I’m not the most tech-savvy person in the world, but over time I’ve become more comfortable with the internet. Given my general dislike of shops, I have also embraced internet shopping for many of my (infrequent) purchases.
I am, however, still relatively conservative so there are some things that I believe should only be bought in person. Shoes, for example, should be tested before purchase. The thought of having to return shoes that are unsatisfactory just seems like too much hassle. Why not make sure you’re happy with them before you buy and take a lot of work out of the process?
It turns out that bicycle saddles are also on my “must buy in person” list.
Up until now I have survived with the saddle that came with my bike. Having initially experienced significant discomfort when riding, the level of discomfort has reduced over time, Most of this is due to be unwittingly obeying Rule #5: I’ve “toughened up” (See comments for Bad Habits),
Given the amount of time I’m going to be spending in the saddle over the coming weeks, I figure that I should target “minimal discomfort”. If there’s one area I can invest in to help accomplish this, it’s my rear. So, being close to a Cycle Shop today, I decided to pop in to check out the range of saddles.
It appears that the key factors in selecting a saddle are (1) Posture, the more upright your position the more padding you’re likely to require, and (2) Sit Bone Width, the distance between the key pressure points when sitting.
Selecting the “right” saddle therefore required my seat to be measured… another new experience for me! The Shop had a sophisticated, reusable measurement device (You can safely try this at home*). It required me to sit on a piece of soft foam cut into a figure of eight for about 30 seconds. The distance between the centre of the indentations were then measured.
The first attempt resulted in an unconvincing reading. When checked against the available seats my derriere was “off the scale” (too small), A re-measurement resulted in a slightly higher reading, but it was still on the very low end.
So, after having suffered the indignity of the process, I selected a saddle. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees on comfort, but a money back offer will soften the blow.
However the saddle works out, I can be confident in the fact that irrespective of the answer to the question (“Does my bum look big in this?”), I’m a petite deep down inside!
* According to Bike Radar, to check your Sit Bone Width:
“Take a piece of aluminium kitchen foil and place it on a carpeted stair. Sit on the foil, lean forward a bit to approximate your riding position, then lift your feet. This should leave a good impression of your rear in the foil, and you can measure between the two points of deepest impression to get your sit bone width.
‘Narrow’ sit bone width would be 100mm or less, medium 100-130mm, wide over 130mm. “