Saddle Pads

A friend was complaining to me last week about soreness on his bottom after long bike rides. Yep, saddle trouble again.

It’s happened to him before. He’s gotten saddle sores that have kept him from the weekend ride. He’s felt an ache that feels like bruising in the soft tissue area.

I’ve been there, and my problems seem to have been solved by the right saddle.

He took a different route.  He got a saddle pad for his bike.

This doesn't belong to the friend I'm talking about -- but it's much the same.

It cost him less than $20, and added an extra layer of padding to the saddle. He’s ridden it a few times, all on distances of less than 20 miles. But he’s happy with the results so far. For him, the extra cushioning works.

The saddle pad pictured above belongs to a guy in my club. He likes his for a different reason.

“I’ve got the Big H,” he told me.

“And does this help?” I asked.

“Yeah. It’s good.”

I’ve ridden with another guy on club rides who uses a saddle pad. He took some good-natured ribbing about it, but said it suits him.

Clearly, for some people, under some circumstances, a saddle pad might be the solution.

What are the disadvantages, then?

The first would seem to be the fit. Most of the saddle pads I’ve seen are held in place by a drawstring set into an elastic hem. Some online reviews I’ve read for various saddle pads say it’s hard to get them to stay put once they’re on the saddle, and that can lead to discomfort.

The second is harder to pin down. Pads add another layer between you and the seat, but do they really add comfort? And do they work on long rides? Or, are they favored by exercisers on stationary bikes rather than road or mountain bikers?

Do you have any experience with these? Would a cyclist benefit from them, or would they be better off following the advice of one online reviewer — “It is better to get a comfortable saddle and forget the pad.”

Age Is Only a Number

A couple of notable biking stories have come to my attention over the past week. Nothing to do with the Tour de France — these concern more “ordinary” folks.

But their stories are extraordinary, and inspirational.

From British Columbia, Canada: Dave Gillanders, 78, set a new age group record in the VanIsle (Vancouver Island) 1200k brevet, July 21-25, put on by the BC Randonneurs Cycling Club.  Dave completed the 747-mile trek in 88 hours, 54 minutes.

Dave Gillanders, 78, looking good on the Van Isle 1200k. (Click to enlarge.)

He wasn’t the only senior on the ride. Ken Bonner, 67, finished in 82:24.

Ken Bonner, left, and Dave Gillanders.

One thing I enjoy about cycling is the feeling that it is a lifetime activity. I’m already no spring chicken (I’m 59 — shh!) but I’m in better shape than I was 15 years ago. Guys like Dave and Ken inspire me to keep on keeping on.

Sister Madonna Buder

But then, an item like this comes along. Sister Madonna Buder, an 80-year-old nun from Spokane, Wash., will compete in the Ironman Canada triathlon next month. She’s already the oldest woman to finish an Ironman, so if she’s successful, she’ll set a new age record.  There’s no reason to believe she won’t be successful — she’s already competed in more than 300 triathlons.  At her age, “It’s not easy to do an Ironman anymore,” she says.  But she seems to still be able to find the motivation to get out there.

To read Sister Madonna’s whole story, take a look at this article on

So the next time it’s a little too hot or humid outside, or you can’t seem to motivate yourself to get outdoors for an easy 25-miler in the neighborhood, remember Dave and Ken and Sister Madonna. And get going!

Gillanders and Bonner photos via “More Bike Lanes Please” page on Flickr.  Buder photo via Facebook.

Troubles With My Cateye

A while back, I had to change the batteries on my cyclocomputer, a Cateye V2C.  I changed the one in the bike-mounted speed sensor, then changed the one in the detachable handlebar unit.

The Cateye V2C. It's wireless--speed and cadence sensor shown at right.

Cateye’s manual says that when a battery is changed, all you have to do is hit a tiny AC (all clear) button on the back.

So, I did that. But it didn’t work the way it was supposed to. I get the current speed reading — in fact, I get all my currents, including elapsed time and cadence. But currents are all I get.

I don’t get average speed, or maximum speed, or average cadence.

Now, mostly, I’m only concerned with how far I went and how long it took. I’ve got another way to compute average speed. But it sure would be nice to do that on the computer, and have it when I wanted it. Likewise, maximum speed. I have to be watching the thing to get it, and sometimes, I’m just too busy watching the road ahead to look down at the computer and see how fast I’m going.

Cateye’s online site isn’t any help. It features a “Knowledge Base” — a collection of frquently-asked questions and their answers. Of course, they don’t have the answer to the question that I’m asking, which is how do you restore data when you change batteries, and how do you restore the “average” and “maximum” functions — not just the “current?” And they don’t have an email form to ask a questions that’s not in the Knowledge Base.

Does anyone have any experience with this cyclocomputer — or with Cateye generally — that can help me answer my questions?