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.