Hints & Tips

Saddle Sores: 16 Tips for Avoiding Them

Useful tips to help you keep your bottom happy.

If you’ve reached this page,  do not fear or be embarrassed, saddle sores are pretty inevitable in the world of cycling.

But what is a saddle sore? A saddle sore looks like a large pimple, or in some cases a rash which can be found most often between the genitals and the bottom. They occur after bacteria and sweat gets into open tissue (chaffing) caused from riding.

To prevent them from occurring and to keep your bottom happy, we’ve compiled a list of 16 handy tips to help you out…

  1. Only wear cycling shorts lined with chamois. 
  2. Don’t wear underwear under your shorts. The chamois creates a soft and gentle padding between you and the saddle.
  3. Wash your chamois carefully. Make sure to give them a good rinse to make sure no body fluid or washing powder remains.
  4. Wax. If you’re going to groom down there, waxing is much better than shaving. Waxing is great because it removes the hair completely from the root to prevent the hair from causing irritation.
  5. Don’t buy the cheapest pair of shorts. Have a look around before buying the first pair you see. Shorts are the most important kit for cyclists, so make sure they fit well and are comfortable.
  6. Does the saddle fit? Make sure you’ve done your research into what saddle you should buy. Also set your saddle to the correct height as more often than not, this can be the root of the problem.
  7. Change positions when riding. Saddle sores can be prevented from switching position frequently.
  8. Use a chamois cream. Some people prefer not to, but this could be your new best friend.
  9. Check often. It’s much wiser to have a quick peek down there to make sure everything’s all good. If you notice one, keep off the bike for a couple of days, you’re body knows what is right.
  10. Shower immediately after riding.
  11. Let the skin dry completely after showering.
  12. Change something. Adjust your saddle, handlebars, position or anything you feel might help you to feel a little bit more comfortable on the saddle.
  13. Leave it alone. If you do spot a sore, don’t squeeze, touch or add any more irritation to it.
  14. Only wear shorts that are clean and have not been worn before (even if it was just trying them on).
  15. Sleep without underwear. This will allow your irritated skin to breathe and heal quicker.
  16. Try to avoid perfumed washing powder and soaps as they can add irritation.

We used Saddle, Sore, a book written by Molly Hurford as a reference for this article. You can find out more about her brilliant book here.

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How To: Find the Bike to Fit You

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