Monday, May 18, 2009

Saddle Sore Prevention

Saddle Sore (adj): A state of soreness from riding more than one is used to or from riding after taking significant time off of the bike.
Saddle Sore (n): A skin ailment on the buttocks due to, or exacerbated by, riding on a bicycle saddle.
The former is something that happens to anyone who starts riding more than they are used to and usually goes away once your tender behind gets accustomed to riding. My only advice here is that you should NEVER increase your time one the bike too dramatically in too short a time period. Instead, slowly increase the duration and frequency of your rides and make sure to give yourself lots of recovery time.
Unfortunately, I have significantly more experience with the latter type of saddle sore. Saddle sores are a cyclists nightmare. They are somewhat similar to facial acne (they are basically a pimple), but in a more tender (and less seen) area. And they are VERY painful to sit on. There are thousands of suggestions out there about how to prevent and cure saddle sores, but here is what I do that has helped me immensely:
  • Clean shorts: Never reuse cycling shorts without washing them. One of the biggest factors in whether or not you get saddle sores is how clean you are. And riding in a sweaty, day-old chamois does not count as clean.

  • Lube: Hopefully, you lube your chain to increase your drivetrain life and decrease friction. Some goes for your backside. I apply petroleum jelly (Vaseline) to my chamois before every ride to help cut down on the amount of rub on my bum. There are more expensive products out there, but petroleum jelly does the trick (and is REALLY cheap).

  • Get out of your chamois: As soon as possible after your ride, get out of your chamois and clean up. If you are near a shower, take one. If not, I suggest ActionWipes post ride to clean up your backside. I posted about ActionWipes a while ago and highly recommend them.
While this may not be the answer for everyone, it will certainly decrease your chance of getting saddle sores. Good luck!
Wipe your bum after you ride!

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