I bought a bicycle a couple of weeks ago. And I know what you’re thinking: She’s over 60. Surely she had the good sense to buy one of those clunky, upright cruisers with giant U-shaped handlebars – you know, the ones that give you the same posture as riding a Clydesdale. If she was smart, you thought, she’d have a bike with white-wall tires, enormous fenders and a wide seat that looks like someone sat on a loaf of sourdough. You probably even thought to yourself, it’s madness that an old gal like her should get a bike at all. I mean, is there cycling after 60?
I must admit the day Ken and I went to the cycle shop, I was resigned to buying a cruiser. After all, I have progressed through the modern history of bicycles since my first trike in the 1950s. I’ve had one-speeds, three-speeds, 10-speeds, mountain bikes and city bikes. So, it just seemed natural to think that I should be riding a bike that declared, “Charter Member of the Depends Club.”
I explained my issue with sciatica to the sales rep and asked him to show me something with optimal upright posture. He steered me clear of the old-grey-mares and led out the sweetest little filly this side of the Sierra Nevada. She had a white, light-weight aluminum alloy body, Shimani-Tourney brakes with a 21-gear assembly and straight-across handlebars positioned slightly lower than the seat. “Oh, my aching sacroiliac!” I said, expressing concern about back strain. “No, no!” he said, “You really don’t want to sit upright.”
“No, you don’t. Upright means you put too much pressure on the sciatic nerve with all your weight landing on your rear end.”
(Watch it, mister! I thought. All my weight, indeed.)
“Better to ride with your back flat, but leaning slightly forward so the weight transfers to your hands.”
“Interesting,” I said, “Go on.”
“And you don’t want that wide cushion seat.”
“No, you want one of these high-tech bad-boys designed especially for women.”
“See, it has gel pads right here to cushion your sits bones and this long groove here that relieves pressure where you need it.”
“Where I need it? OH! Where I NEED it! Oh, yes, I see!” I was starting to feel a little giddy.
At this point, he had my full attention. Ken’s too.
“Yes! And if you want to upgrade to this other saddle, it has an open section down the middle so you also get ventilation.”
“Oo!” My excitement mounted. I was getting a little light headed. It was like a chapter right out of Masters and Johnson.
“Uh huh. And this one here is the deluxe model that torques with you on turns so you get maximum flexibility in the saddle.”
“Oh, Baby! Oh, Baby! I’ll take the deluxe!”
The sales rep went away to tune the brakes before ringing up the sale. “Good thing,” Ken said, “That was quite enough of that kind of talk. If he said one more thing about your seat, I was going to have to deck him.”
Now that I’ve had the new bike for a couple of weeks, I must say, it is very comfortable. I’m especially pleased with the saddle. Too old for cycling – ridiculous!
Excuse me now. I think I need to go for a ride. Giddyap!