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Gone Fishing

Life on and off the waters of the Wood River Valley

Happy Buns Make Happy Riders

Idahoans create world’s most comfortable bike seat

Jul 11, 2012 - 10:34 AM
Happy Buns Make Happy Riders

Photo credits RideOut Tech.

When your father-in-law’s best friend asks you to help him out, you usually don’t say no. This is especially true when there’s beer involved.

So I thought nothing of it when Larry Hill, who primarily grew up amongst the sage-covered hills of the Wood River Valley, handed me a funny looking bike seat one afternoon while we were having beers at my in-laws place in south Hailey and asked if I’d try it out.

If I liked the seat, which he and his girlfriend had spent years perfecting, Larry said he’d be delighted if I could get it some press. So with all the forethought of a toddler I grabbed the odd, black and yellow RideOut Tech Carbon Comfort Seat and put it on my bicycle.

After a few short rides around town, I quickly determined that both Larry and the seat’s real driving force, his girlfriend Jeri Rutherford, must have either been suffering from some kind of brain trauma or that maybe they just liked enemas.

All RideOut Tech Seats have Kevlar siding to reduce wear. The seat was just too weird, too different. My butt didn’t know what to make out of it and it felt about as comfortable as having your girlfriend’s parents walk in on you when you’re fooling around on the couch.

“I can’t get comfortable on this damn seat,” I told my wife one day while peddling our boys along the bike path in Hailey.

“You haven’t ridden on it very much yet, maybe you just need to get used to it,” she said hopefully.

“Maybe I need to shove this (expletive deleted) seat up Larry’s (slang term for a donkey)!” I mumbled.

The next day I decided that after I rode my bike back home from work that afternoon, I’d put my trusty old seat back on. But something happened on the ride home.
I noticed the chirping of birds, the warm sun and cool wind on my face, the sweet smell of flowers and wild grasses, the friendly hellos of passersby, the verdant hills of the Valley, the wisps of white clouds alighting the Idaho sky. I was so distracted in the child-like state of simply riding my bike that when I got home I parked it, went inside and, awash in youthful exuberance, started playing with my two young sons.

Seat discomfort is the main reason most people stop riding bikes and is what inspired the idea to creat RideOut Tech. Jeri rides in the Tetons.It wasn’t until my wife asked if I’d switched seats that I realized the one thing I hadn’t notice while riding home—any discomfort in the general buttocks vicinity. I went back out and did another ride around the block and amazingly enough, it was gone—my butt had apparently adjusted.

For the next few months I happily rode around on my RideOut Tech Carbon Comfort Seat thinking up humorous headlines for the stories I’d someday write about the seat (“Idahoans Find Fountain of Youth: Create new bike seats to get our old, lumpy buns back on bikes,” “Saving the World, One Butt Cheek at a Time,” “New Seat Keeps Crotchular Zone Comfy”). But I didn’t realize how truly attached I’d become to the seat until I almost lost it.

After I’d let a friend who out-weighs me by a few pound cakes—and maybe a six-pack or two—borrow the bike a couple of times, the carbon fiber saddle base cracked. Just pissa, I thought. I finally find a few angles for a story and the thing breaks. So instead of calling Larry any more foul names, I called up his girlfriend. The Rideout Tech seats had been Jeri’s idea after all and I had never even spoken to her.

When asked if she liked the seat after a 25-mile test ride, the reviewer said, “You’re going to have to pry it out of my cold dead hands.”

It didn’t take long for Jeri (to read more about Jeri’s inspiration for RideOut Tech, check out the her story from Sun Valley Magazine’s Summer 2012 issue) to figure out the problem. The Carbon Comfort Seats come in a few weight ranges and it turns out I’d been riding one that maxed out at about 15 pounds less than I tip the scales. This actually impressed me even more since I’d done a lot of bumpy miles on the thing, including countless rollicking trips following my four-year-old around Hailey’s pump park. I was even more impressed when Jeri said fixing the seat would be quick and easy and that she’d bring up the right weight replacement saddle when she came up to ride around Sun Valley in about a week (she and Larry live in the Treasure Valley).

Jeri says that one of the best things about Rideout Tech seats is that they get people who'd given up riding back on their bikes.In the interim, I decided to put my old, rather expensive seat back on and it was so uncomfortably I quickly grew as enraged as Lance Armstrong on a steroid binge. I took it off and refused to ride my bike again until my beloved RideOut Tech Seat was fixed.So when Jeri showed up to replace the patented “cross-bow technology” carbon saddle I shared my experiences with her. She said they were pretty common.

“The seat looks weird and feels odd at first,” Jeri explained. “But a lot of technology and years of tinkering went into creating it. So even though our seats seem odd at first, it doesn’t take to long to fall in love with them.”

Now in my second season on the seat, it’s pretty fair to say I, too, am in love with the darn thing. I haven’t spent this much time riding my bike since I was kid, nor have I enjoyed riding as much. And I’m not alone. The RideOut Tech Seats have found a niche with people all over the globe, most of whom had abandoned bicycling because of seat discomfort (the number one reason people stop riding). Jeri said that many of her customers are now repeats, not because they wore out or broke their seats, but because they want to share the joy of riding again and buy seats for their friends and family.

RideOut Tech's unofficial motto is simple: "Saving the world, one butt at a time." Jeri enjoys a ride in the Redwoods.It was actually a reviewer for Velo News who best summed up the feelings RideOut Tech owners have for the product. When asked if she liked the seat after a 25-mile test ride, the reviewer said, “You’re going to have to pry it out of my cold dead hands.”

As anyone who owns one can attest, the RideOut Tech Carbon Comfort is the best bike seat in the world. But you don’t have to take my word for. Try one out and let your butt decide.

{For more information about Rideout Tech Carbon Comfort Seats check out their website, wwwrideouttech.com, or check out one in person at The Elephant’s Perch in Ketchum.}
 

 

 

Sun Valley Magazine encourages its readers to post thoughtful and respectful comments on all of our online stories. Your comments may be edited for length and language.

Jul 19, 2012 09:57 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

This "tail" has a happy ending :)

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About This Blog

Whether he’s being out-fished by his trash talking mother-in-law, guiding one of his young sons through the perils of manhood or finding inspiration from the people of the Wood River Valley, Mike McKenna’s award-winning writing is always sure to entertain. Order a copy of Mike's highly-acclaimed book, "Angling Around Sun Valley: A year-round fly fishing guide to South Central Idaho" from Silver Creek Outfitters.

Gone Fishing's awards include: "Best Blog" 2010 & 2011 by the Idaho Press Club, "Best Web-only Article" of 2011 by the Outdoor Writers Association of California and "Best Fishing" & "Best Humor" blogs of 2012 by the Outdoor Writers Association of America.

           

"Angling Around Sun Valley" was selected as the "Best Book" of 2013 by Northwest Outdoor Writers Association!

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