Feeling Sore? Find The Fix Here!
If you’ve ever heard the term ‘saddle sore’, you know what it is. Saddle sore can refer to two ailments: either the more frequent backside pain associated with a long and arduous ride or the more serious soreness that comes from infected and often open wounds around a rider’s intimate regions. We’re going to cover the former here, the more common ailment that plagues many beginner cyclists and puts many potential cyclists off the sport forever.
How do you stop the ache from happening? There are many answers to the many potential problems that cause your ache in the first place and we’ll cover as many of them as possible here and hopefully cure you of your woe.
Most cyclists suffer from soreness after a particularly long ride; longer rides usually mean a lot of sitting down for a long period of time and that’s where the problem lies. Imagine sitting down in the same spot for a few hours, with all of your weight being positioned in one particular part of your body – it’s going to hurt so the best thing that you can do to combat the pain is to give yourself a break from it at regular intervals. You can stand up on your pedals as you’re going along to help relieve the pain and shift your weight around. Imagine being told to sit on a small bicycle saddle for a short haul flight – you wouldn’t put up with it, would you? So, do your bum a favour and give it a break every now and again!
Position Your Saddle
The position of your saddle can affect your riding enjoyment and when we say ‘position’ we don’t just mean up and down. You can tilt your saddle to different angles that suit your body shape better. If your saddle isn’t adjusted to your body, you may end up putting pressure in all of the wrong places which will leave you feeling less than comfortable and a little sore. Experiment with your saddle positioning to find the set up that works best for you. Be careful though, if your saddle gradient is too steep, you may find yourself sliding off of it altogether!
Some saddle soreness is a result of chafing rather than pressure and poorly distributed weight, so it’s definitely worth considering applying creams, lubrication or powder to certain areas of your body to help reduce friction and keep the pain at bay. It might seem like a hassle to get lubed up before your ride but five minutes of preparation worth investing in, especially when you compare it to the days spent recovering from saddle soreness!
Make Your Bike Work For You!
Your soreness may be coming from the way your bike is set up or even from the entire bike itself. If you’re riding a bike that’s either too big or too small for you, you’re likely to develop an injury of some kind over time. Similarly, if your handlebars are either too high or too close, you’re going to be left pedaling away in an awkward position which is definitely going to make you sore in one way or another. Check in to your local bike shop to get your bike adjusted to your body; it may even be worth buying a new bike altogether!
You might not think you need them but a real pair of tight, lycra cycling shorts will really help your soreness prevention mission. They’re relatively cheap and available anywhere; they stop your skin from chafing and provide padding to all of the right areas. If you haven’t graduated to the cycling shorts yet, do it now and we promise that you won’t regret it.
While we’re on the subject of cycling shorts it’s worth mentioning that they’re designed to be worn without underwear and if soreness prevention is your goal, you should follow our advice. Having said that, not everyone is ready to go commando so if you’re looking for a compromise, try wearing thin underwear with as few seams as possible. You’ll thank us later!
The first thing you should try here is losing weight; granted, that’s easier said than done but by cycling regularly, you’ll be making yourself fitter and moving into a better position for weight loss. Carrying extra weight gives you a larger friction area and also adds more weight to your pressure points causing a double dose of discomfort. If you’re riding more, you’ll be losing weight and you’ll also be toughening the right areas of your body to help combat saddle soreness too.
Change Your Saddle
If you’re really struggling to find a solution to your saddle soreness woes, then perhaps it’s time for you to invest in a bigger, softer or wider saddle; something that suits your body type and gives you the maximum comfort whilst on your bike. Knowing which saddle to buy is tricky and as each person is different, there is no definitive guide. Your best bet is to talk to a sales assistant at your local bike shop who can point you in the right direction.
Lastly, if you’re going to embark on lots of long rides, then you should really invest some time in building up your backside muscles and toning them up. You’ll be aching while you do it, riding until it hurts and having nightmares about riding a bike throughout the process but if you want to make any progress, you’re going to have to bite the bullet. Having said that, it’s important to rest your aching muscles and not to push them too hard; if you think that riding is going to be a real chore because of your soreness, give yourself a break and wait until you recover. Riding a bike is meant to be a fun activity, not something you dread. So take your time, build up your muscles and enjoy yourself instead!