With the numerous incredible health benefits that cycling has to offer, it is only natural that many cyclists see it more than just a hobby. Whether you take up cycling for health reasons or to be environmentally friendly, it can be one of the best decisions you will make in your life. However, cycling regularly can come with its own little problems. Saddle sores are inevitable for regular cyclists at some point or the other. Considering the numerous benefits of cycling, saddle sores should not be show stoppers. So, here’s some insight about saddle sores and how to prevent/handle one.
What are saddle sores?
A saddle sore is a skin condition that develops on the buttocks due to prolonged abrasion during rides or due to folliculitis. The uncomfortable, annoying by-product of cycling that they are, these sores can ruin what can be a perfectly blissful ride. With proper precautions and prompt treatment, they do not a chance to get in the way of a good ride.
Here are some simple checks to prevent a saddle sore
Saddle height – Cycle saddles should be set at heights which are in proportion to the rider’s height. A saddle that is even a little too high than required can cause the rider’s hip to rock with each pedal stroke and cause the buttocks to grind against the saddle surface. Prolonged grinding can result in painful saddle sores that can ruin the rest of the ride and the next few rides too.
Always set saddles at appropriate heights after consulting with an experienced coach or a bike shop person.
Stand frequently – While on long rides, it is prudent to stand for few seconds every few minutes while still cycling. This can relieve pressure off the crotch and aids in proper circulation. Look for appropriate opportunities to stand for a few seconds, especially while riding downhill, at signals etc.
Position shifts – Cycling long distances while being positioned the same way all through the ride can be very uncomfortable. It is important to move on the saddle taking cues from the type of terrain that you are riding on. Sitting towards the rear where the buttocks get maximum support and pressure is taken off the crotch, moving farther back on seated climbs and moving to the middle while leaning forward to buck up on speed are all good ways to keep shifting positions on the saddle and these shifts relieve pressure points.
Cycling shorts – Selecting the right pair of cycling shorts can go a long way in preventing and managing saddle sores. Choose shorts that come with a chamois padded liner or synthetic liners that are sewn with flat-seam stitching so that even though there are additional panels sewn, the flat-seam can make them feel more comfortable. Choosing shorts that don’t block moisture and anatomically comfortable is important in order to prevent chafing and irritation of the surrounding skin.
The right saddle – Choosing the right saddle for your cycle plays a huge role in comfort. A saddle that is too wide rub against your inner thighs and a little too narrow saddle doesn’t provide enough support to your sit bones, resulting in bruising and irritation. Heavily padded saddles can put numbing pressure on your sit bones. Therefore, a saddle that’s perfectly right for you can only be chosen through trial and error and some patience. Invest time in choosing the right saddle for you.
Change quickly – This is an important thing to keep in mind for cyclists. As soon as you are back from a ride, get out of your sweaty shorts. The environment down there is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and this is only made worse if you already have irritated or abraded skin due to long rides. Take a shower and change into loose fitting comfortable clothing as soon as possible after a ride.
Rest well – If you have a bothersome saddle sore issue, it can be beneficial to take time off the saddle. It is a good bargain to take rest for a couple of days to heal before hopping back on the saddle than to suffer regular rides with an aggravating saddle sore.
What works like magic – Applying a thin coat of anti chafing gel can go a long way in making your riding experience as blissful as it should be. SkinEasi activ is a silicone based gel that forms an invisible and breathable protective film on the affected area/ area prone to chafing and thus prevents friction which worsens saddle sores. A thin coat offers 8+ hours of protection and ensure a long and comfortable ride
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