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Prevention of Cyclists Saddle Sores

Saddle sores are a pain in the arse of the long distance cyclist. The usual recommendations are:
  1. Get a decent saddle
  2. Get some proper cycling shorts with seamless padded bums and make sure you have enough pairs of shorts to ensure you start with a clean dry pair every day.
  3. Don't wear any underwear under your cycling shorts! The seams will cause pressure and chaffing. Ladies: I have been reliably informed that lace knickers are the very worst thing to wear on a bicycle.
  4. Keep your arse clean! Your sores will feel ten times worse when they become infected

All of the above is good advise of course, and very well known. But if you stay in the saddle for long enough you will still develop sores. Hands up all those who expect there arse will still be clean and dry after riding 50 miles (or even ten) on a warm summer day. It isn't possible! Also stopping to wash your bum and change into another pair of clean dry shorts in the middle of your ride isn't really practical. Which brings me to the secret weapon in the fight against a sore botty! CHAMOIS CREAM! Surely this stuff is the unsung hero of the long distance bicycle rider.

The Unsung Hero Of Cycling

I suffered with saddle sores for about three years before someone told me about this stuff. The product I use is called 'Relief' and it is manufactured by an Italian company called Agu Sport. I expect other equally good products exist. I use this one because it is excellent and because most of my local bike shops sell it. Although it is readily available, I have never seen it on display in any bicycle shop. Whenever I want to buy some I have to walk in and ask the shopkeeper who then digs it out of a cupboard or from under the counter.

It works partly because it contains substances that kill the bacteria that cause inflamation of the skin, and partly because it is slippery and slimy so it acts as a lubricant between your shorts and your skin preventing your shorts from rubbing your skin away.

First time I used this stuff I already had some minor sores when I set out for a 40 (ish) mile ride on a hot day. To my amazement the sores felt slightly less uncomfortable when I got home than when I started the ride!

For best results squeeze a generous dollop of cream from the tube and spread it liberally around the bum pad on the inside of your racing shorts. Now pull the shorts on. Expect it to feel fairly yukky! Its a lot like pulling on a pair of racing shorts that are full of cold slippery slime. There is a good reason for this - they are full of cold slippery slime! But I reckon filling my shorts with slime is infinitely preferable to riding with saddle sores ;-)

Yukky Perhaps But Better Than A Sore Bum

Chamois cream is slippery slime in a tube. Bicyclists use it to prevent the misery of saddle sores

Availiable from - just ask for cyclists slime!

See Also
Bike Saddles

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A top tip for endurance cyclists by Nigel Jones Oct 2000