bike touring resources:: the right saddle for female cyclists

One of the most important purchases youíll make

Having spent more than 4,000 hours in the same bike saddle, I like to think I know something about the importance of this piece of equipment. 

The wrong saddle will make life on the bike miserable.  I was lucky--right from the start I loved my Brooks saddle.  Even before the recommended break-in period of 1,000 kilometers it fit like an old washed out pair of blue jeans.  

Each body is different,  so take some time and test a few saddles before you purchase.  Here are some tips to help you find the saddle thatís right for you.

the right fit
Everyone knows that a woman's hip bones tend to be set farther apart than a man's--this is to aid in childbirth.  The bones on which women sit - the ischial tuberosities - are also wider apart and therefore need greater support than men's.  Most women are more comfortable on  a saddle that's slightly wider in the back and offers better support for the sit bones.

If you ride on a saddle that's too narrow you may find yourself slipping off of one side and pinching nerves.  This may eventually cause the legs or feet to go numb.

Many women  have the nose of their saddle tilted slightly forward to alleviate pressure on the soft tissue and to distribute more weight to the sit bones.  Be careful not to tilt your saddle too far forward because you may end up with too much pressure on your wrists and hands. Then you'll end up with numb hands and pain in the lower back.

Your body makes contact with the saddle at the sit bones and the soft-tissue between your legs.  During long rides, the pressure exerted on soft-tissue can cause painful skin irritation and constrict blood flow.  Be sure to get a saddle with holes in it that will allow the sensitive vaginal area to be cradled in air rather than crushed against the saddle.

There is no one best saddle for women.  Many companies, including Brooks, make saddles designed specifically for women.  Your best bet is to spend some time trying out saddles until you find the one that works best for your particular body type.   

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Can you recommend any saddles which are particularly good fits for women?  Any tips on how to stay comfortable on your bike?
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