Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 65
  1. #1
    eternalvoyage
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,399
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Saddle Sores; Cleanliness and Other Approaches

    Some people seem to get away with ignoring the cleanliness issue, and don't have problems with saddle sores. Others have experienced extremely bothersome problems with saddle sores and other saddle-related issues.

    Some people seem to find it important to be diligent about cleanliness, while others are more lax about it.

    One factor might be individual differences in susceptibility or resistance -- and there are probably other factors involved as well.

    What are some of the other factors that contribute to saddle sores and other saddle-contact-area problems?

    What are the best ways of preventing or staying free of these sorts of problems (which can be severe, and ruin an otherwise fine trip), especially while on extended tours?
    Last edited by Niles H.; 05-26-09 at 02:35 PM.

  2. #2
    Look ma...no brakes! Accident's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Tallahassee
    My Bikes
    Locally built track bike, Kona mtb, Giant Road Bike, Soon to be Surly LHT Tourer!
    Posts
    399
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I think it's important to wear clean bike shorts each new day of riding. I bring 2 bike shorts when on tour, wash and alternate. I try to get out of the saddle as much as possible as the constant friction of sitting can be irritating. If all else fails, try using one of the biking creams to help alleviate the rubbing.

    On my touring bike, I've rotated between three saddles that I ride on daily with my bikes (Brooks B17, Selle San Marco Regal and Selle Italia SLR XP) I actually prefer the XP, but that's personal preference that is rarely the majority opinion.
    Best of luck finding the right choice for you, it makes a world of difference to have that comfort all day long.

  3. #3
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    In The Wind
    Posts
    24,379
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Keep the area CLEAN.
    I add a dab of Hydrocortisone cream before applying chamois creme.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  4. #4
    __________ seeker333's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    2,622
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Niles H. View Post
    What are some of the other factors that contribute to saddle sores and other saddle-contact-area problems?
    How about thousands of vibrations from the road that are transferred to you through your saddle every single hour that you ride?

    I think this is the biggest factor in saddle sores. Dirty shorts might make it worse once an open sore has formed.

    Recumbent bike riders, for example, do occasionally get a numb ass (recumbent butt), but rarely (never?) get saddle sores.

    OTOH, if cleanliness was a major factor, wouldn't thousands of non-cyclists get saddle sores? Homeless people and populations of third world areas without adequate water supply would have the worst saddle sores....right? But they don't, AFAIK.

    I've worn the same shorts for 3-4 days at a time while backpacking - I never got saddle sores. Blisters on my feet, yes.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Cambridge UK
    Posts
    440
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    In my experience, saddle sores start after a tiny hair gets pulled out of my ass and the follicle becomes infected by the action of pressure and sweaty shorts. I was a bit of a bum on my last tour and washed infrequently because of the lack of hot, clean water, but from now on I won't leave home without a large pack of wet wipes. Life-savers!

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    36,740
    Mentioned
    13 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The best way to avoid saddle sore is ......... making sure your bicycle fits and is set up properly for you.

    If your bicycle does not fit and/or is not set up properly for you, you have increased your chances of unwanted friction and therefore of saddle sores. If your saddle is too high, you'll rock from side to side. You increase the chances of achilles tendon problems, and also saddle sores where the inside of your legs attach to the torso. If your saddle is too low, you've got all sorts of extra friction going on there, and you increase the chances of knee problems.

    Next, you need to make sure you have a saddle that is wide enough for you, but not too wide. Too wide, and it will be rubbing the insides of your legs all the time. Not wide enough and you'll be sitting on your soft bits rather than your sitbones. You need to be able to sit on your sitbones.

    Which brings me to the next point: posture. You've got to sit on the bicycle properly in order to avoid saddle sores. I call it "perching". You don't flump into the saddle like you're a sack of potatoes, rather you perch gently on your sitbones. Divide the weight between your sitbones and your feet. Also tuck your pelvis under so that you are indeed sitting on your sitbones, and so that your soft area is slightly raised. This requires a strong core because the way to do it is to suck in your abs which helps you tuck your pelvis under. The stronger your core is, the more comfortable you will be on the bicycle.

    Once you've got the bicycle set up properly, and once you're sitting on the bicycle properly, you've just removed most of the chances of developing saddle sores. But a few more tips.

    --- Mid-ride, it is a good idea to pull over at a convenience store, or some other place with water, and wash your sitting region, and then pat the area dry with a paper towel. You don't need soap or anything, you just need to wash that area so that you get the salt from your sweat off. Salt is abrasive and you don't want it on your skin. If you don't have access to water, baby wipes will work as well. If the ride is long and hot, you might want to do this more than once ... it feels so good!!

    --- Choose good shorts. If you're going with padded cycling shorts, you don't want heaps of padding because that can cause extra friction, but you do want them to fit fairly snuggly or they will move around and cause extra friction. If it is a hot day, you might consider cotton shorts. I have a couple pair of cotton cycling shorts with very light padding which I prefer to use on hot days because they breathe more. If it is a really hot day, you might consider going with just beach shorts or something like that so that the air can flow.

    --- Shave! But don't shave the morning of a long ride ... shave a few days before. So in a touring setting, you might want to shave on the Wednesday before you head out on your tour on Saturday. This will give your body a chance to heal. Shave in the shower under running water if you can, use hair conditioner as a shaving cream, and apply zinc oxide cream after if you need to. I'm not talking about shaving the legs, although you might want to do that too. I'm talking about trimming the hair in the entire sitting region down to about 1/2 inch ... and shorter or gone in some areas. You might have to experiment a bit with what works for you. But if the hair in that area is at all long, it gets caught and gets pulled and causes friction and all sorts of problems. It also helps to keep the area clean if there is minimal hair involved. If you are on a long tour, you might need to trim periodically during the tour. Try to do it when you have a day off.

    --- If it is pouring rain, you might consider a dab of some sort of chamois cream. It is unnecessary in other conditions but in the rain it does help protect the skin. Think about how your skin gets when you're in the tub for a long time ... that's what you want to avoid, and creams can help with that.

    --- When you finish your ride, wash yourself again. The water or baby wipe method you used during the ride will work, or if you have a shower available that would be the way to go. And if you happen to have developed a tiny bit of a rash during the day, apply a bit of zinc oxide cream. That'll clear it right up ... you'll be good to go the next day.

    --- If you do happen to develop something which has the potential of becoming a saddle sore, a teensy dab of Ozonol can help nip it in the bud. I always carry Ozonol, it's also good for road rash and other minor skin irritations.

    --- As for your shorts, hang them or drape them somewhere so they can air out and dry out as necessary, and they'll also be good to go the next day.



    I have cycled 123,524.3 km over the past 19 years .... and I have had only one saddle sore caused by riding in the pouring rain, in loose cycling shorts with too much padding, on a gel saddle. A medley of errors I don't plan to repeat.

  7. #7
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    6,209
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
    OTOH, if cleanliness was a major factor, wouldn't thousands of non-cyclists get saddle sores? Homeless people and populations of third world areas without adequate water supply would have the worst saddle sores....right? But they don't, AFAIK.
    Unfortunately, homeless people do have a lot of dermatological issues. Apparently foot problems in particular are quite common in homeless populations. As to 3rd world communities, I'm not an expert but living in a less industrialized society does not necessarily mean they have poor hygiene. And unfortunately, if hygiene really does become a major issue, other factors are likely to do overwhelming damage, e.g. cholera outbreaks.

    More to the point, homeless people aren't wearing skin-tight lycra shorts, or spending 8+ hours a day performing an activity that results, for lack of a more discrete term , crotch sweat.

  8. #8
    eternalvoyage
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,399
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    On the susceptibility issue: A friend in college developed some kind of skin infection. His doctor told him that it was from wearing dirty pants (he wore his pants for about a week, as I recall, without washing them). I've worn pants longer than that without washing them, though -- as have other people -- without any problems at all.

    Part of it is probably just resistance. Some people catch colds or flus more easily than others, and some people seem to have unusually good resistance, even in the same conditions (or same exposure). The same is probably true of various kinds of skin infections and sores.

    Some people are much more susceptible to boils than others, too.

    And some people sweat much more than others.

    ***

    It's probably not a bad idea to stay clean just in case.

    ***

    Another factor is length of sitting. Whenever there is pressure on one area, from sitting in the same position for too long, the blood supply gets restricted beyond an acceptable level -- the tissues under the pressure point or points can become starved for oxygen. When they are, they are in a somewhat weakened state, and are more prone to infections. They need fresh blood to stay in optimal health and resistance to infections.

    This is the explanation dermatologists and other doctors give for the formation of skin ulcers (bedsores) in people who are unable to move, and keep pressure on certain areas -- they often get skin ulcers as a result of the restricted blood supply. The tissues are deprived of fresh blood and oxygen for too long.

    Standing occasionally and relieving the pressure (and refreshing the blood supply) could be helpful at times.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Panhandle of Texas
    My Bikes
    Broken Fuji Sundance 80's, Jamis Coda E, Surly LHT
    Posts
    111
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have resorted to a long series of rituals and superstitions before every ride...haha not quite there yet. Someone on this board mentioned getting up off the seat once in awhile, "stand up and pedal", get the weight off your seat. I think that's a great idea which I now practice regularly. When I start to feel some heat or minor irritation, I stand up and pedal for awhile. I've also resorted to a brooks B-17, wet wipes, a dab of neosporin anti bacterial cream in the morning before a ride and in the evening after showering or washing, also clean white loose fitting underwear combined with plain cotton outer shorts. I ditched all the padded biking shorts with the exception of a pair of very thin padded underwear. Somehow for some reason this is working for me.
    Last edited by mrpincher; 05-26-09 at 11:31 PM. Reason: unclear wording

  10. #10
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    1,812
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    The best way to avoid saddle sore is ......... making sure your bicycle fits and is set up properly for you.

    .
    I'm not saying this isn't important but realize that even many professional cyclists end up fighting saddle sores and of course their bike fit is right on.

  11. #11
    eternalvoyage
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,399
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I tried gel-padded biking shorts with a gel saddle cover, and found that it made for saddle comfort, especially when riding all day long, day after day. It isn't the only solution, but it is one way to go. I spoke with someone else who used this approach (although he used a gel saddle, rather than a gel saddle cover), and even though he was riding 200+ miles on some days, he said it solved his seat-area problems.

    ***

    Brooks saddles seem to chafe less. The leather is slippery enough not to grab and chafe over time, as some of the other materials seem to do. Seams can also cause problems, whether on the saddle or in the clothing.

    Once the skin is chafed and broken, things can start getting very very uncomfortable, so I try to avoid this.

    If anyone out there has found other approaches that minimize chafing or skin irritation, please feel free to post the ideas.
    Last edited by Niles H.; 05-27-09 at 01:46 PM.

  12. #12
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    36,740
    Mentioned
    13 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Niles H. View Post
    I tried gel-padded biking shorts with a gel saddle cover, and found that it made for saddle comfort, especially when riding all day long, day after day. It isn't the only solution, but it is one way to go. I spoke with someone else who used this approach (although he used a gel saddle, rather than a gel saddle cover), and even though he was riding 200+ miles on some days, he said it solved his seat-area problems.
    I think most cyclists agree that gel is NOT the way to go. Not a bad idea for a beginner who doesn't ride much, but not a good idea for someone who wants to ride lots day after day. Go ask about gel in the Road forum or Long Distance forum and see what the opinions are.

    Here's one thread as an example:
    Gel padded shorts
    I would not recommend bringing gel shorts on a tour for the reasons mentioned in that thread.

    When you sink down into something like gel, you put more pressure and friction on your skin. Ideally you want to perch on your sitbones on your saddle with only minimal contact between your soft areas and the saddle.

    ------------------------------
    Now, another point that Rowan reminded me of last night is that gradually building up to riding lots helps. We both have developed callouses at the end of a season of Randonneuring, as do many other long distance cyclists. If you ride lots, you toughen up the whole sitting area too. Yet another reason to be in shape before a tour!!

  13. #13
    eternalvoyage
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,399
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    I think most cyclists agree that gel is NOT the way to go. Not a bad idea for a beginner who doesn't ride much, but not a good idea for someone who wants to ride lots day after day. Go ask about gel in the Road forum or Long Distance forum and see what the opinions are.

    Here's one thread as an example:
    Gel padded shorts
    I would not recommend bringing gel shorts on a tour for the reasons mentioned in that thread.

    When you sink down into something like gel, you put more pressure and friction on your skin. Ideally you want to perch on your sitbones on your saddle with only minimal contact between your soft areas and the saddle.
    Not always true at all. There are saddle designs that take the pressure off. Gel Shorts vary in design as well; and some very experienced cyclists who ride a lot more than those expressing these other opinions favor some of the gel designs. They are a viable way to go if done properly.

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    36,740
    Mentioned
    13 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Niles H. View Post
    Not always true at all. There are saddle designs that take the pressure off. Gel Shorts vary in design as well; and some very experienced cyclists who ride a lot more than those expressing these other opinions favor some of the gel designs. They are a viable way to go if done properly.

    All right ... name the cyclists who ride more than 10,000 km a year who use gel ... and name the brands. Show me the articles to back up your claim.



    I used a gel saddle cover when I first started Randonneuring, and even did both the RM1200 and PBP with a gel saddle cover, but when I switched to my Brooks life was so much happier. I had my one and only saddle sore with gel and I was getting rashes quite frequently. Not only that, but I started developing nerve issues. Gel doesn't breathe and causes extra pressure.

  15. #15
    Senior Member ricohman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Saskatchewan
    Posts
    2,385
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Soap and water.
    And like most dudes, I don't shave down there as mentioned above!
    I've never had a saddle sore.

  16. #16
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    36,740
    Mentioned
    13 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

  17. #17
    eternalvoyage
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,399
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    I used a gel saddle cover when I first started Randonneuring, and even did both the RM1200 and PBP with a gel saddle cover, but when I switched to my Brooks life was so much happier. I had my one and only saddle sore with gel and I was getting rashes quite frequently. Not only that, but I started developing nerve issues. Gel doesn't breathe and causes extra pressure.
    I would have to respectfully disagree with much of this.

    First, gel designs can breathe if designed properly.

    I've used them, though I had to (or at least preferred to) alter the shorts I had, and they worked fine for all-day riding for weeks at a time. The gels worked well with a WTB saddle that had a cutout design. Never had any problems with rashes or anything like rashes.

    Although somewhat similar, long-distance randonneurs (like you) have different ride schedules and requirements from long-distance touring cyclists, and rarely ride every day for weeks or months or in some cases years on end. The situations are different. Although there is some overlap, it is a different sport, as is road cycling. I see no reason whatsoever to listen to roadies over longterm touring cyclists.

    And no, I don't always catalogue the names of the cyclists I meet while on tour, and some of them do find gel to be an excellent solution.

    Isolating the pressure to small points is certainly not the only way to go.

    Pilots use something like gels; they distribute the pressure rather than isolating it. When the pressure is distributed it is less intense, not more so.

    Brooks saddles don't work for everyone either. Different people find different solutions. Gels have worked very well for some touring cyclists I have met, and they have worked for me -- and although they are not the only solution, they are among the solutions that people have found, among others. Individuals are different, and one or more different solutions can work for a given person and situation.

  18. #18
    eternalvoyage
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,399
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post

    Points of Contact

    "What works for one person may not work for another, as physiognomy and riding styles differ so widely."

    edited by John Hughes
    Last edited by Niles H.; 05-27-09 at 03:53 PM.

  19. #19
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    36,740
    Mentioned
    13 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Niles H. View Post
    Although somewhat similar, long-distance randonneurs (like you) have different ride schedules and requirements from long-distance touring cyclists, and rarely ride every day for weeks or months or in some cases years on end. The situations are different. Although there is some overlap, it is a different sport, as is road cycling. I see no reason whatsoever to listen to roadies over longterm touring cyclists.
    Well, as a matter of fact, most randonneurs do ride every day for weeks or months or years on end. That's how we train for our events.


    I agree that everyone is different, and that different solutions work for different people, and if gel works for you that's great ... it seemed to work for me for a little while too, but now I wouldn't recommend it, and I know a lot of randonneurs (who cycle every day, etc.) who would also not recommend it. Go ahead and ask in the Long Distance forum.

  20. #20
    eternalvoyage
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,399
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Well, as a matter of fact, most randonneurs do ride every day for weeks or months or years on end. That's how we train for our events.


    I agree that everyone is different, and that different solutions work for different people, and if gel works for you that's great ... it seemed to work for me for a little while too, but now I wouldn't recommend it, and I know a lot of randonneurs (who cycle every day, etc.) who would also not recommend it. Go ahead and ask in the Long Distance forum.
    A lot of roadies cycle every day, but for a relatively short time -- not the same as touring cyclists who spend many more hours in the saddle.

    They often ride before or after work or school (like you), or on weekends. Not the same as extended touring.

    Touring interests me much more than randonneuring or its forums.

  21. #21
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    36,740
    Mentioned
    13 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Niles H. View Post
    A lot of roadies cycle every day, but for a relatively short time -- not the same as touring cyclists who spend many more hours in the saddle.

    They often ride before or after work or school (like you), or on weekends. Not the same as extended touring.

    Touring interests me much more than randonneuring or its forums.
    You're mixing up the "roadies" and the "long distance" crowd in your information there. You don't log 10,000 km a year, or 16,000 km a year, or 20,000 km a year, or more, like long distance cyclists do, doing little after work/school rides and a bit of a ride on the weekends.

  22. #22
    eternalvoyage
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,399
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    You're mixing up the "roadies" and the "long distance" crowd in your information there. You don't log 10,000 km a year, or 16,000 km a year, or 20,000 km a year, or more, like long distance cyclists do, doing little after work/school rides and a bit of a ride on the weekends.
    Not mixing them up at all. And most of the randonneurs are not in the saddle for nearly as many hours each day as those who are on extended tours. They are safe and comfy at home, with all the amenities, between work or school, and between their local rides and their occasional events.

  23. #23
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    36,740
    Mentioned
    13 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Niles H. View Post
    Not mixing them up at all. And most of the randonneurs are not in the saddle for nearly as many hours each day as those who are on extended tours. They are safe and comfy at home, with all the amenities, between work or school, and between their local rides and their occasional events.
    OK, you can believe what you want to believe.

  24. #24
    Bicycle Student bokerfest's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Compton, CA
    My Bikes
    2008 Surly Long Haul Trucker, 1980's Nishiki Rally, 2000 Trek 820
    Posts
    159
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    My number one thing I always do is sleep in the buff. More air flow during the night refreshes everything for the next day.

  25. #25
    eternalvoyage
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,399
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    OK....
    Would rather look at the facts, like the fact that fulltime, all-day, extended touring involves many more hours in the saddle. Most randonneuring is not the same at all, and most randonneurs are working or going to school and doing their local rides from home, with occasional events (like you) -- and breaks between events (often long breaks) -- and the experiences and conditions are not the same.

    Most of them are simply not on the road fulltime for extended periods -- weeks and months, day after day.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •