Today I tried walking to places and it truly sucked, much like many people insisting on keeping their saddle level.
People used to keep their saddle level as the UCI decried that they should. This if you think about it, was an insane rule. They felt your saddle should be parallel to the ground and not your body, think about that, a piece of equipment that you were “fitted” to and one of your few contact points with the bike had a rule stipulating it had to fit the ground.
In December 2015, the UCI changed this rule and have allowed saddles to have a 9degree tilt downwards, this should have allowed everyone to adjust their saddle angle down but still, people do not. Which given that for a lot of people their anatomy demands that they should do this, just adds to the madness.
Not only that but it can make you faster. This is because it helps to allow your perineum and soft tissues to roll out the way of the saddle, this will then help with genital numbness and if you are comfortable you will be faster as you do not keep moving and fidgeting about. It will allow you to flatten your back angle, this will make you more aerodynamic by accident, again making you marginally faster. Finally, we come to the big one, your glutes will be able to develop more power. Power, as we all know, leads to Strava KOMs.
Another point for trying to drop your saddle tilt is that the NHS did some research and found that a saddle pointing down by 1-2degrees alleviated the majority of lower back pain that their cycling groups had.
You put all these points together and you have to wonder why you want a level saddle?
By the way, never, ever ride with your saddle pointing up the way. If you feel you have to do that, there is something fundamentally wrong with the size of bike you are riding.
This advice also needs to be taken with making sure you have the correct saddle height and reach.
As someone who has spent years giving bike fits, I also want to point out. Your bike fit changes, a number of people I have had come to buy a bike, clutching their 5-year-old bike fit file. Your bike fit changes during the week, so a 5-year-old file is most likely out.
Work 9-5 at an office desk and change job to one where you move around. Your bike fit has changed. Tweaked your ankle. Your bike fit has changed. Stopped doing yoga. Your bike fit has changed. Riding less/more. Your bike fit has changed. Riding on a Friday evening after a week of work but had your bike fit done on a Monday morning after a weekend of riding. Your bike fit has changed.
We will come back to these points.