Adaptive Cycling: Handcycles, Amputee Adaptation, Visual Impairment, and Other Needs Have a need for adaptive equipment to ride to compensate for a disability or loss of limb or function? This area is for discussion among those of us in the cycling world that are coming back from traumatic circumstances and tell the world, "No, you are not going to beat me down!"

Broke Butt Saddle

Old 09-10-19, 04:32 AM
  #1  
JoeKahno
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Broke Butt Saddle

Back in '85 I messed up on a Honda 750, landing in the hospital with a shattered pelvis. The orthopedic surgeon was some sort of genius. He managed to get things lined up so I could start healing without cutting me open and installing a crap load of pins and plates. One foot gets to the ground a little sooner than the other but I can go through airport security without having to grab my ankles. 20+ hour flights between the US and Philippines in an airline econo seat are pretty rough but people who have never been broken aren't thrilled by that either.

I went car free years ago but wasn't spending significant time riding until recently. Apparently my "sit bones" are no longer as symmetrical as the seat manufacturers think they ought to be. My Bridgestone Albelt came with the sprung wide saddle common to Japanese city bikes. It's usable for 12-15 mile days with an upper limit of around 20 if I don't mind taking a day or two off for recovery. My alternate bike had a worn out seat that came apart soon after I got it. I replaced it with a generic saddle that has a pretty good width and contour but is really firm and not sprung. It works OK for a day or two but after three or four days, around 50 miles total, I have to park it and either not ride or switch back to my main machine.

I suppose I could continue to try different relatively inexpensive seats, though I doubt that will do much good if the problem is my non-standard anatomy. I don't really want to spend the money on a Brooks B67. However, if it breaks in enough to give me a properly fitting saddle, the money I save by not buying a succession of cheap seats will probably make it a bargain. In the days before modern materials many prosthetic limbs were equipped with a leather cup that worked well enough if properly fitted.

Which brings me to another possibility. Can anyone here point me to a good reference for fitting a prosthesis? I saved the mount hardware from the broken seat and have more time than money. If I ever want to sell either bike it's a simple matter to re-install a conventional seat. For my own use, I'm kind of curious about what it would be like to have a "one off" specifically built to fit me.
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Old 09-10-19, 04:47 PM
  #2  
Mad Honk 
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Joe,
Sounds like you are already on the right track! I would check with your therapist and then consult a saddle expert who can likely make a well fitted seat for your needs. Even if it means going direct to the company with Brooks, you will likely get a well fitted saddle and one that will last for years. I am left handed and need to do many things differently. For example; I can't use a Cross Ink Pen, or get normal sports equipment fitted for me. So I have to go to specialty stores to find what I need. As a Golf Professional I work with amputees to get them back into the game they love after a traumatic incident. It is about 60% physical and about 40% mental in the process of restoration for them. Likely the same for you, but I think you have the mental part figured out. Back int he days of horseback riding almost all saddles were hand made in some way and the fitters for those saddles were specialists. Same with the good fitters in today's cycling world. If you can get your physician/therapist to get you some good parameters I am betting there are some saddle makers who can accommodate your needs. Smiles, MH
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Old 09-10-19, 08:50 PM
  #3  
JoeKahno
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I'm in the process of doing some physical remodeling. Last October I hit a personal high of 240 lbs. triggering a laundry list of other health issues. Right now I'm down to 195 and planning to drop another 5 - 10. I was 175 for years but have built enough muscle hauling the equivalent of a full field pack everywhere I went that I would start to worry if I dropped much below 185. Sometime while I was building the gut, my butt fell off. I don't know, maybe gluteal atrophy is part of aging but I strongly suspect a combination of too much time sitting in front of a computer along with almost complete of lack exercise targeting this muscle group. I haven't done any loaded squats in over a decade.

It could be that the best and quickest way to fix my problem isn't to buy a better seat, but to rebuild the one I'm wearing.
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