As a cyclist for over 20 years my Achilles heel was my butt. It didn’t take too long for my butt to hurt and make me want to stop biking. I tried loads of saddles and loads of different bike shorts. I tried creams and lotions. I tried toughing it out in silence. My butt didn’t stop me from riding – however it did limit how long I wanted to ride for and how many days in a row I was able to ride. I tried so many things that I just assumed I was destined to ride a bike in discomfort for the rest of my life.
One day I heard about Brooks saddles and bought one. I was surprised to find I was a lot more comfortable on them then all the plastic saddles I’d tried over the years. I still wore bike shorts initially, but the amount of riding I could do before I had any saddle issues was greatly improved. Eventually I decided to ditch the bike shorts entirely. That seemed like a crazy idea, but I never enjoyed the padded “diaper” feeling of bike shorts and they were hot and sticky in the summer. Not to mention fairly expensive to buy. I was quite shocked to find out I was more comfortable without bike shorts on my Brooks saddle than I was with them. Wearing synthetic boxers I stayed dry and comfy all day long. Brooks saddles changed my whole relationship with bikes since I didn’t have to equate riding bikes with butt pain any more. I still felt a minor amount of irritation at the end of a long day of touring, but barely enough to note.
My next move was to get a Selle Anatomica saddle [waterproof leather made in the US]. I had heard of many riders loving these saddles so I took a chance on an expensive purchase and received my SA saddle in the mail. If my Brooks was 8.5/10 for comfort the SA saddle was a 10/10. Not only was I comfortable all day long, but I literally couldn’t tell I had been on a bike all day with the SA.
On Sunday Kurt and I rode a grueling 6hrs suffer-fest with the gang at Mountain Bike Heaven. I was tired and beat up at the end of the ride, but my butt was one part of me that felt like it hadn’t been doing anything all day. That’s pretty amazing given my history.
I can’t recall the last time I wore padded bike shorts. I bought a new pair of mountain bike shorts in Moab. The salesman was trying to tell me why the padded liner was so great and I cut him off by saying first thing I’d do when I bought the shorts was to cut out the liner. He thought that was crazy talk.
I’m not telling you this to brag or suggest Brooks or SA saddles are going to revolutionize your cycling world. What I want to do is let people who are having issues with bike comfort know that there are solutions out there and to keep trying until you find what works for you.