All the posts have given you great advice. There is one other thing to consider after you have tried a new saddle and have the bike fitted: make sure you are sitting on the saddle properly: but that I mean make sure you hips are rolled under you so you are sitting on your sit bones not your pubic area. I had to strengthen my lower back muscles in order to maintain that position when I first started riding longer rides.
Do not look where you fell, but where you slipped. African proverb
Finding the right saddle is usually a process of trial and error. When I worked in bike shops about 10% of our female customers found standard men's saddles more comfortable so don't assume anything. Some shops have a bin full of saddles to try where you can bring it back if it doesn't work for you and try another. When you find a saddle that works stick with it. I've been riding Selle Italia Turbo and Turbomatic saddles for 20 years. When they discontinued the saddle a few years ago I sent an angry email to the company. They replied in charmingly broken English (Italian company) that they discontinued the saddle; none of their current lineup had the same dimensions as the Turbomatic; and the Turbomatic era was over and I should find something else. Other cyclists must have also complained because now I see the Turbomatic is back.
Any saddle will get more comfortable over time because you toughen up a bit down there and as you get fitter you put more of your weight on the pedals and less on your rear. Sometimes people just give up on a saddle too soon.
All the advice thus far is really good. I use a Brooks female specific on my commuting bike and LOVE it. It is scary looking as all get out at first because it is rock hard leather. However, over time, the leather conforms to the shape of your sit bones and becomes a perfect fit. I would recommend that you take it to your LBS and have it fitted AND ask them to show you how to make adjustments yourself. Even after they fit you, you will inevitably need to make tiny changes over time. Sometimes just a millimeter or two makes all the difference.
I have the same problem. For me I know it's not that the seat is too high, because my coach took videos of me riding and I have seen race photos of me on the bike and my knees actually come just over the height of the handlebars. I'm currently having knee issues, too, and I think my seat needs to be raised as well as my cleats adjusted for better knee positioning.
However, if I raise the seat, the numbing issue is going to be worse since I'll be leaning farther forward. I don't think I can slide the seat forward any farther, so probably lowering the front of the saddle a bit will help. I was thinking of getting a longer stem, but will do that if Plan A doesn't work.
Honestly I think that there are standards for fitting a person to a bike, but since everyone is different, there are going to be deviations from the norm for most folks.
"God gave you your body as a gift, so you should take care of it." - My Mom
Good luck with the local bike shop, and trust your own opinion. I have had a few men tell me my seat angle is all wrong, and that it should be FLAT.
They adjust seat,
and I have the horn putting way too much pressure on... "my womanly space". ahem. Like "can't ride" level of discomfort.
I get out the allen wrench and drop the nose, issue solved.
The seat is a personal thing and the "experts" don't always have it right. Just so you don't have to ride a quarter mile like I did to learn that lesson. (I shouldn't have let them monkey with it at the beginning of a group ride!)
I have had the exact issue you mention on long rides, and I just have to shift around, stand in the peddles.... I think it means I have slid to far forward on my seat. Also, I have a padded cover, which defeats all the super cool cut outs on my seat for blood flow.
------- past accomplishments: - cycled 101 miles! (11/2010) -completed "Couch to 5k" training program 5/4/2010 - 5/8/2010: Willow Glen 5k/ (3 miles): 34:13! Average pace was 11:20!!! - 5/2/2010: Na
I used to have that problem. I had my bike "professionally" fit by my LBS. They discovered that the distance from the seat to the handlebars was too long, putting too much weight forward at the front of my saddle. (And the front of me!) They shortened my stem, changed the handlebars... presto; no more numbness.
Get a FIT or some other kind of position analysis done.
“The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not.” Mark Twain
December Minutes: 0
Fitness Minutes: (93,094) Posts: 12,835 4/27/10 9:48 P
Find a saddle that fits you and have your position corrected if needed. They have measuring devices for your sits-bones, then you get a saddle with "that" corresponding distance so you are supported correctly. You may want to consider a saddle with a relief area as well. Everybody is different and you need to find a match for you.
sounds like your seat may be too high, or you may have to far of a reach. i would take it to a bike shop and have them take a look, you can try to lower your seat a bit in the mean time, many seats also have an adjustment to move the seat forward. but like the others have said, best to have someone that knows how to fit the bike to you look at it, it will save you a lot of misery.
Yep. Bike fit is critical and really helped me, and I bought a woman specific seat that worked for me (bought one for each bike). Terry does seats just for women, and the Damselfly is what I use.
I also load a tonne of chamois butter into my bike shorts before long rides, and try to remember to change positions fairly frequently (e.g. standing up to pedal on hills, hard as it is, gives tender parts a break).
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Fitness Minutes: (6,196) Posts: 174 4/27/10 8:22 P
Yep, that can be a problem! I recommend having someone take a look at the fit of your bike-women are built differently than men, so sometimes the geometry of your bike makes you have too much pressure in the wrong spot. Another thing to try is a women's specific saddle. You can get different kinds at most bike shops. Good luck!
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