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    • I have just started cycling again after an inactive period of c. 20 years. In my teens I would cycle for miles with pals, over hill and down dale. We would scream down the steepest hills in the area, without regard for life or limb. It was all good.

      Then, other things came along, and I put aside childish things.

      Now, in common with many middle aged chaps stuck in pandemic lock-down, I am starting to ride my bicycle again.

      But here we get to the problem at hand; it hurts.

      Seriously, I can only move a few yards before the pain in my backside gets unbearable. When I was young, my saddle had the density of wrought iron. Nowadays my gel seat gives no apparent protection.

      Can any of the esteemed Cake cycling community advise how I can resolve this problem, and allow me to enjoy long rides again?

      Short of painting my "undercarriage" with vinegar, or similar, I am prepared to do whatever it takes.

    • This may sound a tad bit crude, but there's a few variables at play here and part of what you seek is in riding more.

      First and foremost is saddle fit. Saddle technology has come a LONG way since you last rode and there are innumerable saddle manufacturers out there that provide a fitting chart or template to measure the width of your sit bones and find the appropriate saddle width/density for your body. SQLab, Ergon, just to name a couple that really dial in their fit.

      Secondly there is, unfortunately, the issue of strengthening your nether regions to sitting on a saddle for longer time periods. Some of that strength comes from just riding often and building up tolerance in that area of the body to sitting on a saddle. Once you have the correct saddle width and type; that becomes easier.

      There are, of course, accessories and gear that will aid you. I always recommend a VERY good chamois pad in a set of cycling specific shorts or bibs. My favorite being ASSOS, but there are a number of bib manufacturers out there that come equipped with very comfortable chamois'. Pearl Izumi, Rapha, Castelli, et al Not all chamois pads are created equal, so a little research into the varying levels of pad will go a long way.

      Then there is the addition of chamois cream or powder. This supplement is strictly designed to reduce skin-skin friction in your nether regions. Chamois cream works to add viscosity to your skin surface and allow everything to move as freely as possible. Anytime you put the body into a semi-restricted plane of motion; it's going to create points of friction and all sports have their plethora of balms, creams, powders, etc... to aid in the reduction of friction. Powders are okay... but won't last as long as creams and with the new revelations about the correlation between Talc and Asbestos; I'd caution against putting common OTC powders on your twig-n-berries.

      If you have selected a proper saddle, are wearing a very good chamois, and the bike fits your physical proportions; saddle soreness should abate pretty quickly. I ride in the thousands of miles per year with many rides/races pushing into the double digit of hours on a saddle and typically only put chamois cream on for rides that extend beyond 2 hours.

      To keep it simple, ride more; there will be discomfort for awhile until your body adapts, but there should not be pain.

    • Thanks for the forthright response. All good and informative. I never even considered that I could change saddles - as you say, this was not even a consideration 20 years ago. And "sit bones"? Another new idea.

      As for:

      I'd caution against putting common OTC powders on your twig-n-berries

      That sounds like good general advice. I shall put the vinegar away....

    • I agree with @Ridge that probably the best solution is to make sure of your saddle fit (height and width) and then to ride more and let yourself become accustomed to riding again. I will assume that you already know that when it comes to long rides, a stiffer saddle is better, so I would ditch the gel covering for your saddle. If you are starting to feel uncomfortable shortly in to the ride, then just stick with it for a little bit longer. When I switched to a Brooks leather saddle, I discovered that about three or four kilometres into my ride my butt would get a little sore, but after another kilometre or two the discomfort would go away and then I'd have no problems for the rest of the ride. Now that I've been using the Brooks for a long time, I don't feel any discomfort at all.

    • Too funny, I have just done the same, but for me its been 30+ years. I first went for a ride with a friend that was running. Nice and leisurely on a bike at his running pace, did this a few times until I got bored with the slowness.

      So I then had a look on google maps and clicked on the bicycle tab to highlight all the areas with tracks and lanes. (shown below)

      I set out a route, approx 12 miles and early in the morning took off figuring an arbitary time of 60 minutes and I'd be home. In less than a mile, my legs were burning, I made the whole loop, it took 100 minutes, but my legs felt like I'd being doing 600lbs squats, and I know what that feels like cause I used to do 600lb squats!

      Next day I went out again, i was a little quicker 95 minutes but still the badly aching legs even though I wasn't really pushing it.

      So I asked a cycling friend for suggestions and they said are you using the Kops, Holmes or the inside leg method? eh!

      They sent me a link to a video, (below) and told me to watch, they also told me to start the ride very slowly, even though it's easy keep it easy and thoroughly let the legs warm up, and contact them again if I needed more help.

      This morning I rode that same loop, saddle hight set using the Holmes method with the saddle in the correct position, didn't feel like I was working any harder, my legs feel good and as a bonus I beat my arbitary time and did the 12 miles in 59 minutes, yay me!

      Not sure if this will help you but it certainly helped me

    • Thanks; that really is very useful. Although I am going to have to get used to a certain level of discomfort, paying attention to this sort of thing is bound to minimise my pain.

      It's a long way from the boy that rarely even oiled his chain or adjusted his brakes !

    • Ditch the gel seat, I have a seat similar to this and can easily do a 50km ride, and I'm only a social rider.

      I find the gel seats don't let you move easily and if you stop in the sun the gel heats up, the heat makes you sweat.

    • Funny thing...just came back from ride that was just under 110 kilometres. While everything was fine during the ride — as in there was no discomfort or soreness coming from the saddle or anything around there — I noticed while I was in the shower that the skin of my nether regions was a little sore. I don't usually use chamois cream but I do once in a while. I use it so infrequently, however, that I don't usually think of it. Apparently the ride today was one ride where I should have thought of it beforehand!

    • At my stage of cycling, if I went on a 110 km ride I would be more than a little sore. As a former hockey coach might advise,

      "Don't rub 'em - count 'em)"

      Looks like I will be getting some cream too, then..

    • Keep at it and you'll get there someday. I have found that a lot of cycling is in the head. Riding long distances or doing hard climbs is more mental than physical. Our minds tends to give up before the body does.

    • I would add stand up every 10 minutes or so and allow the blood to flow. Stand and pedal or stand and coast for maybe 20-25 seconds. Also expect it to take a half dozen rides to get used to even a seat that fits you. Once your butt is used to things then you’ll get the neck and shoulder pain. The. Hands. Body needs time to adapt.

    • I won’t disagree but will just add that I’ve encountered more riders than you’d think that do not have the confidence to stand on the pedals. Not that it applies here... but it surprises me every time I get that pushback.

    • That is true of beginner riders. I encourage them to learn to stand while pedalling while going slow up easy grade hills. I guess they could also just stand and coast slow to practice as well.