What is a Saddle Sore and 10 Top Tips To Avoid Them

Every cyclist will tell you that saddle sores are a given at some point in their cycling journey. Even with a comfortable saddle, high-quality bib shorts, a professional bike fit, and a touch of chamois cream like ASS MAGIC, experiencing a saddle sore is often inevitable. However, there are certain strategies you can employ to minimize the risk of encountering a painful saddle sore.

Image credit: Cycling Weekly

What is a Saddle Sore?

A saddle sore is a skin irritation that is in direct contact with the chamois of your cycling shorts and indirectly, with your saddle. This sore can be as simple as a skin irritation causing redness in the surrounding area, similar to a pimple. The skin may begin to chafe, become broken, or raw leading to discomfort or pain. Another possibility is that a saddle sore might be an ingrown hair or potentially even a boil. Regardless of the 'type' of saddle sore you may have, they are best to avoid as much as possible.

Reducing the Risk of a Saddle Sore: Top 10 Tips

Without delving into the medical details, here are ten practical tips that can help reduce the risk of developing a saddle sore:

  1. Invest in a good pair of cycling shorts. Ensure they fit your body shape and size well, and if possible, opt for bib shorts over standard cycling shorts as they are designed to hold the chamois in place better, reducing chafing chances.
  2. Before using a new pair of cycling shorts, wash them to help the fabrics 'settle', then test them on a few shorter rides first.
  3. Get a bike fit. An incorrect position on the bike can lead to unnecessary movement, and a professional bike fit can ensure your saddle is at the correct height to minimize this.
  4. Image credit: Science to Sport
  5. Depending on your bike fit, you might need to consider a new saddle. A professional bike fitter will be able to suggest appropriate sizing and types of saddle to suit your body shape and riding style.
  6. Use a high-quality chamois cream like ASS MAGIC. It uses beeswax and lanolin for excellent anti-chafe properties and zinc oxide to promote healing should you encounter any issues. The addition of tea tree in the mix adds both an appealing scent and antibacterial and antifungal properties.
  7. Before applying your chamois cream, ensure you wash your hands to avoid contamination.
  8. ASS MAGIC chamois cream
  9. Remember, on hot, sunny days, apply your sun cream before your bum cream.
  10. After your ride, change out of your kit as soon as possible and shower or bathe. Keeping good hygiene is crucial to prevent saddle sores.
  11. Spend time gradually increasing your time in the saddle. If you rush into an endurance ride with little training, discomfort is likely. A gradual build-up will ensure your body gets used to time in the saddle.
  12. If your saddle sore persists despite following these tips, consult your doctor for professional medical advice.

For women cyclists, it's also worth noting that ASS MAGIC is pH-friendly for you. Ultimately, how you define a saddle sore doesn't matter, they can be painful. But, following these tips will put you a long way on the road to avoiding them.