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Last year I started to do a little bit of cycling - I was keen to get into it, but I wasn't so keen on the sore bum that goes with it! My partner has always been a cyclist and one thing we always do on holiday is spend a day hiring bikes. He's obviously streets ahead of me, and I always ended up with the following two or three days avoiding sitting down and struggling to work - idyllic holidays. Sure enough, when I had my new bike the same pattern emerged. My partner would always plan the route (always that tiny bit too far) and I would spend the next couple of days in extreme discomfort. I definitely think it put me off, and I started to find great excuses and alternative suggestions with how we might spend our Sunday afternoons!
Then we hired two bikes from a shop in Windemere on a break there, and the hire shop offered a gel seat cover for an extra £1, and it had to be worth a try.
Whilst it didn't get rid of the discomfort entirely it was a definite help, so after we returned home I went along to Halfords and purchased this GelTech cover for £11.99. This represented quite a significant investment, but having had a "test-drive" so to speak, I considered it a good price.
The covering is made from a smooth lycra type material which means it is soft to the touch, yet it feels strong, and the gel inside is quite firm, you can press your finger into it but it won't leave an imprint... it's soft without being squashy! It is designed with countours aimed to cushion where it's needed most (I think in my case that would be all over, but still...) and it fits to the saddle simply by placing it over the bike seat and pulling the toggle on the drawstring underneath until it is gripped in place. The drawstrign is quite secure and stays pulled tight once in place, so it means that the cover is universal to all saddles. The thickness of the gel cover is approximately 2cm at its thickest, but I think it's the actual gel texture, rather than the thickness that makes it so effective.
The underside of the seat cover is a sort of rubbery feel to help it to stay put without any slippage when in use. I have never found the positioning of the seat cover to be a problem, as it could be quite a disaster if it was to slip around or move at all when you were riding. Even though it is a very simple design, it has clearly been very throughtfully and accurately designed.
The other thing about the toggle/drawstring fixing is that it is a 10-second job to remove and replace the cover if you're nipping indoors to shelter if the rain comes on (I didn't mention a pub) or if you're carrying the bikes uncovered on the back of the car. In the event of getting it wet, which happened once when I had left it on to transport our bikes home, it dried quickly and didn't affect the materials at all.
I'm not going to put this down as a miracle cure for saddle-soreness, it's not - but - it definitely 100% improved the comfort both during and after rides for me and was easily worth the price tag.