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Better Biking Through Science

Valley resident builds a better bike seat

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It's as easy as riding a bike. Sure until you've been sitting on that bike for a couple of hours and you're becoming painfully aware of your bike seat--pain being the operative word.

Suddenly what seemed like a utilitarian part of your bike has become a streamlined torture device, causing pain in places you didn't know could hurt and creating irritation that has you wondering about the likelihood of walking for the next week.

It was that sort of pain that led avid bike rider Jeri Rutherford to build a better bike seat, one that wouldn't leave riders hobbling. So the Carbon Comfort bike seat was born--an invention that has the Treasure Valley resident turning into an international businesswoman.

The Carbon Comfort seat was years in the making as Rutherford explored the true causes of bike-seat pain, as well as played with materials that would provide both flexibility and strength. The end result uses ultra-light carbon fiber, which allows the seat to bend and flex with the rider. Deep cutouts on the side mean less friction and range of motions, while the wider back of the seat has added support for pressure points. Additionally, the design creates a type of shock absorber, mellowing out the most jarring bumps.

Rutherford's website even includes medical scans showing improved blood flow in riders', um, seats, compared to a standard bike seat--especially for men's "soft tissue."

Rutherford turned to a manufacturer overseas to construct the Carbon Comfort seat, but she's the driving force behind the sales effort. She's working on signing up distributors across the globe, while handling online orders from across the country and around the world.

Curious bikers in the Treasure Valley don't have to depend on a website to check out the seat, though. The Carbon Comfort seat is available at McU's Sports in Boise, and retails for $85.

For more info on the new seat, visit rideouttech.com.

Boise State graduate student Benjamin Stein is also curious about how the human body reacts while on a bike. Stein is working on a research study looking at the difference in kinematics and muscle activation while riding on a flat road compared to heading through the hills.

He is in the process of recruiting volunteers to help with his thesis study and is looking for any healthy 18- to 55-year-old cyclist willing to peddle for academics. The total time involved is less than two hours.

For more specifics on the study, contact Stein at 208-914-4917 or benjaminstein@u.boisestate.edu.

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