The last thing that any rider wants when riding is pain. This is not just an issue for men, women too can suffer anything from mild pain to pain that prevents them from cycling altogether, some women find they can only cycle 30 minutes or so before the pain kicks in.
If your bike seat hurts it is good to know that bike seats come in all shapes and sizes, some are more suitable for women than others but in many cases it is down to the individual person as to which bike seat is best. Our article today will discuss some common issues affecting women riders and offer some advice on how to avoid bike seat pain for women without pain.
Let’s end bike butt!
Vaginitis is a term for soreness or swelling in the area of the “ladyparts”, sometimes known as “crotchitis”, bacterial infections or yeast infections. There are many reasons for developing this including hygiene problems, moisture, warmth as well as friction and pressure.
There are a few rules that will help out here.
When off the bike try to keep everything dry and well aired! This includes wearing loose fitting dresses or shorts, on the bike wear good saddle shorts and washing them after every ride according to the maker’s instructions, you may need to buy a couple or more pairs if you are a regular rider.
Loss of sensation
The loss of sensation can be very disconcerting but generally speaking this is a short term situation.
Probably the most common concern which affects as many as 90% of all cyclists at some time or another, there are a number of things that can help reduce this.
Good bike saddle, cycling shorts will help along with changing position regularly when riding and lowering the nose of the saddle.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) can be common among female riders, there is a lot of pressure between your butt and the saddle that can cause heat and friction that can cause irritation.
Preventative measures mentioned for vaginitis will also help here and remember to always drink plenty of water before, during and after your ride.
Saddle sores affect both women and men, there is no specific symptom that describes saddle sores. They could be chaffed or broken skin, numbness, dermatitis, the list goes on and on.
But generally speaking any redness, pain or numbness in that region can be described as saddle sores. Now let’s look at what we can do to help matters!
Phil Burt who spent 12 years as Head of Physiotherapy at British Cycling has said that the best bike seat won’t work if it is in the wrong position, so remember that you can adjust your saddle for greater comfort. Remember that “nose down” position mentioned earlier
This saddle is well worth looking at
There are many great bike saddles specifically designed for women, some of which are shown below, but a bike saddle is a personal choice and that does not mean that a so-called mens saddle will not be the best for you
Women’s saddles are specifically designed to suit the female anatomy and can often be wider at the rear and have moulded areas and cut-outs to provide greater comfort.
Don’t forget that the wider saddles with greater padding are not always the most comfortable, wider saddles at the nose can cause chafing and all the discomfort that goes with it!
Two more saddles you may want to check out
Choose Good Quality Cycle Shorts
There are many people who think that specific cycling shorts are not needed—-WRONG!
Although you don’t need cycling shorts to ride a bike you won’t find many cyclists especially racers who don’t. They offer comfort, protection and support in all the right places, can absorb perspiration (wicking) and generally keep everything together.
Best quality cycle shorts post for men
Pull your shorts all the way up
Now that you have made the leap and bought your new cycle shorts it is very important that you pull them all the way up. Keeping the material of the shorts tight up to the skin helps reduce chafing, the rubbing is material against material rather than material against skin!
You may also want to consider bib shorts. Rather than depending on just the waistband to keep them up, bib shorts also have a strap/suspender arrangement, it’s more of a nuisance when you want to pee but many riders swear by them.
Don’t use underwear
This is super important. Cycling shorts and the chamois inserts are designed to be smooth and trap both moisture and bacteria. Regular underwear is not, and cotton in particular doesn’t do this too well.
With moisture, friction and heat we are making a great environment for saddle sores and all the other unpleasant stuff we talked about. Go commando!
Minimize the chance of developing saddle sores
As we have said earlier a good saddle can help prevent saddle sores, but equally important is the fit of the bike. Too high handlebars or saddles can lead to excessive “rocking” on the seat which can cause real problems regardless of which saddle you have.
If your bike seat hurts it could be that your bike set up is at fault. A professional fit could be well worth thinking about, check Google for professional bike fit experts in your area, well worth it if you want to avoid bike seat pain.
Don’t forget that hygiene is massively important, so keep clean, keep dry to keep riding without bike butt!
Step 1 – Lubricate with chamois cream
- The original non-greasy chamois cream and the favorite of professional and recreational cyclists
- Washes off skin and clothing with soap and water
- Paraben and gluten free and contain no artificial fragrances or colors
Possibly the most well known chamois cream. This colorless and odorless cream is probably the most well known anti-chafe cream among professionals and amateurs alike. It’s easy to wash out and is both gluten and paraben free. Never leave home without it.
Lanacane products are known around the world and this anti-chafe cream is as good as it gets.
Lanacane anti-chafe cream forms a breathable barrier on your skin to help prevent and support recovery of chafing caused by repeated rubbing of skin on skin or skin on clothing. It also helps soothe an irritated area.
Q.Why are bike seats uncomfortable for women?
A. It is basically down to anatomy. There are many sensitive areas “down there” which are likely to come under pressure and therefore cause discomfort. Remember that bike saddles are not designed to take the rider’s full weight all the time, riding position, set up and the right gear will go a long way to help.
Q. Does bike seat pain go away?
A. Yes, bike seat pain goes away, sometimes. Most bike seat pain goes after a short period of time especially with new riders. As with all pain,if it persists you should consult your doctor, better to be safe than sorry.
Q. How long does it take to get used to a bike seat?
A. Okay so how long is a piece of string? A recent survey of road cyclists suggested that about 20% of riders were happy within one week but the majority said between one week and a month.
Q. Can I cycle with saddle sores?
A. Yes but why would you want to? If saddle sores develop the best thing is to treat them and lay off the bike a bit!
Q. Do saddle sores pop?
A. Don’t try to do this! No squeezing, scratching or messing! Just keep them clean and dry and let your own body take care of the rest. If they don’t heal up then see your doctor.
Q. Is a wide bike seat more comfortable?
A. Not necessarily. Although some womens bike seats are made wider and with more padding, many women prefer a mens or hybrid/unisex seat with cutouts. Some of the wider seats can actually be worse for some women as they can cause more friction.