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:

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