How to avoid a sore bottom

31 October 2015

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When you first start riding more often and longer distances you are likely to encounter bottom problems. At least, it’s not exactly your bottom, but different parts ‘down there’, depending on your body type and position.
There are many ways to reduce saddle pain, but it can’t be eliminated completely unless you stop riding. Most cyclist just see it as part of the sport and something you get used to. However, there are a few tips to follow up on, so you won’t risk longer lasting problems, like infection, that can keep you from riding.

Get a good saddle
First off, you need the right saddle. Your local bike shop will be able to tell you more. Trying out different models is the best way to find the one most suited to your body and position. There a quite a few bike shops that call themselves Fi’z:ik test centres, which means they can give you different Fi’z:ik saddles to test on your own bike for a few weeks. It’s a free service and you don’t have to commit to buying a Fi’z:ik saddle after your test period. But you will know what saddle type suits you best. There should be test saddles by other brands too, just call you local bike shop to check it out.

Butt pad
Second tip is wearing a well padded bib. In the world of bibs there are huge differences in quality. Make sure you are informed about what pad is fitted into the bib tights you buy. I recommend always choosing the long distance variety, even if you never cycle over an hour.
It’s interesting to read up on the differences in pads before you set out to buy a bib. You can find lots of information on the site of this bib pad manufacturer, whose pads are incorporated into the designs of many well known cycling brands.

Vaseline and nappy cream
Ok. So you have mounted a good saddle and you’re wearing the right pad (without undies!). Still in pain? Then your bottom parts might be shifting and chafing more than needed. First off, you could be wearing your tights too loose. Second, practice a more steady cycling style. Third? Rub a bit of greasy cream on the body bits that are in contact with your saddle, to make the chafing a little smoother. You can use plain old Vaseline, or get yourself some nappy cream (babies have the same issues!). Many cycle brands will also sell you their own chafing cream that claim to alleviate pain and prevent infection. You can read up on anti-chafing or chamois cream in this informative article by Cycling weekly. But if you don’t want to pay top price, Vaseline will do the trick just fine.

My last tip is a great video with ten tips to avoid a sore ass by The Global Cycling Network. I have mentioned a few of these already, but be sure to check it out for some added info and a good laugh.

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