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Saddle question - lady parts
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Not sure how to ask this, ahem, delicately...

My wife just started riding for longer periods of time, she's up to about 15 kms on her mountain bike, and has a 25k ride in a couple of weeks. She's having some issues with the saddle being a bit ....stimulating.... She's not wearing cycling shorts with a chamois, just regular yoga pants.

What suggestions can I make?

Gawd I'm uncomfortable. Is it hot in here???

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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
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Change the angle of the existing saddle? Get cycling shorts? New saddle - something with a cut-out?
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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
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A cutout is key!!
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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [erincs] [ In reply to ]
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good to know!

I'll take a look and see what's available. Might be a bit of trial and error. She doesn't know anything about bikes, and I don't know anything about lady bits.

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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
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Saddle with a cut out. Also - make sure she isn't sitting with full pressure on her lady bits. She should have her pelvis tilted back so most of the weight is on the sit bones. This takes a bit of practice and is easier with strong core muscles.
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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [edbikebabe] [ In reply to ]
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Maybe position the saddle a little farther forward then?

I don't want to lilt the saddle at all, that'll put too much pressure on her hands / arms. She has trouble with one shoulder as it is, no need to make it worse.

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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
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If her yoga pants have seams that come together in a + between the legs, rather than a gusseted crotch (if you don't know what that means, look it up), then suggest she replace them on the bike with cycling shorts or at least something without the + seaming right there. IME, that's the problem that leads to what you politely call "stimulation," even if you have a cutout saddle (which I recommend if she feels pain or squished down there, too).
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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
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Don't tilt it - just work on getting her to actually sit on her sit bones, not her lady bits.
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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
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I just upgraded from Pearl Izumi low-grade to PRO level shorts. The difference is tremendous. If you don't have to swim beforehand and run after, real cycling shorts (even more than tri shorts) are so worth it.
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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
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With the right saddle, I can ride in jeans in the middle of summer. With the wrong saddle, it's painful even in high-end bike shorts.

Personally, I've had good luck with the PRO Falcon and some of the Terry saddles, although they are heavy and look like orthopedic shoes. That said, MEC sells a low end Terry Butterfly for a reasonable price. I've got one on my commuter bike.

Cut-out is essential for me. Some manufacturers suggest that their divot is equivalent to a cut out. It's not.
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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [banana] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks to all for your suggestions.

Btw, I showed this thread to my dear wife. She's still laughing at me.

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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
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At least she knows you care...
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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
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How much do you know about her lady bits? I hope at this point in your marriage you know enough to read this bit:

http://www.cobbcycling.com/articles/Innie_Or_Outie

Although in the end, it's all personal and it might take a lot of experimenting to find the right saddle. I've had way too many TMI moments trying to find saddles for my girlfriend and my mum, and sometimes the best saddle is absolutely not what you'd expect.

Case in point, my mum rides a Cobb HC170 on her TT bike, and, wait for it... a Selle Italia SLR Tekno on her road bike. Yes, THAT saddle - naked carbon, with no cutout or padding whatsoever. And it works - she has visibly less discomfort than her peers, male or female, after a few hours of riding. She's taken that saddle to a 430km ride and came away unscathed.

My girlfriend still hasn't found the promised land and we're still on the lookout for a better saddle. Currently some cheapie, far-too-heavy Selle Italia with a cutout has been good enough though. Too bad so many shops don't offer a demo program but rather a "free exchange", tying you to their lineup.

Shorts make a huge difference. While a cutout saddle might be more forgiving to badly-placed seams, it still matters. The favourite tri shorts in my family (that goes for the men too) are Skinfit, which have great fabrics, very few seams, and a very soft, minimal fleece chamois - it seems to completely eliminate friction "down there". For cycling, we've had good luck with Wiggle's house-brand, dhb - I worked for Assos and was thoroughly impressed by the quality Wiggle manages to offer at that price (the ASV line is a cracker).

Another thing to consider is the bike-fit. How you sit on the saddle makes a huge difference, and for my girlfriend the difference between intolerable and can-ride-120km-on-it was all about moving the saddle 5mm further forward than her old seatpost allowed - so that the wide part of the saddle best supports the wide part of her derriere and her sitbones bear the weight.

ZONE3 - We Last Longer
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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [tessar] [ In reply to ]
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The problem I have with the innie vs outie post by Cobb is that my parts are 'normal', to me; I don't know how to tell if I'm innie vs outie relative to other women (given that I'm neither gay nor a gynecologist).

To breathe, to feel, to know I'm alive.
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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [Tsunami] [ In reply to ]
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I agree with that criticism - I don't have a frame of reference either. But the rest of the post, along with some trial and error, gave us a good direction to start with.

ZONE3 - We Last Longer
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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [edbikebabe] [ In reply to ]
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Huh. This whole topic has me more confused than before I found my "perfect" saddle. My fitter (a pro with RETUL and 3D Body Geometry) measured my sit bones like everybody else and gave me a couple of recommendations for a wide-nosed saddle based on my measurements. On my MTB they're fine, but for my TT bike it was incredibly painful, even while sitting on my sitbones. After trying out many, many saddles we finally figured out that the Cobb Randee--a narrow saddle and one that doesn't "fit" my sitbones was perfect for me. However, I'm now sitting on my pelvic/pubic bone in aero. I've found that I can get much lower and flatter sitting this way, although it never even crossed my mind that it might be "wrong." The fitter, a pro TTer, seemed very happy (impressed, even) with my form. I'm new enough to where I'm not sure if there's' a change in power output.

Does anybody else balance/sit on that center bone rather than on their sitbone "haunches" in aero? If not, what is the big drawback that I'm missing?

https://www.strava.com/athletes/10327392
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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [jenniferpelota] [ In reply to ]
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jenniferpelota wrote:
Huh. This whole topic has me more confused than before I found my "perfect" saddle....Does anybody else balance/sit on that center bone rather than on their sitbone "haunches" in aero? If not, what is the big drawback that I'm missing?

a) if it feels perfect, it is not "wrong." you are good to go and don't second-guess!
b) i never sit anywhere near my "sit bones." On my tri bike i am way forward and low and flat, and since john cobb himself put me in that position (lucky me i live near xantusia), i am also good to go.
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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
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There's a T3 joke in there somewhere...

I admittedly don't know much about saddles but I'd suggest having her experiment with different shorts, too, as mentioned upthread. I was surprised to learn that the thin fleece chamois in my tri shorts is more comfortable for me on long rides than thick padding of cycling shorts.

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My life goal is to improve my race times so much I'm featured on MarathonInvestigation.com.
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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
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Hey Jason, personally (and this IS a pretty personal piece of equipment) I'd bypass the cutout altogether and go split-nose. I have an Adamo Podium on both my road bike and tri bike, and I can ride 100k without any discomfort in the nether regions. Worth a try.

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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
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Are the yoga pants gusseted or do they have a seam? Seams on contact points are bad.
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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [Tsunami] [ In reply to ]
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This is the crux of the matter - "am I this, or that"? Perhaps (NSFW) THIS will help you visualise why it can be so difficult for women and saddle happiness.

The range of anatomical variety is great, so rather than worrying about your external tissue, focus on the internal structural support (ie, the pelvis)
All of the suggestions here are good, but don't get ahead of yourself too soon.

I'd recommend an order to the solution - nail down the basics, then progress to the details. It may not be 'one' thing that is the root cause, but a collection of misalignments that add up to Lady Bit Problems (LBP)

Bike Fit: please ensure that her saddle height/fore and aft are within recommended range of motion. Saddle to high or too low can create discomfort no matter the saddle. Also handlebar height can be a factor in excess pressure in the LBP area.

Cycling shoes: Don't have to go clipless, but a stiffer shoe will increase stability and comfort at all contact points. I like to say that you don't 'sit' on a bike, you stand on it. Soft squishy running shoes are poor platforms for pedaling, consequently your pelvis is compensating for instability at the feet.

Bike shorts: bike shorts bike shorts bike shorts bike shorts. Tessars' comments very good!

Saddle: Yes a cutout can be 'the thing' for LBP, or it could be the sensation of your LB's going into the hole and getting pinched. Hole size/depth and placement should reflect your forward rotation. The more forward you lean, the more you are off the 'sit bones', but on to the face of the pelvis (the Pubic Rami). Irregardless if you are an innie or an outie, the internal structure needs to be supported so that you are not supporting yourself on your soft tissue.

Anne Barnes
FIST/SICI/FIST DOWN DEEP
Live Grit
anne@livegrit.com
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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
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I have this been using the WTB sadddle offroad for years now and love it. Everyone is different, but it might be worth a try. I've ridden in street clothes with no problem, but not for very long. If only the solution for my tri bike was so inexpensive!

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_540586_-1___
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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [lam] [ In reply to ]
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Update:

We wound up lowering the saddle a little bit, and picked up some cycling shorts from MEC with a one piece synthetic chamois (no seams) . Rationale being that she would want the shorts anyway, we could always pick up the saddle later if the shorts didn't do the trick.

The shorts worked. 32kms last weekend with no issues other than tired legs. The 25km ride was actually 32km. Last 10km were all uphill too!

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Last edited by: JasoninHalifax: Sep 22, 15 20:27
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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
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Awesome! Is she converted now?
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Re: Saddle question - lady parts [Scheherazade] [ In reply to ]
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maybe???

she rode home from work the other evening, and didn't hate it. while we were stuck in traffic on the commute this morning, i gently suggested that she'd be faster getting to work on her bike. she didn't bat an eye, said "probably"....

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