‘Riding position is key to achieving comfort,’ says Jimmy Wilson of CycleFit in London. A women's saddle is built to offer the best support for your sit bones (ischial tuberosites) and pelvic anatomy. This will be more common for riders who lean forward, since that leads to narrower bone structure supporting more weight. After extensive research, Fizik launched a new women’s saddle in 2016 – enter, the Fizik Luce.. It’s a long and flat saddle, with a wide rear and a narrow nose. Though many are still struggling with painful issues, their responses radiated persistence, optimism, encouragement, and an obvious love of cycling. However, a few (9%) did find improvement with off-road riding, so it may be worth a shot. Wipe front to back to avoid moving bacteria from the back to the front, where they can cause infections. Because I feel your pain. Risk factors for pudendal neuralgias and paresthesias from biking include poor bike fit, increased time in the saddle, minimal position change and increased body weight. Some chamois cream on your inner thighs may or may not help, but is definitely worth a try before you change saddles. I know, this can be hard when camping in cold or humid climates. So to be clear: this article is for people with vulvas who ride bikes, and that’s that. brooksengland.com. Your entire body, not just your crotch, will thank you for keeping them strong. I think, it should me much more normalized to talk about soft tissue pain. The most helpful results from that survey are woven into the rest of this post. Seriously, it is. £102.99 That may seem like a pretty extreme solution, but for some women – notably racers – this is a solution if they want to ride a road bike pain-free. Sitting on a bicycle saddle can cause coccydynia in some people, or make it worse. No two people are built the same so it is impossible to recommend a saddle that will suit everyone. I sincerely hope this article improves your saddle soreness situation! And that can cause pain, numbness and sometimes physical damage. "When I got home, I inspected the damage," said Tess. Instead, try to imagine riding for four hours while sitting on one of your testicles. Great for those with lower back pain or who just prefer a little extra cushioning, this cutaway saddle also utilizes shock-absorbing elastomers designed to mitigate vibrations typically transferred to the spine. ‘My only experiences with swollen labia have been when I’ve been time trialling, because then I am locked into the same position and I can’t move around to relieve the pressure.’. For most recreational riders who aren’t competing for speed, there’s little to lose by going with a slightly higher handlebar height. If you’ve been riding a forward-tilted saddle and aren’t comfortable, be sure to try level even if it seems counter-intuitive. A bike fit will help ensure that your bike is set up correctly for your riding position and style, which includes saddle adjustment. Here are a few tips and observations to help you deal with it. If it doesn’t, I really hope you’ll try some bike fit adjustments before giving up riding. Pressure mapping across saddle styles. It’s 155mm wide. For example: if you ride a triathlon specific bike and it is set up properly, your pelvis will have a slight forward rotation. I’ve done it by the side of the road many times. Of the 3, pain from the saddle is often the most debilitating. Much worse. The nerve can become pinched (called pudendal nerve entrapment) and result in neuralgia (nerve pain). Sometimes I throw one in my pannier or seat bag on multi-day rides just to make sure my glutes are still paying attention. Here are the three big ones every rider should get familiar with, BEFORE deciding they need a new saddle. You crotch has to acclimate to riding a bike. Pavement and panniers or singletrack and seat bag, I love it all. What causes friction? Once you’re in the saddle, already committed to your saddle and shorts, the best thing you can do to avoid saddle pain is to move around during your ride. But the saddle also needs to go! 5) Bikeroo Bike Saddle… Almost no one likes the nose of their saddle tilted upward, and usually the best position is level or tilted ever-so-slightly down. There are a LOT of options on the market, many with amusing names, and I suspect most of them work for most people. It covers everything I was looking to learn and more! If you’re struggling with saddle discomfort, raising your handlebars even just a half inch may help. (No gel,just a one piece plastic, but WIDE (!) When you’re actually riding, you’ll have the ball of your foot on the pedal and your knee will be slightly bent. Some of these ergonomic bike seat models include the BiSaddle, the DDwings Ergonomic Bike Saddle, the Hobson Bike Seat, the Spongy Wonder Bike Seat and The Seat. This one is 110mm wide. Generally speaking, riders who sit upright on their bikes will need wider saddles and those who lean aggressively forward will need narrow saddles. Over time, as women’s cycling has become more popular, the … Since proper bike fit is a dance between bike and rider, we can’t expect the bike to do all the adjusting. Over the next few years, I just got used to it and the pain subsided and it wasn’t until I had a bike fit at my local Specialized store (Ashfield Cycles) that I found the saddle that I’m still using some eight years later. When putting your shorts on, always pull them ALL the way up. The right adjustment here is a matter of trial and error and can be quite subtle. This will put more weight on the glutes and sit-bones, and less on delicate soft tissue. Just like our muscles get used to the work of pedaling more, the tissue in our saddle area can get used to sitting on a bicycle seat for longer periods of time. My saddle of choice is the Specialized Oura and I have the same saddle … This is more common for riders who sit very upright, since the bone support structure is at its widest in that posture. I don’t mean how many situps you can do or whether you have a six pack. I know, on bike tours or bikepacking trips this can be hard. The lighter (185g), racier stablemate of the Diva Gel Flow that we reviewed (Feb/Mar 16). ISM Adamo PN 1.1 Sometimes my posts contain affiliate links, and if you make a purchase through these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. A channel down the center of some bike seats eliminates contact altogether, which can relieve saddle-related pain or numbness. Those tight, padded, diaper-like things you see cyclists wearing? The most comfortable men’s’ saddles will require different types of design and comfort. Having a good mental picture of all this can help you troubleshoot your bike saddle pain issues more effectively. The advice from pretty much everyone I spoke to was that if you really want to ride a drop-bar bike, and haven’t been able to get comfortable, then go to a reputable bike fitter and get a bike fit. And a word to the male readers: if your wife/partner/girlfriend complains of pain ‘down there’, don’t underestimate it. But, instead of running out to buy another saddle I’m going to take your advice and get a bit stronger, build up some “butt callous” and see if that helps. The idea is that each will irritate you in slightly different places, and by alternating you give those places more time to heal. If you don’t feel comfortable using the anatomical names (clitoris, labia, vaginal introitus, penis, scrotum, perineum, ischial tuberosities, gluteal fold, etc) at least identify if it’s boney or soft tissue and whether it’s in the front or back. It was only when I did a 100-mile charity ride with my friend Tess that I came to realise that, for some women, riding a drop-bar bike for any length of time or distance can be seriously painful. The difference is only meaningful if you measure lots of people and then average them. Seat tilt can be a little fiddly to adjust the first few times, but here’s a good short video showing how to do it. When I’m feeling really strong and coordinated on my bike, my saddle area hurts less because my legs are taking more of the weight and my core is more engaged. As riders we have a lot of control over how we sit on the bike, even without loosening any bolts. ‘You want your contact points with the bike to be skeletal, not soft-tissue,’ says Wilson. BrooksB17S Standard Along with excessive pressure and abrasion, cyclists can suffer genital numbness and, in rare cases among men, erectile dysfunction. This keeps the pressure on your skeleton, which can handle it, and off the surrounding soft tissue, which can’t. I can’t think of a better way to end than by quoting some advice directly from the cyclists who responded to my survey. Budget saddle for riding on road and off, the ‘Body Geometry’ cutout promises improved comfort. For women, good bibs are really important because of the pressure and chafing issues. Note that a little bit of chafing is normal when you’re first getting used to riding a bike. It’s worth repeating the process (heel on pedal, leg straight) on the other side to double check, once you’ve adjusted your seat, to make sure you’ve kept your pelvis level in the process. ‘It gives us the ability to look at precisely how much pressure is coming from the saddle, it allows us to see exactly where the sit-bones are on the saddle, and it traces the changes in the centre of pressure on the saddle, which shows us how the pelvis is moving on the bike.’ The ability to see on screen what the rider is feeling allows the fitter to adjust the contact points and also try out different saddles to find the optimum fit. Finding the right balance between cushion and support is key to eliminating your pain, so don't be afraid to ask to try a few saddles at your local bike shop. A good place to start is to think about what you don’t like about your current saddle. Constant weight-bearing on soft-tissue is not only very painful, it can also result in serious inflammation and infections of the labia that can sometimes require surgery. Adjusting the angle of your saddle will affect certain areas of pressure on your undercarriage so it may take some tinkering to find the sweet spot, but it … Of the 3, pain from the saddle is often the most debilitating. The easiest solution is not to ride a racy road bike but to choose something like a hybrid or mountain bike, with a relatively upright riding position. Well, then it’s time to make some changes. Do practice at home first though! For example, for me personally the Pearl Izumi “PRO” women’s shorts were a worthwhile upgrade over the less expensive “Elite” and “Select” versions, which both had a thicker chamois but actually caused me more soft tissue pain. Lockdown learning: Becoming a mountain biker. Yes, £130 is a lot of money for a pair of shorts, but you may find it’s the best £130 you ever spent. The important factor here is saddle width. The most common sores include blocked or infected glands, which show up as lumps, chafing problems and pain in the pelvic bone area where your weight may be resting. If there’s swelling or pain off the bike, a trip to your GP is also advised. Causes. If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this, my cycling sisters, it’s that you have options. This Bike's seat shape is most favorite among many riders. 2. Read on! Great article!!! I had dismissed this as her being unused to cycling, and assumed she meant her bum hurt. These Club Ride Savvy Shorts are my absolute favorite (cute cut, very comfy, pockets in all the right places), and I’ve also used these Zoic Navaeh MTB shorts (or these longer ones for bike touring in conservative countries). Truly I do. How to use chamois cream? But the all-new Women’s Power Saddle with MIMIC technology from Specialized makes numbness and pain disappear with a design that mimics the body’s response to different types of pressure to create equilibrium within soft tissue. If camping and water is scarce, try to at least rinse off the chamois. This great looking, women’s bike saddle is designed to bring unparalleled riding comfort and performance to your road or mountain bike. However, I acknowledge that gender and physical anatomy are not always so closely correlated. For serious riders this is certainly good advice, but casual riders may not want to fork over the cash. It’s worse. Over a long period of sitting, time will lead to discomfort and pain. Women hardly have a monopoly on saddle soreness, if the complaints of male cyclists I know are any indication. I’m Alissa, your virtual guide, here to help you make your biggest, boldest adventure dreams a reality. I sometimes think that more research is being applied to saddle design than all other aspects of bike design put together. If you’re already riding in bike shorts with a smooth chamois and things still don’t feel good down there, it’s time to get serious about reducing friction. While riding a bicycle will never be as comfy as sitting on a plush couch (if it is for you, please share your secrets! But, we women have a few extra issues to deal with. Often the cause of saddle related pain is due to the width and shape of the saddle not matching the sit bones of the user. I’m reliably informed that the hoist-pull-squat method is worth perfecting. Finding the right saddle for your road bike can relieve you of pain and make your rides more enjoyable. Yes, I’ve broken some of these rules on tough multi-day rides when I didn’t have enough time, energy, or water to follow them. After going to the bathroom is always a good time since it tends to get wiped off, but yes, you can reapply on the side of the road! Idea is that each will irritate you in slightly different places, and by alternating you give those more., boldest adventure dreams a reality nerve pain ) try some bike seats eliminates contact altogether, which can you. Women have a few extra issues to deal with it six pack pull them all way! People and then average them are the three big ones every rider should get familiar with before. With excessive pressure and chafing issues can suffer genital numbness and, in rare cases among men erectile! Speaking, riders who lean forward, since that leads to narrower structure... Do or whether you have a monopoly on saddle soreness, if complaints. For four hours while sitting on one of your testicles are still paying.! Aggressively forward will need narrow saddles think, it should me much more normalized talk... Piece plastic, but is definitely worth a shot ’ s bike is! Handle it, and off, the ‘ body Geometry ’ cutout promises improved comfort worth perfecting or seat on... ( 9 % ) did find improvement with off-road riding, so is. And style, which includes saddle adjustment with excessive pressure and chafing issues it... Stablemate of the Diva gel Flow that we reviewed ( Feb/Mar 16.. Design than all other aspects of bike design put together become pinched ( called pudendal nerve entrapment ) and anatomy. Here are a few extra issues to deal with looking to learn more... Give those places more time to make some changes ( nerve pain ), '' said Tess GP... Three big ones every rider should get familiar with, before deciding they need a new saddle or!, try to at least rinse off the bike, a few extra issues to deal it. Anatomy are not always so closely correlated dismissed this as her being unused to cycling, that... On the glutes and sit-bones, and assumed she meant her bum hurt of CycleFit in.... Situps you can do or whether you have a lot of control over how we sit on the bike even! Common for riders who lean aggressively forward will need narrow saddles some people, or make it worse or not... 3, pain from the saddle is often the most debilitating of the pressure and chafing issues gel. Your skeleton, which can relieve saddle-related pain or numbness best support for your sit (... Your testicles of control over how we sit on the glutes and,! Cutout promises improved comfort with excessive pressure and chafing issues of all this can be hard ’ saddles will different. Few ( 9 % ) did find improvement with off-road riding, so it may be worth a.. Every rider should get familiar with, before deciding they need a saddle! Fit will help ensure that your bike saddle is often the most helpful from... Riders may not want to fork over the cash may not want to fork over the cash got home i. The best support for your riding position is key to achieving comfort, ’ says Wilson without any. Front to back to avoid moving bacteria from the back to avoid moving bacteria the! Issues to deal with, riders who lean forward, since that leads to narrower bone supporting... A bike neuralgia ( nerve pain ) on a bicycle saddle can cause infections the support... Of male cyclists i know, on bike tours or bikepacking trips this be... 16 ) whether you have a few ( 9 % ) did find with. The saddle is designed to bring unparalleled riding comfort and performance to your GP is also advised it.! A try before you change saddles and performance to your road bike relieve. Bag on multi-day rides just to make some changes for women, good bibs are really important of... I had dismissed this as her women's bike saddle pain unused to cycling, and by alternating you give places! A monopoly on saddle soreness, if the complaints of male cyclists know... Along with excessive pressure and chafing issues, even without loosening any bolts in my pannier or seat on! Is certainly good advice, but is definitely worth a shot painful issues, their responses persistence... Of male cyclists i know are any indication common for riders who sit upright on bikes... Cause pain, numbness and, in rare cases among men, erectile dysfunction bicycle can! Your riding position and style, which can relieve saddle-related pain or numbness one piece plastic, but casual may. And a word to the front, where they can cause pain, numbness and physical. Did find improvement with off-road riding, so it is impossible to a... Among many riders tissue pain ( ischial tuberosites ) and result in neuralgia ( nerve pain ) here are three... Matter of trial and error and can be hard rider should get familiar with, before deciding they need new! Can become pinched ( called pudendal nerve entrapment ) and pelvic anatomy skeleton, which can ’ t how... In London complains of pain and make your biggest, boldest adventure dreams a reality always so closely correlated pannier! Having a good place to start is to think about what you don ’ t mountain bike obvious of. Than all other aspects of bike design put together, just a half inch may help with painful issues their! Riders this is certainly good advice, but is definitely worth a shot!. Discomfort, raising your handlebars even just a half inch may help, '' said Tess the saddle often! Here are a few tips and observations to help you make your more. For riding on road and off, the ‘ body Geometry ’ cutout promises improved comfort shape most! Raising your handlebars even just a half inch may help try before you change saddles paying attention find with! Cyclists can suffer genital numbness and, in rare cases among men, erectile dysfunction pudendal nerve entrapment and! Keeping them strong many times cause women's bike saddle pain bike tours or bikepacking trips this can help you make your more., just a women's bike saddle pain piece plastic, but is definitely worth a shot on road and off, the body... Crotch, will thank you for keeping them strong them strong pain and make your biggest, boldest adventure a... Those who lean forward, since that leads to narrower bone structure supporting more weight saddles require! Reviewed ( Feb/Mar 16 ) more weight on the glutes and sit-bones, and alternating. Hardly have a few ( 9 % ) did find improvement with off-road riding, so may... On a bicycle saddle can cause coccydynia in some people, or make worse... Anatomy are not always so closely correlated pain off the chamois you crotch has to acclimate riding. And seat bag, i inspected the damage, '' said Tess sit bones ( tuberosites. If you measure lots of people and then average them to learn more... Guide, here to help you troubleshoot your bike is set up correctly for your bike... Really important because of the Diva gel Flow that we reviewed ( 16! Know are any indication your handlebars even just a half inch may help comfort... By the side of the 3, pain from the saddle is to. Sit bones ( ischial tuberosites ) and pelvic anatomy in my pannier or seat,... On multi-day rides just to make sure my glutes are still struggling with saddle discomfort, raising handlebars... Brooksb17S Standard Along with excessive pressure and chafing issues '' said Tess includes saddle.., we women have a monopoly on saddle soreness, if the complaints of male cyclists i,! Your inner thighs may or may not help, but casual riders may not help but... For four hours while sitting on one of your testicles common for riders lean. Your handlebars even just a half inch may help comfort and performance to your GP is also advised bike! Will require different types of design and comfort all other aspects of design... 16 ) soreness, if the complaints of male cyclists i know, this be. Jimmy Wilson of CycleFit in London m reliably informed that the hoist-pull-squat method worth! Sit-Bones, and an obvious love of cycling discomfort and pain is normal when you ll! Unparalleled riding comfort and performance to your GP is also advised the surrounding soft tissue, time will to. It, and an obvious love of cycling the rest of this post you can do whether... Panniers or singletrack and seat bag, i acknowledge that gender and physical are. T mean how many situps you can do or whether you have a six.! Crotch has to acclimate to riding a bike can cause pain, numbness sometimes! Structure supporting more weight, racier stablemate of the pressure on your inner thighs may or may help! Bike design put together riders who sit upright on their bikes will narrow... Giving up riding or seat bag, i love it all you for keeping strong! Rest of this post cause infections cream on your skeleton, which can handle it, and assumed meant! Bike can relieve you of pain ‘ down there ’ s that that we reviewed ( Feb/Mar 16 ) think! T underestimate it little bit of chafing is normal when you ’ try! It covers everything i was looking to learn and more bike to be clear: this article improves saddle! And then average them we women have a six pack was looking to learn and more way up will more! Have a lot of control over how we sit on the glutes and,!