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Best plan to prevent saddle sores on a tour

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Best plan to prevent saddle sores on a tour

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Old 12-08-12, 10:18 AM
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gif4445
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Best plan to prevent saddle sores on a tour

Cold outside, so thinking of summer and my next tour. I'm in my 3rd year of semi-serious riding. Have done some one week state rides and two shorter tours. On the tail end of my last tour ( https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/..._id=11208&v=Fw ), I developed some sores. This was after a couple days of 110+ stretches. Background info. 55 year old male. Ride a Surly LHT. About 4000 miles in this year, so butt is fairly conditioned. Wear padded shorts, use the butt butter and have a Brooks B-17 saddle. I credit card tour, so laundry and showers are daily. The Black Hills tour was 2 weeks and the sores were like follicular in nature. I'm wondering if a preventative treatment of neosporin or triple antibiotic every couple days would be prudent? Or are we dealing with some infectious organisms other than bacteria? I have my eye on a coast to coast at some point in time. Next year will be further and longer, so I want to deal with this proactively. What has worked for you guys?
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Old 12-08-12, 11:00 AM
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Since you have the experience and mileage for conditioning, that probably isn't the problem. I wonder if tight fitting bicycle shorts could be an issue for you? Some folks tour with loose fitting underwear (made from synthetics and with no padding) and wear loose fitting shorts. I, for example, use Ex-officio boxer briefs and inexpensive gym shorts. I wonder if this would help you. Here's some other ideas about clothing:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ti-day-touring
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Old 12-08-12, 11:37 AM
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my experience.. its the Bacteria ! clean bike shorts daily [3 pr]
wash that skin in the sitsplatz ,if no other.
my favorite soap: liquid Surgeon's scrub.. betadyne.. in a small squirt nalgene bottle [rei]

and have a topical antibiotic ointment on hand for spot flareups.

Above ... Worked OK on 3 month tours, slow but steady travel.
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Old 12-08-12, 11:01 PM
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bwgride, are you thinking the regular bike shorts are creating an environment that is more warm and moist than loose fitting shorts? I would think if that was a concern, it would show up earlier. I have tried some looser fitting items, but prefer the spandex as it doesn't ride up and down. But, maybe you have something there and I should put some additional short options in the mix. fietsbob, I think I will go with your recommendations and try the surgeons soap, along with occasional triple antibiotic. Seems like if I wait for it to flare up, it's almost too late.
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Old 12-09-12, 01:19 AM
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Originally Posted by gif4445 View Post
Cold outside, so thinking of summer and my next tour. I'm in my 3rd year of semi-serious riding. Have done some one week state rides and two shorter tours. On the tail end of my last tour ( https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/..._id=11208&v=Fw ), I developed some sores. This was after a couple days of 110+ stretches. Background info. 55 year old male. Ride a Surly LHT. About 4000 miles in this year, so butt is fairly conditioned. Wear padded shorts, use the butt butter and have a Brooks B-17 saddle. I credit card tour, so laundry and showers are daily. The Black Hills tour was 2 weeks and the sores were like follicular in nature. I'm wondering if a preventative treatment of neosporin or triple antibiotic every couple days would be prudent? Or are we dealing with some infectious organisms other than bacteria? I have my eye on a coast to coast at some point in time. Next year will be further and longer, so I want to deal with this proactively. What has worked for you guys?
Saddle sores can hit the best, Eddy Merckx was known to have problems with them. Read a Bicycling mag article long ago (by Fred DeLong IIRC) where he suggested that leather saddles and/or chamois-liner could contribute to bacterial growth. Haven't gotten saddle sores but once got an infected abrasion on outside of hip area: got a minor scrape from a little spill that didn't heal right because I didn't bandage it properly & continued to ride with tight cycling shorts. The abrasion produced pus (at the time I was eating too much protein which contributes to that) which got infected but after the doctor prescribed some antibiotics it went away.
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Old 12-09-12, 02:49 AM
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the title of this thread is the first time I ever heard of saddle sores.. sounds terrible!
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Old 12-09-12, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by robble View Post
the title of this thread is the first time I ever heard of saddle sores.. sounds terrible!
um, gosh, well, gee......

ok. first off, as stated previously, keep it clean. scrub it daily. let it dry completely
before you get dressed. that may involve wandering around nekkid for awhile, but...

now that your butt's clean, clean yer shorts. every day. take two pairs and alternate.
sun-dry if you can to kill the bacteria.

don't wear underpants. that just causes more rubbing and irritation. when off your bike,
wear boxers to let your, uh butt, breathe.

make sure your saddle fits and is comfy. i'm okay for 40km, thereafter i absolutely
need a gel saddle cover. then i'm good for 120 or so.

carry a tube of triple-acting antibiotic for the sores.

take breaks during the ride, and take a day off to rest every now and then.
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Old 12-09-12, 07:24 AM
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Maybe a daily alcohol swab?

It almost sounds like heat rash.

By the way, thank you for not posting a photo.
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Old 12-09-12, 10:43 AM
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saddle sores

Had the same problems when I first started touring. Was advised not to wear any underwear and use quality padded shorts, changing them for a clean pair every day, washing the area with a disinfectant soap, and using a bit of corn starch or lanolin cream. After following this advise, and riding many thousands of miles, I've never been bothered with saddle sores or serious chaffing again. (sore butt is another matter)
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Old 12-09-12, 11:00 AM
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Take a little squeeze bottle of Tegrin, green cap. Wash at least your crotch and butt with it. Put it on first and rinse it off last. I've taken to using it for the whole shower. That'll fix you right up. Very simple.
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Old 12-10-12, 01:23 PM
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Much the same as above:

-Good fitting saddle.
-Well fitting riding shorts.
-Clean riding shorts, but not always possible. Air and dry out if washing them is not practical. Usually get by with 2 pair, even on long trips.
-Definitely no underwear under shorts.
-Get out of your riding shorts as soon as possible when finished riding for the day.
-Wash everyday.
-A and D ointment. If it works for babies bottoms, I figured it is good enough for mine. I use it like chamois butter.
-Apply triple antibiotic ointment at first indication of a problem.
-Sometimes an ingrown hair will cause some discomfort.

Last edited by Doug64; 12-10-12 at 10:11 PM.
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Old 12-10-12, 03:08 PM
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Probably best not to use antibiotic cream unless you have to. i use first aid cream at night after thorough cleaning. Lantiseptic works well, but anything that deadens the pain might not be a good idea
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Old 12-10-12, 03:15 PM
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ditto on the "get out of riding shorts ASAP" get into something loose or nothing at all
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Old 12-10-12, 04:47 PM
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Lots of good advise, only thing I can add is in regard to good blood flow to that area. Take your weight off the saddle everytime you're coasting. Just drop your weight to one leg, switch back and forth. Poor circulation can be a big contributor to saddle sores.
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Old 12-10-12, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
Maybe a daily alcohol swab?
I don't think so. One night stealth camping in Southern Utah, low on water, I thought a little alcohol based hand sanitizer would be good for my nether regions and some prickly heat rash. I about went though the roof of my tent.
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Old 12-10-12, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Western Flyer View Post
I don't think so. I about went though the roof of my tent.
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Old 12-10-12, 08:26 PM
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If you can't shower, baby wipes do wonders. Use them for your armpits, private areas and feet. For best results, they should be used in the morning (before you ride) and at the end of the day. I believe they're available pretty much everywhere in the world.
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Old 12-11-12, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris Pringle View Post
If you can't shower, baby wipes do wonders. Use them for your armpits, private areas and feet. For best results, they should be used in the morning (before you ride) and at the end of the day. I believe they're available pretty much everywhere in the world.
Ditto on the washing everyday. Also, sweat and heat can lead to jock itch which is a fungal infection rather than bacterial. If that is the case, triple antibiotic cream won't work. Miconazole cream would be in order. Often found in the athlete's foot section (another fungal infection).
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Old 12-11-12, 05:31 AM
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Thanks for all of the suggestions. It really got me to look closely at the hygiene area. Guess I assumed that moteling it every night, with laundry and shower facilities right there, would eliminate this kind of thing. But I think I need to use more than the Old-Spice body wash. The Tegrin or the liquid Surgeon's scrub.. betadyne, seem like a step in the right direction. Maybe occasional or nightly triple antibiotic applications would be smart. As far as the bike shorts, I have always wore them commando and don't feel like that is a problem. I am questioning their cleanliness however. Most times I would do a small load of laundry and toss them in, but at times I would wash them in the bathroom sink. Thinking that I need some very good anti-microbial soap to do this. That and hot hot water. I am probably coming up short in this area. I am also questioning the Chamois Butter that I use. Is it possible that it could be creating an improved environment for bacteria? I need to research that. The sores I get look like something between a boil, a pimple and an infected hair follicle. Just wondering out loud if it is a physical or microbial problem? Or (probably) a little of both.
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Old 12-11-12, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Clarabelle View Post
Ditto on the washing everyday. Also, sweat and heat can lead to jock itch which is a fungal infection rather than bacterial. If that is the case, triple antibiotic cream won't work. Miconazole cream would be in order. Often found in the athlete's foot section (another fungal infection).
For jock itch issues (fungal) look at a walgreens for Spray foot powder with 2%Miconazole which is far better than the 1% version of old. Also not messy like the creams. For athletes feet (fungal) look right beside the above for a 2% liquid spray in a new format called "continuous spray". For both items the Walgreen branded generic is a good bit cheaper than the name brand and just as affective. Keep reciepts if you have a Flexible Spending plan at work as you can generally get away with filing these as preventitive OTC's.
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Old 12-11-12, 10:23 AM
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doug64 summed up most of my guidelines, but left out Bag Balm. Apply to affected area right after a shower, and it'll usually clear up overnight.

Sometimes I think the key part of tour training is to get all the hair that could get infected near the saddle to get infected early, and pull it out. Then there's no hair left there to cause problems!
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Old 12-11-12, 01:37 PM
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I used to use bag balm. In fact I used it on cow's udders back in the day when I was milking the family Holstein. I stopped using it for cycling purposes b/c I could only find it in a large green tin container. Squeeze bottle products were more convenient. Maybe I should reconsider and attempt to re-package it. It's a good product. In reference to the jock itch, I'm pretty sure it isn't the culprit. Symptoms are not consistent. The hair follicle theory, along with some bacterial infection would be my best guess.
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Old 12-11-12, 01:49 PM
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I tend to think that the emphasis on hygiene and butt cream usage is over rated. The answer for me is:
  1. Having some saddle time in before the tour
  2. Standing for short distance regularly
  3. Getting out of my bike shorts and into running shorts to air out once off the bike for the day
  4. Applying zinc oxide based diaper cream, usually at night rather than while riding, if there are any irritations or abrasions. This stuff is like magic!
  5. Washing up when convenient. This one does not seem to be a big deal if not done for a while.
  6. Airing out or getting some sun on my inside out shorts when not in use. Washing them when convenient. Again not a big deal for me if they are not washed all that frequently.
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Old 12-11-12, 03:36 PM
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I never suffered from saddle sores until I got a Brooks B-17. After trying everything else, I finally replaced the saddle, and the sores disappeared.
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Old 12-11-12, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Hangtownmatt View Post
I never suffered from saddle sores until I got a Brooks B-17. After trying everything else, I finally replaced the saddle, and the sores disappeared.
Did the sores appear almost immediately or after a few thousand miles on the B-17? BTW, what saddle do you use now?
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