Back in the saddle again

Or: "Don't they make seats for girls?"

I went cycling yesterday for the first time in something like thirteen years. (I don't remember precisely when it was I last cycled, but I know it wasn't during university days and I definitely did me some cycling as a secondary school student, which leaves only the grayishly suspect junior college days unaccounted for.) I was petrified, not so much that I'd've forgotten how to cycle, but that since the last thing I cycled on was a BMX bike, I wouldn't be able to handle anything else.

Fortunately, cycling on a banged-up mountain bike rented from one of the East Coast Park uncles proved to be quite similar to cycling on a BMX, just that I was slightly higher off the ground (or maybe I've grown since that last time) and that the seat hurt like hell.

Can I just say, what is with the seats? I don't remember having a sore butt when I cycled as a kid, and I used to have my own banged-up BMX that I whizzed around the estate on everyday. But within 20 minutes of easing down East Coast Park, just when we'd gotten beyond the busy McDonald's stretch and had hit a quieter area, I felt the need to shift in my seat. And to shift again, since the second position hadn't been any more comfortable than the first. Then to lean forward, upward, sideways --- all in a vain attempt to come to a more comfortable sitting position.

I know they make bicycle seats for girls, because Terz showed me some in a Scotts catalogue yesterday, but my rented bike definitely didn't have one. And that got me thinking about how all the cyclists in the Tour de France are male and is the reason there aren't any female cyclists because women aren't physically strong enough to compete in the same race as the men --- or is it because bike companies spend thousands of dollars in developing the perfect seat to protect men's little bits, but haven't quite achieved the same level of Zen comfort for the women, hmmm?

(Nardac, as the only person I know with more than a passing interest in the Tour de France, not to mention your timely blog post about Tiger, I hereby appoint thee to answer that puzzling question.)

Seating discomfort notwithstanding, ambling along on a bicycle was a relaxing way to see the easternmost stretches of the park that I don't usually visit. We rode until there wasn't any more bike path in front of us; it ends at the Safra resort along Changi Coast Walk. Oddly enough, that's where we encountered two couples in their wedding regalia, traipsing across grass and sand to have their pictures taken.

Now Terz is badgering me to get a bike of my own. But I am immune to peer pressure. Just because lisamontgomery's bought a bike (the excuse for yesterday's little excursion) and Darren's hankering after one doesn't mean I have to get one. Even if the seat on a rental hurts like hell.


At 6/16/2005 7:54 am , Blogger Sivasothi said...

Hi Tym, resistance is futile.

See this webapge for tips on getting a new bike and very importantly, read the links on sizing a bike. It makes a lot more difference than it used to because there is more to choose from. makes up to 25% difference in ability and 50% difference in comfort!

Probably after your ride more you will be less sore.

Keep riding!

At 6/16/2005 1:47 pm , Blogger stellou said...

i almost bought a bike like five or six years ago... this bike. ohhh the beauty.

i called to place the order, and the nice fella went through all the ordering info with me over the phone, and then right at the end, he said, "oh and how tall are you?" and then it all just went downhill from there, and i don't mean that nice gliding downhill you can do on a bike with the wind in your hair, look ma no hands! we are talking a bad bumpy downhill, where it turns out that stylo swedish bikes are made for tall stylo swedes, not little chinese girls, even if little chinese girls are stylo in their little chinese way.

in conclusion, EEEYUR.

At 6/16/2005 2:27 pm , Blogger Terz said...

Ahem. Scotts is that shopping centre near Orchard Road. You're thinking Scott.

At 6/16/2005 4:45 pm , Blogger  said...

me, i got bike at home. dad's. NAB borrowed it, (after he lost *my* bike, way back when he was working at Virgin Mobile) and its been sitting in my balcony. thought about riding it to my pool many times, but whenever i look at it, i'm kind of defeated. its a monster! (well, to me anyway!)

At 6/17/2005 1:12 am , Blogger Tym said...

Sivasothi --- Thanks for the tips and the peer pressure :) I'm not dead set against getting a bike, just that I need to sort out some financial issues first (as is usually the case with me). Btw, great Cycling in Singapore blog!

Stellou --- Pretty! And eeyur! So now not only do we have to worry about bikes for girls, but also bikes for Asian girls.

Terz --- Doh! Corrected.

Ru --- Either return it to your dad or sell it to Terz, ha ha.

At 6/17/2005 1:47 pm , Blogger Agagooga said...

Uhh - why would you need different seats for guys and girls? Unless - the discomfort is not pain but something else :o

At 6/17/2005 5:34 pm , Blogger NARDAC said...

coming to this one a bit late. Ok, as far as women's bike seats are concerned, I haven't really heard of them. There's the harder bike seats, the narrower ones, the ones with gel padding for geriatrics and bony-bums, such as you... so many bike seats on the market to solve this kind of bum-problm.

Off the top of my head, there are two things that could be wrong here: the angle of the bike seat is wrong for your geometry on the bike. The form of the bike seat is wrong for your ass. Either way, this seems to be a serious problem so you might want to consider getting a bike fitted for you, getting a gel-padded seat, and getting your ass changed...oops, maybe just shocks.

As for why women do not compete in the Tour, I have no real answer except that france is sexist. Anyways, it's true that women can't really compete with men at that level of sport on a bike. Why? Probably something physiological which I have no clue about.

At 6/17/2005 9:32 pm , Blogger Agagooga said...

Actually estrogen helps them metabolise fat better, so they're better at endurance events.

At 6/18/2005 2:22 am , Blogger NARDAC said...

There's more than just endurance involved in the cycling. There's the climbing as well. Men have more powerful legs. I'm sure they have more explosive capacities for sprinting and climbing.


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