From where I'm sitting

Either the riding surfaces are getting rougher or I'm getting older. Truth be told, it's probably a combination of both circumstances. This realization came to a painful point after my participation in the recent Frost Heave Fondo here in Maine.

All that on-and-off the bike to splash my way through the monstrous mud holes, plus the bone-jarring stretches of gravel, left this cyclist's "undercarriage" a little on the sore side. Nothing serious, but it got my attention. Following doctor's orders, I begrudgingly stayed off any of my two-wheeled machines for four days. Believe me, it was no picnic taking his advice.

New saddle on the left; old saddle on the right.

Obviously, there is no way I'm ever going to stop pedaling a bicycle. But being mindful of the fact that this sort of occupational hazard could keep repeating itself, I needed to be proactive. I needed to adapt to my given situation, in order to keep doing what I love.

My solution? Unless I was willing to stand up during an entire ride, the best option available was to change my bike saddle. So that's what I've done, selecting a Specialized Power Comp model. What attracted me to this particular seat, which is an inch shorter than my original one, was the following description: the patented Body Geometry design — with an extra wide and elongated channel and proper sit bone support — is lab-tested for both men and women to assure blood flow to sensitive arteries.

Another factor driving my choice was the favorable feedback I had received from fellow cyclists I know and whose judgment I trust.

To begin with, and because I'm presently accumulating most of my miles through road riding, I put the new saddle on my Trek Domane. As the saying goes, it was like night and day when comparing the two versions. No soreness. No numbness. Nothing but comfort. Quite literally, the pressure is off ... my aging and tender backside.

I was so pleased, I promptly obtained a second Power Comp saddle and swopped seats on my Specialized Crux, the cyclocross beast I used — and abused my body on — in the Fondo event. And I've ordered two more for my Schwinn Circuit and Trek 2.3, my other road bicycles.

Yes, the remedy for achieving saddle serenity has been a bit pricey, but it's worth it. Stay safe!

'Thought for the day'

"Ever bike? Now that's something that makes life worth living! ... And then go home again after three hours of it ... and then to think that tomorrow I can do it all over again!" — Jack London, American novelist and social activist

From "Words To Ride By ... Thoughts on Bicycling" by Michael Carabetta (Chronicle Books, 2017)

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