The nether regions delicacy can often be exposed spending hours in the saddle. This can be especially true for new riders, those increasing their saddle time or anyone who makes a change in gear, even a slight one. After spending the winter inside spinning or perhaps not riding at all, cyclists venturing out for spring rides may find they are experiencing discomfort which could become more serious it not immediately addressed. Here are some tips for any cyclists trying to prevent saddle sores or stop those hoping to stop the ones currently developing.
Choose the right saddle
A saddle that properly fits your behind and is well installed can be a revelation for cyclists experiencing discomfort on the bike. Consider the width of your sit bones, your riding style, position on the bike and try a couple of saddles out if possible before settling on a model. Without previous experience with a particular saddle, remember not to only consider it’s esthetics. Saddles with cutouts can help alleviate pressure for some people. Once you have a saddle you like, installing it properly is extremely important. Too far forward and you may be experiencing more friction and chafing that can lead to painful saddle sores. Too far back and you may be resting your behind on an area to narrow leading to other problems. The UCI allows cyclists to tilt the saddle up to nine degrees forward. Experimenting with tilting yours a bit can help alleviate pressure on your backsides delicate soft tissue.
Dial in your bike fit
Too much weight on your butt can lead to increased pressure in sensitive areas. Too much pressure in the hands may relieve saddle issues but may put you in a position where operating the bike is a challenge or your hands and arms are sore out on rides. Nailing the right bike fit is important for a lot of different reasons but helping with saddle sores is definitely one of them.
Stop hair removal
To sort out saddle pain after the 2012 London Olympics, British Cycling advised it’s athletes to stop shaving, waxing and using depilating cream. A panel of experts strongly advised women cyclist to not remove pubic hair. The reasoning is that pubic hair provides friction protection and plays an important role in the transport and evaporation of sweat away from the skin. The methods of hair removal like shaving, using epilation and depilatory creams damage the epidermis increasing the risk of hair follicle infections and ingrown hairs The Guardian outlined in a piece on the subject. While many cyclists choose to shave their legs, going beyond that comes with risks. If you have or are experiencing saddle sores consider changing the habit.
Wear kit that properly fits
A chamois that provides a layer of padding between your backside and saddle can be extremely important in helping to prevent saddle sores. Everyone likes a different chamois and finding one that works for you is essential. Consider the fit of the shorts as well. If they are prone to move around, feel like they are rubbing or are causing any sort of chafing, it’s time to change to a pair that fit better.
Wash your kit
Personal hygiene is important for many aspects of your life but for comfort on the bike you can take some extra precautions. Having a shower after riding is hopefully already part of your routine but take it immediately instead of hanging around in your bibs for a while. British Cycling advised using Dermol 500 antibacterial shower gel as a substitute for regular soap. Additionally, washing your shorts after every ride is important to not allow the bacteria a second chance to get on your delicate skin. Even after low intensity or cool weather rides, throw the shorts in the washer. Both your behind and your riding companions will be grateful.