Q&A: Saddle Sores

This is part one of a question and answer series, fueled you, lovely readers! Do you have a question about this long-distance bike ride, my story-collecting process, or anything in between? If so, write your question in the comments. I would love to hear from you! 

ilovemybikeLast week, Jenny asked: “How do you deal with saddle sores?”

First, I should say, it’s more-so saddle soreness than saddle sores. I don’t have any festering wounds on my derrière.

The first three days of a long-distance bike trip are inevitably rough on one’s vulva. Even with a cushy chamois (the padded insert inside the bike shorts), everything down there is compressed, uncomfortably so, from spending long hours in the saddle. The underside of your bum can rub against the seat. Basically, the skin and sit bones and everything in-between have to toughen up a bit. After three days I don’t notice it anymore.

So, how do I deal with this? Three things:

  1. Air
  2. Hygiene
  3. Moisture Maintenance

First: air. The first thing I do when setting up camp (or, as has been the case in the first week on the road, arrive in the home of a person who has offered to let me stay) is to get those darn bike shorts off.

If there is a shower available, I use it immediately.

Then, if the skin is dry, I moisturize. Right now I’m finishing off a bottle of coconut oil I brought back from Tuvalu (works great on my curly head of hair, too!). Once that runs out I’ll treat myself to a nice Kiwi moisturizer.

TMI? Well, rest assured that I have no shame in talking about my body and am planning a love letter to my Diva cup, to be written during my next menstrual cycle.

Ah, the life of a solo female touring cyclist.

Do you have a question for me? If so, ask in the comments and I will do my best to respond.



4 thoughts on “Q&A: Saddle Sores

  1. Hi Devi, thanks for sharing your routine. Have you looked into noseless or centerless saddles? A few years ago I bought a BiSaddle, and it is amazing how much more comfortable I am riding. (My boyfriend has one too.) Since I purchased the saddle, the price has quadrupled, but maybe $200+ USD is worth it for folks who ride every day! Best wishes.

    • Ooh, I’ll have to check that out. Thanks, Erin! Also, question for you: do you ride with traditional spandex bike shorts, or something different? I think I’d like to be wearing something airier on long days, but I’m not sure what would be best. Plain old running shorts sans chamois don’t seem like they would have enough protection.

      • I wear typical bicycle shorts for longer rides, but commute around town in whatever I wear to work that day. Having a seam up in there is less of an issue with the split seat. I have never worn bicycle shorts for more than two whole days in a row, but I can see how they might feel a bit restricting after a while! Be sure to post if you find a good alternative!

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