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2nd time newbie has sore butt (and other observations)(10 posts)

2nd time newbie has sore butt (and other observations)kenyee
Jun 23, 2001 3:07 PM
I guess I qualify for newbie status again if I haven't ridden since high school 20 yrs ago :-)

Anyways, didn't know what to try so I took the LBS' recommendation and rented a Kona touring bike (wide wheels, horizontal handle bars) from Bikeway Source in Bedford MA and rode roughly 14miles. The bike seemed really twitchy (over-sensitive to steering input) and I couldn't keep from swerving left and right by about 1 ft (luckily it wasn't crowded on the trail); the brakes were really strong though. What bugged me the most was the seat. It seemed that over every little indentation, it slammed into my rear end (Selle Italia leather seat w/o cutouts); and yes, I eventually remembered to get off the seat and stand on the pedals over bumps. I'm still sore when sitting a day afterwards. :-P

While on a trail, I borrowed a friend's (who's trying to convince me to take up biking again since I said I liked it in high school) $900 Lemond with normal roadie handles/brakes. It glitched less and had more a sensation of speed. He also had a gel seat with a cutout that didn't hurt my rear end, but it put pressure on my testicles. My wrists, hands, and shoulders hurt because I leaned forward on the handles since there are no horizontal brake levers in the middle any more.

BTW, fitting at the LBS consisted of raising the saddle height so I'm on tiptoes when seated. Not what I expected from all the debate on how to fit a bike correctly.

Any suggestions for this newbie? I'm debating whether I just really had a bad experience or I should focus on playing tennis because I enjoy it a lot more. I really don't remember being in this much pain or being that twitchy in high school, even though we did 20mi at a time on the Charles and went over fairly uneven sections; back then I had a 12spd with 26" wheels.

a good saddle can be hard to find...C-40
Jun 23, 2001 5:13 PM
Saddle discomfort is pretty common for new riders. It can take quite a while to get conditioned to riding a road bike. Setting the saddle level, at the right height, and with the correct fore-aft position are critical to comfort. Stem length adjustment is done only after the saddle is adjusted.

Read up on fit at, there's a good deal of info there.

Unless you can borrow saddles from other riders, it can take a fair amount of trial and error to find a comfy saddle. I used to ride SDG saddles, because seemed to have the right padding density (a little soft) compared to brands like Sell Italia, which tend to be pretty hard. Too soft and overly padded saddles can be a problem too. If the padding is so soft that is bottoms out on the plastic shell, it won;t be comfortable.

Another thing you will find about road biking, is that is requires good abdominal and back strength, combined with proper fitting, to keep excessive weight off the hands and arms. Ideally, a very small amount of weight should be on your hands. If you don't have the strength to hold yourself up, your hands and arms will suffer.
re: 2nd time newbie has sore butt (and other observations)Cliff Oates
Jun 23, 2001 5:48 PM
yep, you're a newbie. the label wears off after a few thousand miles in the saddle.

fwiw, my lbs has an exchange policy that lets his customers try some number (5?) of saddles over a couple of months at a nominal cost until they find one they like. you might talk to the shops in your area about something similar. terry bicycles has a 60 day satisfaction guarantee on their saddles, so you can get in some serious butt time on their products with no financial commitment.

start off by shopping for a shop. don't sweat the hardware. you don't know enough about yourself as a rider to make informed decisions about hardware right now. what you do need is a shop staffed with friendly people who will give you good advice, help you buy a bike that is right for what you want to do as a rider, and keep you on the road after you buy it.

I resumed riding a couple of years ago after a 27 year hiatus which coincided with a period of tobacco use. between not smoking and 9,000 miles in the saddle, i'm enjoying the best health i ever have, and i'm smiling a lot these days. go for it. it's a fun sport.
re: 2nd time newbie has sore butt (and other observations)sykelist
Jun 23, 2001 8:50 PM
Keep at it! You will acclimate your body to a bike sooner than you think. I was in your shoes a couple of years ago. At 43, I decided to get back on the bike at the urging of by best friend from HS, with whom I took a couple of lengthy cycle tours way back when. My ride at that time was a 10-spd Raliegh Gran Prix with 27" wheels and a Brooks leather saddle. I still have fond memories of that bike and the trips we took.

My current rides include one with a Serfas Rx ((cutout) saddle. It's comfortable enough to ride without padded shorts for distances up to around 30 miles. The other bike, I use for longer rides atop an Avocet O2, which fits me well. Your behind may or may not like these two choices.

More important than saddle is fit. Get yourself to a good LBS - shop around until you find one that makes you feel comfortable with asking questions and is willing to spend time discussing how and where you want to ride. Have them fit you for a bike and be sure to remember accessories like a pump, bottle cages, patch kit, perhaps some allen wrenches or a multi-tool, and a seat pack to carry it all.

Ride bike!
Don't Despair!Kristin
Jun 23, 2001 11:11 PM
Why did you decide to take up cycling agian? If the desire got in your mind to ride, then its probably a worth while pursuit. Listen to those little whispers, and don't give up! There's a big, painful curve on the front end.

On April 6, I did a whopping 10 miles on my new DeBernardi. I felt like someone had taken a jack hammer to my but. Now, I'm up to around 850 miles, and slowly but surely things are improving. Today, I completed 50 miles (my longest ride ever) and my derierre was quite tender. (too tired to stand, too sore to sit). But, I consider this improvment since it used to happen at mile ten. I also started out with lots of hand/shoulder/neck pain. The first thing I did was raise the handlebars so they were only 2" below the seat level. The rest is just about relaxing and building back strength.

I've been on the bike for 2.5 months. Things are MUCH better and I'm faster. So hang in there...I hear it takes a season or three to get in the groove. Plus, our bodies aren't as resiliant this side of 30.

Test ride LOTS of different bikes. I found that the more bikes I rode the more little neuances I detected between the various models.

Good Luck!!! :-)
Don't Despair!dustin73
Jun 24, 2001 1:20 AM
hey kristin, i'm just wondering where you live. i've been on the bike seriously now for about 5 months and man, if i'd try riding 50mi here, i'd die. i swear, there isn't a road here in fredericksburg where there aren't at least 3 killer hills, and more than .001 of a mile of flats. and i swear, again, that i live in a valley...
Jun 24, 2001 8:18 AM
If you'd get offline and get some sleep, you might be able to ride farther! ;-)

Actually, I live in the NW burbs of Chicago. flaaaaaaaaaaaat! There are a few rollers, but they're very short...1/10 to 1/4 mile long. Sometimes steep, but still short. Lets me put it this way, I haven't needed to brake on a downhill yet. And my top downhill coasting speed is 32mph. Does that offer some perspective?

I was looking for that free online topo map site, but couldn't find it. Otherwise, you could take a look for yourself. I'm guessing you live somewhere hilly.

When I began, I hated climbing!! I like it better today. After I push thru a hard climb and recover a bit, the next hill is MUCH easier to tackle. Spinning uphill and actually gaining speed is quite ex-hill-arating. Don't you agree?
Thanks for all the replieskenyee
Jun 24, 2001 12:27 PM
I just wanted to make sure what I was feeling was normal, especially since I didn't remember it from my high school days (of course, my body doesn't magically heal in a day like it did back then either :-)

I'll try out various other bikes and do a few more rides to see if I still like the sport before making a decision.

Meanwhile, if you hear a guy in Boston whining "ow my butt hurts" and steering erratically, that'd be me ;-)
Do you have good shorts?tl1
Jun 24, 2001 3:41 PM
Good padded bike shorts are half of the seat's comfort. Wearing good shorts wins half of the battle on soreness but the shorts' and the seats' comfort are very personal things. You may need to try a bunch of seats, and to a lesser extent, shorts to get ones you like. In the meantime your posterior will be toughening up too and making things more comfortable.

You can get a really good pair of Giordana shorts at for really cheap. A good cheap saddle that's been very comfortable for me is the Nashbar M-Series available at for around 10-15 dollars. Keep riding, it's very fun and healthy if approached that way.
Non-padded shortskenyee
Jun 24, 2001 9:35 PM
I just wore shorts I normally use for working out.
I wondered why the friend I went with bought some padded shorts at the last REI sale. I thought he was exaggerating about the pain :-)
Thanks for the tip on longscycle.