Avoid Saddle Soreness

The Bike Affair

Winter in Southern India is one of the best times to ride. With the festive 500 around the corner, you may be entertaining the possibility of a multi-day tour. One thing that can ruin the fun of the ride is saddle sores, a nightmare for a long-distance rider. Knowing what causes saddle sores can definitely help you get things under control, and that is the purpose of this blog.

Before we move ahead, what exactly do we mean by saddle sores? Well these are saddle discomfort and can broadly be classified into the following categories 

  1. Pain around the seat bones
  2. Numbness 
  3. Abrasions caused by chaffing

The good thing is with a little knowledge and the right adjustment on your bike, all these are preventable to a good extent. But before we start, we would like to mention that what we are discussing is different from saddle discomforts that you have when on a new saddle or if you are getting back on the saddle after a break. This one is expected to get better with every ride; the one we are discussing only gets worse.

So here goes our recommendation :

  1. Saddle Setup: While our first reaction would be to look for a new saddle, incorrect bike and saddle setup is the single most common reason for saddle sores. The right saddle height is important. Too tall a saddle height can cause saddle discomfort. But too low a saddle height can also lead to other problems like knee pain. Also, try keeping the saddle as close to parallel as possible. A lot of riders put their saddle nose down to avoid numbness, but this isn’t a good solution as nose down saddle will make you unstable as you keep sliding down and pushing yourself back on the saddle without realizing it.
  2. Saddle Type: Saddles which are too soft aren’t great for long rides as they result in increased chafing. Saddles that are too hard aren’t suitable for all. Most riders will prefer medium or light padded saddles. Note that the saddle is going to push you back with the same amount of force you apply to it. So the weight of the rider plays a role as well during saddle selection.
  3. Saddle Width: The shape and width of the saddle need to be selected as per the rider’s anatomy and type of riding. Any mismatch is likely to result in saddle discomfort. 
  4. Cycling Shorts: A form-fitting cycling shorts goes a long way in avoiding chaffing. And never wear underwear inside your cycling shorts ( yes, you will be surprised to know a lot of new riders do it otherwise) as the chamoi or padding needs to be in direct contact with your skin
  5. Hygiene: Wash the shorts post every ride. Else, this will lead to bacteria growth, which can lead to saddle sores.