The Per­fect Be­hind

Bikes Etc - - HEALTH -

Ban­ish­ing a sore bum while rid­ing re­ally isn’t as tough as you might think and yet it’s prob­a­bly the sin­gle big­gest com­plaint from the be­gin­ner cy­clist – and a few who are rather more sea­soned, too. Par­don the pun but the bot­tom line is that in ev­ery­day life we’re used to sit­ting down – a lot. Heck, you’re prob­a­bly prac­tis­ing your sit­ting down skills right now, but you’ll no­tice that ac­tu­ally very few peo­ple sit on their ‘sit bones’ – or is­chial tuberosi­ties, in doc­tor speak (ba­si­cally, the bot­tom of the pelvis). In­stead, we tend to curve the lower back, slouch and sit on our glutes. This means that when we come to sit on a sad­dle cor­rectly and place the ma­jor­ity of our weight through the bones, the skin it­self isn’t used to it and can be­come sore. As you’ll find if you dig the garden, skin quickly hard­ens, thus re­duc­ing the prob­lem, and so it is with the skin cov­er­ing your sit bones. Wait­ing for things to im­prove is far from your only course of ac­tion, as there are three dis­tinct ar­eas you can look at – we’re think­ing of your shorts, your sad­dle and the bit be­tween you and your shorts. Larger sad­dle com­pa­nies of­fer al­ter­na­tives and so­lu­tions to help ad­dress get­ting things com­fort­able. From Spe­cial­ized’s Body Geometry prod­ucts to Fizik’s Spine Con­cept, many com­pa­nies of­fer some sort of


fit sys­tem. One of the most straight­for­ward and well de­vel­oped is Selle Italia’s ID Match, as it of­fers two widths and three styles of base, cov­er­ing a range of rid­ing styles and price points. We heartily rec­om­mend get­ting ad­vice and some form of fit­ting to make sure you know what you’re look­ing for and not just choos­ing one that looks good, fits your price range or is en­dorsed by your favourite pro. Many sad­dle brands also of­fer a demo so­lu­tion that will al­low you to try out a sad­dle be­fore putting down your credit card. When it comes to cy­cling shorts, there’s an aw­ful lot to be said for find­ing a pair that not only fits well but of­fers a good amount of pad­ding too. The range is huge and it’s our ex­pe­ri­ence that while in some cases you’re pay­ing for mar­ket­ing spend, more of­ten than not you get what you pay for. Look out for multi-den­sity pads, that add com­fort where you need it and re­duce bulk else­where, and if you can stretch to it opt for a foam in­sert that has aer­a­tion holes as breatha­bil­ity helps keep your skin healthy. We’d also say that pads with stretch are re­ally the only ones worth look­ing at. While we’re on the sub­ject of the skin, you might well have seen or heard of chamois cream. Hark­ing back to the days when the pad in your short was lit­er­ally a chamois, you had to ap­ply a lu­bri­cat­ing cream to keep it soft. With man-made fab­rics, that’s no longer the case yet the tube of goo has re­mained in the cy­clist’s kit bag. Smear this clingy cream lib­er­ally over your skin where it con­tacts the sad­dle and it will al­low move­ment in the shorts with­out the fric­tion that makes skin sore. Al­lied to this, an­tibac­te­rial agents will fight bac­te­rial or fun­gal in­fec­tions and so keep skin healthy. See our round-up of chamois creams on page 78 for ad­vice on what to buy – and if you’re re­ally strug­gling, nappy rash cream with its greater con­tent of med­i­cated good­ness will help no end.

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