Avoid Cycling Saddle Soreness
Avoid Cycling Saddle Soreness
Are You Sitting Comfortably
by Matthew Peacock
Many people think that at the end of a cycle ride it is to be expected that you will ache and be sore. Why? You may be physically weary – and your muscles may well be aching – but actual pain and soreness? Something must be wrong. There are several things to try and to adjust that will make your bike ride something to look forward to – and not to endure!
The most obvious area for possible discomfort is, for wont of a technical term, your bum – or more specifically where you touch the saddle. Both men and women have plenty of delicate areas that don’t appreciate crushing on a hard saddle.
Bontrager is a saddle manufacturer that has spent a long time analysing saddles and pelvic areas, mapping hot spots and looking at pressure points. They have designed a range of saddles called Inform, which will fit you perfectly.
First, you get measured on a special seat. This determines how wide your ‘sit bones’ are and you can now select the saddle of your choice with the same measurement. The end result is that the padding of the saddle is directly under where you sit, rather than getting a saddle that is too wide. Bontrager are so confident that the saddle will be fantastic that in the unlikely event you don’t get on with it you can get a full refund – even after riding it for a month. On a personal note I have the Bontrager Inform saddles on all my bikes and I’m not aware of my saddle during or after a ride. Which is how it should be!
Avoid Cycling Saddle Soreness: “If you wear anything underneath you are putting seams where they should not be”
Padded cycle shorts are the other obvious item to help ensure you remain comfortable and able to cycle (or walk) again. Like the saddles a lot of research has gone into making the padding ergonomically correct. Generally, the more you spend on shorts the better the pad. Whether you choose the lycra look or baggy shorts is a choice only you can make. Road cyclists seem to always go the lycra way, while mountain bikers and tourists seem to prefer the baggy short look. One point worth making is that the manufacturers have spent a long time designing a pad that works; therefore wearing underwear under cycle shorts is a big ‘no’. This does mean you need fresh shorts each day, but if you do wear anything underneath you are putting seams where they don’t want to be and stopping the pad ‘fitting’ to you.
A final and often overlooked way to improve comfort in the saddle is Chamois cream. This is a barrier cream designed to be put onto the cycle short pad. It has a lubrication effect allowing your skin to move and prevent any kind of chaffing or rubbing. Plus, it washes off you and your shorts easily. Once you use it you will wonder why you never did before. There are two rules for chamois cream: one – never double dip and two: don’t share your pot.