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Saddles are dreadfully uncomfortable for many of us, and it seems like something we are just accustomed to. Perhaps – but there are things that we can do to help get rid of saddle pain. Below are saddle solutions for women – and men – cyclists suffering from pain.

Bike Shorts

Wear a good pair of cycling shorts with a good quality seamless chamois. As with the saddles, shorts and the thickness of the chamois are a personal choice. The chamois material should wick away moisture. Some have anti-bacterial fibers to reduce bacterial buildup.

Do not wear underwear. Put your shorts on right before you ride to keep them clean and dry.  Remove them as soon as the ride is over. Never wear the same pair of shorts 2 days in a row without washing them.

Chamois Cream

Just as a runner uses vaseline on areas of repeated friction to prevent chafing sores, so cyclists should apply cream to the saddle area. The pedaling motion creates a certain amount of side to side movement on the saddle, which can cause uncomfortable and painful chafing of the soft tissue. It is this friction, more than pressure, that causes saddle sores.

Some sort of cream is a must, especially for long rides and rides on consecutive days. Chamois creams prevent chafing by creating a thin lubricating layer between your shorts and your skin. I use Bag Balm (also used on the udders of milk cows and Shania Twain’s skin) and last year in France rode 6 days in a row without any irritation at all. Other popular creams include Penaten or other diaper rash creams and  commercially-made cycling products such as Chamois Butt’r or Bliss.

Stand Up Regularly

Every 10 to 15 minutes stand on the pedals to either stretch your back, or use a few pedal strokes to stretch the legs. Just as moving your hands around frequently will prevent numbness and pain, getting off the saddle will relieve constant pressure and improves blood flow. Make sure you stand on or lift yourself up a little from the saddle when you ride  over bumps.

Allow For Adaptability

The first ride of the season never feels very good. The saddle area needs to get used to that pressure again. Start with short rides and gradually increase your distance and time.

Practice these preventive steps—don’t wait until you are uncomfortable before taking action.