How to Prevent Saddle Sores


You don’t have to deal with the pain, you can do things to prevent saddle sores.


Bike Fit

In an article on BeginnerTriathlete, Dr. Rachel Biber stresses proper bike fit as a way to prevent saddle sores. “A neutral to slight upward seat tilt is recommended for men, whereas, a slight downward tilt is recommended for women,” she advises.


Fred Matheny, a cycling coach and author who writes for RoadBikeRider (RBR), says in an article for that site: “If your seat is too high, your hips rock on each pedal stroke and strum your soft tissue across the nose of the saddle.” Get your bike fit checked by a bicycle expert.


A Good-fitting Chamois.

A good pair of bike shorts can go a long way in preventing saddle sores. “Look for shorts with a one-piece liner or one that’s sewn with flat seams,” advises Matheny. Make sure the shorts fit well to reduce friction. You don’t want the chamois to move around. Shorts with a smooth chamois are best. Matheny says it may take some experimenting. Do not wear underwear underneath your bike shorts.


Bike Seat.

Finding the best bike seat for your body is important in the prevention of saddle sores. “Excessively wide saddles rub your inner thighs,” Coach Matheny says. “Narrow saddles don’t provide enough support for your sit bones — your weight is borne by soft tissue that can quickly become bruised and irritated. Thickly padded saddles can press upward between your sit bones, causing uncomfortable numbing pressure.” Many bike shops have a test-ride program. You can check out a seat and try it out before purchasing one that fits your body best.


Use Lubricant.

Commercial anti-chafing lubricants, such as 2Toms’ ButtShield, can help prevent saddle sores. Apply it to areas of your body that come into contact with your bicycle seat to reduce chafing before every ride.


Good Hygiene.

Never wear dirty clothes on a ride. Coach Matheny suggests that if you are someone who seems more susceptible to saddle sores, you may want to “…wash your crotch with antibacterial soap and warm water before lubing up. Dry your skin well first.” Then apply anti-chafing lubricant and put on clean, good-fitting bicycle shorts.


You should remove your sweaty cycling clothes as soon as possible after your ride and bathe to further prevent saddle sores. “Cyclists need to keep the groin area clean and dry after each ride,” advises Dr. Biber in the BeginnerTriathlete article. Wear loose clothing after you bathe so your skin can breathe.