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How to make cycling more comfortable?

Old 07-29-20, 02:03 AM
  #1  
Ryan_M
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How to make cycling more comfortable?

My GF has recently gotten into cycling which renewed my love for it... I've riden a lot in my days. We're edging closer to doing our first 100km, 84km being our longest so far. I know our legs are good for it but comfort is becoming a bigger issue as we go farther. Ok sure it sounds romantic applying cream after a ride to places that are missing a layer or two of skin but it's kinda stingy. I'm sure theres a component of we just need to toughen up but there must be some gear that makes it better as well. We've gotten a few pairs of cycling shorts off Amazon which havent worked out well. Apparently a lot of designers think you need the most padding in between your cheeks up close to your tail bone and zero around your sit bones but I'd disagree. We need to get good stuff but not being able to try anything before we order how do we do this? Is there some shorts that are pretty much guaranteed to work well? something else we should be looking at? I hear bag balm might be a necessity.
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Old 07-29-20, 04:00 AM
  #2  
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Originally Posted by Ryan_M View Post
Apparently a lot of designers think you need the most padding in between your cheeks up close to your tail bone and zero around your sit bones but I'd disagree. .
I agree with you but perhaps they do it so the padding doesn't move around, using the "between cheeks" as anchor.

They're probably meant to go with saddles with center cutout or relief channel.

AND you may need to find a new saddle that puts less pressure on places missing a layer or two of skin. LBS and trying out different saddles before deciding on one.
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Old 07-29-20, 05:31 AM
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Pop N Wood
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Not a popular choice on this site but you shouldn't need padded shorts at all. Never worn them, never will, never lubed my arse for any reason.

If you are missing a layer of skin than that says friction to me. things like gel seat covers and loose fitting padded shorts that allow movement of the skin against the shorts cause that.

You do need to be careful about getting shorts that don't have seams in the wrong places. Some tenderness is inevitable, but if you ride enough it gets less noticeable.



The wrong saddle can make life miserable, but
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Old 07-29-20, 05:50 AM
  #4  
John Foster
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One Word Answer

Brooks
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Old 07-29-20, 05:56 AM
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I think that comfort is a combination of the correct tackle and physical conditioning. To achieve the balance requires trial/error/effort.
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Old 07-29-20, 06:01 AM
  #6  
cubewheels
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Originally Posted by Pop N Wood View Post
The wrong saddle can make life miserable, but
That and the wrong saddle adjustment. If no adjustment works then it's probably time to look for a different saddle.
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Old 07-29-20, 06:13 AM
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I have a couple of pairs of Baleaf I bought off Amazon. Have seen them mentioned here before by others as well, so my 'cheapness' isn't too bad this time. Regardless, about the point I can wring out a quart of water (literally) from my kit nothing is going to stop chafing, which for me is summer (April-October here). I don't know how people afford to spend hundreds, if not thousands, on multiple saddles and shorts at $150 a pop each, so playing around has been limited. That said, I have tried a couple of saddles, and have found a tolerable amount of suffering in the saddle. Best of luck!
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Old 07-29-20, 06:41 AM
  #8  
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Saddle adjustment and saddle type is probably the most important thing...Padded shorts can be helpful on long rides but too much padding is not good...Padded shorts are meant to be used on firmer harder saddles. If your saddle is soft and has a lot of padding, then wearing padded shorts will make your ride less comfortable.
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Old 07-29-20, 06:59 AM
  #9  
pdlamb
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There are some awful pads in bike shorts nowadays.

Prepare to spend money (it'll be worth it). Go to your local bike shop, look at the shorts (or bibs), see how thick the pads are, make sure they're thin at the edges. Try them on (over clean underwear, please!) to make sure they fit. Buy them, ride them, make sure they're working out. If you like them, you can either go back and buy more, or look for the exact same model online. (Buy the extra pair(s) now, they won't be the same next year!)

While you're in the bike shop, pick up some chamois cream. Put a thin layer on the spots you've been having trouble with before your next ride.
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Old 07-29-20, 07:03 AM
  #10  
Mulberry20
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Sweat control is the most important. Friction, irritation. I never wear padded shorts or even shorts with a chamois. I wear a compression liner like UA Heat Gear or Nike Pro Combat and compression shorts like WOLACO, 2XU or NoBull.

Bike specific shorts or shirts are not needed. I have a Fabric Scoop and never have any problems with comfort.
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Old 07-29-20, 07:11 AM
  #11  
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"Padding" isn't really intended to pad as much as to absorb moisture. I've found that more padding is less comfortable for me. AeroTech shorts are my preferred brand. Good comfort at a reasonable price point, especially on sale.

Saddle selection can make a lot of difference, but there is sometimes a lot of trial and error to find the proper saddle for you.

I was reluctant to go the bag balm route, but I found that Body Glide/Bike Glide works very well for me. It comes in a stick like deodorant, and isn't as messy to apply as the creams. That and a good saddle solved my problems.
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Old 07-29-20, 07:22 AM
  #12  
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A fairly firm saddle with a cutout and lightly padded Andiamo underwear has worked for me. That, and saddle adjustment. Work with it until you get it where you need it. I recently just changed my saddle adjustment, after riding it where it was for over a year, should have done it sooner! Was about to change saddles, when all that was needed was an adjustment.
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Old 07-29-20, 07:23 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by John Foster View Post
Brooks Recumbent
Fixt.
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Old 07-29-20, 07:39 AM
  #14  
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I used to get saddle sores from long rides, so started using Chamois Butt'r (https://smile.amazon.com/Chamois-But...8-3&th=1&psc=1) before the ride in the couple spots that were prone to chafing. It's been great, haven't had a problem in ages.
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Old 07-29-20, 08:21 AM
  #15  
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My wife recently started biking as well. She just got a gel saddle and so far it is way more comfortable than a leather saddle she used to have.
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Old 07-29-20, 10:05 AM
  #16  
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The more you ride the less it will hurt your ass.

Also, try various saddles, go to a local shop and get their help and try out some.
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Old 07-29-20, 03:09 PM
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Biketiger
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
There are some awful pads in bike shorts nowadays.

Prepare to spend money (it'll be worth it). Go to your local bike shop, look at the shorts (or bibs), see how thick the pads are, make sure they're thin at the edges. Try them on (over clean underwear, please!) to make sure they fit. Buy them, ride them, make sure they're working out. If you like them, you can either go back and buy more, or look for the exact same model online. (Buy the extra pair(s) now, they won't be the same next year!)

While you're in the bike shop, pick up some chamois cream. Put a thin layer on the spots you've been having trouble with before your next ride.
+ 1 on the chamois cream. I used to get some occasional redness and bumps from riding many hours each week.
I started using Chamois Butt'r about four months ago and I haven't had any soreness or suffered any skin abrasions since. Now I always lube up before a ride - a small amount is all that's needed.
+ 1 on a Brooks saddle too!
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Old 07-30-20, 09:11 AM
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The plain fact is, if you set your butt on the tiny little saddles OF ANY SORT your weight causes a very high weight per square inch. Now I know DF types that dont like or even hate recumbent bikes and trikes dont like to hear this but, I just measure the area that my weigh is spread over on my trike. It comes to 260 square inches. Measure any of your saddles and compare your measurement to that 260 square inches. There is the reason number one why many of us love recumbents. I can ride both my bent bike and trike all day long with no pain at all. BTW that is why may cross country cyclist are going to bent bikes and trikes.

And yes I know that bents are no good at all on single track biking and mountain biking. In that case find what saddle is best for you.
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Old 07-30-20, 09:38 AM
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A recumbent, with suspension.





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Old 07-30-20, 10:26 AM
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https://www.amazon.com/Original-Anti...kle_mcd_asin_0
I got this from my motorcycling days.
Works pretty well for me
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Old 07-30-20, 10:29 AM
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Or a recumbent trike.
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Old 07-30-20, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Ryan_M View Post
My GF has recently gotten into cycling which renewed my love for it... I've riden a lot in my days. We're edging closer to doing our first 100km, 84km being our longest so far. I know our legs are good for it but comfort is becoming a bigger issue as we go farther. Ok sure it sounds romantic applying cream after a ride to places that are missing a layer or two of skin but it's kinda stingy. I'm sure theres a component of we just need to toughen up but there must be some gear that makes it better as well. We've gotten a few pairs of cycling shorts off Amazon which havent worked out well. Apparently a lot of designers think you need the most padding in between your cheeks up close to your tail bone and zero around your sit bones but I'd disagree. We need to get good stuff but not being able to try anything before we order how do we do this? Is there some shorts that are pretty much guaranteed to work well? something else we should be looking at? I hear bag balm might be a necessity.
Missing skin = friction. Friction = movement. You shorts should fit like skin, and should not move relative to your skin. A LIGHT pad works well together with a properly shaped and adjusted saddle. Absolutely no 'gel' anything! It gives the illusion of comfort for 10 mile rides, then you find yourself chafing and you equipment has gone numb.

Chamois cream - at least for me - seems to help the shorts and pad fit better and not move around, so after years of only using it on longer rides I now use it on EVERY ride, and I feel stupid for not having done so earlier.
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Old 07-30-20, 02:14 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Trocadile View Post
I used to get saddle sores from long rides, so started using Chamois Butt'r (https://smile.amazon.com/Chamois-But...8-3&th=1&psc=1) before the ride in the couple spots that were prone to chafing. It's been great, haven't had a problem in ages.
+1 on this.

But at the same time, do check that your saddle fits correctly, and that your bike is set up correctly. Both of these can lead to discomfort. I've sat on multiple saddles that were just the wrong shape for my sit-bones; it has a significant effect on your enjoyment of a ride.
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Old 07-30-20, 02:33 PM
  #24  
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In my opinion, how to make cycling more comfortable (in rough order of importance):

1) Optimize bike fit - (saddle height, fore/aft, tilt; reach to bars; bar height or saddle to bar drop; width of bars; positioning of brake hoods). I've done this over the years, never had a fitting, some (many?) people have had fittings and have had good experiences. If you want to go it alone (if you're a cheap son of a gun like me), you can use some on-line fitting guides to use as a starting point (pick ONE, and STICK WITH IT, don't go back and forth with various fit schemes), and make small changes over time. Keep track of the changes you make so that if a change ends up making things worse you can go back.

2) Improve conditioning - e.g. more time in saddle; core work.

3) Lose weight - for me, a lower body weight/body fat composition translates to more comfort on the bike, in many ways (helps with overall comfort, not just the butt).

4) Improve form - loosen grip on bar; pedal with "suplesse" (suppleness, round pedal stroke), back fairly straight or slightly bowed (back up, not stomach down), relaxed hands, arms, shoulders, neck, jaw, face

5) Get bibs (or shorts) that fit - most work OK for me, only had 2 fail (gel chamois - felt like wearing a full diaper, got saddle sores; certain brand: reputable brand that many like, just didn't fit with my anatomy)

6) Perform some sort of post-ride self-care - self massage and stretching, maybe embrocation

7) Apply lube - chamois cream, I now only need it on long rides (4+ hours) or when it it very hot and my "naughty bits" will be soaked in sweat during the ride

8) Select a saddle that fits - I've never had excessive pain caused by a saddle, some are better than others but all have worked fine. This may not be true for all, saddle choice may be more important for some.

There are other factors (tire choice; frame/fork construction; frame/fork material; etc.) that are not as important for me but which may be more important to you for your comfort.

(Disclaimer: this list is based strictly on my experience, no professional training, coaching or fitting involved, so take this list with a grain of salt/YMMV/etc.)
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Old 07-30-20, 02:34 PM
  #25  
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Even a recumbent won't fix a chafing issue. Proper clothing becomes a 'must' as distances grow.
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