Pico's Cycling - Tales of the Road is an online cycling magazine. It is intended for writers and riders who want to share their on the road cycling stories and pictures. Submissions that follow our guideline are gratefully appreciated. See the appropriate page in the site menu. Will publish the best of the best each month. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter @PicosCycling.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Pamper Your Bottom

By Pico Triano
Photos: Pico Triano

When I bought my touring bike, my intention was to get the perfect bike in my view. I didn't do all that badly either. It was lighter yet stronger than any bike I'd ever owned. The frame was built for a rider of my size. Every other bike I'd ever ridden was made for a smaller person and adjusted so I could ride it comfortably. I could ride faster and further than ever before. I still really like those anodized aluminium Blackburn racks. The seat – well, that was a different story.

That seat was a traditional ten speed bike seat. Absolutely no padding whatsoever, covered with hard vinyl. It was built to last. Problem was that it was tougher than I was. I initially commuted to work on it and then trained for a long tour. During that entire time it never bothered me. To that point all my really long rides had been done on older bikes with different, cheaper, albeit padded seats.

I certainly learned by painful experience but it could have been worse. My first day touring on that bike was a miserable one for my posterior. The second day wasn't any better. The next four days of riding were better but still not very comfortable. But it could have been worse as I said. I did not suffer from penile numbness which can happen and under prolonged circumstances cause permanent damage. That would have turned the whole trip into the ultimate male horror story. I didn't want that to be my last tour but at the same time I never wanted to suffer that kind of pain again. Incidentally, bad seats aren't any fun for the ladies either.

This was the mid 1980's and I don't recall at the time seeing anything resembling the ergonomic bike saddles that you find on the market now. Even my cheap Walmart bike has a shallow channel down the middle to help relieve unwanted pressure. At the time though I discovered Spenco and for me that was heaven. Spenco made thick gel seat pads, handlebar pads and cycling gloves. I bought them all. They made an immediate and dramatic difference. I jiggled a little on the gel with every bump in the road but I had no more pain.

Good quality seats that address this issue are available and easy to get. Talk to your bike store. They'll be more than happy to get you set up right. Your posterior with thank you.

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These little cycling accessories are terrific and in most cases very easy to use. Just make sure you keep you're eyes on the road.

Camping Out In My Micro-Swift One-Man Tent!

Jack Hawkins tests out some touring equipment and finds out how hard the ground can be.

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