A "pressing" gender-related problem

Jeffrey Friedl <jfriedl@nff.ncl.omron.co.jp> writes:
> Actually, it’s two problems related in that they both have to do with how the
> seat contacts my body in … uh… “uncomfortable” ways.

maybe you should try a different seat?

I know from the pictures I’ve seen, that different makes of seat are sometimes
shaped very differently… I have a SemCycle seat, and thats not too bad, it is
thin where it goes between the legs, and fat where it sticks out the back (not
so fat at the front) - it has quite a curve on it also, and I tilt it up as
far as it will at the front, so that my weight is on the wide bit, since the
thin bit is thinly padded… but since I’m quite tall also, my legs would never
be pointing straight down, so it doesn’t matter that the thin bit is slightly
forward (better that way in fact)

some of the other pictures I’ve seen have a seat that is almost flat and not
so long and thin in the middle… it seems to me that this would chafe much
more on the legs, although it has more cushioning if you sit directly on the
thin bit. You didn’t say what sort of seat you had, but I would recommend
trying some others anyway, you never know what might suit.

    and I understand that padded cycling shorts are good for holding
  your treasures firmly out of the way (firmly snuggled up in front of
  the body I find is best) and providing cushioning at the same time.


Re: A “pressing” gender-related problem

Wow, what a response. I guess my message touch a nerve (so to speak) among some
readers. Sorry for the delay in posting and responding. I’d posted it from Jack
Halpern’s place, where I spent New Years, and got delayed in returning to work.

Goodrich, Paul - TEB <psgoodrich@bpa.gov> writes:
|> So, Jeffrey, a coupla suggestions: (1) Make sure that your “perch bones” are
|> coming down squarely on a LEVEL part of the seat (left-to-right). If they’re
|> coming down on the rounded edge, they’re being pried apart, and neither your
|> pelvis nor your soft tissues are going to appreciate it much.

Yup, they sure don’t. That’s probably the 2nd problem. There’s still the probelm
of even getting to that situation… but things just don’t want to get out of
the way to let me get there comfortably.

Dan Colyer writes
|> I’d go with Paul Goodrich’s advice on angling the saddle upwards from
|> front to back, but that may depend largely upon what sort of saddle you’ve
|> got.

I guess it’s just an old Miyata saddle, which doesn’t adjust. Jack helped design
that saddle, and since he doesn’t have this problem (I’ll leave why to
speculation), I guess it doesn’t deal with it well. But then, Jack says that he
doesn’t know anyone with the problemk to this extent…

|> it’s not an option. Have you tried different saddles?

I’ve only ridden three cycles in my life… the one that I have, which is
Jack’s old Miyata that he gave me last year, Jack’s new Miyata that he bought to
replace the one he kindly sloffed off on me :-), and then Jack’s 27" (or
something like that) cycle that had a notably wider seat. I tried that last
week, and at first it felt better, but I’m not sure. The post wasn’t easily
adjustable, so I was just riding it with the seat about 6" too low, which
doesn’t allow for a fair assesment. But I think that a wider seat would
certainly be better…

|> DON’T wear jeans. They can chafe horribly and can lead quickly to the
|> sweaty scrotum that causes the painful sticky skin scenario.

I haven’t had this problem, but maybe just haven’t ridden long enough.

|> DO wear padded lycra cycling shorts. They’re comfortable, look sexy (they
|> do when I wear them anyway) and are tight enough to hold

They probably would when I wear them too (urhmp, sucking in gut :-). I’ve never
had a pair, though, and am not sure I’d really want to wear them… I dunno’,
maybe too conserative an upbringing.

|> Whatever you wear (except for jeans) you will last longer without
|> underwear. As far as I can tell, this is simply because one layer of
|> clothing rubs less than two.

I’d would always give experience creedence over theory, but doesn’t it make
sense that if you had two layers, the inter-layer contact would rub, leaving the
contact with the skin rub-free?

John Foss writes:
|> > He says it’s not a problem for him, and since I’ve met his kids I know he’s
|> > got the, uh, same type of biology as I have . . .
|> I think both of his kids were born before he started unicycling

You know, you’re right. I notice he stopped having kids about the time he
started riding. But then, why didn’t he have the problem at first, before
things were ground away? Mmmm, come to think of it, his kids don’t look a bit
like him…

|> Tell us what type of saddle you are using. What is the brand and age of
|> the unicycle, and please describe the saddle in detail.

It’s Jack’s old Miyata, but…

|> me guess, please. You are riding a relatively new Miyata with the plastic
|> saddle with handle built into the front bumper.

That’s the kind he has now… I guess mine is the version just before, without
the handle (and thank goodness for that – riding his last week, I got my finger
caught in the “handle” part twice when catching the thing during a fall, and the
pain was almost as bad as the pain that this thread is about).

|> If so, this saddle is too narrow for all adults. See if you can get a wider
|> saddle.

I think that’s the ticket. But how come Jack has no problem, and says that he
doesn’t know others with it? Does it just say something about the kind of
friends he keeps? :slight_smile:

|> I’m no doctor, but it sounds like you may have some kind of overuse injury.
|> It might be advisable for you to back off from riding for a while, until
|> whatever damage gets a chance to heal.

Actually, I hadn’t ridden since the summer until showing up at his place last
week. I was happy that I was able to ride right away, but the familiar problems
were just as pressing.

|> He was a big guy, and I would guess that he was big in areas that we could
|> not see. He always got sore after a short time.

As I noted, there are the two problems. The “man problem” and the “sore
problem”, and they’re not related, I think. I would think padding and the wider
seat would help with the “sore problem”, as would proper underware (sometimes
the seams of the underwear lie right where the weight sits, and that’s
unpleasant). But the “man problem” where size and shapes matter aren’t in issue
of “soreness”, but of immediate and extream pain. Once I can get things settled,
I’m fine until the sore problem starts to set in, or I fall and need to remount.

In non-list mail, Dennis Kathrens offered some advice (in frank terms, which is
why he said he mailed to me directly) that looks like it might be really
helpful. It also involes cycling shorts. Maybe I’ll have to go find a pair…

Bert Neff writes:
|> is that the crotch wears out on my jeans, which can be rather embarrasing if
|> I don’t notice it in a timely fashion.

I can imagin(!)

|> For me, I found that when mounting, aiming for the seat just a bit ahead of
|> where I sit, and then backing up just a bit works pretty good, but I’m
|> guessing you’ve tried that sort of thing.

I can free-mount in two ways (successful and unsuccessful :-), and maybe am at
the point where I can start to think about methods. I’ll try this. I can see how
the backing up could help roll things out of harms way.

Thanks all for your advice. I’ll try some of the things mentioned, but please
chime in with additional comments if you have them. It’s sort of neat to be
mailing through Kent… I’m an alumus ('87, BS in Math/CS).


Jeffrey E.F. Friedl <jfriedl@omron.co.jp> Omron Corporation, Kyoto Japan

Re: A “pressing” gender-related problem

Jeffrey Friedl <jfriedl@nff.ncl.omron.co.jp> (jf) writes:

jf> |> Whatever you wear (except for jeans) you will last longer without
jf> |> underwear. As far as I can tell, this is simply because one layer of
jf> |> clothing rubs less than two.

jf> I’d would always give experience creedence over theory, but doesn’t it make
jf> sense that if you had two layers, the inter-layer contact would rub, leaving
jf> the contact with the skin rub-free?

Sounds plausible, but so do a few conflicting models.

Here’s a good example of what might be happening:

Take a napkin and hold it flat between your hands. Rub your hands together
lightly. Unless the napkin is very thin, it slides around nicely. It may rub
against the “wrong hand” (i.e. you, instead of your jeans), but that shouldn’t
be any worse than without, right?

Alas, we sweat. Dampen the napkin and try it again. Now it clings so well to
both sides that it crumples and rolls up. Now it’s a wonderful abrasive as it
gets ground into both sides, one of which is your tender skin.

This happened to me as I was riding (wearing cotton briefs) at the beginning of
Thanksgiving vacation. I had a four day weekend and was looking forward to a lot
of riding. When I stared to chafe I ignored the pain, thinking it probably
wasn’t a big deal and I’d be home in a mile or two. Big mistake. Pain is there
for a reason. My skin was rubbed raw and I wasn’t able to ride again for a week.
(I walked pretty funny for a few days too…)


Re: A “pressing” gender-related problem

Here’s something I found in a back issue of Kaskade (No.31). I haven’t tried
it, but it looks interesting:

" To prevent saddle-soreness even on very long one-wheel journeys, wrap the
inner tube of a bicycle tyre around the saddle, making sure that there are no
twists at the top, and then inflate to medium pressure. Put a towel around it
and Bob’s your unicycle" - Flo Theo, Wilhelmshaven, Germany

| Danny Colyer | bs1dwc@bath.ac.uk | To drop is human, | University of Bath |
| ----------------- | To juggle is divine. |