From the most highly trained professional to an occasional leisure rider, saddle soreness can effect any cyclist.
The soreness and discomfort can ruin any ride and, if you develop actual sores, your cycling could be limited for a significant amount of time.
Here are a few tips on helping to avoid soreness and how to ease the pain if it does strike.
If your saddle is too high or too low, it can lead to soreness. With a friend holding the bike, sit on the saddle and place the balls of your feet on the pedals. With the pedal at the bottom of the pedal stroke (six o'clock), there should be a slight bend in your knee.
Finding the right saddle is key to a comfy ride but it is largely a case of trial and error until you find a brand and model that suits your backside.
A big, wide and squishy saddle might appear comfy, but isn't necessarily so. It will encourage you to put more weight through the saddle and is more likely to cause rubbing. Experiment with a number of saddles and don't be afraid of narrower ones.
Some bike shops operate a try before you buy policy, with saddles and even a fitting service which involves measuring the width of your sit bones. Some more traditional brands of saddle do require a breaking in period, but most modern brands should be good to use straight out of the box.
Quality padded cycling shorts are a must if you are spending any significant time on the bike. If you are not keen on the lycra look, go for baggy shorts or regular clothes over the top. Don't wear underwear beneath your cycling shorts. The cotton will hold onto moisture making chaffing and sores more likely.
Use cream and keep clean!
The serious cyclist's secret for preventing saddle soreness. Put a generous blob on your short's padding before riding and, although it might feel a bit strange at first, it really does work.
Sores thrive in dirty and damp conditions, so keep the area clean. Never wear cycling shorts for more than one ride, don't sit around in your shorts when you finish a ride and consider using an antibacterial shower gel.
Build up slowly and stand up
Build your time on the bike up progressively. As you get fitter and stronger you will put more weight and power through your pedals and less through your backside.
Even if a ride is flat, stand up out of the saddle every 5-10 minutes to give your bottom a bit of a break.
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