Finding the right saddle for you can be a never ending process, but even if you have found the right saddle, you may not even know it! If you’re new to bicycling or have recently started riding more, you may be experiencing some soreness from your saddle. This is common. It’s just your body getting accustomed to the seat, and usually it’s nothing to worry about. Here are a few simple steps you can take to prevent soreness and ensure that any you do have goes away as quickly as possible.
1. ADJUST SADDLE POSITION: Seat position is an important factor in comfort and it’s easily adjusted. Set your seat high enough so that when the balls of your feet are over the pedal axles and your feet are at the bottom of the pedal stroke, your knees are slightly bent. If, at the bottom of the stroke, your knees are locked or nearly straight, the seat is too high, which could cause soreness. When a seat is high like this, you can’t support as much body weight on your feet, which concentrates the pressure on the seat, causing pain.
2. LEVEL IT!: Another important adjustment is the seat angle. For optimum comfort, the seat top should be level or angled for comfort no more than three degrees up or down.
3. MOVE AROUND: Many cyclists get in the bad habit of sitting in one spot on the seat. That’s fine, if it doesn’t cause problems. We recommend moving around on the seat occasionally to change the pressure points while pedaling and standing at regular intervals to take all pressure off the crotch. These steps ensure pain-free rides.
4. START EASY: It’s important not to overdo it when you get into cycling, too. It takes time for the body to adapt to sitting on the seat and if you can build up gradually, you may experience little soreness, if any. Also, it’s best to ride regularly (about three days a week) so that your body stays accustomed to sitting on the seat and you don’t have to break it in again.
5. A GOOD PAIR OF SHORTS: Cycling clothing significantly increases comfort. Street clothes have seams in the crotch that chafe and press on nerves causing problems. We recommend bicycle shorts, which have no seams in the crotch and are generously padded. They’re made of moisture-wicking fabrics to keep you dry and comfortable. These features practically eliminate friction and chafing while the seam-free construction ensures that you’re not sitting on a bump that cuts off circulation and causes numbness.
6. NO UNDERWEAR: It may seem strange, but cycling shorts are made to be worn without conventional underwear (it’s fine to wear underwear made for cycling). The reason you don’t wear underwear is because it has seams in the crotch area that can cause pain, chafing and numbness. And, cycling shorts are designed to give you plenty of padding and support without underwear.
7. KEEP CLEAN: Germs can cause saddle sores and bothersome rashes, too. To prevent this, cycling shorts use liners treated to kill germs. It’s also important to always ride in clean shorts. That’s why it’s a good idea to have at least two pair of cycling shorts so you always have a clean pair to ride in.
8. TIME TO TRY A NEW SADDLE: If you try these tips and you still suffer soreness, the likely culprit is the specific shape or composition of your seat. It’s possible that it doesn’t fit your anatomy correctly. Also, a poorly designed saddle can cause numbness and sore spots. Fortunately, there are plenty of new models available designed for comfort. All you’ve got to do is find one that’s right for you, which is usually a matter of trying a few. Saddles come in many sized and widths so it is crucial to find one that fits. We have an excellent selection and are happy to advise you and even measure your sit bones. We also provide demo saddles so you can try several out before you decide to purchase.
Here at Surf City Cyclery, we have found that Specialized has the best selection of saddles that are scientifically tested and ergonomically designed to reduce pressure for all-day riding comfort. If you’re looking for the right Specialized saddle, check out their SADDLE FINDER.
Ideally, we recommend getting a bicycle fit to help with correct placement of your saddle height, bars, and overall comfort on a bicycle. CLICK HERE for more info on a bike fit.
We hope these tips keep you riding comfortably. If you have any questions, would like help finding a saddle, test out a saddle, or want to check out some of the cool modern seats we stock, please visit us soon!