or toe clips will assist in maintaining contact with the pedal so the weight is more evenly distributed.
Saddle height can either be too low or too high and if not right will also affect the posture and saddle comfort as the feet can’t control their part of the weight distribution. If too high will create a rocking motion on the saddle and result in soreness or if too low the knees are at risk of becoming sore from lack of extension.
The point of all this: if it is not a memorable experience with some degree of comfort it is not sustainable. Getting the basic foundations laid allows for a super structure of fun and more memorable achievements.
See you on the road soon God willing