Saddle sores..

AimzOx
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Saddle sores..

Postby AimzOx » 19 May 2020, 2:02pm

Good afternoon, all.

In this current lock down situation, my other half and I have decided to take up cycling.. I've got myself a nifty little Carrera Vanquish, which he kindly serviced and get running like a dream. I love riding it!

The problem comes here; I've only managed three rides, because of the pain down below. I am so sore, and today's little jaunt was actually painful, so I had to turn back after a mile.

After the first trip, I bought myself a pair of Endura under-shorts, nice padding, comfortable, good fit etc.. I'm still a little tender from the first go out but that was a week ago now, the second ride was Ok, a little better (yesterday) but today was just gruelling.

I am pretty sure I need a new saddle but don't know what to be looking for, a cut out, or just one of those that supports your bottom, with nothing up front?

I feel comfortable in the position I'm sat in, today we tried adjusting the saddle (moved it forward and tilted it down a little), but that backfired. I've got the saddle that came with the bike, quite a long taper with a 'bump' in the nose, if that makes sense?

Aside from a saddle, is there anything else I can do with regards the pain/sores? I'd like to get out and ride daily but just don't want to now! I only have one pair of undershorts, and I did wear undies under them, does it really make a huge difference if you don't?

I'm new to road biking (all biking, haven't ridden in well over a decade and that was a mountain bike!), I love the bike and the position, so don't really want to go MTB/hybrid. My partner thinks maybe I should go with straight rather than drop bars, but I love them.. Is he right perhaps?

Help!

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Paulatic
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Re: Saddle sores..

Postby Paulatic » 19 May 2020, 2:51pm

If you are in pain after a mile then things are far from right. It sounds like you haven’t reached any milage to need padded shorts yet and don’t wear undies under it’s the seams which can cause problems. I’ve done 30 ml this morning without any padding at all.
1 measure your sit bones and make sure saddle is wide enough or too wide. Take A piece of cardboard and sit on it the same as you would a bike. I used the staircase and measure between the two dimples and add about 10 mm.
2 Keep the saddle level for now or very very slightly tilted down -3% max. If it’s not level you can end up with too much weight on the hands holding yourself back.
3 Is your saddle in the right place? Check out Colin531's fitting guide http://wheel-easy.org.uk/wp-content/upl ... -2017a.pdf if it’s too high it’s certainly going to put pressure in all the wrong places.
People seem to love or hate cutouts I personally like a large cut out in my SMP saddles.
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RH20
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Re: Saddle sores..

Postby RH20 » 19 May 2020, 2:56pm

Has the bike been set up to fit you? Saddle height, saddle layback, handlebar stem length. If any of these are wrong it could affect anyone, male or female. A reasonable start would be: saddle height, sit upright on the bike against a wall, wearing the shoes you will wear for riding, place the heel of one foot on a peddle and ensure the peddle is at the six o clock position. The leg should only have a very slight bend at the knee. Saddle layback, using a piece of string with a small weight attached to one end and the peddle at three o clock, put your foot on the peddle, place the plum line on the front of the knee, the line should hang straight down and roughly align with the ball of the foot. If not, move the saddle either back of forward as indicated by the position of the plumb line.
When these adjustments have been made, place your elbow on the nose of the saddle fingers outstretched, your index finger should reach the centre of the handlebar stem (where it connects the handlebars). If not you may need a shorter or longer stem. Make sure the saddle is level.
This is rough guide and minor adjustments can be made around these adjustments. Try gradually building up the number of times you ride, perhaps every other day and also the distance you ride. A little a lot is better than a lot a little.
If you still have the same problem you could try a woman specific saddle. Women tend to have wider sit bones than men, hence the different saddles.
Others may have different ideas but hopefully this may be a start for you to make any adjustments that may be required.

AimzOx
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Re: Saddle sores..

Postby AimzOx » 19 May 2020, 3:00pm

Thanks for the replies.

Because of the bike's layout, I am rarely on my backsdie fully, if I move to the tops then I am, but I find it more comfortable on the hoods or drops, and therein lies the problem..!

The current saddle height is correct (legs straight when heel is on the pedal, slightly bent when the ball of my feet are on them). Going to try with a level saddle rather than a downward tilt as I have now. I will try the plumb line trick, too. I have also mentioned raising the handlebars up, but I think I need some kind of spacers to do that, and I don't have them! Is there a rule of thumb about handlebar height?

Might have to give it a day or two though as I have quite an angry looking sore on my 'soft tissues'. If only it were pain in the bum, I think I'd be better placed to handle that!

LollyKat
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Re: Saddle sores..

Postby LollyKat » 19 May 2020, 3:41pm

A lot of us have been there! Saddles are like shoes - what is comfortable for one person is torture for another. The Halford's site is very slow for me just now but it looks as if the saddle is long and narrow, which usually suits men better than women. Measure your sit-bone width as Paulatic describes as it should help you narrow down your search. Even so, it will boil down to trial and error. I have a box of discarded saddles which I really need to get round to selling...

Personally I prefer a cut-out, not only because of reduced pressure but because you get a bit of ventilation. One of my rejects has a groove rather than a cut-out - it is very comfortable over short distances but I get sweaty, which leads to soreness, after more than a few miles.

On my everyday bike I have a Selle Italia Diva gel which is pretty good, though after about 40 miles my sit-bones can get a bit numb. They would probably get used to it if I did that distance on it more regularly. I had the same problem with the Rido R2. My ideal is a moderately wide leather saddle with a cut-out. Brooks saddles are very expensive and modern ones can get saggy, but I'm very pleased with my Spa Nidd which I modified with a Stanley knife (this was before Spa offered a cut-out version), and I can ride it all day.

Undies tend to have seams which can cause problems. Straight bars can give you a more upright position which may help but if you're happy with the drop bars then stick with them. I always use drops myself but in a high-ish touring position rather than a low racing one.

If you can't get comfortable you'll never enjoy cycling. Fortunately there is a wide range of designs out there.

HTH

AimzOx
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Re: Saddle sores..

Postby AimzOx » 19 May 2020, 3:46pm

Thank you.

I've started looking at saddles, what do you think of the ISM Touring saddle? Slightly odd shape but the cut out and shortness might help? At least in my mind it would..

I don't have much weight on my sit-bones in the position I'm in, it's mostly pelvis, I won't go into detail but that's where the problems are. If I try and sit back on my sit-bones my back is uncomfortably curved. I really don't want to give up and get a sit-up bike..! Will I toughen up?!

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Paulatic
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Re: Saddle sores..

Postby Paulatic » 19 May 2020, 3:58pm

AimzOx wrote:Thanks for the replies.

Might have to give it a day or two though as I have quite an angry looking sore on my 'soft tissues'. If only it were pain in the bum, I think I'd be better placed to handle that!


Have you read Jasmijn on that subject https://duracellbunnyonabike.com/2018/1 ... -flapmash/
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al_yrpal
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Re: Saddle sores..

Postby al_yrpal » 19 May 2020, 4:06pm

A little bit naughty but why not do some test rides at Halfords, Evans or friends bikes to investigate different sorts of bikes and saddles. That may allow you to pinpoint the problem. I feel for you, saddle soreness on long tours I find very irksome and I usually take an extra saddle which I change every few days to change the pressure point. On my present bike there is much less of a problem. Then I noticed why, the nose of the saddle is slightly pointing to the right, this obviously agrees with the 'equipment'

Al
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yostumpy
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Re: Saddle sores..

Postby yostumpy » 19 May 2020, 4:31pm

Try tilting the saddle the opposite way just a tad. Sounds wrong, I know, but its all to do with your hips. when on a bike seat, they will be either in 'anterior or posterior mode' . imagine a boiled egg, between two books balanced on its big end. If you let go, it will either fall forward (anterior) or backwards.... your hip is just the same, but by tilting your saddle down at the front, your hips rotate forward, like the egg, and in doing so puts more pressure on tender bits. But , by tilting it back a tad, your 'egg' rolls to the back, and in doing so rotates your hips up, and puts less pressure on the tender bits, especiially if the saddle is lowered a tad. But give it a few days before you try, if you are already sore.

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Re: Saddle sores..

Postby al_yrpal » 19 May 2020, 5:04pm

My current bike is an e bike and the saddle is incredibly comfortable. Its a Selle Bassano Feel GT. Its wide, its soft and despite its looks it is no impediment to peddaling. Dyed in wool lycra clad folk will probably die laughing but this is the sort of thing you should probably be looking at. My bike is for females it has a semi step through frame which is why I bought it, but, I note the bike manufacturer fits exactly the same saddle to mens bikes too. You do have to pedal on an e bike but often not quite so hard as with a normal bike.

Al
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slowster
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Re: Saddle sores..

Postby slowster » 19 May 2020, 8:38pm

AimzOx wrote: I'm still a little tender from the first go out but that was a week ago now, the second ride was Ok, a little better (yesterday) but today was just gruelling.

You don't say how far you rode or for how much time you were riding, but my suspicion is that as someone who had not ridden much if at all previously, you have been doing too much (very understandable in the nice weather and given the restrictions lockdown etc. is having on the rest of our day to day lives).

It takes a while for the flesh underneath the sit bones to become accustomed to riding a bike, and to build up that tolerance to be able to increase the distance and/or undertake multi-day tours. If you do too much and moreover don't give your body sufficient time to recover and adapt to the stresses you impose on it, you are likely quickly to find yourself in a vicious circle of increasing pain each time you ride.

'Little and often' is best when first starting to ride. I used to commute daily by bike for a few miles, and I found that doing so was enough to condition my body (including my backside) to be able to ride 80-100 miles on Sundays in comfort with zero pain. If you have been trying to ride too far or for too long, go for shorter rides and build them into other activity, e.g. ride to the shops, and then start to increase the distance or time in the saddle gradually.

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531colin
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Re: Saddle sores..

Postby 531colin » 19 May 2020, 8:41pm

There are thousands of women riding bikes in perfect comfort.....take some strength from that, it can be done.
Do take the time to read my piece on DIY bike fit, linked in my signature bit....somebody already mentioned it. Warning...it does contain the word "genitals". I'm sorry if you are going to have a fit of the vapours reading that word, but theres nothing wrong with it as a word, it has a precise meaning.....and precision is more use than prudery to somebody who is trying to avoid discomfort.
I think everybody over the age of about 15 must have heard variations on the old joke about women sitting on a fortune....but remember, it is a joke, and your genitals are not for sitting on. The only bits of your pelvis which are structurally suited to sitting on are your ischiac tuberosities, or bum bones. If you can't sit on your bum bones when your hands are on the hoods or the drops, its almost certain that your handlebars are too far forward for you to reach comfortably, and possibly too low as well. This means you need a handlebar stem which is shorter and/or higher rise. Stems may be fitted "either way up" and its possible that your stem if flipped over would give you higher bars.
Further reading....read Steve Hogg on "sensitive issues" which explains why women (who are shorter than average male height) have difficulties https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com/portfolio-item/sensitive-issues/ theres a second part of that.
Also "Lovely bicycle" https://lovelybike.blogspot.com/2011/04/on-female-anatomy-and-bicycle-saddles.html..thats 2016, and then it was the fifth anniversary, so this is something which has been going on a long time!
However, as I said at the outset, thousands of women ride bikes in comfort, so it can be done. The shorter you are, the harder it is, because bikes are designed for "average male height"....but not just that, the average bike aimed at weekend cyclists, is "designed" in the same way as those ridden by world class professional cyclists. If you set about designing a bike for recreational cyclists it can be made much more comfortable.

ThePinkOne
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Re: Saddle sores..

Postby ThePinkOne » 19 May 2020, 10:32pm

Sores on soft tissues: I find can be worse at certain stages of the menstrual cycle.

Sudocrem can help alleviate sores and I like certain M&S undies made from tencel and none of that jagged elasic around the edges (that blokes pants never have on).

There's also a couple of deodorant/dusting powders from Lush (Greench and Gymslip) which I find good for relieving sores. Also better not to shave the undercarriage if riding a lot.

I use Salle saddles with a cut out.

TPO

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Re: Saddle sores..

Postby Vorpal » 20 May 2020, 9:21am

I second what Colin said (except for the bit about vapours :wink: )

I will add that getting your saddle in the right place is absolutely the most important part of being comfortable on a bike, closely followed by having the handlebars in the right place and the right shape of saddle for you.

So, have a look at Colin's guide, get the bike set up correctly, and then, if you need to, try some other saddles.

Personally, I think the ones where they fit the saddles using a mat that you sit on (Specialized, Bontrager) have a little better chance than other saddles of working out, but that does require going in to a shop for a fitting.

Most shops will let you try a saddle for a couple of weeks & swap for something else if it doesn't work out, so ask your local bike shop.

Good luck!
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AimzOx
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Re: Saddle sores..

Postby AimzOx » 20 May 2020, 9:55am

Thank you all so much for your replies!

Colin, thank you - I have looked at your guide and the bike seems to 'fit' me Ok, which I am super pleased with as I really like the bike! As for genitals.. no problem at all! I've read sites where it's called by rather different terms! Either way, it's bloody sore at the moment! My backside is fine - it's definitely not my sit-bones causing the problem here!

I've also read the Flapmash piece - wonderful to read and I'm more and more relieved I'm nowhere near the only one.

Thank you also, Al. I have thought about giving up and going for an e-bike, but I don't want to give up on my little road bike yet!

My distances have been far from huge; first ride was 3 miles. Worth noting I was in jeans (I know!), but it was the most comfortable ride, with just a little tenderness rather than chafing/sores. The second was 3 miles, same route but opposite direction. This time in my gym leggings as we thought it would be more comfortable - wrong! Bring on the chafing.. Had a little ride for the third (two miles) as I had to turn around after a mile because of the pain.

I'm lucky to have some great bike shops where I am but because of the concerns over Covid none are allowing try-outs. I have bought a Selle Italia Garda Gel Flow Saddle to try, it should be with me this week. It wasn't too much of an outlay so I'm not too worried if it's no good, though I hope it will be! I'd love to get a 'proper' saddle fit, but that's quite an outlay at the moment so I'm trying DIY options first..

I'll also try some of the creams and potions, I'm sticking fast with germolene right now to alleviate some of the pain (and yes, it is pain, not just discomfort..!).

Fingers crossed the new saddle helps a little..!