Newbie pushing it too hard - advice please

Simontheintrepid Posts: 128
edited August 2010 in Road beginners

This my first post on Bike Radar and hopefully the first of many. I'm pretty new to cycling, finally got all my gear on the Ride 2 Work scheme just over 2 weeks ago and absolutely loving it. I'm already feeling the difference to my fitness.

However, a small portion of my anatomy is not loving it, and after a week of not loving it, I'm a little concerned and would appreciate any advice from others' experience. I'm really hoping this is a fairly standard newbie error.

So about a week ago, after several runs of between 20-30 miles in the previous few days, it appears I have lost sensation in the 'tip' of this part of my anatomy. Not a problem I assume, but after a few more days I decide to see a doctor. He seemed pretty unconcerned and suggested these things can take several weeks. Well, it's been eight days now and while I'm well within that time period, I'm getting a little agitated about the situation. Nothing else appears to be wrong, no swelling, soreness, bruising, blood flow problems etc and I even still have nociception (the ability to feel pain, which runs on a separate neural circuit to general sensation).

The doctor explains this is likely because the fatty (myelin) sheath that wraps most axon projections and rapidly accelerates action potentials can take some time to be replaced if damaged. That's fair enough.

I guess I'm worried it's permanent which really I know is very unlikely. Hopefully I'm just being stupid, but how common is this problem? I know it can happen to long distance riders but that certainly isn't me. I've only been out once since the problem started and don't intend to until things improve, although I really want to.

I've been through all the advice. I've ordered a new saddle (Spec Romin). The one that came with the bike, a Selle San Marco Ponza Power, actually seems to rise a little bit in the middle, not good. I will also now be sure to shift around and stand up every so often and make sure the saddle is tilted correctly.

Thanks for any advice, reassurance you can offer. Maybe I'm paranoid but well, you don't want to take risks with that 'area'. I'll stick the bike in the new thread once it's out of the doghouse. Apart from the saddle it's a lovely machine.


  • thiscocks
    thiscocks Posts: 549
    Have you tried different padded shorts? I notice quite a big difference in comfort between my campag shorts and some budget ones which have padding that seems to thin out after a while.

    Its normally the lower area that is affected during cycling so I wonder if your problem is solely to do with cycling? As you say nothing else appears wrong then I wouldn't worry too much.

    I would also reccomend a Selle Italia Turbo saddle for comfort but ofcourse the saddle issue is quite a personal thing.

    P.S. I like the word axon projections
  • Thanks

    I've been wearing padded shorts since I started riding, but yeah, I could certainly try a few different brands. I'm pretty sure the problem is cycling related, it hasn't been under any other 'duress' and started during a ride.

    Also, I don't think we are thinking the same thing when I say axon projection, but I see what you mean :).
  • boneyjoe
    boneyjoe Posts: 369
    I'm no expert on this, but I've heard it said that the nethers just need to get used to the cycling action and toughen up a bit, which should happen after about 2-3 weeks of regular cycling. Also, good bike shops are able to measure your pelvic/sit bones, to try and ensure you get the right size and shape of saddle for you (most experienced riders will tell you that saddle choice/comfort is a very personal thing). Might be worth a try?
    Scott Scale 20 (for xc racing)
    Gary Fisher HKEK (for commuting)
  • Padded shorts will stop you getting a major battering of course, but there is a large degree of toughening up to go on as said already. I remember it well after a long lay off!

    However, on saying that, check your saddle positioning first and foremost I say. It needs to be level to stop it putting undue pressure on the 'boys' if the nose it pointing up, or your backside if pointing down.

    Ensure that is all ok, along with it the forward or rearward distances and if the pain and discomfort is still persisting after 2-3 weeks look at changing the saddle as boneyjoe says. A piece of cheap £20 tat may fit you like a dream, so consider ALL your options not just the £80+ end that the larger bike shops will automatically pick out for you. If it works, sit on it basically in my experience!
  • Dan_xz
    Dan_xz Posts: 130
    Use a saddle with a cut out down the middle - this made a massive difference to me after years of flat saddles.

    Try the Charge Spoon as a cheap option. It's really a MTB saddle but not a big one and might be easier to get used to riding rather than a thin and hard road saddle. It also has the aforementioned cutout and is a model which sells at little loss on ebay should you decide to go for a more road specific saddle once you have toughened up a bit. ... 360029530/
  • Thanks for your replies

    Actually soreness has not been a problem (kinda feels good in a way, like progress), it's really that the old boy has gone to sleep and after eight days its disturbing.

    Like I said, I'm gonna get a better saddle with a central groove and which is highly supportive of the bones. The Spec Romin seems to be rated highly for all this. I'm aware that too much padding can cause problems in itself so am happy to go with it. I will of course heed the advice about saddle position.

    I know what you mean about the bike shop 'recommendation' though Richard, the difference between the standard Romin and the SL is £30 and 25 grams. I think I'll concentrate on the weight on my body first before I get that obsessive. ... e-10-39342
  • sheffsimon
    sheffsimon Posts: 1,282
    Its OK, we're grown ups on here, you can say penis if you like. :wink:
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
  • Hit the problem with a deadly combination of factors and you can't go wrong.

    Quality padded shorts/bibs (no less than 8 panel)


    Chamois cream (try and get some on Wiggle e.g. Udderly Smooth, Morgan Blue etc)


    Fizik Arione

    Yes I know saddles are personal. This one doesn't even have a cutout. It's not the lightest either. But if you're new to cycling it could be just the ticket. Your arsh is still trying to find a comfy riding position. The more options you have, obviously the better.

    The Arione is flatter and thus better designed for those that like to move around than those who are happy with a 'dialled-in' position the whole time and prefer the 'wave' type saddle (e.g. Aliante) that kind of cups your bum and scrote instead of just providing a platform for them.

    The Fizik Arione also has way more surface area than most saddles so it allows for loads more shifting about. There's an argument that for more powerful riders, they prefer to be more locked in as it generates a tad more leverage. Firstly that might be anecdotal, secondly, I'm no Cavendish and value comfort above all else. And it might even just be psychological.

    I actually have the Fizik Arione Tri 2 which is just slightly more padded on the nose. Super-comfy man, even for triathlons, which are not the kindest to your nethers. Give it a go...!!
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    The Charge Spoon is a lot comfier than the one my bike came with, but it doesn't have a cutout. There's a bit of a groove near the back, but it's virtually gone by the middle bit.
  • amaferanga
    amaferanga Posts: 6,789
    I think before you spend any money on chamois cream (which will make bugger all difference to the pressure on your bits), expensive shorts (which are not necessary) or an expensive saddle (no-one can tell you what will work for you) then you need to have a look at your bike set-up.

    Is your saddle nose-up, level or nose-down?

    Is you saddle height right?
    More problems but still living....
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    And how big a drop do you have from the saddle to the bars?
  • Thanks again for replying. In answer to the various questions, the saddle is the one thing I didn't adjust upon delivery and it's about level. When my new one arrives (local shops never have the one you want), I'll try tilting it nose down a few degrees. I'm not riding at the moment anyway. The height has not been checked by an official adjudicator but it is just a little bit higher than the handlebars and feels right with the rest of the frame. I'm not sure what the drop is to the bars, will check later, but is not obviously too small.

    I'm taking it in for the complimentary first service tomorrow so will make sure all is right with the setup.

    To be honest I'm not overly concerned with avoiding numb nuts, I will cater for that, what's bothering me is the length of time it's taking to get back to normal. Has anyone else experienced it like this?
  • anto164
    anto164 Posts: 3,500
    you don't want the saddle to go nose down, you want it to be level.

    As for your wang, the sensation should come back, but it may take a few more days. Numbness isn't good, and if you get it with the new saddle you're getting then get rid of it straight away.

    If the new saddle doesn't work out, try to get to a reputable bike shop, and test out a few different saddles. A few shops will have a few trial saddles which you can try for a week or so, and if it doesn't work out, you swap it for something else.
    To be honest I'm not overly concerned with avoiding numb nuts, I will cater for that, what's bothering me is the length of time it's taking to get back to normal. Has anyone else experienced it like this?

    Oh, and i don't want to sound odd, but numb nuts would be the most thing worrying me about riding the bike. Can lead to many different problems later on in life.
  • To be honest I'm not overly concerned with avoiding numb nuts, I will cater for that, what's bothering me is the length of time it's taking to get back to normal. Has anyone else experienced it like this?

    Oh, and i don't want to sound odd, but numb nuts would be the most thing worrying me about riding the bike. Can lead to many different problems later on in life.[/quote]

    All I meant by that is I'm making the changes to ensure that fingers crossed it won't happen again. I was worried about any damage caused this time.
  • sam_m
    sam_m Posts: 61
    Gotta say I'm a bit numb at the moment.

    I think it's partially due to toughening up and adjusting to riding for longer periods of time, but also that I've still not quite got my bike set up right for me yet.

    This is interesting though:
    keef66 wrote:
    And how big a drop do you have from the saddle to the bars?

    At first I felt I was leaning too much weight onto my wrists, so I changed the seat position. Now I feel like I'm putting too much weight into the saddle, and that I might be over-reaching.

    Hopefully if I can balance the two then it should help to minimise pain in my wrists and numbness at the other end.