Which woman do you know would willingly have her bum measured....a desperate one!
Well that's what I subjected myself to this morning. Luckily Anton of Summit Cycles was very polite about it. A sore bum has been my major complaint of all my long rides. I have rejected conditioning as a cause and have been trawling the internet researching saddles.
I stumbled across the mtbr.com forums and in the Women's Lounge, I found reference to saddles and mention of Specialised's "arse-o-meter". (Men - if you have wives, girlfriends or daughters wanting to ride - visit this lounge and read the sticky).
So, I called the only Specialised lbs I knew and popped round there this morning. I sat on the gel thingy and Anton measured the imprints afterwards.
Now let me be emphatic - it is not the overall size of one's toilet area that is important but where one's "sit bones" imprint. So, don't get coy about this very important aspect of cycling enjoyment.
Apparently, I need a saddle about 143mm across and a wider cut out in the middle. This will provide better support to the bones and less drop off angle on the sides of the saddle. The logic of the fit and how it impacts on your bones (which always feel extremely bruised to me) was impeccable and I was keen to measure my old saddle to see what size it was.
Apparently tests on blood flow to legs have been done on various saddle brands and the wrong fit can register at least a 50% drop in circulation - which kinda makes it imperative to have the right fit.
My soon to be turfed saddle actually measures 140mm but the cut out is only 35mm when it should be closer to 50mm. The edges along the cut out are also quite sharp and I can see how that might dig in and put pressure on the bones.
So, now I am going to try a Specialised Ladies saddle with all the right measurements and hope like crazy that this will be cash well spent. But my bum will thank me.
Summit Cycles (after Chain Reaction Cycles) is the next bike shop to benefit from my credit card but this will be worth every SA Rondt.