Thursday, August 03, 2006

Sleeping Beauty and the Seven Body Parts

A major part of my body which shall remain nameless but which has served me faithfully all my life is failing me -- evidently worn out from overuse. It has been falling asleep -- along with several other parts of me such as arms, legs, and hands. What is going on? I don’t know whether to blame my bike riding, my excessive computer usage, or that old standard: one's mother.

I have procured the following SEAT as a first plan of attack.
[The photo will be inserted later this evening. Blogger's photo department isn't up yet.]

After a trial period of three days, I'm not at all sure it's doing the trick. If this doesn’t work I might have to drag out my roller skates and thereby change the whole posture of my transportation. That’s ok – it would still be pollutionless, noiseless, and human powered. As for the computer ergonomics, I could always fall back on one of my typewriters – I have a collection of them. I’d jump at the first excuse to break out my 1925 mint-condition Remington. Don’t get me started, or I might feel compelled to open a blog about typewriters. (Whew! I’m getting majorly excited at the very thought of them. Got to calm myself down…)

Check back later for the promised tire information.


At 10:24 AM, Blogger Tuco said...

Hi Kate, was just surfing cycling blogs and found yours. First - blogger's photo thing is down all the time... you could try, upload your photos to flickr, and then connect them to your blog through flickr.
And something's falling asleep? Well, a new seat might work, but make sure your seat HEIGHT is correct as well.
For a canadian cycling blog try

Take care!

At 7:01 AM, Blogger kate gawf said...

Thanks for the tips, on both photo-blogging and seat height. And I will definitely check out that site. I lived in Ottawa for three years as a child and have a very warm spot in my heart for Canada, despite the bitter cold I experienced there.

At 11:15 AM, Blogger steve said...

Numbness can also be caused by riding for too long on a seat that doesn't let the blood flow right in softer areas - gel seats are notorious for this. My preferred solution is a leather saddle - the grain of the saddle means blood vessels have a chance to circulate blood, and there's just enough springiness from the leather for a comfortable ride. On my upgright hybrid (which I use for long distance touring) I have a Brooks B67 sprung saddle; I can go up to 200km a day on it without any problem at all.

On my road bike I have a Brooks B17 which isn't quite as comfortable; I can only get around 160km before I need to break for the day. It's still better than any plastic saddle I've tried!

At 6:05 PM, Blogger kate gawf said...

Thanks Steve for the very thorough information. It doesn't at this point make total sense to me how a gel seat that feels so soft can stop the blood flow.
Regarding Brooks saddles, I've heard for years how great they are, though I've never ridden on one. One thing I've noticed though is that leather saddles always seem kind of like -- hard as a rock, at least to the touch. Like I said though, I've never actually ridden one. The springiness you mention - is that when the leather is new? I'll have to have a chat with the people at the bike store next time I'm there and run these theories by them.
Anyway, thanks for commenting. I'm always open to new ideas, especially from experienced equipment-freak cyclists, a rating which I have never come close to attaining.

At 3:36 AM, Blogger steve said...

Well, the way it works (and this is my understanding, could be way wrong, and I'm not a qualified... professional?) is that as the tissue sinks into the gel, both the tissue and gel compress at the pressure points. In addition, in the, ah, concave areas, gel is pushed up and expands into the space. This is what causes the blood flow to be reduced. With leather saddles, the idea is that you sit on the sit bones (aka ischial tuberosities) which are used to taking the weight (there's comparatively little flesh on there).

The leather saddles are indeed notoriously hard to start, until they're broken in - just like a pair of leather shoes. After they're broken in, they're extremely comfortable - again, just like a pair of leather shoes. In my experience, the heavier one is, the easier it is to break in the saddle; I can break one in in a few hours of riding, whereas the rather lighter Knox took, I think, several months of moaning and complaining before his broke in!

At 11:33 AM, Blogger kate gawf said...

Well, Steve, the explanation sounds plausible to some extent but on the other hand I can't help wondering if it's a desperate ploy for the leather saddle makers to compete with the soft cushy saddle makers. Anyway, my ischial tuberosities are in unanimous agreement that my new gel seat is the way to go. The numbness problem I was having with the vinyl seat has gone away, and there has been no purgatorial break-in period with my new one. So I'm sticking with this, even though the leather seats look so classic and beautiful.

At 12:28 PM, Blogger steve said...

Well, the best seat is one that you feel comfortable on, so if the gel seat works for you... great!

I don't use clipless pedals myself, which gets me a lot of odd looks and recommendations that I try them, so I know that "common knowledge" doesn't work for everyone :-)


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