The Cross Canada Cycle Tour Society November , 2019 Volume 36, Issue #11
The 2019 CCCTS Annual General Meeting will take place in Tsawwaassen at the South Delta Baptist Church, 1988 56 St, Delta BC on December 2nd, 2019 at 1100h. A free lunch will be served along with an interesting agenda. Don’t miss it.
- Civility and CCCTS
How shocked I was to receive a message from a member recently who had completed one of our tours. “Shocked” in that I expected maybe a compliment on what fine tours the Club provides. No. To the contrary. And a harsh critique it was. This member’s (and I’ll keep this narrative anonymous) complaint was, that, “I don’t think the CCCTS should ever offer that tour again because of the safety factor and I don’t think the CCCTS should ever allow (the tour leaders) to be tour leaders as they are not responsible people and give CCCTS a bad name”. After replying that we would take this criticism seriously, and would certainly investigate, and if necessary, take remedial action, this complainant then replied, “I don’t see any good coming from a discussion with the tour leaders especially if you are planning on letting them continue as tour leaders. They didn’t strike me as the type of people who could change their behaviour.” Wow. What behavioural crimes had they exhibited? Interestingly, this member noted that, “I had a good time in spite of the leaders …”, and “Please don’t pursue this with the tour leaders on my behalf.” Dear member, it would be irresponsible for us not to investigate such damming accusations. And finally, it was noted that the conditions were so bad that “… the general consensus (of the participants) was never to do a CCCTS tour again.” Thirteen, or more, very unhappy, and possibly, soon never-to-be Club members – gone. Ouch
Clearly there had been issues on the tour, for we received a second letter of concern from another tour member, and one who’d been “around the block” with the Club. This member was not vindictive, but pointed out, without vitriol, that there had been problems. This member had looked forward to the tour for years. “That the weather was great, so was the scenery, and the accommodations … beautiful. The breakfast(s) … delicious … However, I wasn’t happy with the planning and execution of this trip. I would have to give it a grade (of) … F.” And she explained in detail (over 3 pages) the problems with the tour.
What to do? The Tours Director and I decided to interview a few of the participants; to read the trip report (a report written by the participants, not the tour leaders, hence it should accurately reflect the pros and cons of the tour); and, with the complainants permission, allow the incriminated tour leaders to reflect on these complaints.
Interviews. There were indeed old and trusted hands on the tour that had participated in a multitude of Club tours in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. And had led a large number of Club tours. They felt there was nothing out of the ordinary on the tour, and that it was an average tour. They looked forward to many more CCCTS tours. They felt the first complainants concerns were irrational and exaggerated.
Another was interviewed; a person with a lot of cycling experience, but with little experience with the Club. This participant suggested there had been some hiccups, but none of a major character and he would be back to the Club for more tours.
Trip Report. We learned that one tour leader edited this report, something the Club advises against. Apparently the report yet reflects the authors views and wasn’t quite the “whitewash”, as alluded to by the first complainant.
In general the author of the report found the cycling interesting, challenging, and in some cases too slow due to a diversity of cycling skills. But overall with good weather, wonderful scenery, good food and lodgings, and interesting people the tour was quite enjoyable.
The writer highlighted the following concerns:
- The extreme variety of bicycles used by participants and their respective physical conditioning slowed daily progress for the better riders;
- There was frequently confusing instructions about location of rest stops, coffee breaks and lunch locations;
- There was dangerous riding conditions on one leg where the road was shoulder-less and the traffic heavy;
- Further confusing instructions at the start of one days ride when the instructions given were those meant for the following day;
- Another day the routes were given in ‘Ride with GPS’, but then were changed, and no cue sheets were provided. This meant that the participants had to ride as a group as only the tour leader new the route through the city. The range in cycling skills made this leg difficult for the tour leaders; and
- During this complicated day it was further confounded when the sweep, one of the tour leaders, took a wrong turn and was lost to the group for some time.
My Conclusions: First, I’ve been involved on the Board for ~10 years and only on two other tours did we have to deal with adverse criticism. I thank both the second complainant, and the author of the trip report for their fair and seemingly unbiased documentation of this tour;
Secondly, the intolerance and hard-nosed criticism of the first complainant shone through, thus we definitely will not take this participants advice to ban these tour leaders from leading tours. Mitigation and education is “always in the cards”. And besides, these leaders have led successful tours and have contributed greatly to the Club in many ways. “You don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”
Thirdly, we have passed the critics notes to the tour leaders, and have received their responses. The Tours Director and I will meet with them to address lingering concerns, and plans for mitigation;
Fourthly, the Board of Directors has culpability as well; we should have been able to foresee certain of the problems when the proposal was reviewed by the Board; and,
Fifthly, and most importantly, we are a Club of volunteers who provide events for the enjoyment of Club members. No one gets paid. Leaders tend to go beyond expectations to ensure safe, enjoyable tours, e.g. the tour leaders of the tour being discussed, on two successive nights, cooked plentiful and enjoyable meals, which allowed the participants to better experience the beautiful environment to which the tour leaders had organized and led them to. Tour leaders plan and lead to the best of their ability under the circumstances. If things go awry, participants are encouraged, indeed required (see the CCCTS Tour Guidelines for Leaders & Participants), to pitch in and assist to help alleviate arising problems.
- Tour & H&S Leaders
The Club is always on the lookout for leaders and ideas for new tours and H&S. Both George Zorn (H&S Director: 250-832-9335; email@example.com) and Bruce Daykin (Tours Director; 250-858-0304; firstname.lastname@example.org ) would like to hear from you: Do you have an idea for a CCCTS cycling adventure that you want to discuss for 2020 or beyond? Please contact either of the above Club members who would be happy to chat with you.
- The 2019 CCCTS Annual General Meeting will take place in Tsawwaassen at the South Delta Baptist Church, 1988 56 St, Delta BC on December 2nd, 2019 at 1100h. A free lunch will be served along with an interesting agenda. Don’t miss it.
Wednesday, 30 October 2019
My Butt Hurts When I Ride My Bicycle. What Kind Of Saddle Do You Recommend?
This poor woman needs to have her seat checked!!
If your butt or crotch is hurting you when you’re riding you bicycle, you might be surprised to learn that your seat (or saddle) is probably not the problem. That’s right! For most people experiencing butt or crotch pain when cycling, buying a new saddle is usually a last resort.
Before you go out and purchase a new saddle for your bicycle (something that can be both complicated and expensive), be sure to read this article in its entirely. I’ll start by giving you some suggestions on how to make your current saddle more comfortable, then tell you how to measure your body and your saddle to see if the saddle you have now is a good fit for your body-type. If you determine that you do need a new saddle, I’ll tell you what characteristics to look for in a properly fitting bike saddle, and I’ll conclude by recommending a few of the most popular bike saddles currently on the market.
Why Does My Butt Hurt When I Ride My Bicycle?
If your butt or crotch is hurting you after just a short time of riding your bicycle, the problem is usually caused by:
- A misaligned saddle or seat post.
- Improper handlebar positioning.
- Poor or improper saddle design/fit.
- A low-quality or worn out saddle.
- Simply sitting in the wrong place on the saddle.
- Excess fabric/body tissue between the saddle and your body.
If you are experiencing butt or crotch pain as you ride your bike, the problem can usually be solved by simply adjusting your bicycle’s saddle, seat post, or handlebars. This is the first place you want to start when trying to solve your sore butt dilemma.
If your butt or crotch is hurting you while you ride your bike, try the following before you go out and purchase a new saddle:
- Adjust the up and down angle of your saddle.
- Adjust the side to side angle of your saddle.
- Adjust the height of your seat post.
- Adjust the height of your handlebars.
- Adjust the position of your handlebars so you don’t have to lean too far forward or too far back.
Adjusting your saddle, seat post and/or handlebars just a millimeter or two in any direction can make a huge impact on your overall comfort when riding your bike. Don’t be afraid to play around with the positioning of your saddle, seat post or handlebars. Move them around and try riding for short periods of time to see how the new positioning affects your comfort on the bike.
Remember that your saddle should be relatively level. If it is angled more than a few degrees up or down, there is probably something wrong. A saddle that is tiled too far forward will cause you to slip off the front of the seat and put excess pressure on your hands, wrists and elbows (which could cause nerve damage in your arms, fingers and hands). A saddle that is tilted too far back will have you sliding off the rear of the seat and/or putting unnecessary pressure on your nether-regions (something that is never comfortable).
Also, keep in mind that the full weight of your body is not meant to rest entirely on your saddle. Resting your full body-weight on your seat is obviously going to cause you some pain. Instead, your saddle is just one area of your bicycle on which you should be spreading out the weight of your body. As you ride, your weight should be dispersed between your crotch and your saddle, your hands and your handlebars, and your pedals and your feet.
If you are wearing loose clothing (or you have a lot of excess skin/fat) in the area between your body and your saddle, this too could be causing you pain while you ride. Any loose skin or fabric that is rubbing between your saddle and your body will begin to chafe over time, which will obviously cause some discomfort when you’re riding your bicycle.
One of the reasons Lycra bike shorts are so tight is because they are designed to reduce the impact between your body and your bicycle. The materials used in the production of tight-fitting bicycle shorts pulls in any excess body fat you might have, while at the same time providing you with a relatively flat, smooth area for your body to interact with your saddle. If you are riding in loose clothing (mountain bike shorts, jeans, etc.) try cycling in a pair of tight-fitting Lycra for a while and see if that makes any difference to your comfort on the bike.
Finally, once you find a position for your saddle that is comfortable, don’t move a thing! Marking the position of your saddle with a permanent marker is a good idea… and you might even want to put a little electrical tape around the seat post (just above the seat post clamp) so that if you have to remove the seat post for any reason, you’ll be able to quickly and easily get your saddle back in its proper position.
What Characteristics Should I Look For In A Bike Saddle?
In general, you want a bicycle saddle that is firm, but also has a small amount of give to it. You don’t want a bicycle saddle that is as hard as a rock (because that will obviously be uncomfortable), and you don’t want one of those super cushy gel-type saddles either (because soft saddles usually make your butt chafe).
Shopping for a saddle is just like shopping for a quality mattress. You want something that is firm at its core, but soft at its surface. If your saddle fits those specifications and you are still experiencing pain as you ride, the problem is probably due to either the position of your saddle, seat post or handlebars (and not the saddle itself) or to the design and quality of the saddle.
Most (but not all) bicycles saddles are pear shaped and the width of the saddle across the widest area and how quickly it widens from the nose to the back will affect overall saddle comfort. The size of your hips or the size of your behind has very little to do with the size of the saddle that you need. Having wide hips, for example, does not mean you need a wider saddle.
The width between your “Ischial Tuberosities” (commonly referred to as your “sit bones”) is what REALLY matters! Where those sit bones connect with your saddle makes the biggest impact in overall saddle comfort. If you ride with a saddle that is either too wide or too narrow for your sit bones, the end result is going to be a lot of pain and chafing.
So, how do you figure out how wide your bicycle saddle should be?
Well, every bike saddle has “cheeks” on the wide back of the seat. Sometimes the cheeks are even domed or tilted up a bit. Your sit bones are meant to land in the high part of that dome to take advantage of the padding and the overall architecture of the saddle. Saddles without domes still have a cheek area and the widest part of the saddle is where your sit bones are meant to be resting. If you want to make sure you are using a saddle that matches your personal body type, all you have to do is measure the saddle from center of cheek to center of cheek. The saddle’s center-to-center should match the center to center measurement of your sit bones. It’s that easy!
To measure the width of your sit bones, take a gallon size Zip-lock bag and fill it with enough flour for about a two inch flour cushion when the bag is lying on a flat surface. Place this bag on a hard flat surface, such as table or a chair and then sit on the bag (preferably in bare skin) while mimicking your position on the bike. Now stand up without disturbing the bag. The resulting two dimples/impressions that you see in the flour are from your sit bones! To measure your sit bones, take a millimeter tape measure and measure the impressions, recording your findings. You will want to measure the inside edge to inside edge, the center of one depression to the center of the other, and the outside edge to the outside edge.
- Your center-to-center measurement should correlate with the spot on a saddle (the saddle cheeks) that bears the weight of your sit bones.
- Outside to outside measurement is a consideration for some types of saddles, such as the Brooks that have metal rails, you do not want to have your sit bones resting on the metal rails. As a general rule – your saddle width should be about 2 centimeters wider than your outside sit bone measurement. Again, you want your sit bones resting on the “checks” of the saddle and you want some wiggle room for movement as you are riding.
- Inside to inside may be necessary if you plan to use a saddle with a cut out (or hole in the middle), to ensure the sit bones clear any large center cutout in the saddle. If the inside bones fall into the cutout, it will cause a lot of pain in the bones surrounding the “soft tissue” area. To clear the cutout, you need about 20 mm extra space in between the inside distance of the sit bones. So, if the cutout is 60 mm, your inside distance should be 80 mm.
If you don’t have access to a bag full of flour, you can measure your sit bones by simply sitting on your hands and feeling for the two bones of your butt. They will feel a bit like like elbows poking down into your hands. Put the tip of your index fingers right under the part of the bones that is pushing hardest into the chair and squish the very tip of your fingers between the chair and your sit bones. Now lift your butt from the chair while leaving your hands on the chair, and have an assistant measure the distance between your fingertips. This is your center-to-center measurement! Then put your fingertips against the outsides of the sit bones. Push them right into the bones so they are on the outside of the bones. Now lift your butt from the chair again and have an assistant measure the distance between your fingertips. This is your outside to outside measurement! You might be surprised to learn that after taking your measurements you are riding on a bicycle saddle that is either far too wide or far too skinny for your sit bones. If that is the case, then yes, you will likely need to purchase a new saddle.
What Kind Of Bicycle Saddle Do You Recommend?
After having explained all of that, I don’t really have one specific type of saddle that I recommend. Every person is different, with a different body type and dimensions, and this means that the saddle that works well for one person might not work so wonderfully for the next. However, there are a few bicycle saddles that are constantly rated as being both comfortable and of extremely high-quality, and I recommend you purchase one of these saddles (in the correct size for your personal body measurements) if you are indeed experiencing any type of butt or crotch pain as your ride your bicycle.
If you’ve decided you need a new bike saddle, you’ll need to narrow your choices by first determining what kind of bicycle saddle that you need. The easiest way to do this is by figuring out what kind of cycling you’ll be doing most.
Recreational bike saddles: If you sit upright while pedaling a cruiser, urban or commuter bike and prefer short rides, try a cushioning saddle. Wide with plush padding and/or springs, recreation bike saddles have a short nose and provide plenty of comfort. You can also opt for a seat post with springs, which will further cushion your ride.
Road bike saddles: Racing or clocking significant road miles? Look for a performance saddle that’s long, narrow and sports minimal padding. During a ride, very little weight rests on your sit bones, while your tucked position requires as little extraneous material between your legs as possible for maximum power transfer and minimal chafing. New to road riding? Opt for a slightly softer saddle that will keep you comfortable while your body adjusts to hours of spinning.
Mountain bike saddles: On mountain trails, you stand up on the pedals, perch way back (sometimes just hovering over or even off of your saddle) or crouch down in a tucked position. Because of these varied positions, you’ll want a mountain-specific saddle with padding for your sit bones, a durable cover and a streamlined shape that will aid your movement.
Touring saddles: Long-distance riding demands a performance saddle—or an all-leather saddle—that falls between a mountain and road saddle. You’ll want plenty of sit-bone cushioning and a fairly long, narrow nose.
Women-specific saddles: With typically wider hips, ischial bones (“perch bones”) and smaller bodies, women generally benefit from women-specific saddles designed to accommodate these anatomical differences.
While any cushioned seat will provide comfort for your sit bones, the 2 most common cushioning materials react differently under weight.
Gel cushioning molds to your body and provides the plushest comfort. Most recreational riders prefer this for its superior comfort on casual rides. Its downside is that gel tends to get compacted more quickly than the other option, foam.
Foam cushioning offers a pliable feel that springs back to shape. Road riders favor foam as it provides more support than gel while still delivering comfort. For longer rides, riders over 200 lbs., or riders with well-conditioned sit bones, firmer foam is preferred as it doesn’t compact as quickly as softer foam or gel.
A saddle pad is an optional add-on that can be placed over the saddle for additional cushioning. Though plush and comfortable, its padding is not as contained as is a saddle that’s already padded, so it may migrate where you don’t need or want it. This is not an issue for recreational rides, but it could be for fast riders or for those taking on longer distances. If that’s your riding style, a pair of padded bike shorts or underwear may be a better investment.
Many bicycle saddles are built to protect your perineum—the area between the sit bones, through which traverse a plethora of nerves and arteries. These saddles reduce or eliminate the material in the middle of the saddle, both relieving pressure on the perineum and providing airflow and comfort during long rides.
Because everyone’s anatomy is different, some riders find great relief with a perineal cutout; others use a saddle that either has a small indentation in the saddle or no accommodation at all. This kind of pressure-relieving design benefits most men and women but is truly a personal preference.
Most saddles are made entirely of synthetic materials, from the molded shell to the foam or gel padding and saddle cover. They are lightweight and require little maintenance. Others substitute a thin leather covering for a synthetic one, but they are otherwise similar in materials used. There is also, of course, the option to use a saddle made of leather.
Many riders (road, urban, touring and recreational) have come to appreciate the “earned comfort” and long life of a traditional all-leather saddle. (Mountain bikers generally stick to well-padded saddles to help cushion bumpy terrain.)
The secret to an all-leather saddle’s comfort lies in its construction. One piece of top-grain leather is stretched and suspended between the rails of a metal frame. After you ride for about 200 miles, the leather molds to your weight and shape. Like an old baseball glove or a trusty pair of leather hiking boots, the initial period of use includes some discomfort, but the end result “fits like a glove” and is super comfortable.
Leather saddles may have perineum cutouts for protection and springs for added comfort. A bonus benefit: With no synthetic padding, the saddle stays cooler—a definite advantage on long, hot rides. One downside, however, is that in addition to break-in time, a leather saddle is not waterproof, so it needs to be treated with a leather conditioner on occasion. This protects against moisture and against drying of the leather through UV exposure. Use a saddle cover to prolong the life of your leather saddle when not riding.
Summary: Should I Buy A New Saddle For My Bike?
When it comes to finding the perfect bicycle saddle, I think the Bike Snob says it best:
If you’ve ever worked in a bike shop, you’ve experienced the customer who’s got vague complaints about comfort. Usually, it involves the saddle, which they “don’t like.” But other stuff can be uncomfortable for them, too. Sometimes it’s the shoes, or the handlebars. Sometimes it’s the pedals. Sometimes they think the bike is too harsh, or their back gets sore, or there’s just something wrong that they can’t really articulate.
These complaints can be legitimate, and sometimes an adjustment or a part swap is all that’s needed. At the same time though, bicycles are not sofas, or beds, or easy chairs. They are machines, and they are minimalistic vehicles. They are not designed for comfort without compromise. They are designed to be ridden without actually hurting you as long as you use them correctly. It’s not surprising many people don’t understand this. We’ve come to expect that life can be a completely pain-free experience, provided we’re prepared to spend enough money. There are pills to soothe your body, and pills to soothe your mind. There are driver-coddling cars, first-class seating, heated floors, and ergonomic toilet brushes. Why should cycling be any different?
Well, when it comes to bikes, there is such a thing as normal discomfort. The more time you spend on a bike at a stretch, the more uncomfortable you’re going to get. You’re going to get tired. Your body is going to ache from staying in the same position. Even your bed with the down mattress cover and high-thread-count sheets will revolt against you and give you bedsores if you don’t turn over every once in a while. Obviously some of this discomfort can be dialed out of the bike by making adjustments and part changes, but at some point the only way to get more comfortable on the bike is to ride the thing more and train your body to deal with it better – and even then, eventually you’re just going to have to get off the damn thing and stop riding, just like eventually you’ve got to get out of bed. Sometimes you’re uncomfortable because of your parts or your bike fit. Sometimes you’re uncomfortable because you’re riding wrong, or you’re thinking about riding wrong.
You see, a certain amount of discomfort is normal when you ride a bicycle. And even when you are feeling discomfort, there is usually something you can do about it to ensure that the pain you are experiencing is not at an excess level.
- Try to adjust the fit of your saddle, seat post and handlebars first.
- Then make sure you are using a saddle that fits you personal body measurements.
- If you find that your saddle is worn out or you need a saddle of a different shape, be sure to purchase the highest quality saddle you can afford for the type of riding you wish to conduct.
Save the Date!!!
CCCTS 2019 CHRISTMAS PARTY
- December 3rd , 2019 at the Comox Golf Course in Red’s Place Bar and
Grill. 1718 Balmoral Ave, Comox.
- Cocktail hour 5:00-6:00 (Open bar) happy hour prices. Fruit tray & veggie
- Dinner buffet at 6:15pm- turkey dinner. (vegetarian option-please indicate
when buying your ticket).
- Cost per ticket: $30.00 (includes tax & gratuities).
Sold in advance only by November 30th/19.
- Please see Sharon Cotterill-Cook, Cathy Nelson or Steve Allen to pay for
your reserved ticket or email to make arrangements for payment.
Christmas in Victoria
Join your CCCTS Friends for a Christmas Party
with Gary Preston & The Kingmixers Ticket Price $45 Tickets go on sale Oct. 23 (Ticket sales end December 1st. ) For tickets contact:
Don Mais (250) 370-9443
Rolf Petersen )250) 370-6006
Status: Registration opens Fri, 1 Nov 2019 5:00 PM
Dates: Wed, 20 May 2020 ‐‐ Tue, 2 Jun 2020
2020 OKANAGAN TOUR
Status: Registration opens Fri, 1 Nov 2019 6:00 PM
Dates: Thu, 11 Jun 2020 ‐‐ Sun, 21 Jun 2020
Status: 1 slots are available.
Dates: Thu, 19 Mar 2020 ‐‐ Sat, 28 Mar 2020
Spring break in the sunny high country of south-east Arizona.
Upcoming Hub and Spokes
2020 Oceanside 2 Hub and Spoke
Status: Registration opens Fri, 1 Nov 2019 5:00 PM
Dates: Wed, 15 Jan 2020 ‐‐ Tue, 21 Jan 2020
2020 Shuswap – North Okanagan Hub & Spoke
Status: Registration opens Fri, 1 Nov 2019 5:00 PM
Dates: Mon, 22 Jun 2020 ‐‐ Fri, 26 Jun 2020
Welcome to the beautiful and diverse landscapes of the Shuswap – North Okanagan! Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of nature as you explore on your bike some of over 1500 kilometers of paved back roads in the area. Along each day’s cycling route we can enjoy short walks, visits to local wineries, swimming beaches, bird watching “hot spots”, scenic view points and cycle-friendly local cafes. Our hub for the week’s rides will be at Sorrento Centre on Shuswap Lake, 35K northwest of Salmon Arm via Highway 1.
2020 Chilliwack Hub & Spoke
Status: Registration opens Wed, 6 Nov 2019 5:00 PM
Dates: Mon, 1 Jun 2020 ‐‐ Fri, 5 Jun 2020
This Hub and Spoke will give all club members an opportunity to explore the less-ridden, eastern half of the lower Fraser Valley: specifically Harrison Hot Springs, the amazing, little-known Quintette Tunnels at Othello (remote start), upper Chilliwack River, Chilliwack marshes along the Fraser, historic Clayburn Village, Bridal Veil Falls and more.
2020 B.C. Southern Gulf Islands Hub & Spoke
Status: Registration opens Mon, 25 Nov 2019 5:00 PM
Dates: Mon, 31 Aug 2020 ‐‐ Thu, 3 Sep 2020
The Southern Gulf Islands are perhaps best known for their artists, wineries, fromageries and farms, as well as for their natural beauty. The islands and surrounding ocean are rich with ecologically diverse plants and sea life including Garry oaks, wild lilies, kelp beds and Orcas. We’ll explore Pender Island (our hub), Mayne Island and Galiano Island: cycling and walking “on island time”.
2020 Oceanside Hub & Spoke
Status: Ride is full, wait list only. See Oceanside 2 at the top of the list if you are interested.
Dates: Tue, 7 Jan 2020 ‐‐ Mon, 13 Jan 2020
This 7-day hub and spoke is centred in the Southern California City of Oceanside, approximately 35 miles north of San Diego. Oceanside offers many bike routes north (into Orange County), east, and south (San Diego County). We will explore all these directions. We will do out and back rides, loops, and 1-ways using public transportation (commuter trains/light rail). Seniors can purchase inexpensive ½ price tickets. We will split into 2 groups each day to facilitate better group control and sometimes to accommodate public transit. Rides will include coffee and lunch stops. You can buy or bring your lunch.
Published at least ten times a year by The Cross Canada Cycle Tour Society, a non – profit organization for retired people and others who enjoy recreational cycling.
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