Monthly Archives: July 2014

Lots to Learn

Today, I learnt a lot. All in a good way, thankfully. Where do I start…

OK, I’ll start with the rear-end (aka my arse) issues that I had about 10 days ago. I put a lot of investigation into why my butt was hurting me so much during a long ride, and had come to the conclusion that I wasn’t sitting on my seat correctly. A lot of things have transpired in the past 10 days.

First, as previously mentioned, I discovered about the “sit bones” and why they are important. This was useful mainly so that I knew what I should be aiming to have in contact with my seat, and also I discovered that you can have different bits of your sit bones taking the weight on your seat, hence you move around every so often to prevent getting sore.

Next, I pushed my seat forward about an inch, which was about the amount that I was sitting too far forward, and I figured that professional bike-fit or not, if I wasn’t comfortable sitting in the position that said pro bike-fit set the bike up in, then I should just change it to something more comfortable.

Finally, I then compared the position of the seat to that of my commuter bike which I’ve never had a problem on, and discovered that the seat on my Cervélo was angled incorrectly, i.e. it wasn’t flat, and was instead pointing up into the air. I therefore spent about 20 minutes learning how to adjust the seat (easy when you know how), to get it identical to my commuter (as far as I can see).

I then went out for a ~50 mile ride this morning with a little trepidation, to see how my arse would cope. I concentrated on making sure that I was sitting on the right bit of the seat, but in fairness as the ride went on, I needed to do that less and less, most likely because I was now sitting on the right bit of the seat due to it being in the “right” place (as far as my normal sitting position is with my commuter). Hey presto, I get home and my arse didn’t even realised I’d been sitting on a bike.

Win.

What else did I learn? Well, another couple of things.

Chamois crème, and underpants, and bib shorts. Two of these things you need, one of them you want to avoid. I have used bib shorts a few times now, but hadn’t realised that you should not have your underwear on. So, I tried it today and was a little concerned that my, erm, “bits” were going to be… under-restrained. As in, all over the place. However, this wasn’t the case at all. The shorts held my junk just fine (lovely topic, eh?). In addition, I also discovered the wonder of chamois crème and how to use it. I whacked it on this morning, and it did indeed feel nice and cool. Now, do note that I’ve not yet had any friction issues “down there” in the past – but I’d rather not start, and if I’m going to go “au naturale” without the underwear, then the crème is going to be useful for that anyway.

Finally, riding with someone else. The one time I’ve been out with a group ride, I didn’t really feel that it was helping in terms of reducing wind resistance, but I think that was because the group was going quite slowly that day. Today, I happened to come across and thereafter ride with another roadie for about 3 miles, and we took it in turns to lead, and holy crap what a difference it made when I was drafting; I was literally coasting along in a really high gear without having to put any effort in at all. It was fantastic!

Many lessons; a good day.

Injuries: Cav + Froomey = me

I said to friends the other day that I thought Froomey had probably broken his scaphoid which has caused him to pull out of the 2014 Tour de France. And so, when he announced on twitter that he’d broken his left wrist and right hand, it made me realise that he, plus Cav, equals me last year.

What on earth am I talking about? Well, Cav fell off his bike and did some fairly serious mischief to his shoulder. Turned out he’s dislocated it.

Last year, I managed to fall off my bike and sustained a number of injuries, including (but not limited to) a broken right wrist, a broken left thumb, and a dislocated humerus. The last one is up next to the shoulder. Put them all together, and you get roughly what Cav and Froomey managed between them in 4 crashes.

Somehow, Cav is apparently going to be back on his bike in 2 weeks and competing again in 6. I had both arms in casts for 6 weeks.

This makes me think I must’ve been pretty unlucky to sustain such a list of injuries from one tumble when coming off my bike going round a corner. It does make me go round that same corner much slower, though.

One inch can make all the difference

Although I’m talking about the nether regions here, the “inch” in question isn’t to do with the, well… you know. Instead, it’s to do with seating position. As mentioned the other day, I was investigating different seating positions to see whether I was inflicting myself with pain when out on long bike rides.

I’m now fairly sure I’ve been the cause of it.

Ultimately, a quick Google Image search for “sit bones bicycle seat” will show you many different pictures of what you need to be aiming for. I went out for two rides in the past 2 days, each time concentrating on sitting on the correct bit of my seat. My default seating position was literally one inch too far forward. This doesn’t cause me any problems for short rides, it appears, but once over say two and a half hours, it was starting to get sore. Therefore, pushing back one inch, to make sure that the sit bones were on the flat surface on my seat, rather than slipping down each side of the seat, seems so far to be making a difference.

The padding in cycling shorts therefore is intended to sit between your sit bones and your cycling seat, giving you even more padding and thus comfort. I knew this already, but I wasn’t aware of what bit of my bum was supposed to be getting cushioned by the padding. Once you know it’s the sit bones, and once you have figured out where they are in your body, things start to make a lot more sense!

In other news, I’ve also discovered I’m not supposed to wear underwear when I have bib shorts on. Chamois cream ordered…

V Brake Adjustments

A few weeks ago, a friend asked me whether I could help him sort out a problem with his bicycle, as it wasn’t able to go into either the top or bottom gear; in other words, the rear mech (derailleur) would not shift into the smallest cog or the biggest cog.

This reminded me of the first time I tried to sort out my own rear mech when it wouldn’t shift into the biggest cog. I made a total arse up of it because I did not know the hierarchy of things you should run through, in other words you need to go through a set of instructions in a specific order to sort something like this out. I ended up twiddling with pretty much every screw, including the b-screw, because I was reading a book that described what each set of screws did (limit screws, H/L screws, b-screw etc), but didn’t tell me the order that you should do things in.

Today, I was sorting out the V-brake on someone else’s bike, which is something I rarely do as I don’t tend to do MTB stuff, so needed teh interwebs to come to my aid, and came across a page with the correct hierarchy. Job done nice and easily. I could repeat it all here, but hey, that would be both a waste of my time and stealing from someone else, so I shall go no further and merely re-direct you to this page which should have you up and running in no time:

http://www.troubleshooters.com/bicycles/vbrakes.htm

Cycling and a sore bum

I quite often get a sore arse when I’m out on a long ride on my bike. Up until about 30 minutes ago, I’d put this down to merely needing to build up some resistance by doing longer rides, and that seemed to be working, as my last 2 long rides (40+ miles) did not make my butt feel sore. However, I went out for a 57 miler today, and my arse was sore by around mile 33. The last 15 miles coming home became progressively more uncomfortable, to the point where I needed to stop a couple of times to try to alleviate the pain. As soon as I stopped and got off the bike, my arse was totally fine, but as soon as I got back on again, the pain returned.

The types of butt pain you can get from cycling can vary. The type I get is not from chafing, which seems to be a common problem. Instead, I’d describe mine as more a pain near a boney area, but hadn’t figured out what it was.

I did a bit of googling this evening to see what it could be. First, I needed to figure out what part of my skeleton it was that was sore. That was quite easy – it’s the ischial tuberosity, aka the “sit bones”. From there, I discovered an excellent article on the Cervélo site about the four and a half rules of road saddles, where rule #1 hit the nail on the head.

Ultimately, I’m now fairly confident that I have been sitting too far forward on my seat. So, in other words, my sit bones have not been resting correctly on the seat, and have been therefore resting down the sides of the front (narrow) bit of my seat. Even thinking about it makes it feel sore. Instead, I need to sit further back – probably all of an inch further back, and when I tried that on my bike while stationary, it does feel significantly more comfortable.

I’m not sure what the pedalling action is going to feel like, mind you. However, this is on the bike which I’ve had fitted professionally, so therefore I should really give it a go and see what happens. I’ll be out on the bike doing various errands tomorrow anyway, so that’ll be a good time to see if it is indeed the answer!