No pain touring gain

Once upon a time, as a young man in my twenties, I did a fair bit of bicycle touring. I had a nice bike, well fitted to me, and a good quality saddle that my backside got on with well.

Then, life got in the way, and although I rode a fair distance every week on commuting and leisure rides, I didn’t do any touring for a long time.

Finally, in my mid sixties, I got to do some more touring. Most recently a fairly epic Tarka Trail adventure in some rather variable weather.

Now comes the interesting bit. A couple of days after the recent tour, I woke up with an intriguing realisation:

Back in my twenties, on that nice, easy rolling, relaxed geometry, classic tourer with the nice saddle, touring had been massive fun, but it had also, sooner or later started to hurt. Towards the end of every day I would find myself shifting my weight about to swap the pressure around from hands, to feet, to backside and back again. And the day or two after a week-long tour, I would suffer a little from stiffness and aches.

This time, in my mid sixties, I woke up to the realisation that on my recent tour I had experienced a certain amount of hardship, but no cycle-related discomfort whatever, either during or after. Yes I had struggled and panted up hills, and sometimes got off and pushed, just as I used to do in my twenties. But no aches and pains, no residual stiffness, no soreness of skin or muscles.

So what was the difference? The magic elixir that made touring in my sixties better than touring in my twenties? Well, the only other thing different than age, was the bike. This time I took my semi-low rider recumbent.

Now I know recumbents, or perhaps more accurately, the idea of recumbents isn’t for everyone. I know my experience is an anecdotal one off. But twenties aches and pains vs sixties none (seriously, none at all) -well, it’s thought provoking, don’tcha think?


The Monch
Inside my skull
I just wish I'd discovered recumbents much earlier. But yep for riding of longer distances they reset your expectations for comfort. Plus no need for fancy clothes, or padded anything.

I like Skol

Hold my beer and watch this....
Or you can set an upright bike up not to hurt or need padded clothes. Maybe not as easy but much cheaper than a good 'bent.
Recently did a 3 day, 300 mile 'tour' in a hilly area around the Brecon Beacons. Lots and lots of climbing and slept in a tent at night. No aches, pains or discomfort of any consequence and would gladly have got back on the bike for a 4th & 5th day if time had allowed.
No padded shorts for me, not even cycling specific. Just my regular undies and some lightweight quick drying walking type shorts.
Get the right bike/setup and comfort can be the norm.
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