Not so long ago, all bikes, parts, accessories and clothing were called “unisex” and were intended for both men and women. But you and I know that designers had men – the largest share of the market – in mind and that women were left to make do. Well, with the growth in popularity of cycling among women, manufacturers can now turn a profit on a wide variety of products including women’s specific bike frames, shoes, saddles, clothing, etc. If you really want to enhance your cycling experience, consider making the investment in products designed just for you.
Women shouldn’t have to ride with any discomfort, especially between their legs!!! Women’s specific saddles like those made by Specialized (e.g. Lithia, Aerial and Ruby) provide support where women need it (under their pelvic – or sit – bones) while reducing soft tissue pressure with saddle “cut-outs”. These scientifically designed and medically tested saddles can mean the difference between surviving a long ride and truly enjoy it. If you’re buying a bike that comes with a “unisex” saddle, try to work a women’s specific one into the deal.
While we’re talking about saddles, let’s consider cycling shorts. Anatomically, men and women are very different, especially in the areas that contact the saddle! It’s crucial to get a chamois (the padding found in cycling shorts) that is women’s specific, so that the padding is where you need it. Furthermore, look for high density foam, preferably perforated for breathability, that will stand up to long hours in the saddle. Something you may not have considered, but should, are bib shorts. If you can get past the somewhat strange looking suspenders, you’ll be blown away by the comfort they provide. With no waistband, bib shorts allow the abdomen to relax (and sag, if it must!) for maximum air intake. Also, the higher back and sides of the bib shorts provide greater coverage, making bare mid-drifts a thing of the past!
For all things women’s specific, don’t be deterred by the cost. You really do get what you paid for and you won’t regret it…especially after your next long and glorious ride!
Visit Kate at Corsa Cycles in Squamish, BC for more tips!