Posted by Becky Jo (Columnist) on January 28th, 2020 at 11:30 am
After riding 10 miles on my stock seat it was like bad teen sex. I had to walk around doing the cowboy-waddle.
I got my bike in February 2016; it was a 2015 close-out. I had no idea what I was buying. It was deeply discounted, in my size, and I wanted something modern and light weight.
A friend, Em, also got a road bike at the same time, and we both starting chatting about it. Em, whose kids have all grown, was investing way more time into her rides, and was swapping out gear and putting on miles. I commented one day that after riding 10 miles on my stock seat it was like bad teen sex. I had to walk around doing the cowboy-waddle. Em said she had done this thing where you can check out seats, like at a library, and see which ones you like. Em ended up choosing a $300 seat she was so excited about.
That was a bit above my tax bracket. Instead, I went to the sporting big box store and got some gel-seat-cover-thing. It’s like someone took gummy worms, smooshed them together, and covered them with leftover 70s velour. After a couple years, it started to look like the seats of my Zipcar, so I took it off. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but I really just couldn’t look at it anymore.
You want to know something weird? My stock seat doesn’t bother me now. What does that mean? No, don’t be gross. If that was going to go numb, it would have happened a few kids ago. Was I riding differently? Am I riding differently now? Zen Road Bike human always has a tiny barely-there seat, but the Zen Cruiser always has a big cushy sea… I am confused. I know I have not reached any level of expertise in form, so why does my tiny seat not bother me? Is there some seat-technique I’m unaware of that somehow I’ve stumbled on to? I learned to ride Western style on horses as a kid, and saddle position has some bearing, but often it was just learning the difference between a cantor and a trot that would save your hind.
I want to know because I don’t want to put the weird gummy-worm cushion back on and I don’t want my undercarriage to start hurting again. Also, the article about labia surgery makes me think this is a topic we should be discussing more. I don’t wear padded (chamois) pants – just my usual pants or jeans. That’s actually why my stock white seat is now slightly stained blue from my jeans. But this isn’t the first topic by a long shot about sports equipment original made for one body type being used by all body types, and the issues that may cause.
So here’s what I’m curious about this week: What seat do you have and why? Do you think it’s one of those things that people spend too much money on for no reason or are you a believer in investing in the bottom line? Are there legitimately amazing seats we should all know about? Do I need to change my tax bracket to afford such seats? Do you wear padded pants/shorts?
Possibly needed notes about this post: I’m a cis-gendered female. I can only write from that perspective as it’s the only perspective I’ve had. While I do tend to be irreverent about my life, I do acknowledge and absolutely respect that people of all genital equipment and gender identities may or may not have the same experiences. You’ll get no TERF from me.
— Becky Jo, @BeckyJoPDX
— Get our headlines delivered to your inbox.
— Support this independent community media outlet with a one-time contribution or monthly subscription.
Becky Jo lives in North Portland with her husbeast, four children, two cats, and has packed more fabric into their modest house than anyone will ever know. While she knows her way around a sewing machine, cycling is new, filling her with great wonder, confusion, and occasionally panic.