UTI and Thrush – Does cycling cause these infections?

UTI and Thrush – Does cycling cause these infections?

To ride a bike you must make contact with a saddle.  The interaction of your body and this part of the bike is a very important part of enjoying your riding.  Common female complaints like UTI or Thrush can be made worse by cycling.  Let’s learn how to deal with that.

Supporting you and your family to SMILE when you ride.
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Infections & Cycling – Will riding my bike cause problems?

Unfortunately female cyclists are more prone to a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) than the average population.  This makes sense when you understand that a UTI is caused by bacteria entering your urethra.  When we ride a bike there can be a build up of heat, sweat, friction and pressure where we sit on the saddle.  Which is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.  Signs that you have a UTI vary but a burning sensation or pain with urination is common, along with an increased need to go to the toilet only to find a few drops is all that will painfully come out.

Thrush is another infection that is caused by the build up of bacteria & yeast in the vagina.  Again bacteria flourishes in warm, wet environments so anyone prone to Thrush should be aware that cycling creates this situation.  Symptoms of a Thrush infection include burning or itching, redness, a white discharge.

So we have established that when we ride for prolonged periods of time there is a likelihood that we will be producing more bacteria.  This does not have to led to issues, it will not necessarily cause problems.  If we are aware and have some knowledge we can manage the situation and minimise the risk that comes with bacteria building up.

UTI and Thrush - cycling

Time on the bike can increase bacteria growth

How to Reduce the Likelihood of an Infection

No knickers when riding – cotton absorbs sweat so when worn against your body when you are sweating it will get wet.  Another layer of fabric in this area promotes heat and can cause friction, all things you don’t want.  We recommend using a chamois against your skin.  They have been designed to pull moisture away from your body, encourage air flow and many have anti-microbial properties.

Clean chamois – when you wear a padded pair of shorts, pants or underwear against your skin it should be clean.  So wash your padded pants/underwear after every ride.

Get out of your sweaty gear – as soon as possible after you have finished your ride get out of your riding clothing and shower.

Change your undies regularly – when off the bike, choose breathable cotton underwear and change them regularly.  After showers, when you get up in the morning, after any exercise.  Fresh & clean.

Natural products – fragrance free around this area is best. Shower gels, soaps and lotions. Fragrances can cause dryness and irritation around the urethra or vagina opening which can lead to the attraction of dirt and bacteria.

What to do if you get an infection

Do all of the things in the list above but also seek medical advice from your GP or at a pharmacy.  The usual treatment will be a few days of antibiotics, lots of fluids and rest.

Water – drink plenty of water so you are flushing out your urinary tract on a regular basis

UTI & Cranberry Juice – lines the bladder with a film making it difficult for bacteria to stick.  Is full of vitamin C and anti-oxidants that will help with inflammation.  Make sure you choose a natural, low sugar version.

 

Good hygiene habits will help prevent infections

Your bike riding success is different to others… use our stories and support, get the right solutions.

Support and inspire other riders and families to ride

Share your riding outings, adventures and experiences on our quick and easy question and answer forms. Join us in helping others ride bikes. All entries receive a free shipping coupon and go into our seasonal prize draw.

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Chaffing, Sores & Your Bike Saddle

Chaffing, Sores & Your Bike Saddle

To ride a bike you must make contact with a saddle.  The interaction of your body and this part of the bike is a very important part of enjoying your riding.  Chaffing and saddle sores can really effect your ability to get back on your bike. 

Supporting you and your family to SMILE when you ride.

What Causes Chaffing & Saddle Sores?

 

Chaffing is caused when 2 structures repetitively rub causing friction and heat. You may feel burning sensations, redness, infected hair follicles, raw skin, blistering or lumps. This can be common on the inner thigh, between the butt checks or on any area that contacts your bike seat especially weight bearing areas.  If left unchecked or because you are spending a lot of time/consecutive days on the bike these symptoms can turn into what are known as saddle sores.

It is important to identify chaffing early on so be aware during and after rides, check for any symptoms. If you have had any type of change; a new bike saddle, a different set up or bike, change in the frequency or time on the bike… this is the time to be vigilant and do a post ride check in with your body.

How to reduce or prevent chaffing.

Saddle Set Up – how your saddle is set up effects your ability to sit on it and what pressure points are created.  You should be taking weight through boney structures.  Make some adjustments to see if you can help resolve your issue.  Please read…  Saddle Position – Height, Tilt and Reach

Saddle Shape – if you are experiencing inner thigh chaffing you may have the wrong saddle shape for the type of riding you are doing.  As you do more repetitive pedalling your saddle shape needs to allow space for this leg movement.  If your chaffing is on or around your sit bones you need to check that the width of your saddle is correct.

Padded Pants – clothing with seams or made from cotton is not ideal if you want to ride for greater distances on your bike.  Padded bike underwear & pants where designed to prevent chaffing and help with comfort and protection at your weight bearing points.

Regular Washing – please make sure that any garments you are wearing between you and your bike seat get regularly cleaned.  Every time they are used they will need to be washed.  This reduces the build up of bacteria that can infect raw skin and lead to saddle sores that won’t heal.

Chamois Cream – using chamois cream could be the most important thing you do to prevent chaffing from happening.  Chamois cream definitely helps soothe & repair damaged skin.  Please read When Should I Use Chamois Cream?

Correct Pedalling Technique – it is important to have good alignment of your joints in your leg while you are pedalling.  Your hip, knee & ankle. Learn more at Chi Riding: Pedalling.

Other Ways to Improve Comfort

To follow is a short list of suggestions that you can choose to explore or ignore.  For chaffing issues that cause pressure, rubbing or discomfort:

  • Be very mindful of your body position and shifting it when riding
  • Improve the strength of your core muscles and legs especially if you have a known imbalance or past injury
  • Stretch areas that feel tight and restricted
  • Lose weight; get bags or packs off your back and acknowledge that if you are over weight this will be adding to your problem
  • Choose shorter rides when there has been a change in your saddle
  • Be more aware of what you are choosing to wear when riding and how this clothing could affect your comfort

Correct technique is a large part of being comfortable when you ride

Comfort & Contact Points

Your comfort while riding is a huge part of enjoying your time on the bike.  It will also keep you protected & safe.  There are three key points where you make contact with your bike.  The seat, the handlebars and the pedals.  It is important to understand how to position your body between these points

For more information see the following stories:

womens endurance goUnders

Your bike riding success is different to others… use our stories and support, get the right solutions.

Support and inspire other riders and families to ride

Share your riding outings, adventures and experiences on our quick and easy question and answer forms. Join us in helping others ride bikes. All entries receive a free shipping coupon and go into our seasonal prize draw.

goRide supporting women and families to SMILE when you ride

Tailbone Discomfort When Riding

Tailbone Discomfort When Riding

Your saddle is a very important contact point with your bike.  It should provide the support & comfort you need to ride for as long as you like. Problems with your tailbone can really restrict you from enjoying your bike.

Supporting you and your family to SMILE when you ride.
bike pants - recreation

What Causes Tailbone Discomfort?

Soft saddles are meant for short distances.  If you have a lot of cushioning or poor quality padding this may actually be causing the problem.  As you ride further and are seated for longer – it usually takes around 30 to 45mins – a soft saddle allows your body too sink too far.  This means structures like your tailbone that are not meant to make contact with the saddle will.

This sinking is more likely to lead to tailbone issues for upright riders with a straight back, weight will be transferred directly down and as the soft padding becomes compressed the tailbone comes into contact with the saddle and begins to take weight.

Another outcome of spending longer on the bike can also be a tired and collapsing body position.  If you are not maintaining a flat lower back but tucking under or rounding this changes the mechanics of where your tailbone will be situated.  Again, like the sinking into the soft padding, this collapsing of your body shape allows the tailbone to make contact with the saddle.

Finally the width and shape of your saddle has a role to play.  Your sit bones need a good flat platform for contact directly underneath them.  If your saddle is too narrow and has a rounded shape that allows your sit bones to “fall” off the edges, the structure of your seat will be much closer to your tail bone.

 

endurance padded pant & chamois cream

Your tailbone is not meant to take weight so if it is in contact with the saddle this will lead to discomfort.

How to Reduce Tailbone Problems

Saddle Set Up – how your saddle is set up effects your ability to sit on it.  Make some adjustments to see if you can help resolve your issue.  Firstly check that your saddle is level and not nose up.  Please read…  Saddle Position – Height, Tilt and Reach

Saddle Shape – what is known as a channel will definitely help alleviate tailbone issues.  This is a central depression running from the back to the front of the saddle.  The very rear shape of the saddle can also play a role.  An inverted V shape gives space to your tailbone.  Also having the correct width so that your sit bones are the bones that are taking weight.

Saddle Padding – soft, well padded saddles suit short distances.  If you have increased your riding time and started to experience tailbone problems this may be because you are sinking too far into your saddle, usually around 30-45 minutes into the ride.  A saddle with a flatter surface and less padding or gel padding is a better choice for endurance riding.

Core Strength – the stronger your core is the better your body position will be over time on the bike. it is really important to check in with your body position and make adjustments to maintain a good ‘A’ shape.

Other Ways to Improve Comfort

To follow is a short list of suggestions that you can choose to explore or ignore.  For weight transfer issues that cause pressure, bruising or discomfort:

  • Be very mindful of your body position and shifting it when riding
  • Improve the strength of your core muscles and legs
  • Lose weight; get bags or packs off your back and acknowledge that if you are over weight this will be adding to your problem
  • Let a small amount of air out of your tyres on bumpy surfaces this allows the tyre to absorb some of the impact 
  • Get up out of your saddle (stand on your pedals) when going over bumps, dips or uneven surfaces
  • Choose shorter rides
  • Choose rides with varying terrain which will change your bodies experience during the ride

Correct technique is a large part of being comfortable when you ride

Comfort & Contact Points

Your comfort while riding is a huge part of enjoying your time on the bike.  It will also keep you protected & safe.  There are three key points where you make contact with your bike.  The seat, the handlebars and the pedals.  It is important to understand how to position your body between these points

For more information see the following stories:

  • ‘A’ Body Position on the Bike
  • Correct Pedalling Technique
  • Comfort at Your Contact Points when Mountain Biking 

Your bike riding success is different to others… use our stories and support, get the right solutions.

Support and inspire other riders and families to ride

Share your riding outings, adventures and experiences on our quick and easy question and answer forms. Join us in helping others ride bikes. All entries receive a free shipping coupon and go into our seasonal prize draw.

goRide supporting women and families to SMILE when you ride

How do you know your saddle is the right width?

How do you know your saddle is the right width?

Your saddle is a very important contact point with your bike.  It should provide the support & comfort you need to ride for as long as you like. Saddles come in a lot of different shapes and width is often discussed as important.  Let’s learn why.

Supporting you and your family to SMILE when you ride.
bike pants - recreation

What Influences Width?

Saddles come in a huge variety of shapes and designs.  So the width of saddles is also hugely variable.  If they are all trying to do the same job why are they so different?  There are several things that will influence the width of a saddle.

Gender – There is a physical difference between the widths of men and womens pelvic structure.  The majority of women are normally wider (this is not true for all women). You may need a womens saddle that has a wider width than a mens saddle.

Type of Riding – The interest in doing different types of riding has lead to different types of bikes being made.  These different bikes put riders in different body positions so the points of contact under them are different.  Which has lead to different saddle shapes to get the best outcome for the body position you are in when on your bike. The more forward bent you are the narrower your saddle will be.

Time on the Bike – As you spend longer on the bike the type of saddle that you need tends to change.  So there are also differences between recreation and endurance saddle shapes.  In terms of width, saddles need to provide the right support without interfering with repetitive pedalling.

 

bike saddle buying guide

Saddles are designed in a variety of shapes and widths depending on gender, the type of riding and time on the bike.

When the Width is Not Right.

Having the correct width so that your sit bones are the bones that are taking the majority of your weight is crucial.  There are signs and clues your body will be giving you if this is not the case.

Constantly moving about on your saddle.  This is caused by a need to find support.  Your boney structures need feedback, they need an area or base directly underneath them.

Discomfort or chaffing. If these types of issues are not improving or reducing your saddle width may be to blame.  Lack of correct support may mean other areas of your body not designed to weight bear are being compressed or coming into contact with your saddle when they shouldn’t be.

We have written a series of stories to help with saddle issues.  Take a look at the list to see if you need to read one;

Sit Bone Aches & Pains.  Tail Bone DiscomfortSoft Tissue Compression.  Chaffing & Saddle Sores

 

How to Get the Correct Width

The average width between female sit bones is 130-135mm (ranging from 112mm to 148mm).  Depending on your body position on the bike, your saddle will need to be wider than this to provide a good flat contact surface under your sit bones.  So to get an idea of what kind of width to be looking for

  • upright riding/straight back should add 40mm = 170 – 175mm
  • add 25mm for slight to mid forward bend = 155 – 160mm
  • add 10mm for mid to aggressive forward bend = 140 – 145mm

Relaxed upright rider. Average width is 170-175mm

Slight to mid forward bend. Average width is 155-160mm

Mid to aggressive forward bend. Average width for a female is 140-145mm

This gives you a rough idea of what your saddle width should be.  Now take a tape measure and go and measure across the widest point at the rear of your current bike saddle.

Optimum Saddle Width for You:  Another thing to do, to give you an even better idea of what might be ideal for you… is to do a measurement of your own sit bones.  Take a piece of cardboard that has a corrugated layer in it that can be squashed when you sit on it.  Place the cardboard on a hard seat and sit down onto if with a straight back and shoulders back.  Mark the mid point of the indentation made by your bones, then measure between these two points.  As we did above add to your measurement depending on your riding position.

This gives you a guideline or place to start from.  This kind of cardboard measuring has better outcomes for people who ride in a more upright position.  How a saddle feels can not be conveyed or taken into consideration with measurements.  You also are not static on a saddle but dynamic – you move when you pedal.  And finally, every body has a history of use and injury.  This can play a big part in how you feel when you sit on a bike saddle.

Is it time to get a saddle with a different width?

You should now know what the width of your current saddle is.  You should have an idea of what your ideal should be… Do these two measurements match up? If not it is surely telling you that trying a different width saddle is worth a go, especially if you need to have more comfort when you sit on your bike seat.

We have a great range of saddles for women.  For different types of riding and different times on the bike.  Have a look at our Saddle Width Page to get an idea of what your options are.

Your bike riding success is different to others… use our stories and support, get the right solutions.

Support and inspire other riders and families to ride

Share your riding outings, adventures and experiences on our quick and easy question and answer forms. Join us in helping others ride bikes. All entries receive a free shipping coupon and go into our seasonal prize draw.

goRide supporting women and families to SMILE when you ride

Tailbone Discomfort When Riding

Soft Tissue Compression on Your Bike Saddle

Your saddle is a very important contact point with your bike.  It should provide the support & comfort you need to ride for as long as you like. Problems with compression of soft tissues can really restrict you from enjoying your bike.

Supporting you and your family to SMILE when you ride.
goUnders & recreation saddle

What Causes Compression Issues?

Time on the bike is a big factor in this one.  You may have no issues at the front of your genital area with short rides but as you sit there for longer discomfort becomes apparent and may turn into chaffing, burning, extreme pressure, numbness or pain. Some women are lucky and will never have a problem in this particular area as everyone is made differently so the shape and amount of tissue will be different from body to body.  Your experience will be unique to you.  Don’t put up with any odd feelings.  On going compression of nerves, bleeding or burning can lead to permanent damage.

The more upright your body position on the bike the more weight will be transferred directly down into your sit bones.  As you lean forward this weight gets distributed forward along your pelvic bones so any soft tissue that is in the way will begin to get squashed.  This area of your body has not been designed to take this weight or pressure.  This makes genital problems more common in forward bent riding positions.

To take this problem even further some riders out there experience pubic bone bruising.  This is usually only in prolonged periods of extreme forward bent riding.  A “Split Nose Saddle” can help, along with increasing the strength of your lower abdominal muscles.

endurance padded pant & chamois cream

Time on the bike can lead to unpleasant feelings of compression

How to Reduce Soft Tissue Compression Problems

Saddle Set Up – how your saddle is set up effects your ability to sit on it.  Make some adjustments to see if you can help resolve your issue.  A lot of women experiencing genital discomfort benefit from a slight forward tilt or nose down saddle position, please don’t over do this, the word is slight.  Please read…  Saddle Position – Height, Tilt and Reach

Saddle Shape – what is known as a cut out will definitely help alleviate compression.  This is a hole cut into the middle of your saddle.  Endurance saddles tend to have the widest cut outs and therefore offer the best relief.

Saddle Padding – soft, well padded saddles suit short distances.  If you have increased your riding time and started to experience soft tissue compression this may be because you are sinking too far into your saddle, usually around 30-45 minutes into the ride.  A saddle with a flatter surface and less padding or gel padding is a better choice for endurance riding.

Padding – it may seem counter intuitive but less padding in your chamois has been shown to help with genital compression.  So try more minimal style padding that you can’t sink into and is not competing for or taking up space that your tissue wants.

Handlebar Height – another bike adjustment to consider especially if you would consider yourself to be a more of a recreation rider, is to raise the height of your handlebars.  Again small adjustments can have big results.  If you are on a road bike with drop bars, rotating your brake hoods up and back can be helpful.

Chamois Cream – using chamois cream on your genital area when riding reduces friction and may help with pressure points.

Other Ways to Improve Comfort

To follow is a short list of suggestions that you can choose to explore or ignore.  For weight transfer issues that cause pressure, bruising or discomfort:

  • Be very mindful of your body position and shifting it when riding
  • Improve the strength of your core muscles and legs
  • Lose weight; get bags or packs off your back and acknowledge that if you are over weight this will be adding to your problem
  • Let a small amount of air out of your tyres on bumpy surfaces this allows the tyre to absorb some of the impact 
  • Get up out of your saddle (stand on your pedals) when going over bumps, dips or uneven surfaces
  • Choose shorter rides
  • Choose rides with varying terrain which will change your bodies experience during the ride

Correct technique is a large part of being comfortable when you ride

Comfort & Contact Points

Your comfort while riding is a huge part of enjoying your time on the bike.  It will also keep you protected & safe.  There are three key points where you make contact with your bike.  The seat, the handlebars and the pedals.  It is important to understand how to position your body between these points

For more information see the following stories:

womens endurance goUnders

Your bike riding success is different to others… use our stories and support, get the right solutions.

Support and inspire other riders and families to ride

Share your riding outings, adventures and experiences on our quick and easy question and answer forms. Join us in helping others ride bikes. All entries receive a free shipping coupon and go into our seasonal prize draw.

goRide supporting women and families to SMILE when you ride

Sit Bone Aches & Pains on a Bike

Sit Bone Aches & Pains on a Bike

Your saddle is a very important contact point with your bike.  It should provide the support & comfort you need to ride for as long as you like. The most common complaint when riding is sore sit bones so let’s take a look at this cycling problem.

Supporting you and your family to SMILE when you ride.
bike pants - recreation

What Causes Sit Bone Issues?

When you return to riding, begin riding, have a new saddle or choose to ride for longer times you will experience some discomfort at the points that take weight – your sit bones.  This is a very common feeling that many people who ride a bike will have.  You must understand that rather than sitting on your saddle you are actually straddling it and your sit bones are taking the majority of the weight.  They are designed to do this but they will need time to adjust and build up their conditioning and strength.

One of the biggest issues for your sit bones is finding the support they need.  This means that these boney protuberances are seeking a good surface to be reassured that they can efficiently transfer weight.  So your saddle has to provide a “useable width”.  Your saddle must match the width of your sit bones.

Soft saddles are meant for short distances.  If you have a lot of soft cushioning or poor quality padding this will be adding to the problem.  As you ride further and are seated for longer – it usually takes around 30 to 45mins – a soft saddle allows your body too sink too far.  This means parts of your body like your sit bones make contact with the hard structures of the saddle.  It also causes compression of structures that are attached to or move across your sit bones.

 

What is Discomfort? As mentioned above, discomfort at your sit bones is a normal part of riding your bike.  It means that you are doing the right thing – bearing weight through these bones.  It will feel a little achy, bruised, slightly red.  The sensations will come on after time on the bike, on average around 30 to 45 minutes.  It usually takes a few weeks to a month to overcome (depends on how often you ride).  If discomfort is quite intense take 2-3 days off between rides.  With each ride you should feel like there is progress or improvement being made.

What is Pain? Your sit bones will experience problems beyond discomfort when they are not being supported correctly.  This will cause deep achy sensations, muscle & tendon inflammation, sores and chaffing.  These problems will not resolve over time but become worse and are more immediate when you sit on your saddle.  You will struggle to find any position that feels supported and will feel the need to be constantly shifting in your seat.

endurance padded pant & chamois cream

Your sit bones are meant to take weight so if you have the correct shape saddle they will adjust to riding a bike

How to Reduce Sit Bone Problems

Saddle Set Up – how your saddle is set up effects your ability to sit on it.  Make some adjustments to see if you can help resolve your issue.  Firstly check that your saddle is level and not nose up. Then test out slight back/forward movements, to position the saddle directly under your sit bones.  Please read…  Saddle Position – Height, Tilt and Reach

Saddle Shape – having the correct width so that your sit bones are the bones that are taking weight is crucial.  You may need a womens saddle that has a wider width than a mans saddle.

Saddle Padding – soft, well padded saddles suit short distances.  If you have increased your riding time and started to experience sit bone problems this may be because you are sinking too far into your saddle, usually around 30-45 minutes into the ride.  A saddle with a flatter surface and less padding or gel padding is a better choice for endurance riding.

Adding Padding – you can choose to help relieve your discomfort by wearing padded bike underwear or pants (with a chamois sewn into them).  You can also add a gel cover to your saddle that can be removed after you have adjusted to riding for the distances you are trying to achieve.

Core Strength – the stronger your core is the better your body position will be over time on the bike. It is really important to check in with your body position and make adjustments to maintain a good ‘A’ shape.

Other Ways to Improve Comfort

To follow is a short list of suggestions that you can choose to explore or ignore.  For weight transfer issues that cause pressure, bruising or discomfort:

  • Be very mindful of your body position and shifting it regularly when riding
  • Improve the strength of your core muscles and legs
  • Lose weight; get bags or packs off your back and acknowledge that if you are over weight this will be adding to your problem
  • Let a small amount of air out of your tyres on bumpy surfaces this allows the tyre to absorb some of the impact 
  • Get up out of your saddle (stand on your pedals) when going over bumps, dips or uneven surfaces
  • Choose shorter rides and SLOWLY build up
  • Choose rides with varying terrain (include hills) which will change your bodies experience during the ride

Correct technique is a large part of being comfortable when you ride

Comfort & Contact Points

There are three key points/places where you make contact with your bike.  The seat, the handlebars and the pedals.  It is important to understand how to position your body between these points.

For more information see the following stories:

womens endurance goUnders

Your bike riding success is different to others… use our stories and support, get the right solutions.

Support and inspire other riders and families to ride

Share your riding outings, adventures and experiences on our quick and easy question and answer forms. Join us in helping others ride bikes. All entries receive a free shipping coupon and go into our seasonal prize draw.

goRide supporting women and families to SMILE when you ride

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