Mini Tour - ramble then bum question

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Zeffer, 17 Aug 2019.

  1. Zeffer

    Zeffer Senior Member

    Leamington Spa
    As a test to see how we'd get on with weight, my wife and I cycled through the Cotswolds and Malverns with panniers and all the camping gear etc. 157 miles in three days. First time with a load. First time camping since they fixed my leg!

    I had about 20 kg of kit and after the first hour of finding it a bit strange, I had no issues at all. No problems on any of the hills etc. This issue of weight that I had been most worried about was not an issue at all. Only problem is handling the bike to stand it against a wall etc. as too heavy to lift!

    Camping was fine (we took a lightweight 3 man tent). We paid a donation to a charity and the warden charged all the devices, so that was sorted. Food was pubs and corner shops.

    Only issues putting me off a three week coast to coast in France (our ultimate goal) is the pain in our backsides after so many hours in the saddle. Saddles themselves seem fine having used them for some months now, it’s simply the seven or so hours a day on consecutive days. My better half just can’t go any faster even though she was only carrying about 4 kg.

    Does this get better over longer tours or will I end up with an injury and need to make some changes?

    We were wearing padded under shorts.

    Anyway, mostly successful, but I would bring some disposable gloves next time as dealing with oily chains and using wet wipes to clean up was not fun. However, my wife has learnt not to pedal backwards when halfway between changing gears!

    Also, despite so-called waterproof panniers, we need dry bags for the sleeping bags etc. if torrential rain is forecast. Luckily we were returning home when we got soaked.
    flatflr and Pat "5mph" like this.
  2. OP

    Zeffer Senior Member

    Leamington Spa
    B48AB1C6-C781-4CDA-AE14-4C117DCBC554.jpeg 5D6529BC-4301-41AC-A83F-AAFC156A3EFE.jpeg
  3. HobbesOnTour

    HobbesOnTour Über Member

    The Netherlands
    Well done, op!
    I always think we learn the most by doing, although it looks like the weather Gods weren't in the holiday mood! ^_^

    Like you, I travel heavy and have found using a clickstand to be very helpful. Not cheap, but very useful for standing and loading the bike. If you do a search you'll find people who have done homemade versions.

    Saddles are very personal. What works for one may not work for another.
    Having said that, here are some of my own observations;
    A saddle that is good for an hour or 2 may not be good for an hour or 7.
    Position of the saddle is critical to comfort. Sometimes adjustments forwards, back, up, down of a few mm can make a big difference as can tilting a few degrees up and down. It is simply a matter of trial and error.
    Of course, no positioning will make an unsuitable saddle suitable.

    I understand that that the problem is discomfort as opposed to saddle sores? If saddle sores the issue may not be with the saddle but with hygiene.

    What saddles are you using?

    There is a breaking in period for our asses to get used to longer days on the saddle. Was there a big jump in the hours you were on the bikes? That may be it.

    Since there are two of you, it's possible what works for one will not work for the other.

    FWIW, I have used a Brooks B17 with no padded shorts for years. I find it extremely comfortable, if a little finnicky to look after on tour (it should not get wet).
    Well, I use Ortliebs (totally waterproof) and still use drybags because they panniers are used off the bike as well. In wet weather it's not unusual to be unpacking in a damp environment. The drybags mean I can keep my dry things dry. It's also handy for knowing what is what, rather than rummaging around in a pannier.
    All uphill, Blue Hills, mjr and 4 others like this.
  4. OP

    Zeffer Senior Member

    Leamington Spa
    Thank you for such considered feedback!

    We both struggle with the Brooks unfortunately. We still both have a B17, but my one hurt my coccyx and I had trouble for many years with the pain. I now use a Passport Navigator and can ride for seven hours without issue. However, the consecutive days caused the pain. Not saddle sores thankfully.

    It was a jump from one day to three consecutive days. I usually have a few rest days after a long ride. For my wife it was a much bigger jump as she had only ridden 31 miles maximum before this trip. She has the Passport Hostess, but is willing to give her Brooks another go as it’s not broken in yet.

    I will try the positioning and very happy with a period of trial and error to get it right.

    The dry bags will definitely be used. We have Carradice panniers and on the whole I am very happy with them.

    On the whole it was a really good trip and we had a lot of fun, so hopefully we’ll be up for a much longer tour soon.

    Thanks again!
  5. Vantage

    Vantage The dogs chew toy

    I wish my other half was into cycling like yours. It must make touring all the more appealing.
    Gravity Aided and Zeffer like this.
  6. HobbesOnTour

    HobbesOnTour Über Member

    The Netherlands
    For you, it seems like it's just a matter of building up some stamina in the ass. Nothing too much needed but time.
    Your wife still has to choose her saddle and do the same.
    Maybe different shorts will help - I have no experience.

    Just be careful of the saddle sores. I cycled with a guy one time who was redoing a tour that he couldn't complete on his first attempt - he developed saddle sores and ignored them to the point he passed out and woke up in hospital!

    Enjoyment is the best motivation for the next! ^_^
    If the saddle issue is still a worry plan for rest days and or shorter days in the saddle.
    uphillstruggler and Zeffer like this.
  7. mjr

    mjr Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next

    I think it's stamina in the legs instead. As you ride longer, legs tire and more weight goes on the saddle instead of being shared by the legs and marginal pressure points of an almost-right saddle fit become serious ones. This is why building up slowly reduces problems.

    If saddle (or shorts) don't fit then nothing will save you, but if it's close, building up should.
    Zeffer likes this.
  8. OP

    Zeffer Senior Member

    Leamington Spa
    Thanks for the replies and I am hoping it is a stamina issue as I know I can overcome that.

    However, I have realised that one of my issues is that I am going at a much slower speed when I’m with my wife. Purposefully averaging about 10mph rather than my solo c.15mph on a touring setup.

    It seems to explain why it hurts more when cycling together if my legs are not putting so much power in.

    I had been selecting lower gears and using the slower speed and reserves of breath to build up my cadence, however, maybe I should be selecting higher gears and putting more power in?

    Or maybe more time in the saddle will build up a handy numbness!
  9. Blue Hills

    Blue Hills ^

    Am I a bad bad person if I admit that made me laugh?
    Must admit that I didn't know that was medically possible.
    I'd imagine he must be in medical textbooks by now.
  10. MichaelW2

    MichaelW2 Veteran

    Touring speed is what it is. If you ride for a few weeks you may get a bit faster, more likely you will be able to ride for longer. If you want to ride longer tours you are better off just riding more hours.
    I have done one long day of fast riding to catch a ferry. It was a memorable ride but not exactly pleasant and required a lot of concentration.
    Gravity Aided, Zeffer and Blue Hills like this.
  11. Floating Bombus

    Floating Bombus Active Member

    The Malverns are the most beautiful hills in Britain! And the Cotswolds are pretty good too.
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