Sensitive question for lady cyclists

Beth is starting to catch the bug. She isn't quite comfortable yet riding in Seattle because of the traffic and crowds, so we drive out to the country on weekends and rent her a bike, then ride it in a lonesome and scenic place. She loves it, and exercise is just a side effect of having fun.

She complains about her lady bits when we finish. We keep renting her comfort bikes that have these giant padded couches to sit on. My hunch is they're too big to sit properly on, forcing all her weight onto the nose.

Does that sound reasonable? Would a regular saddle be likely to fix this for her? Or should we look elsewhere for a solution?

We've been seeking out places that are good for a beginner to ride, and that's limited the types of bikes available to rent. I got her on a road bike but she found it too twitchy, so she's really only ridden comfort cruiser bikes. We have plans to rent her an MTB once the fires are out. She wants to have her own bike before long, I have half a mind to buy a nice saddle now and put it on the bikes we rent for her in the meantime.

Replies

  • BrianSharpe
    BrianSharpe Posts: 9,148 Member
    My wife complained about the same (I'm passing this on 2nd hand) and found a narrower saddle combined with cycling shorts, a proper bike fit (chances are the rentals are fitted pretty quickly, saddle height may be ok but fore & aft and distance from the handlebars could be an issue) and more time in the saddle solved the problem.
  • susanp57
    susanp57 Posts: 409 Member
    Cushy saddles are the worst! They envelope her girly bits and they never get to harden up. Maybe find a decent, used hybrid bike on CL or similar, but something that can be adjusted or modified for fit.
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,903 Member
    Thanks, both of you. :smile:
  • PennStateChick
    PennStateChick Posts: 327 Member
    So on a cruiser, the big padded seats won't be the end of the world as long as she is able to sit up right. On a mountain or road bike (when she would be leaning forward more), a regular/narrower seat is 100% better. Yes - it's still uncomfortable, but saddle time makes it all better. I would think switching seats frequently and never getting use to one would cause a bigger issue than anything else though.

    Regardless of seat though - Padded seats are an absolutely must.

    In addition, there are a couple different issues women can have when starting out. While pressure is definitely one of them, there can be some rubbing issues as well (depending on how long you've been riding). Perhaps you should also invest in "hoo ha ride glide" as well.
  • mph323
    mph323 Posts: 3,566 Member
    I like the Terry Butterfly women's specific saddle for mountain biking - it has appropriate padding in the back and a cutout for the lady bits. Do the bikes you rent have a quick-release on the seat post? You could bring the saddle with you and swap it out while you ride.
  • dlhatch67
    dlhatch67 Posts: 32 Member
    I just got back from riding my bike and saw your post. How timely. I wear cycling shorts with a built-in padded chamois to avoid chafing. I also invested in a gel saddle for extra comfort. See Serfas brand. Any bike store will let you try a bike with your choice of saddle to test out the comfort. Good luck.
  • deannalfisher
    deannalfisher Posts: 5,601 Member
    most people nailed it - but the larger seats were the most uncomfortable to me - I use a split nose saddle (Cobb JOF55/Adamo ISM) for riding which helped many of my issues

    road bikes in general will feel twitchy at first because she is in a different position than a cruiser - more angled forward than upright - do you have a bike trainer at home she can practice on to get more comfortable?
  • VegasFit
    VegasFit Posts: 1,237 Member
    I'm new to cycling but I have caught the bug! I'm about a month in. I have only rented bikes with the regular narrow seat that it comes with. I just bought a bike a couple weeks ago with the same seat. For myself the bottoms and brand that I wear is what I notice, which is what other female cyclist have told me. Once you find what you like then you are good to go. So far the Pearl Izumi has been the most comfortable and I don't even think about my lady parts while riding or after. I have not had to use any glide either. I have been averaging 30 miles each ride for reference.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,875 Member
    My wife used to ride a cruiser with one of those big seats and hated riding for the same reason. It took some convincing, but I finally convinced her to try a "real" saddle with shorts...it took a couple of test runs to find one that let her use her sit bones properly, but when we did it was game changer...those big cushy seats don't let you use your sit bones like you're supposed to and everything just gets squished up in the seat...

    That and chamois butt'r...especially if it's a longer ride...
  • GiddyupTim
    GiddyupTim Posts: 2,819 Member
    I don't know about lady parts. But I do know that for guys -- when we get discomfort and/or intense numbness down there -- it is the bike fit more than the type of seat. Right? People tend to get worse discomfort when the bike is too long, and they lean too far forward, or when the seat is too high and they have to reach too far for the pedals (increasing the pressure).
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,903 Member
    mph323 wrote: »
    I like the Terry Butterfly women's specific saddle for mountain biking - it has appropriate padding in the back and a cutout for the lady bits. Do the bikes you rent have a quick-release on the seat post? You could bring the saddle with you and swap it out while you ride.

    It's either the Terry Butterfly (recommended by a good bike fitter) or the Fabric Cell. We'd get either from a store with a friendly exchange policy.

    I was thinking I'd bring a multi-tool to loosen the clamps on the seatpost, but I do have a post from an old bike laying around. I should set that up in case it fits, or maybe I can get a shim. Thanks for the good idea, and the recommendation too. :smile:
  • CarlydogsMom
    CarlydogsMom Posts: 645 Member
    Angle of the seat may be a problem? I was going through a series of test fits on my bike and one ride, the seat was not level (it looked level!); the front part of the seat was just a smidge too high. This minor adjustment downwards made all the difference.

    Also, as mentioned above, a consistent seat, padded shorts, correct fit RE: seat to pedals, seat to handlebar, etc. The glide cream helps too.
  • threec
    threec Posts: 97 Member
    Proper bike fit and Padded bike shorts are a big help. I laughed at my husband when he suggested them but I'm a believer now
  • Machka9
    Machka9 Posts: 21,112 Member
    edited September 2017
    Beth is starting to catch the bug. She isn't quite comfortable yet riding in Seattle because of the traffic and crowds, so we drive out to the country on weekends and rent her a bike, then ride it in a lonesome and scenic place. She loves it, and exercise is just a side effect of having fun.

    She complains about her lady bits when we finish. We keep renting her comfort bikes that have these giant padded couches to sit on. My hunch is they're too big to sit properly on, forcing all her weight onto the nose.

    Does that sound reasonable? Would a regular saddle be likely to fix this for her? Or should we look elsewhere for a solution?

    We've been seeking out places that are good for a beginner to ride, and that's limited the types of bikes available to rent. I got her on a road bike but she found it too twitchy, so she's really only ridden comfort cruiser bikes. We have plans to rent her an MTB once the fires are out. She wants to have her own bike before long, I have half a mind to buy a nice saddle now and put it on the bikes we rent for her in the meantime.

    I am a female cyclist who rides mens Brooks B17 saddles, with the nose tipped up a bit so it forces me back onto my sitbones.

    I cringed when I read the words, "these giant padded couches to sit on" ... OUCH!! padded saddles are horrible!

    It all comes down to:

    -- good bicycle fit
    -- good saddle that allows you to sit on your sitbones
    -- good shorts without too much padding, but enough to cover your sitbones
    -- good core strength so that you can sit properly on the saddle
    -- good core strength so you can put a good portion of your weight on your feet rather than the saddle
    -- good upper body strength so you can put a portion of your weight on your arms
    -- good fitness and lots of saddle time
    -- and occasionally a little dab of one of two types of cream in a strategic location.


    Incidentally, regarding sitting properly on a saddle ...

    Have her sit bolt upright, on a hard chair with her feet planted about shoulder width apart.
    Now have her suck in her abs and kind of tuck her butt under, kind of as though she might be tucking her tail between her legs (sorry, this is really hard to describe in words).
    Now holding the abs in and tail tucked ... lean forward.

    She should be on her sitbones, with the middle bits taking very little of the weight, if any.

    This can be a difficult position to hold if you don't have much core strength, but if you do, it's actually quite comfortable.