How do you ride on that thing?

I have a new appreciation for one of the primary difficulties people encounter when they take up cycling: the disagreement between butt and saddle.

I can’t count the number of times novice or non- cyclists have said this to me:
“How do you guys ride on those little saddles?”
“I’d need something big and cushy.”
“I’d love to bicycle, but I get too sore from the seat.”

Mostly I’ve shrugged and said, “you just have to get used to it. It’s like getting a callous.”

It’s been so long since I experienced that initial discomfort that I really didn’t remember what it felt like until yesterday. This has been the longest stretch that my butt hasn’t touched a saddle since 1986. That was when I bought my first real road bike — a Miyata 210 from Shaker Cycle.

It’s been 3 months since I’ve been able to sit on a bike. I finally broke the streak … sort-of … on Tuesday, when I rode a stationary bike first at the physical therapist, and then later at the fitness center at work.

While it wasn’t exactly pleasant, I can’t even convey how good it felt for my legs to be pedaling circles again. I actually got a bit teary-eyed.

That wasn’t a real bike though. So yesterday I climbed on my own road bike, attached to the trainer. With real cycling shorts and a jersey. Carefully.

The computer still had battery life. The gears still shifted. My legs still went round and round. The power meter said I was putting out watts, so this ride “counted”.

But oh man, did my ass hurt. I lasted 30 minutes. I can’t stand up and pedal yet, which made it worse.

So, yeah, I have a fresh understanding of what people experience when they attempt to start riding. If I didn’t know that it gets better, I might wonder: how does anyone do this? How can anyone ride for hours on an ass-hatchet?

Butt-soreness aside, I’m again convinced that cycling has magical powers. I’ve ridden 4 times this week — 3 on the stationary bike and once on mine — and after doing so I’m able to walk with one crutch, carrying a cup of coffee (or wine, my 2 favorite beverages) in the other hand. I also can’t describe how good that feels.



Filed under cycling, recovery

4 responses to “How do you ride on that thing?

  1. Rob

    Great to see you back on a bike. Can’t wait to experience another “Batke Attack”.

  2. Think allot of saddle comfort comes from having it in exactly the right place as well. Great post.

    • Brian

      thanks. Interestingly, I had a Retul fit done back in November, and was feeling pretty comfortable (actually it hadn’t changed much, so I was pretty close to having it ‘on’). But there’s no substitute for time in the saddle.

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