Question: I’ve been stuck on the indoor trainer here in Minnesota for months. I don’t mind riding inside, but my crotch gets much sorer than it does while riding outside. I use the same shorts, saddle and bike and never ride more than an hour at a time. Any solutions? — Brenda L.
CoachFred Matheny Replies: The problem is probably your indoor riding style. Most cyclists ride trainers predominantly in the saddle.
Indoors, there aren’t any natural reasons to stand — no small hills to sprint over, no dogs to accelerate away from, no rough pavement to get off the saddle for. So the tendency is to sit there for an hour, grinding away. The constant crotch pressure leads to increased irritation.
An effective solution is to stand for one minute out of every five. If you make that a habit, you should feel a big improvement. Set a timer if you need help to remember.
Also, a saddle that’s comfortable outside can be a torture device inside. You might want to find a wider, more supportive seat for use on the trainer. While the Specialized BG saddles or the Fizik Arione work okay for me outside, I find more comfort on a Brooks B17 or Pro inside. You can mount your trainer saddle on a seatpost and mark the correct height with tape, making it easy to switch seats.
Finally, be sure to use lots of chamois cream. Many riders who routinely lube their chamois when they ride outside neglect to do so when they’re training indoors. Use plenty, and keep the tube within reach for a mid-ride re-application.