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How To Avoid Pain From a Bicycle Seat

By Andrea Cespedes

A numb, painful behind is not an inevitable side effect of cycling. Proper setup, appropriate clothing, adequate break-in time and technique can all help alleviate pain in the rear. If these measures don’t work, you may consider trading in your saddle for a different model that features a raised, padded area to better distribute weight and a groove to allow for the perineum, the area between your sit bones, to rest.

Get It Right

If your bike seat is too high, it may cause you to reach for the pedals, rock side to side -- creating chafing -- and put undue pressure on your perineum. A saddle that is tipped too far forward in the front or too far down can also be a source of discomfort. Have a bicycle fitter, usually working at your local cycling shop, examine your setup and help you determine the optimal fit. Make sure your saddle is made for you -- a woman will suffer on a narrow seat designed for a man, while a man will usually find the wider design of women's seats painful. Where the handlebars are placed can also be a cause of numbness and saddle soreness. Play with a higher or lower stem to help put some weight in your upper body and take it away from your backside.

Do Your Time

Always wear clean shorts with a chamois pad and add a lubricant cream made especially for cyclists to ease saddle sores. Work up to long rides gradually. Leather saddles tend to mold and fit your backside better over time. Your buttocks and sit bones also become more accustomed to the position. How you ride is also of importance. Women who ride in a dropped position can experience numbness and pain in the pelvic region after an hour or two; switching to a saddle that has a shorter nose may help alleviate this problem. Getting up and out of the seat to pedal for short periods during a ride also provides relief.

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