There is a technical name for these (I am told it is coccyx) but they basically come down to “the bum bones”, ie the bits that make up a bony backside if you are slightly on the skinny side. The relationship with your bike saddle and your bum bones is one that is personal to yourself and it is worth getting a good match when you think about the hours your spend on your bike.
The Highway, being a hybrid bike has a nice wide saddle which is pretty comfy. So much so that every morning when I get on the bike to go to work it is like sitting on a well used sofa, it fits well and it gives the impression that if I sit comfy here and peddle then eventually I will make it to work regardless of the rain and windy going against me. The Royal is a different story. When I first picked up the bike from the shop I looked at the saddle and gulped, I can see why people wear padded shorts!
When it came to riding the Royal it was not as bad as it looked, plus it was slightly soft even if it was so narrow I could imagine it being lost up the crack of some backsides! It was still as if you were balanced on top of the bike as you rode rather than being part of it, and after a number of miles if you were to wear thin trousers you seen knew all about it.
It was decided to see what I could find, a more comfy touring saddle that is not so thin and hard that it looked like punishment but also not too comfy and wide that all you can do is sit upright and never use the drop bars. Of course, I could just opt for a good pair of cycle shorts with padding in them but this always seems strange to have to wear specific clothing just to go on a bike whereas if you had a suitable saddle then you could wear anything. I may give it a try at some point. Not those tight fitting shorts allowing you to get all lycra’d up and allowing you to boast your manhood, but some baggy long shorts that just look normal and you could wear anytime (as long as you don’t mind a bit of padding).
It turns out there are three main ways of sitting on a bike:
- Relaxed – sitting upright, your backside sits right at the back of the saddle
- Inclined – forward leaning, your backside sites near the back of the saddle, comfortable yet slightly streamlined
- Aero – as low and as streamlined as you can go, speed is the most important
I aimed to find an Inclined saddle, for a cheap price and with comfort in mind. The Royal is a “racer” style bike albeit a lot heavier and stronger than a real racer but the style is the same so the ability to sit upright is not an option. The bike is a tourer and so the idea is long hours in comfort. Inclined was certainly the way to go and I found a company called Velo which seemed to advertise comfort as the key – plus at £15 seemed reasonable. It seems a lot of saddles come with holes and grooves along the middle, in order to “keep sensitive areas refreshed” as one website put it. To me it means you no longer need to raise a buttock for when you need to break wind on a long trip, something which itself will no doubt save time over a course of a day…
The saddle is now fitted but of course it has rained ever since in true biking style! A quick try and indeed it felt like the familiar comfort of the Highway, being part of the bike and not balancing on top of it. Too early to see, am waiting for the weather to play along in order to give it a real go.