“Yesterday, I stopped at the new bike shop for some lube,” I said as I passed my wife while out on a morning ride. “They’ve got some saddles in there you should check out.”
“That’s OK, I feel pretty good now,” she replied.
Wow, that’s a turnaround. Just last week she was complaining that her saddle was so uncomfortable that she wanted to get a new one. Why the sudden change of heart?
Well, after she complained last week, I took a look at the saddle. It’s the original Trek gel that came with the bike when we bought it in 1992. But it hadn’t been on the bike for some years — not until I put it back on after the saddle she’d been riding failed on a New Year’s Day ride. As I suspected, there was a problem with the saddle’s set up. The nose was sticking up. I must not have tightened the set screw tight enough when I installed the saddle, and her riding had pushed down the back, and pushed the nose up.
I got out the carpenter’s level and set about correcting the problem. Just before I finished, Pat came out of the house to take a look.
“It’s perfectly level now,” I told her.
“You know, I’d like it if you lowered the nose a little bit from where it is.” she said.
I complied. “It’s half a bubble down from level,” I said.
Which brings us to the ride that started off this missive. I questioned her closely about the saddle and its feel.
“Lowering the nose made all the difference,” she said. “This feels just fine. You don’t have to change a thing.”
Once again, the big difference made by a small adjustment hit home. But I had my own version of the story. Just before that morning ride, I had once again tweaked my saddle position — edging it back ever so slightly. I’d been doing that over the last two weeks, a little bit at a time. Each time, it felt better, but each time, I thought things could improve even more. This time, it felt pretty good.
I’ve had a chance to confirm that in subsequent days. My rides on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were all good ones, with no discomfort on the seat. This morning, I led a B ride out into the country for a 36-mile round trip. I think I’ve finally found the magic spot. The saddle stays right where it is.
It’s a game of millimeters, but if you have the patience to keep at it, eventually you’ll get it right.