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Dirt
06-09-2011, 08:43 AM
It is saddle sore season! Aren't you excited??? I had two friends ask me about them this week. It is a topic that some are hesitant to talk about. People often think that saddle sores are a sign of bad cleaning habits. They can happen to anyone. I'm fastidious about hygiene "down there" and I still get saddle sores from time to time.

Not only are we riding more, but it is also getting rather warm and friction and skin irritation thrive in such conditions. If you've never had them before, you're fortunate. Lots of things contribute to their formation, I've even heard that diet has an impact, but shorts, saddles and friction are usually the biggest cause. Sometimes just the way hair follicles react to being sat upon for hours causes issues.

Avoiding them: Do I have to mention common sense things like keeping your person and shorts clean? Never start a ride with damp shorts... even if they're clean.

Chamois cream is a very good idea. There are many on the market. DZ Nutz is my current fave. They make one formula for men and another for women. Assos and Chamois Buttr are two other brands that I've used with great success. I use it for any ride over 1 hour in length. I spread a healthy amount on the chamois (I really rub it into the chamois pad) and a little on myself too. There's an art to putting on your shorts when they've got chamois cream on them. It is really easy to slime chamois cream all over. Figuring out how to do it is almost a right of passage in cycling. When I was a tracky, I got the knack of starting with the shorts inside-out and was able to wiggle into them without getting gooey. It is also possible to get them on starting with them right-side-out. Practice makes perfect. :D

What happens when I get a saddle sore? Naturally keeping clean is important. If you can take a day or two off the bike, that is good. Sometimes that isn't possible. There is a magic product that helps A LOT! Bag Balm (http://www.bagbalm.com/) was originally designed as a cow udder cream. There really isn't anything magic in it, but DANG does the stuff work. A little dab on and around a saddle sore before bed and another in the morning after your shower will show significant improvement in an amazing amount of time.

My local CVS sells Bag Balm in the skin care section.

I also use Bag Balm as a preventative treatment. If you get back from a ride and have an uncomfortable spot on your bottom from worn out shorts or bad saddle position or just too many miles in the saddle, a bit of bag balm on it after showering helps heal and prevent further problems.

One other use for Bag Balm. There are times when you're going on a cold, rainy ride where having tights or leg warmers only holds the rain and gunk to your legs, making you colder. On those days I wear knickers and use Bag Balm as an embrocation from just below my knees to my ankles. The lanolin repels water and lets the natural blood flow in my legs keep me warm.

I also use Bag Balm to help heal road rash later in the healing process. Once the healing process has really started and you need to keep the wound moist... That is another topic for another day.

Word of Caution: Bag Balm comes in a tin, rather than a tube. When you buy it, buy a small container and toss it out periodically. Don't ever "double dip". Reaching gooey fingers into the tin will contaminate it and reduce its effectiveness. I actually keep 2 tins... I use one for saddle sores and I keep a big tin for embrocation on rain rides.

Also: if you have skin allergies, read the ingredients to make sure there's nothing in there that will cause problems. If you are an allergy sufferer, you know that routine well.

Hopefully this kinda helps. Let me know what works for you.

Pete

Tim Kelley
06-09-2011, 08:56 AM
Great post Pete!

For those of you without kids, I'd like to add that a low cost and surprisingly effective chamois cream is A&D Diaper Rash Cream (http://www.myadbaby.com/).

This was recommended to me by a legendary 24-Hour Solo mountain bike racer who said he applied and re-applied the stuff liberally during long races.

CCrew
06-09-2011, 09:00 AM
I'll add another. Bike shorts with chamois work great, and Dirt is spot on with his dissertation. One thing he missed though that I've found out.
1: you don't wear anything underneath them
and 2: wear once then wash

Dirt
06-09-2011, 10:38 AM
I'll add another. Bike shorts with chamois work great, and Dirt is spot on with his dissertation. One thing he missed though that I've found out.
1: you don't wear anything underneath them
and 2: wear once then wash

Amen, sir. I once wore a feather duster between me and my shorts. It was fun for the first 2 hours, but after that it lost its novelty. ;)

But seriously... You are very right about both. Clean = good.

Mark Blacknell
06-09-2011, 11:20 AM
Pay attention to all of this, folks. Good stuff.

CCrew
06-09-2011, 11:37 AM
I'll add a little more kind of on and off subject.

I've been bicycle commuting year round now going into the 4th year. I put down a *lot* of miles, so I spend a lot of time on the bike. I'm a middle aged bald white guy, so I'm far from the fashion bearer here.

When I started out I scoffed at cycling clothes. You couldn't have paid me to wear lycra. Well, let me tell you.. there's a reason for the stuff. It hugs your skin, which both insulates in winter and cools in summer . It doesn't catch or bunch up. It slides where it needs to slide and stays where it needs to stay. A good chamois is a godsend after miles in the saddle. Only drawback I've found is that it's harder to fool the full kitted once a week racer weenies when they can't understand why they can't easily pass you :p Sooo much easier in MTB shorts and a t-shirt.. That's where they come in.

Further you get from the bike in full kit the weirder you look though!

Cotton is ok, but sweat and it sticks to you and doesn't dry well. Wicking stuff... C2 from Target comes to mind is great. If it starts to stink which poly's do sometimes wash with a cup of vinegar in the washing machine.

And bibs are better than shorts any day of the week.

OneEighth
06-09-2011, 11:50 AM
Bibs. Absolutely.
Aquaphor is very versatile.
Snug, purpose-built clothing is generally a good idea.
Wool socks year-round. Trust me.
Final fragmented thought---kit can be subtle.

CCrew
06-09-2011, 11:52 AM
Final fragmented thought---kit can be subtle.

White or light gray is bad :p

OneEighth
06-09-2011, 11:54 AM
Sometimes...

acc
06-09-2011, 12:03 PM
Bibs are much better...

Dirt
06-09-2011, 12:50 PM
Only drawback I've found is that it's harder to fool the full kitted once a week racer weenies when they can't understand why they can't easily pass you :p .
Endura Humvee shorts or knickers are awesome for "fred-ifying" your kit. :D They're AWESOME for 3 season riding (all but the super hot summer days) because they also protect expensive bib shorts from wear and tear a bit. I don't have a lot of evidence on that, but I think my latest set of commuting bibs have lasted longer because most of the last 10 months they were concealed beneath the knickers. Pockets are great too.

I didn't like the Endura snap-in liners at all. I just put my roadie bibs under them.

Amen on the good quality bib shorts. I put 10,000+ miles on the bike per year. Cheap bibs are worse than useless. I totally understand that people who don't ride that much can be comfy with more reasonably priced shorts. For me, a $100 pair of bibs lasts longer than 4, $50 pairs of bibs.

Faves?

Reasonably priced shorts for around $100
Nalini, Gernano: Simple, well made, comfy shorts that have the added bonus of annoying Tim into making him say stuff like "Dirt started speaking in Italian." as though it was a bad thing.
Giordana Silverline
Hincapie Power (Super cool company that does a lot of good, in addition to creating some great clothing.)

The expensive ones are beyond dreamy. They get expensive though. I've got nice ones from 2XU, Giordana, Hincapie and Assos right now. Each cost more than $250. If I'm gonna be in the saddle for 9 hours, I grab one of those pairs and a fresh tube of DZ Nutz chamois cream.

Greenbelt
06-09-2011, 12:56 PM
Only drawback I've found is that it's harder to fool the full kitted once a week racer weenies when they can't understand why they can't easily pass you...

Isn't it fun to walk away from the F K'd O-a-W R-Ws on the inclines every once in the while?

Especially at twice their age, and on a half as expensive bike. With 35mm CX tires. At 50 psi.

Dirt
06-09-2011, 01:08 PM
I confess that I do sometimes commute on a $10,000 road bike and I haven't raced much in the last two decades, nor have I wanted to. I also like a flashy kit from time to time.

skreaminquadz
06-09-2011, 01:24 PM
Great timing on this Pete! Thanks for posting.

StopMeansStop
06-09-2011, 02:20 PM
Body glide works well too. It looks like a stick of dry deodorant and applies the same way as well.

Witch Hazel is great for drying out saddle sores. It is worth the slight burn

skreaminquadz
06-09-2011, 02:38 PM
I only use bibs now - I love em'!

I've had good luck with Specialized high end bibs, the RBX version. I've done okay with Pearl's PRO version as well. I've tried various cheapo ones as well when I thought spending more than $50 for bibs was outrageous. I no longer wear those.

DaveK
06-09-2011, 04:02 PM
I really like the Performance Ultra shorts and bibs. Of all the brands I've tried those work for me the best, and they're cheap. Well, not cheap, cycling cheap.

SteveTheTech
06-09-2011, 09:44 PM
Thanks for the great thread Pete, I had many questions that where addressed.

I'm not at lycra level yet.
I have had great luck so far with a clean pair of Cannondale (http://www.rei.com/webservices/rei/DisplayStyle/779078?source=gpla&cm_mmc=cse_froogle-_-datafeed-_-product-_-779078&mr:trackingCode=28AF15C2-B849-E011-AFD7-001517384908&mr:referralID=NA). These have worked great on 4 hour rides.

Dirt
06-10-2011, 08:34 AM
Bibs are definitely not for everyone. I look totally silly in them. I'm okay with that.

The main thing is that you ride what works for you and your life. :D

DaveK
06-10-2011, 09:48 AM
Bibs are definitely not for everyone. I look totally silly in them. I'm okay with that.

The main thing is that you ride what works for you and your life. :D

Bibs + no jersey = old time-y strongman. I like to walk around the house like that lifting giant anvils and spherical barbells that have "100 lbs" painted on either side. I need to get a set of bibs with horizontal stripes to really complete the look.

Dirt
06-10-2011, 10:24 AM
Bibs + no jersey = old time-y strongman. I like to walk around the house like that lifting giant anvils and spherical barbells that have "100 lbs" painted on either side. I need to get a set of bibs with horizontal stripes to really complete the look.

I do that all the time. :D I even have a prosthetic handlebar mustache to add to the ensemble. :D

CCrew
06-10-2011, 10:27 AM
I do that all the time. :D I even have a prosthetic handlebar mustache to add to the ensemble. :D

Why is it that doesn't surprise me? :p

Justin Antos
06-10-2011, 10:30 AM
F K'd O-a-W R-Ws are also easily spotted by their lack of practical things like a) lights, b) locks, and c) bags/racks/transporting capacity. It's just a different kind of riding - pure sport vs. sporty transportation.

ronwalf
06-10-2011, 10:31 AM
What happens when I get a saddle sore?...Bag Balm

You can also steal your toddler's diaper rash cream. My kid's Butt Paste (http://www.blairex.com/BLButtPaste.php) works great ... or so I'm told.

StopMeansStop
07-16-2011, 11:57 PM
On my last long ride, my bibs got a little damp. Well, more than a little. I felt like I was wearing a filled diaper. Other than carrying a 2nd pair, how can one stay dry? It's not the wetness I mind, but the rash. The body glide helped, but wasnt perfect

PotomacCyclist
07-17-2011, 05:48 AM
I put Chamois Glide on my skin before putting on my tri shorts (De Soto). I haven't had any issues since I started doing that again. I forgot about that in the early spring and developed some minor chafing problems.

I like the tri shorts because the pad isn't as thick as with regular bike shorts. No diaper sensation.

For current saddle sores, petroleum jelly works well. You can use it for any type of chafing or windburn. I don't know if it's good for Lycra so I probably wouldn't use it immediately before a ride.

brendan
07-18-2011, 01:32 AM
On my last long ride, my bibs got a little damp. Well, more than a little. I felt like I was wearing a filled diaper. Other than carrying a 2nd pair, how can one stay dry? It's not the wetness I mind, but the rash. The body glide helped, but wasnt perfect

I wouldn't use body glide. Use bike-specific chamois butter/cream.

And if you end up with ring around the rear, I suggest investigating topical meds usually found in the baby aisle...

Brendan