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  1. #1
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    saddle sores and touring

    We had an end of term weekend at the high school I teach at... several off us cycled there. It was only 80 km down and 90 on different route back.

    The ride home was brutal. Halfway in I was hurting to the extent that i was thinking of leaving my bike there and taking a bus home.

    I used the same set up, saddle, shorts, bike etc on recent tours; longer, hotter days, no showers at teh end. and had no problems.

    the only difference between this tour and recent ones was I was tired from not sleeping enough before hand and it rained on - my shirt got soaked but the shorts did not...

    so, what do you all do about sores?

    How do you avoid them?

    Why did I get them this time but never before?

    I could not cycle into tow today because it till hurt so much.... I have tour coming up soon that will be longer, much longer and really do not want to deal with sores as I will be leading a group of kids and that is enough work on its own... being grumping from sores will just make it much harder....

    Robi

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Various products can halp. Belgium Budder is one I am using these days.

    Have you adjusted the fore/after position of your saddle lately? That can contribute to sores by creating rubbing. Even your shorts being out of position can cause soreness.
    "I've wanted you to succeed, but watching you find excuse after excuse after excuse and then laugh it off as the loveable, quirky, chubby guy is getting old."--Ill.Clyde

  3. #3
    It's true, man.
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    If your chamois becomes saturated - and it doesn't have to be rain, high humidity will keep the sweat in the pad from drying too - there's nothing to pull salty sweat away from the friction areas, plus the moist skin becomes more prone to abrasion. On my recent tour, I had to cross a stream over my hips (brr) and didn't take the time to change shorts afterward. By the end of the day, I had the only saddle sore of the trip. A little Aquaphor helped keep me moving.
    Last edited by truman; 06-28-10 at 02:55 PM.

  4. #4
    Training Wheel Graduate twodeadpoets's Avatar
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    First; padding in shorts can break down over time and aren't as effective so that could be the culprit. Meanwhile too much padding can also cause problems as well. This can also be the case in saddles. The misconception is that the more padding on your saddle the more comfortable and the less likely to get sores.... WRONG! The more padding in the saddle the less likely one is sitting correctly on their sitbones (ischial tuberosities) which act as a bridge protecting soft tissue.

    Some people have tough leather calloused crotches but most mortals will get sore, IMHO it's a fact of life. You just have to try and minimize it as much as possible. Doesn't matter what I use or what type of padding or short I use, I get them by the third day of riding. First I feel the pressure by the second day and by the third things start to get messy. There are things you can do while in the saddle such as shifting your weight to one sitbone or the other, standing briefly to let your bum get some O2, my wife sometimes turns her shorts inside to avoid the seams from the shorts. As mentioned there are tonnes of creams out there. Everyone's skin is different so there's no magic bullet you just have to start trying them out.

    So in short (pun intended):
    • Check your shorts and padding to see if they're still doing their job
    • Make sure your saddle is adjusted properly. Saddles typically should be level horizontally, and spaced to allow for proper posture over the saddle and handlebars. You can check this by placing your elbow at the nose of your saddle and if your knuckles just come into contact with your bars without jamming them into the bars that is usually the right saddle to stem spacing. Also make sure your properly over the seattube; with your feet on the pedals and the pedals horizontally level the ball of your most forward foot should be plum with the end of your knee cap (should be able to drop a plum line from the end of your knee down the centre of the pedal)
    • Stretch and adjust before, during, and after being in the saddle
    • Try different creams
    • Make sure your saddle is still doing it's job (many saddles also break down over time)
    • Let your bum breath


    Also remember that getting sore is more common early in the biking season but gets better over time (usually) as your body adjusts and toughens up.

    Lastly you're going to get a lot of advice from others, my advise is don't try one... try them all!

    Cheers and good luck!
    Last edited by twodeadpoets; 06-28-10 at 03:27 PM.
    "Ride Like an Orca!" ~tdp
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  5. #5
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by truman View Post
    If your chamois becomes saturated - and it doesn't have to be rain, high humidity will keep the sweat in the pad from drying too - there's nothing to pull salty sweat away from the friction areas, plus the moist skin becomes more prone to abrasion.
    +1 on this. The only saddle sores I've ever had were contacted on a very long day in the wet. it isn't just the wet chamois, it's that the water that is thrown up from the road contains little bits of grit and debris...
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  6. #6
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    I am sure there was tons of water thrown up from the road. I was definitely sweating like a pig until the rain came. We had a very long lunch break so I was in the shorts for a long time, sg like 8 hours and we went to a thermal spa at our destination.... then to party/dance all night... I only had my cycling shorts with me and swim suite, so after the spa i was ack in the shorts until the wee hours... guess the shrots could have been damp and all those hours could have added up and rubbed me wrong while dancing, dining, partying, etc.

    I will see what creams are available here in Hungary, I will check my shorts and I will recheck the alignment of the saddle. peddle, etc.

    I am still hurting a bit but i will suck it up and cycle to the office today...

    Thanks for the info

    Robi

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    1. Make sure your bicycle fits properly.

    2. Make sure you've got a good saddle.

    3. Wash yourself a time or two during the ride.

  8. #8
    Senior Member JeanM's Avatar
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    I run brevets that can last a long time. Butt, feet and hands pains are the enemy, more so than tiredness even. After paying the high price in suffering, I have adopted this discipline, me, the most casual man ever to pedal.

    ************************************

    At all moments, aim at comfort. Don't be content with anything less or you'll pay with the skin of your rear end in the long run, you already know that.

    Start with the best cycling shorts that you can afford

    Protect your skin with a generous coat of zinc paste, the same as for babies butts.

    Use fabric softeners, if you are not allergic to them, when washing your shorts.

    Grease your chamois: I use "Chamois Butt'r" myself. Notice that it is water based and may need re-applying.

    Wash your butt with mild soap. Yes, I use baby soap, twice a day when I can. Baby wipes are a bit harsh, like they hold alcohol or something so I'm not a fan of them. They'll do in a pinch. Re-coat with zinc paste: it really protects. Some people prefer petroleum jelly (like Vaseline). I've stopped using it from my jogging days as it hardens the skin in the long run in a bad way.

    Do not wait to... err... "position" your shorts the second you feel it rubbing, pulling, wedging well, you know.

    Get up on your pedals for a minute on a regular basis, as often as once every 10 minutes. Don't wait until the pain sets in, do it from start to finish.

    Take short breaks now and then.

    Make sure that your fit on the bike is the best.

    Do not hesitate to change shorts, lubricate some more whatever you feel will help you feeling comfortable all along.
    Make sure that your saddle is the best for you.

    Remember to have fun. There's enough going through hell like that already.

  9. #9
    Senior Member RepWI's Avatar
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    At night, after I wash and am getting ready to bed down I apply Desitin to various areas that may be in need. In the morning I am fine. BTW - Desitin can be found at any pharmacy or grocery store for that matter. It is used to prevent diaper rash in babies.
    1974 Mizutani Super Seraph Road Bike
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  10. #10
    Velocipedic Practitioner
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    After years of never having a problem, I started getting saddle sores regularly while on tours. I made three changes. I can't say with certainty if these changes are responsible individually or collectively, but I haven't had a sore since.

    1) Converted to a Brooks leather saddle with springs. Molds to the shape of my bottom and doesn't have all the padding to get in the way, and
    2) Apply zinc oxide on the spots susceptible to sores, and
    3) generously sprinkle baby powder in my crotch before starting the days ride. Not only does it help control moisture, but it smells really good.
    Other forms of transportation grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart. - Iris Murdoch

  11. #11
    Long Live Long Rides
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    Quote Originally Posted by PurpleK View Post
    After years of never having a problem, I started getting saddle sores regularly while on tours. I made three changes. I can't say with certainty if these changes are responsible individually or collectively, but I haven't had a sore since.

    1) Converted to a Brooks leather saddle with springs. Molds to the shape of my bottom and doesn't have all the padding to get in the way, and
    2) Apply zinc oxide on the spots susceptible to sores, and
    3) generously sprinkle baby powder in my crotch before starting the days ride. Not only does it help control moisture, but it smells really good.
    You NAILED it!! Hahahahaha.
    I did the exact same thing last week. Rode a B72, brought Desitine (zinc oxide). As Machka stated above, clean your shorts and yourself often. It makes a huge difference.

    Jerry H
    Jharte
    Touring...therapy for the soul.

  12. #12
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    I dislike thick padding for reasons mentioned above. It usually gives me rash and sores. Someone recommended cyclocross shorts before I went on my first tour and they worked out well. They have much thinner, quick drying padding and I had no problems during the ride. I also use Butt'r cream.

  13. #13
    Eater of Food WillJL's Avatar
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    Thick padding, sweat, and friction are causes of these sores. Even soft chamois can $#%# up your skin when its wet. This padding issue goes for saddles too. It may be counter intuitive, but a stiffer saddle is usually the answer.

    I've always used a Brooks B-17 leather saddle and I've never (ever) had any saddle sore issues over tens of thousands of miles on long rides in all weather, including summer tours in Japan where the heat and humidity is just ridiculous. The Brooks' leather saddle form-fits to your bum as it breaks in, and it keeps your nether-region much cooler and less sweaty. Also, the surface of the leather is quite slick, so it creates less heat from friction as your thighs move.

    I do use J & G lycra cycling shorts, but I've never bothered with any creams, powders, or liquid concoctions.
    Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia. ~ H.G. Wells

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  14. #14
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    Try a little A&D Salve applied prior to the ride. It is also used for babies' bottoms, but also works well for older ones.

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