There needs to be serious, urgent research into better saddles for female cyclists, says Hannah Dines, who has endured years of pain and swelling caused by friction as she rides
The plastic surgeon, in that particularly endearing way of surgeons, was trying to reassure me that although he had never operated on an endurance cyclist before, he had seen “presentations” like mine. “I’ve seen chronic inflammation and long-term trauma to the vulva like this. You know …” he paused, “in patients who compulsively rub up against bedposts.” Silence.
I decided against explaining that the relationship with my bike saddle did not, perhaps, deserve to be in among the psychiatric cases in his cognitive filing system. However, he had a point. While there is no love lost between me and the necessary evil that is my saddle, I have continued to train, despite huge amounts of destruction to my body, pain and trauma.