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Postlady needs advice

Postlady2012-06-02 07:18:57 +0000 #1
I was very relieved to find this forum after searching for help everywhere. I dont cycle for pleasure or sport, I cycle for my job as I'm a postlady in the UK. The bikes and saddles i am expected to use are old, heavy and uncomfortable, but there are no options. I've been struggling for four years with the discomfort in the 'girl parts' area and having just had a break of four months due to illness, I have returned to work and after three days i am blistered and chaffed and in huge discomfort. There are no saddle options, I have to use the one on whatever bike I am allocated. I have looked for gel or padded underwear, but can't find anything but shorts and even those are too small for me as I am a size 16/18 (UK) ...yes a fat, but fit postlady! Also I have to wear whatever I manage to find under the regulation uniform shorts or trousers. Please can someone tell me why no one has invented padded underwear for cyclists, I dont understand.

I would love to cycle for pleasure, but there is nothing but pain associated with it for me. I love my job, but if you ever wondered why the postlady looks miserable doing ' the best job in the world' as many people seem to think it is... Its because she's struggling with the pain! Please help.


Eden2012-06-02 07:29:46 +0000 #2
Here in the USA you can get padded briefs/boxers. REI has several options including this one www.rei.com/product/...-cycle-briefs-womens which does come in a size XL which is supposed to correspond to a 16/18.

You could also look at men's models which are nearly identical, but likely come in larger sizes.

Be aware padding alone may not solve the problem... it may possibly make it worse to add a bulky pad to an already bulky padded seat. You may simply want underwear that is totally seamless - like Under Armor seamless boy shorts (also come in a size 16) - though these seem a little thin.... (you do want something there to protect you from the seams in your uniform!) something more like Nike's tennis shorts might be better - unpadded, but seamless spandex exercise shorts.

One question - are the seatposts on the bikes quick release? Could you get a saddle that you like and mount it on a seatpost that should work on the provided bikes - the diameter of that is probably the same of most if not all of the bikes... then you could just swap the whole thing when you go to work and put it back when you are done.
hebe2012-06-02 07:37:00 +0000 #3
oh no! First off, a big Thank You from me to you and all posties who are out there whatever the weather delivering our post. Our posties round here are being switched to trollies rather than bikes. They have the newer Pashleys too rather than the old ones.

There are a few places do padded underwear. If you get in touch with Debbie at Minx-girl ( www.minx-girl.com: www.minx-girl.com ) she should be able to help, just let her know your measurements or size. Or there is a brand called "Craft" that does a padded ladies boxer but I'd need to search to find them. Minx would be my first choice - I have some great liners from there that work fine under jeans. When you do find some, don't put any underwear underneath them for cycling.

Good luck, and welcome to TE. I hope that you can sort out your discomfort and maybe consider trying a comfortable bike outside of work. How would they know if you switched out a saddle? I would have thought that would be a huge Health and Safety breach not allowing bikes to fit right - after all everyone who works in an office has to have a chair that fits right.
Kiwi Stoker2012-06-02 08:33:27 +0000 #4
Hi,

Welcome here! I had a postie cycle buddy who I used to ride with. He was a road "warrior", going off curbs, on grass and more. Really knew his stuff.

Sorry if I haven't actucally understood you very well but are you not allowed to buy a saddle and put it on your bike? Or do you go to a collection area and just pick up whatever bike is there every shift? I would of thought you would have one bike issued to you. Surely if this is so you can purchase for your own use, personalised saddle?

Anyway if you click on the Team Estrogen "click to shop" above and then go to Apparel- bottoms and then click on underlayers you will find what is called liner shorts. These are designed to be worn under shorts or trousers while cycling. The Pearl Izumi goes up to XXL and that is a generous sizing (I wear size 16-18 bottoms and I can fit a size L) so I am sure you will find something that fits.
hebe2012-06-02 08:57:32 +0000 #5
The craft boxers I was thinking of seem to be discontinues. You'd fit fine into the Sheila Moon or Terry ones on Minx. I use the Sheila Moon one, it has lovely padding. She used to do a nice Gore one too.

Mods - apologies for the non-TE url and rec, PostLady is in the UK and we typically have to pay extra taxes and handling fees on goods ordered from outside the EU which can really push the price up.
Postlady2012-06-02 08:13:06 +0000 #6
Thanks so much for your replies. Eden the bikes are ancient beyond belief, but the saddles do come out on long posts. Whether or not I can get something to swap and fit I don't know, but I will have a look at that possibility.Kiwi, unfortunately I am not allocated my own bike, I just have to use the one that belongs to whichever round I am doing. I work part time, so do different ones every day pretty much.Hebe, regarding Health and Safety, it shocks me that we are all expected to use the regulation Royal Mail fits all saddle, but then we wear the fits all uniform too and that doesn't take into account women's body shape either.

I am seriously wondering how the other women posties cope and am going to have to raise this with the few other ladies I work with, although it might explain just why there are so few of us! Thanks to all for the links and suggestions, I will let you know how I get on and please if anyone else has any ideas do let me know.
silversurfer2012-06-02 08:24:57 +0000 #7
Hi Postlady. I know the bikes you're talking about and they look a beast to ride. I think a lot of people also don't realise how much ground our posties cover on their rounds. Like Hebe said, thanks for the great work that you do.

I don't like cycling shorts so I wear padded underwear under tights or whatever. There are a couple that come in size 18 here:

www.wiggle.co.uk/?s=ladies+undershorts . I use this brand and find it comfortable. Endura is another brand that you may want to try.

Finally, is it worth having a word with your union rep - either the workplace or health and safety rep? These are the sorts of issues they should be raising on your behalf.

Good luck.

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