You know that life is different when the sun is shining and you still have to cycle indoors. The Coronavirus pandemic has brought profound changes to the way we are currently living our lives and, here in the UK, we are in week four of lock down to help limit the spread of the disease.
I have written another blog about cycling during this time and my reasons for staying indoors.
Making the most of the good weather. Outside but still not actually going anywhere.
Technically, at this moment, I would be within my rights to go out on the roads for a cycle and tempting as that is, it doesn’t feel within the spirit of the lock down. Plus there is the small issue of not feeling great about abandoning my partner and kids to go out and enjoy myself at this time.
I would also never forgive myself if I had a crash and end up in hospital. They do happen. See this blog. I do not want to be that guy taking up a hospital bed and the already stretched to their limit staff.
All in all it is much safer and practical to get back on the turbo trainer and sweat it out like most of the pro-riders are doing anyway.
With more time being spent on the trainer I was noticing a problem that had always been niggling me; my saddle.
I have been riding on a Fizik Arione R7 Saddle for the past four years. It is not meant to be the most comfortable saddle in the world but it has never really been an issue for me. My days of long, aimless rides are well and truly in the past and so it was fine and fast for a couple of hours in the saddle. The green trim was a lovely match for my Cannondale Supersix and the integrated saddle bag feature was very useful and neat.
The new saddle ready to go in under ten minutes.
Not so on an indoor trainer and after a few sessions I was really feeling the effects of a saddle designed for speed and not comfort. The problem with cycling indoors, apart from the abject boredom at times, is that it is not dynamic. When you are outside cycling in the real world you are making thousands of tiny and not so tiny adjustments to your body and your position on the saddle as you work to control your bike. On the indoor trainer you largely spend the entire time in one position and that is where the problems begin.
My arse was killing me and it was obvious that if something didn’t change then I would lose any and all motivation to get back on the turbo. Short of standing on the pedals for the entire session the only solution was to look into a new saddle.
After a lot of research and a new experience of measuring my sit bones I ordered the Selle Italia SLR SuperFlow Saddle with TI3116 Rails. It has, so far, been nothing short of a revelation. Whilst it will not work miracles and make training on the indoor training anything but dull it has made it much, much more comfortable.
No more discomfort on the perineum, that sensitive area between the scrotum and the anus (to use medical terms) thanks to the centre cut-out. The saddle means that the pressure is shifted to the more robust sit-bones which at first takes a little bit of getting used to but after a few sessions it is no longer an issue.
In terms of weight the SLR comes in at 185g for the size I needed compared to 247g for the Fizik saddle so as well as being more comfortable it is lighter for those concerned about such things, although it makes zero difference on the indoor trainer. The saddle that comes with your bike is likely to be a cost-cutting element and so it is not likely to suit everyone.
It took around two minutes to swap the saddles and a further five minutes to adjust the position.
The saddle is not cheap though and you definitely pay for the comfort. On balance for me it was absolutely worth the cost.
When this lock down is finally over I can’t wait to get out on the open roads and test the saddle properly over a longer cycle but for now it has without doubt helped me to stay motivated on the indoor trainer. I will update this blog when life returns to some sort of normal, whatever and whenever that may be.
Until then, stay safe and stay sane.