Riding a bike is one of the most pleasant ways to get some exercise and enjoy some fun in the sun. Feeling the wind whip past your face as you make your way down a trail or just cruising around town on two wheels has a way of getting your mind right. But you might not feel this way if you’re feeling pain from merely sitting on your bike seat.
If you’ve experienced any sort of pain from sitting on your bike as you ride and you’re at a loss of what to do, don’t fret! We’ve got your back (literally) with these quick and easy tips of how to make your bike seat much more comfortable so you can get back to enjoying your bike.
Get a Gel Pad
A real easy fix is to get a gel pad. These are a quick and easy fix to a lot of discomfort as they can be found practically everywhere online, at bike shops, or even at big department stores like Walmart or Target. The biggest downside with these is that they need to be adjusted every so often because the way most are attached to the seat is through elastic straps. They also may not address some other common issues with how your bike is set up. But if you know the bike is set up correctly and you don’t mind messing around with them before you ride, they’re a great option to offer some immediate comfort.
Consider the Geometry of the Seat
Seats come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Once you start going to specialty bike shops, you’ll learn about how some seats don’t even have material directly underneath where you sit! This is to help create a space for your blood vessels to rest while you sit on your bike seat instead of getting compressed on a hard surface. This is especially true for male riders, as their biological make-up puts a lot of sensitive parts directly where most stock seats have material.
Change the Seat Post Height
Another thing to check for when troubleshooting an uncomfortable seat is how you have your seat post positioned. If your seat is too high, you may be putting an unnecessary amount of strain on yourself. To assess the correct height for your seat, have a friend hold your bike up right as you sit on it. As you sit on the bike, position one side of your pedals as if you’re at the bottom of a pedal stroke. If you are at the tip of your toes at that stroke, your seat is too high. Lower the seat and repeat the process until you’ve gotten your seat adjusted so that your knee has a slight bend to it at the bottom of the stroke.
Change the Angle of the Seat
Seat angles can also be a factor in how comfortable your bike seat is. A lot of people don’t even mess with the factory settings for seat angle, mostly because they don’t realize that it can be changed at all. Start by looking at where your seat meets your seat post. There should be some screws that attach the seat to the post. Loosen each screw to the point where you can freely move your seat without detaching it completely from the bike. From there, play with the settings until you achieve the angle that feels best when you sit on your bike. Once you’ve achieved that golden angle, mark it on your seat and tighten everything back down.
Check the Distance from the Handlebars
Once you’ve adjusted your seat to your liking, be sure that the distance between your handlebars and where you sit is comfortable to you. Sometimes, when you get a bike that is too big for you, you end up having to reach forward too far to reach the handlebars. This can put a lot of unnecessary strain on your back as you reach to grab the bars. That’s why it’s best to ensure you test out a few bikes to ensure that you get the right sized bike for your body. If you already have a bike, try putting in some spacers between the fork and your handlebars to raise the handlebar height, which will reduce the angle you have between your seat and the bars.
Sit on the Seat Correctly
A big problem many beginners have with uncomfortable seats is that they sit on the bike as if they are sitting on a chair. This is incorrect body position because the seat is designed to have you sit forward on it in order to get your weight over the top of the drive train. If you find that you’ve been sitting back on your seat, try scooting forward a bit on your seat so that your weight is over the nose of the seat to alleviate some discomfort.
Wear the Right Equipment
Something that a lot of newer riders don’t consider is the clothing that they wear while riding. One of the best things that has ever hit the cycling world has been padded bike shorts. These are great because it essentially takes the gel pad and puts it directly into your shorts so that you’ll have a comfortable place to rest each and every time you sit down.
Check Your Tire Pressure
Another quick fix for bike seat discomfort is to assess your tire pressure. If you’re running your tires too high, you could potentially be taking a lot more beating from the road or trail than necessary since the force of the shock isn’t getting absorbed by the tires. Lower your tire pressure a bit and you’ll notice not only how much more comfortable of a ride you’ll get, but also smoother since you won’t be hitting bumps as hard anymore.
Riding a bike shouldn’t feel uncomfortable. When you find your seat is a big reason for why you’re not enjoying your rides, follow these easy steps to ensure that you get the most out of each and every one of your rides.