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bicycle saddle sores
Bicycle saddle sores – what a pain!

Have you ever sat down with friends, trying to explain to them that the reason for your sudden unrest while sitting on the sofa is yesterday’s bike trip?

Did you know...?

Saddle Sores

Did you know that the situation may worsen if saddle sores are left untreated?

If you do not sterilize your sores regularly, they may become infected. Your doctor will then have to drain the abscess of pus and other fluids, which is an excruciating procedure. Treat your sores regularly using creams and gels containing benzoyl peroxide or erythromycin.

Many cyclists suffer from bicycle saddle sores during and after a long ride. You can find many questions about bicycle saddle pain in the bicycle forums. Take a look at two examples:

"I have been a bike rider for a long time, and recently, I've decided to expand my riding territory and challenge myself with longer rides (20 miles and up) on my mountain bike. I have a fitted bicycle and a high-quality Specialized bicycle saddle. Still, after about an hour of bicycling, I felt uncomfortable on my saddle. This feeling is gradually increasing to intense pain in my bottom. At this point, I only want the ride to be over. I would like to know how to solve saddle sores while cycling and what I can do to prevent bicycle saddle pain on my future rides. Do you think stopping the ride from time to time can help? Should I replace my saddle or my riding technique?

Thanks "

Or

"Over the past year, I suffered from friction with the seat while riding, causing doormat and pain, forcing me to stand up on my bikes or even to stop biking to relieve the pressure. I want to add that I've replaced my bicycle saddle three times and still suffer from bicycle saddle sores.

Thanks"

These common questions have many answers in the forums. In this article, I will summarize most information about this painful issue of saddle sores.

What is Bicycle Saddle Sores?

There are two types of saddle sores:

  1. Sore and pain resulting from pressure on the buttocks, tissues, and bones. While pedaling our thighs, the skin under your "sit bones" rubs against the saddle.
  2. Chafing on your buttocks and in the groin area, especially when biking during hot and humid days.

Bicycle saddle sores have many reasons. Some of them are related to the saddle shape and size. Others relate to our bicycle sizing, riding technique, or other reasons.

Possible Causes of Bicycle Saddle Sores

Too Many Hours on the Saddle

Many hours on the saddle without being used to it creates pressure on the buttocks tissues, which results in pain. Such pain can be reduced by minimizing the number of hours on the saddle. If you are a beginner, starting with short rides and gradually increasing your cycling distances is recommended. It is also recommended to stop the ride occasionally to give your buttocks tissues time to recover. Could you perform a series of stretches and relaxation while you stop riding? If you prefer to continue riding, stand on the bicycle pedals occasionally for a minute or two. It might help.

An Unfitted Saddle

A Saddle that is too narrow, too wide, too soft, too hard, or has an unfitted width or unfitted shape can be a real cause for bicycle saddle sores. My advice is simple: Don't save on saddle: Buy the best bicycle seat! It does not mean you must take a mortgage to buy a saddle. Avoid excessively wide saddles or saddles filled with shiftable mushy gel, which can move around and may rub your inner thighs. The "best bicycle seat" should be wide enough to support the seatbones.

Your best bicycle seat can only be found through trial and error. Your bike shop will hopefully have a saddle test-ride program or liberal trade-in policy. See the article about finding the best bicycle seat. Here are some quality bicycle saddles that might help:

Bicycle Saddle Sores
Bicycle Saddle Sores
Bicycle Saddle Sores

ISM PS 1.0 Saddle Black new perfect condition bike seat good value (New - 34000 USD)ISM PS 1.0 Saddle Black new perfect condition bike seat good value
(New - 34000 USD)
NOS IDEALE PROFESSIONNEL TB n°59 SADDLE SEAT MADE IN FRANCE VINTAGE 686gr (New other (see details) - 3000 USD)NOS IDEALE PROFESSIONNEL TB n°59 SADDLE SEAT MADE IN FRANCE VINTAGE 686gr
(New other (see details) - 3000 USD)
Vintage stock ELENA Lightning Saddle OLD SCHOOL BMX bicycle seat unused (New other (see details) - 1864.8 USD)Vintage stock ELENA Lightning Saddle OLD SCHOOL BMX bicycle seat unused
(New other (see details) - 1864.8 USD)
NOS IDEALE 90 DURAL SADDLE SEAT MADE IN FRANCE HERSE SINGER ROUTENS PEUGEOT (New other (see details) - 1500 USD)NOS IDEALE 90 DURAL SADDLE SEAT MADE IN FRANCE HERSE SINGER ROUTENS PEUGEOT
(New other (see details) - 1500 USD)

Wrong Saddle Height

Set your saddle to the proper height. A saddle that is too high will cause friction as your sit bones will rock over the saddle as you pedal. Just be aware not to set your saddle too low: you will lose some of your pedaling efficiency, and it might also lead to bicycling knee pain.

Wrong Seating Position

If you sit in the front of your saddle, there might be too much pressure on your crotch. Take the pressure off this sensitive area: sit mostly toward the rear where your sit bones get maximum support. Change your seating position periodically. During climbs, move farther back on the saddle. Sit in the middle of the saddle when you are bending low.

Wrong Handlebars Height

Try to lower your handlebars. Handlebars that are too high cause an imbalanced split of your weight load between the saddle and the handlebars. Just make sure not to lower the handlebars too much as it might lead to neck muscle pain.

Improper cycling shorts

Improper cycling shorts may cause chafing. There are many short brands and chamois types. Take the time to find the bicycling shorts that works best.

  • If you're getting sores in the areas of seam-to-skin contact, wear seamless-chamois bike riding shorts.
  • There are bike riding shorts designed specifically for women's anatomy, as they have a liner with no center seam.
  • If your shorts are slightly loose, they will mess with your skin. Even with tight shorts, you might feel some play in the chamois area around your butt.
  • Some wear two pairs of shorts on bike rides for double the padding.
  • wear bibs instead of regular shorts. They lack compression around the waist.

Here are some cycling shorts that might help:

Saddle Sores
Saddle Sores
Saddle Sores
Alexander Wang x adidas Originals Limited Edition Cycling Bicycle Bike Shorts XS (New with tags - 499.99 USD)Alexander Wang x adidas Originals Limited Edition Cycling Bicycle Bike Shorts XS
(New with tags - 499.99 USD)
FRANCAISE DES JEUX BIB SHORTS S/S & L/S JERSEYS, ARM WARMERS MADE IN ITALYBY MOA (New without tags - 490 USD)FRANCAISE DES JEUX BIB SHORTS S/S & L/S JERSEYS, ARM WARMERS MADE IN ITALYBY MOA
(New without tags - 490 USD)
COFIDIS BIB SHORTS, L/S & S/S JERSEYS, VEST & ARM WARMERS MADE IN ITALY NALINI (New with tags - 489 USD)COFIDIS BIB SHORTS, L/S & S/S JERSEYS, VEST & ARM WARMERS MADE IN ITALY NALINI
(New with tags - 489 USD)
Education First Nippon Giro Limited Edition Bib Shorts Size XS NEW Japan K814 (New with tags - 486.02 USD)Education First Nippon Giro Limited Edition Bib Shorts Size XS NEW Japan K814
(New with tags - 486.02 USD)

Chaffing due to Insufficient Lubrication or Poor Hygiene

To avoid this, Lube to reduce friction. Coat your skin and / or chamois bicycling shorts with Vaseline Petroleum Jelly (or any commercial product such as Chamois Butt'r or Bag Balm®) before going for a long ride. Cover under your sit bones and any place that might rub. Always wear clean shorts for each ride! If you seem susceptible to saddle sores, you may find it helpful to dry your skin, and then to wash your crotch with antibacterial soap and warm water before lubing up.

For me, the most effective way to prevent chaffing during the ride is to put some type of powder (such as baby powder, gold bond extra strength powder or a layer of assos chamois cream) on my skin down there to dry the area, before I put my shorts on. It works and feels great! Here are some products that might help:

Saddle Sores
Saddle Sores
Saddle Sores

How to Treat Bicycle Saddle Sores?

You have just returned from an excellent bicycling trip (they are always great, aren't they?); your adrenaline level is high, but you suffer from bicycle saddle sores. How can you treat this troublesome pain? We would like to know how to solve saddle sores before it starts. Now that you have it, there are several things that we can do to ease the pain and make the recovery time shorter.

Get out of your sweaty shorts as soon as possible after a ride. Before you take a shower, swab the area with a little rubbing alcohol. Then shower or clean up with soap and water. Dry well and wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that allows your skin to breathe.

After the shower, put anti-bacterial salve or Bag Balm® on the hot spots. Applying Bag Balm® to irritated areas will help heal the superficial wound and prevent it from worsening. You can also treat your sores with an acne gel.

Take some time off the bike to help it heal. It's far better to lose one or two days on the bike than risk two weeks of cycling due to infection. If you are in the middle of a bicycling tour and you suffer from bicycle saddle sores, you may try using Preparation H. It won't help remove it, but it will help shrink and numb the swelling. If a sore is getting out of control, ask your doctor about a course of oral antibiotics. And, as always, with bicycling injuries, it is best to consult a doctor. Could you try to find someone who is an expert on sports injuries?

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