Many a true word...

When I was three I fell out my bedroom window onto a concrete path. Miraculously I had no major injuries but one effect of the fall is that my left leg stopped growing for a year. After a year it grew back to match my right leg, or so I thought. I have always with a bit of a rolling gate, almost a waddle and often people have asked if I have a bad back as I look in pain.

I found out a few years ago that my pelvis is slightly deformed on one side but it has never given me any problems so I have never taken any notice. When I started to spend more and more time in the saddle I started to get major discomfort on the soft tissue that I sit on(you know where I mean!)After moving saddle positions a few times with little relief, I changed the saddle. I got properly fitted in the bike shop and fitted the new one. No improvement. I was now getting worried.

I was starting to feel real pain less than two hours into a ride. I am expecting to be in the saddle for up to nine hours per day for twenty days so something needs to be done. When I was at the University for one of my weekly torture sessions, one of the students measured my legs and what do you know, my left leg is three centimetres shorter than my right! That explains the waddle when I walk and they have been giving me exercises to try to combat this but it doesn´t stop the pain from the saddle.

I looked at changing my saddle again but James Golding from the bike shop did some work on fitting me properly to my bike. The smallest changes can make the biggest difference. In essence, if my feet are secured to the pedals and one leg is shorter than the other, I will roll on the saddle as I pedal, thus causing the discomfort. I now have new insoles in my shoes to support the arches of my feet.

This puts less strain on the tendons in my ankles and backs of my legs. I also have new shorts with ´serious´ gel padding and my saddle has been tweaked and tweaked to find the optimum position. It is now getting all scientific. If the saddle is in the wrong position it can cause pain to my shoulders and numbness to my fingers so it´s all about finding the best all round position.

It is now far from perfect but a definite improvement on where I was. So a year ago when we decided on a name for the ride, thebigtescosaddlesoretour, little did I know how those words would come back to haunt me.