Unfortunately chafing and/or saddle sores are a potential issue for cyclists that enjoy any amount of time on the road, trails, single track or spin class. Fortunately there are ways to mitigate this issue so you can enjoy many comfortable hours on the saddle. There are 5 key essentials to saddle comfort.
- Bike Fit – If your saddle height is too high it can cause your hips to sway on the saddle increasing friction between your skin, chamois and saddle. The increased friction can lead to irritation, chafing and saddle sores. Ideally your saddle height should be at a level such that your hips are planted on the saddle with minimal sway.
- Bike Saddle – Finding the ideal bike saddle for you is often a process of experimentation. Your current saddle could be too wide or narrow. Other factors may come into play but the hypothesis is the width of your bike saddle should accommodate your sit bones (ischial tuberosity). Some bike shops have a means of measuring your sit bones and allow the rental or exchange of saddles until you find one that’s most comfortable for you. I’ve personally owned a saddle that was too narrow for my sit bones and it contributed to increased irritation.
- Cycling Shorts – Cycling shorts or bibs with a quality chamois. The chamois is the padded crotch section of cycling shorts and bibs. Some new cyclists make the mistake of wearing underwear under their cycling shorts. This is a big no-no and will ultimately lead to the chafing due to the underwear bunching up. The chamois should be in direct contact with the skin
- Honeybutt Chamois Cream – Honeybutt Chamois Cream is formulated with pure natural ingredients that provides a lubricating barrier where the skin comes in contact with the chamois. This lubricating barrier minimizes friction, chafing, irritation and the development of saddle sores. The Manuka honey contained in Honeybutt Chamois Cream promotes the healing of any chafing or irritation minimizing the potential for saddle sores. I personally wear chamois cream for each and every ride regardless of distance or time on the saddle.
- Hygiene – Good hygiene is critical in minimizing bacterial growth which can progress to skin infections and resultant saddles sores. Cyclists should remove cycling shorts and bathe as soon as possible after each ride. Cycling shorts should be washed after each use.