Bike Saddle Position
As part of the maintenence I did on my bike today, I also adjusted the saddle height & positioning over the pedals. This was because on recent rides, I’ve found my thighs getting tired (that numb, achy, burning feeling) rather sooner than I’d like.
This is symptomatic of either working too hard on the bike (which is possible), or just having the saddle too low, which I thought more likely. Basically, if the saddle’s too low, your legs don’t extend properly, and you end up effectively carrying your weight in a semi-crouch position. So I raised the saddle by about 1/2″ (12mm or so), and at the same time moved it forward to compensate for the extra loading on my . . . um . . . saddle area. (In male cyclists this can cause problems with the ‘old chap’ that are best avoided.)
On the test ride, my legs felt much better. However, what I did find was the extra height of the saddle above the handle bars meant that I was taking slightly more weight on my arms, resulting in numbness of my little and ring fingers. Now, I always wear cushioned gloves for cycling, but this is still a recurring problem for me. As well as numbness, I’ve also experienced pain in my wrists, fore-arms, and elbows, and my doctor’s referred me to a specialist to investigate potential carpal tunnel syndrome.
(Actually, when I first heard this, I was really quite alarmed - I’d got it mixed up with tunnel vision, and thought that it might have something to do with that other wrist problem and it’s alleged blindness consequences I was warned about as a teenager by a priest . . .)
The net result of all this? Well, although fitting a bike could be thought of as a science (please, drink something with caffeine in it before following the link!) , there’s probably also a large degree of art / trial and error / fudge factor involved. We’re all different shapes, we all ride differently, and we all accept different sensations as being part of the ride.
So I’ve probably some more work to do, and some more test rides to take before it’s absolutely right.