Question: I’m having serious saddle soreness as I build my mileage toward a double century. I bought new bib shorts that might be too large, so maybe they’re contributing. I use a chamois cream on my shorts, but it only lasts about an hour. Then, yikes! It seems like my skin simply isn’t tough enough. Any advice? — Roland C.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: The best way to condition your skin is to ride more. Toughness and tolerance come with saddle time.
We used to put rubbing alcohol on a washcloth and scrub the crotch briskly before and after rides in hopes of toughening the skin. But I don’t think it worked. It could sure curl your toes, though.
You don’t say what type of cream you’re using, but Chamois BUTT’r (available at bike shops) is a favorite of mine. You can carry a tube or small packets to re-lube during long rides.
Realize that occasional saddle tenderness, abrasions and even sores are a fact of life for long-distance riders. You can reduce problems with good hygiene, saddle selection, shorts and riding technique, but you can’t eliminate them.
There’s more info on seat selection in our eBook, Finding the Perfect Bicylce Seat. Also check out the saddle comfort and pain videos in this section of the site.