What are saddle sores and how do I prevent them

What are saddle sores and how do I prevent them?

If you’re an avid cyclist, you’ve probably experienced a rash or sore area between your thighs after cycling or mountain biking for long periods of time.  These troublesome occurrences are typically referred to as “saddle sores” and they can quickly take the fun out of biking.

To make sure you avoid this painful occurrence, we’ve prepared a guide with various tips on preventing saddle sores.  Throughout this guide, we’ll also provide resources for bikes, doctors, physiotherapists, chiropractors, and other related topics.

Preventing Saddle Sores

Preventing Saddle Sores

Before we tell you how to prevent saddle sores, it’s important for you to know how they occur.  Generally, these sores are caused by friction, moisture, and pressure caused by you, your bike, and the way you ride.

There are three levels of saddle sores namely, chafing, ulcerations, furuncles/folliculitis.  Chafing is the mildest form resulting in irritation and redness while furuncles and folliculitis are the most severe form often causing infections and pimple-like growths.

Choose the right bike seat

The first step in reducing the likelihood of saddle sores is to invest in a proper-fitting saddle.  This is because your bike and seat height can almost always be adjusted, but your saddle’s contours cannot.

To find the right shape and contours for your needs, we’d recommend visiting your local bike shop and fitting different saddles to get a proper feel for what will work.  If you’re a new rider we’d recommend against online measurements as they won’t tell you how your saddle will feel.

But, if you’re a veteran cyclist, you may be able to get away with ordering a saddle online if you’re fully aware of what your saddle measurements are.

Make sure to fit your bike properly

Once you’ve fitted your saddle, it’s time to fit your second-most important piece of equipment—your bicycle.  While there is a level of adjustment available, most bike frames will come in standard sizes ranging from small to large.

Since the corresponding rider size varies with each brand, you should check your specific manufacturer’s sizing chart to find the proper size bike for you.  Along with this, you should also take your handlebar positions into account as this can determine your riding posture.  

If you want to get really technical, you can also consult a physiotherapist for an in-depth riding posture analysis.

Wear the right clothes

This one’s a bit of a no-brainer but every now and then you’ll definitely be tempted to go for a ride wearing something other than cycling gear.  While this is perfectly fine for short trips, you’ll definitely regret not wearing the right clothes during longer rides.

Cycling gear is specifically made to reduce friction and absorb moisture between you and your saddle.  This effectively addresses two common causes of saddle sores leaving you to contend with fewer issues.

Saddle sores are no joke and a particularly severe case can definitely warrant a trip to the dermatologist or skin clinic.  Hopefully, however, this guide can help you avoid saddle sores altogether so you can focus on honing your cycling skills and getting fit.