Seat Like a Razorblade

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Not sure how many people will remember the old Yellow Pages advert  but I can now sympathise with “I were right about that seat”.

One thing that has taken me by surprise is saddle sore. I had to stop my first training ride one hour in due to the pain. So my first attempt at a two hour training ride was left literally in tatters and it was my backside rather than my legs that gave out.

I felt less bad to read that due to saddle sores Eddy Merckx was unable to ride the 1976 Tour de France, Sean Kelly withdrew two days from the end of the 1987 Vuelta while wearing the leader’s jersey and Ivan Basso missed this year’s Giro with a sore the size of a golf ball. Obviously I’m around their level so I can relate.

I’ve comped together a few key bits from various sites for solutions the general gist is as follows. Saddle sores a created by a combination of pressure and friction, the former is something your body will build up a resilience to with the right seat. The later might take a bit more work…

Saddle position
This can be a big cause, I’ve noticed that when I’m riding personally I can move forward on the saddle so the gel areas are no longer supporting the sweet spot. Bad positioning will also mean your weight is poorly distributed and cold mean your over stretching.

Saddle Choice
One of my key errors was keeping the saddle that was already on the bike, it was a badly sewn specialised, I know it wasn’t a cheap one but I think the ridges were the major cause. I now have the same seat on both my bikes though still not convinced I have the right one so I’m going to have a look for an alternative. Good advice from British Cycling:

“Every backside is different but there is a saddle out there to suit you. Don’t be fooled into thinking that big and padded is best, sometimes ultra-light razor blades can be the most comfortable perch for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment with some of the more outlandish saddle designs as cut-outs, twin noses and channels can all help to alleviate pressure but remember that any displaced pressure will have to be carried elsewhere.”

Bib Shorts
I genuinely hate forking out for bib shorts as the seem hugely overpriced so typically pick up a pair of DHB in the Wiggle sale each year then wear them to death, I figured that there was probably much over muchness in the padding quality. How wrong I was. Having purchase a pair of Rapha Pro Team Bib shorts I’m converted. The padding feels like I’m floating above the seat.

Chamois Cream
I can’t say i’ve tried many but picked up Chamois Butt’r (selected mainly because its name and logo) and it’s changed my life within matter of days. I’m keen to look into antibacterial options too — Most I’ve read suggests that you should only do one ride in your bib shorts before a wash which is just impossible and hugely impractical.