Tall in the Saddle

The problem with taking a bike for a test ride is that one cannot really ride long enough to get a really good idea of how one will feel on a long trip.

When I rode my Honda from Wellington to Whangarei a couple of years ago (my how time flies!) I found that the riding position was less than optimal and by Taupo my arthritic knee was in agony. I spent the last half of the trip weeping tears of pain while I rode and stopping every half hour to walk around and ease the leg. That was one of the reasons I never set out to circumnavigate Viti Levu when I was there. A trip to Sigatoka and back was about all I could manage.
So, I decided that a cruiser would be a better choice for my next bike, with a low, more natural seating position, and floor boards that allow a bit of position adjustment.  Indeed the V-Star did seem much more comfortable when I rode it around the block a couple of times.  However once I was half way to Katanning from Perth, I was suffering numb bumb syndrome, and finding that though I could move sufficiently that my knees were not suffering too badly, my groin was.  I was sitting with my legs splayed quite unnaturally, and could not get that comfortable position in which the knees are gripping the fuel tank.
I finally worked out, by sitting on a towel and moving around, that I needed to be about an inch higher, and an inch further back for optimal comfort.

I wanted to look into adjusting the seat somehow, but my brother in law suggested I try his Airhawk motorcycle cushion. It certainly helped the numb bum, and I bought one of my own. Though it improved matters enormously, it still did not quite get me sitting at the right height and position.  My legs tended to automatically splay as I rode.

My new flat screen TV had came packed in a strong yet flexible polyethylene (I think) foam plastic. Looking at it, I had an idea, and cut it up and reshaped it into a seat pad, which I inserted under the Airhawk. This gave me the just extra height I needed to get my knees at what appears to be the optimal angle for comfort , and because I was now sitting raised to the level of the ridge at the back of the bike seat, I could also slide back a little.  Now I find I am seated comfortably, legs no longer akimbo, and my knees, groin and bum unaffected as I ride. I think it helps a lot that I can also adjust my position a little while riding rather than being locked into one position by the shape of the saddle. It made a considerable difference.  I can now ride much longer distances without discomfort forcing me to dismount and stretch my legs. I still stop often of course, but that is because I am curious, and pursuing my new hobby of hollow-logging, which is a pastime I invented.  It involves delving in and under hollow logs to see what interesting creatures I may find.

About Uisce úr

Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done, The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun.
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