Newbie - need advice

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Novice, 18 Jun 2008.

  1. Novice

    Novice New Member

    Hi all, I'm fairly new to cycling. I'm a 26 year old female and I have some old mountain bike (lol) that I bought for £50 in 2000. :sad:

    I've recently starting cycling again and have a bit of a personal issue I was hoping someone could help with! I'm OK doing short, flat distances, but anything longer or anything bumpy I end up with the female version of numbnuts, and truth be told it's scary and I'm not sure how to sort it! It doesn't go straight away either and after my longest ride (17 miles) it took 2-3 days to feel normal again.

    I never fitted my bike or anything and I'm not sure how to. I currently have a wide, gel padded seat which is comfy but not sure it's doing me any favours. I have a 21" frame (am 5' 11" with 32" inside leg) and when on the saddle my legs are nearly straight but not quite while my foot is on the pedal at it's lowest point. The only other issue I have is that my handlebars seem fairly low and I have to lean forward to reach them but they are at their highest.

    So (to sum up my epic first post :biggrin:):

    1) Do I NEED to get a new bike?
    2) Has anyone else ever experienced numbness in their nether regions before (particularly interested if female)?
    3) Should I whisk myself off to a medical professional? :biggrin:

    Generally any words of advice would be much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!


    P.S Really don't want to stop cycling though I'm loathe to go out until my little problem is sorted. This last year has been some journey involving losing 4 stone, still have a bit left to go and now I've found something I enjoy I want to be able to do it more often!!
  2. marinyork

    marinyork Resting in suspended Animation

    Welcome. You should perhaps look at your saddle. I'm lucky enough to get on well with mine but some people find the saddle their bike comes with doesn't suit them at all. Personally, I'd avoid gel saddle's as I think they are less comfy but someone must like them! I think not getting on with your saddle is fairly common. As a very layperson it sounds to me like your frame size on the bike is too large and might be better suited to something like a 19.5" but someone will probably be along here any second telling you the same size. Same with stem height etc.

    Don't give up cycling, it'll all be sorted soon one way or another and you'll be doing countless miles before you know it.
  3. Night Train

    Night Train Maker of Things

    Greater Manchester
    I must admit that I prefer soft squidgy saddles (shoud get a recumbent sorted at some point sooner rather then later). I used to get sore and numb on the saddle that came with my MTB and so changed to a softer option. I also wanted to tilt the front of the saddle down a little but the fixing didn't allow that so I raised the bars instead to get a more upright position. That seems to have sorted it for me.
  4. numbnuts

    numbnuts Legendary Member

    North Baddesley
    pardon :biggrin:
  5. DLB

    DLB Senior Member

  6. DLB

    DLB Senior Member

    I'd try a new saddle. And not a gel one. The thinner harder looking ones are often more comfortable.

    Not sure if it suits a lady's body but Brookes B17 saddles are quite highly rated on this forum. Perhaps check them out?
  7. Andy in Sig

    Andy in Sig Vice President in Exile

    Find a reputable bike shop where you will get good advice. Also perhaps get some proper cycling shorts as well as they offer some cushioning.
  8. Janeyb

    Janeyb Senior Member

    Definitely try tilting the front of the seat down a little. Takes a bit of getting used to and don't tilt too much or you feel like you're sliding off the seat.

    Good luck....but persevere.
  9. RedBike

    RedBike New Member

    Beside the road
    Well done on the weight loss. 4 Stone is a fantastic achievement. Keep up the good work!

    As others have posted start off with a new saddle.
    (I'm sure the ladies on here will recommend one. )
    Although the big soft gel saddles look comfortable they tend to exhert pressure where they shouldn't, as you've found out! A harder narrower saddle will take quite a bit of getting used to but it will be more comfortable in the long run.

    MTB are all measured slightly differently. A 21" bike from one manufacture will be smaller than a 19" bike from another. Although most 21" bikes should be far too big for you, from your description of the bars it sounds like your bike is too small for you.
  10. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    I got a new bike a earlier this year ... and the saddle that came with it meant I couldn't cycle it all for 2 weeks until I changed it - it was that bad, I couldn't even get on my old bike for a couple of days.

    I think saddles are a very personal thing ... but its worth buying one as even if you bought a new bike (if you decided the size was wrong), you could transfer the saddle.

    I ended up with one from Specialized (after having my bottom measured - by sitting on a sort of pressure mat/memory foam thing). But I'm contemplating getting a new one for my old bike and looking at the Selle Italia range - but I'm not sure about a leather seat and it getting wet in the rain ... does it matter if its not an all leather saddle like the Brooks?

    I went for a saddle with a cut out ... which I like though not all ladies do apparently.
  11. Joe24

    Joe24 More serious cyclist than Bonj

    Specilized Body Geometry saddle. Get yourself measured up for one in a LBS that has one of them pad things to sit on.
    That together with good padded shorts will give you a comfy ride.
    I'm not a women, but my Specilized Avator and my thick padded shorts keep me from going numb and i've spent over 5hours in the saddle and didn't have a problem.
  12. Jo25

    Jo25 Senior Member

    Hi Novice,

    I had a similar problem when I was using a gel saddle and padded shorts. A couple of weeks ago I bought a saddle with a cut out, this one to be exact:

    and the difference (and relief) has been amazing!

    Don't give up the cycling!

  13. Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

    Hi and Welcome novice.

    There have been womens saddle questions before, so a search may throw-up something.
    Secondly start a specific womens saddle question. That way the girlies on the site will hopefully come to your aid.

    Saddles are personal. From my recollection though, gel saddles are generally poor for women. You need to be sat so your pelvis is more upright (which may mean some set-up changes) so that you sit on your "Sit-Bones" wich are the main/only contact point with the saddle. With gel saddles you tend to sink into them and the pressure is then spread to your soft underparts as well. This is also true for men. Thus in general a firm supportive saddle is better than a soft squidgy one. Saddle position, angle will also help, a slight nose-down attitude may help as will raising the bars too if possible. Some saddles as mentioned have a cut-out area to prevent/reduce contact with the lady-bits. The Specialized-saddles measuring service seems to be well regarded to find a saddle with the right "sit-bone" geometry.
  14. ComedyPilot

    ComedyPilot Secret Lemonade Drinker

    Just as Fab Foodie said, a good stiff saddle is the way forward, get fitted to the bike at your L.B.S. (Local Bike Shop) so your seating position on the bike is correct. And most important of all get some good shorts, the higher quality the better. Assos are brilliant if your bum can afford them. A bloke in my cycle club swears by them, "Once you get a taste of Assos, you never go back" After that as a newbie, you're going to have to go through a stage of toughening up - if you excuse the expression. A few 30+ mile rides over a couple of weeks should do it. If you wanna see a rainbow, you're gonna have to put up with some rain.
  15. punkypossum

    punkypossum Donut Devil

    Start with a saddle change like everyone else suggested, but if you have to lean forward to reach the bars, it sounds like the reach on a 21 is too long for you... For what it's worth, I ride a 19" (and I'm 5"11 and a half, although with longer legs (34") and my bike is quite short in the top tube...on other brands, eg Giant I can get away with a 17 or an 18), but everyone is different....
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