At TWC, we explored the various methods of intimate hair removal and their effect on cyclists a couple of years ago. We weren’t the only ones looking into the options – Team GB’s support crew have been doing their research too, and they say making changes to the track squads intimate grooming routines has meant they’ve not had a saddle sore among the riders for six months.
Our conclusions were that shaving can result in in-grown hairs, waxing might keep you off the bike for a few days, and if you really want to keep it all under control, a trim might be the best option.
Amusingly, GB’s physiotherapist Phil Burt hit on a similar answer, telling the Guardian: “At one point we were saying: ‘Should we be buying the girls beard-trimmers?’”
Scratching their heads (not their nether regions, as many might do after shaving…) Team GB’s support crew worked with experts at Cambridge University to devise a solution. Burt explained to the newspaper’s Helen Pidd that they eventually came to the conclusion that the girls (and boys, we suppose) should not wax, shave, or otherwise remove pubic hair – because doing so damages the skin, and the hair plays an important role in helping sweat evaporate from the skin.
In place of shaving themselves down to a pre-pubescent state, the women were given a Doublebase gel – a cheap over the counter moisturiser, to use instead of chamois cream, and an antibacterial shower gel (Dermol 500) to use in place of soap.
The team also worked with kit designers to modify shorts, which the girls found “rucked up” (we know EXACTLY what they mean and man is that uncomfortable) and alongside others, they also encouraged the UCI to relax the rules so that saddles could be positioned at a slight downward angle, which is known to relieve pain for men and women in many cases.
Saddle sores can be an absolute ride ruiner – check out these pieces for some advice…
Saddle Sores: 16 Tips for Avoiding Them
Sitting Wonky? The Relationship Between Saddle Discomfort and Lower Back Pain
ISM Saddles: The Weird Looking Perch that Could Save You From Pain