Looking after your bottom
The cycling fraternity are generally an opinionated bunch, more than happy to discuss the ins and outs of how to change a puncture, how to get up a hill easier, what cadence to cycle, what to wear etc but there is a certain piece of advice that often seems to be overlooked and it is, in a particularly important one, if you cycle regularly.
The piece of advice I am getting at is how to look after your bottom. It is very important that you do look after it to avoid getting sores or nasty skin grazing and worse-case scenario blisters which can be so debilitating you won’t be able to sit on your saddle let along look at your bicycle without wincing.
Here are our tips
1. Go commando. Absolutely no pants to be worn under your cycling shorts as they cause friction which inevitably leaves you with an angry rash and eventually grazing.
2. Invest in a decent pair of cycling shorts. Now historically I would have said ones with a good pad for your seat but over the years I have moved away from heavily padded shorts to thin chamois tri-shorts. It really is personal to you but we find that we are more comfortable in lighter padded shorts. There are so many good brands to choose from and price points. We have been big fans of Zoot shorts for years, they are comfy, hard wearing and wash up really well. The legs tend to have inside grippers that avoid them riding up. Whatever you choose, the first few times you wear them, consider smearing a bit of vaseline on the inner seams as it helps avoid rubbing.
3. Put some chamois cream on your bottom. Rub it into your groin area, around your bottom cheeks and your pubic bone for best effect. The slippage the cream creates between you skin and your shorts is what stops you getting sore and rubbed. We use Assos chamois cream.
4. Wash your shorts after every ride. This simple bit of hygiene advice is something that I am surprised I have to share but having seen questions time and again on facebook cycling forums it seems not everyone knows to do this.
5. Choose a saddle that works for your anatomy. We are all shaped differently which means a not one size all approach to the saddle you choose for your bicycle works. The small independent cycling stores usually will let you borrow seats to try them out before you buy one. It is worth taking the time over this as comfort is paramount to enjoying your ride. If you want to read more on this then there is a really interesting article by Cobb saddles who conducted extensive research on female anatomy "innie or outie" and created a range of saddles to suit. We both use ISM saddles which can take a bit of ‘seating in’ but are good quality. We have also found cable tying under the saddle to bring the nose together a bit works best for us. There are many tricks but ultimately you need to try them for yourself.
Enjoy your ride