Saddle sores are the bane of anyone who has ever thrown their leg over a bicycle. If you haven’t experienced a saddle sore or saddle discomfort – you are one of the lucky few!
In cycling, there is good pain, the pain you get from pushing your muscles and getting your heart pumping. Then there is bad pain. Bad pain is any pain you get from discomfort, such as the dreaded “saddle sore” or, simply, a sore bum.
An often overlooked piece of kit that every rider should invest in is a good pair of cycling shorts. We are always quick to spend the cash on more carbon or the latest blingy kit for the bike to make us go faster, but we’ll skimp on the quality of cycling shorts we are riding in, but ultimately, comfortable cycling shorts could enable us to ride more.
What benefits do you get from a good pair of cycling shorts?
- Fit: Higher-end cycling shorts, such as Assos, are developed to fit to a cyclist’s riding position, that is, made to fit best when we are hunched over like a prawn on the bike, compared to a standard pair of shorts which does not conform to your riding position.
- Fabric: A higher quality fabric will allow our body to breathe better, wick sweat and move more freely with your body. Some low-quality shorts may look good from the outside but they may end up being extremely uncomfortable when you are out on the road. Generally, the more expensive the shorts, the better the quality of fabric.
- Freedom of movement: Cycling should be a fluid and easy motion with no restrictions from the clothing you are wearing. In relation to the above two points, a quality fabric that works with your body movements whilst cycling will be the most comfortable. Again, a higher quality pair of shorts will form to your body better when in the cycling position.
- Padding: This is a careful area of consideration. More padding is not always better. Whilst this may seem counter-intuitive, a pair of shorts with padding that is too thick can result in potential ‘bunching’ of padding in sensitive areas, which can lead to nasty chaffing and increased pressure, resulting in saddle sores.
- Bib shorts: Always choose bib shorts (think of old-school suspenders in lycra). There are many reasons why bib shorts are better than standard shorts.
- Nobody wants to see your bum crack whilst riding
- Bib shorts never ‘fall down’ when riding so the chamois stays where it is supposed to
- They just fit better over your bum so they don’t leave you looking like you might have had an embarrassing accident in your shorts
Personally, my favourite shorts are my Assos S7 shorts. Whilst they are expensive, the investment has already paid for itself tenfold. The padding conforms to your crotch and I have never experienced any bunching or chafing from these shorts. Whilst they’re not as well known, my De Marchi shorts are also serving me well, and whilst a little heavier than my Assos, the fit around the shoulders is akin to my Assos pair. I have trialled many cycling shorts over the years and I can say that a comfortable pair of shorts will make your ride so much more enjoyable.
Take the plunge and invest in a good pair of cycling shorts – your bum will thank you for it.
By Ricky Swindale – Pushys Sponsored Athlete