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suggestions for chafing?
 Moderated by: velobella, EmilyKurze  

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beth h
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 Posted: Sun Jul 4th, 2010 02:07 am

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Not sure where else to bring this but since it may relate to product I figure I'll post it here.

I am seeking advice for a woman of size (you've seen pictures of me and I'd say she has at least 50 lbs on me) who doesn't ride much but who would like to ride more.
Chafing is the primary issue. It doesn't matter whether she's wearing street clothes or biking shorts, she still gets considerable chafing in her nether-regions and has to stop riding after about seven or eight miles. Then she can't ride for a couple of days while she waits for the chafing to subside.

Secondary issue is that she cannot seem to be comfortable on her saddle. This relates both to her weight and to a considerable hiatus from riding (some eight or nine months totally off the bike). She is very wide-hipped and well-endowed. And of course, discussions around size are sensitive and challenging. She knows she needs to lose weight but that will take a long time (for medical reasons) and she wants to start riding more NOW.

Current saddle, after a five-year search of various models, is a Brooks B-68. She says that when she was riding more often before it was the most comfortable saddle ever. Then she took all that time off the bike. Now she cannot sit on the Brooks without a fake lamb's wool padded slipcover on it, which helps but not enough. Very soft, gel saddles feel "awful", she says it feels like she'll slip off the saddle. And the saddle has to be wide enough for her sits-bones.

Bike is pictured below so you get an idea of what we're working with. Current rides include errands downtown and trips to the local farmers' markets, most of which are within five miles of our house. She'd like to do longer recreational rides on the weekend, perhaps 15 to 20 miles, without chafing, pain or other discomfort.

Suggestions of all kinds would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


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Last edited on Sun Jul 4th, 2010 02:08 am by

bunny
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 Posted: Sun Jul 4th, 2010 10:24 pm

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I'm no expert, but I'll pass on a few pieces of advice.

First of all, she should NEVER ride without a good chamois.  First, it needs to be a good pad.  But, secondly, it needs to be placed well.  I've tried on plenty of high quality shorts, but when I bend over in riding position and check back there, my sitz bones are on the egde of the chamois, or on the thinner part of it, or some other inappropriate place.  So I don't buy those! 

Next is some good chamois cream.  Really anything is better than nothing.

Next is that she shouldn't ride past the point of no return on her chafing.  Pushing it will not make it better.  Stop before it's at the point where she can't ride again the next day.

Tell her to stand frequently when riding, just for 6-10 pedal strokes.  Let's some circulation back in the pressure points.  It's easy to remember to do this once it hurts, but it makes a big difference to do it before it hurts.  On our tandem we have a rule that every time we stop at a stop sign, or make a turn onto another road, etc that we have to stand.  Just cuz we're stupid and forget otherwise!

Lastly, take her into whatever local bike shop is the one that gives the best service and knows their stuff.  If they are a good shop, they will let her test drive new saddles until she finds what works for her.  And I'd suggest she try a cutout saddle if she hasn't tried one yet.

Good luck!  I hate it when my butt (and other soft parts) hurt more than my legs!

Bunny

beth h
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 Posted: Sun Jul 4th, 2010 11:32 pm

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This is a great set of suggestions. Thanks so much! --B

vicmjones
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 Posted: Mon Jul 5th, 2010 06:11 am

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I'll second the cut out saddle it did wonders for me.

kzoo_swmmr
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 Posted: Mon Jul 5th, 2010 01:57 pm

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Hi!  I agree with cutout saddle (try several styles, men's and women's), and trial and error for finding "the right" pair of shorts.  (It took me forever to find short/chamois combo that really worked well.)

But there are other things that might help ... especially a good bike fit!  Looking at the photo, the saddle is angled up.  Try leveling the saddle first (so that the nose of the saddle is parallel with the ground) & see if that helps.  Pointing the nose ever so slightly down is another option that could change the ever-so-critical contact points.

If you have a local bike shop that offers bike fit, or an experienced cycling friend who can help with bike fit, it is time and money well spent.  As an example, I am just starting to set up a new bike for 'cross season...after the first ride I never wanted to see the saddle again; on ride 2, I switched to a slightly longer stem, which shifted my weight ever so slightly & (thankfully) changed the contact points on the saddle. 

Last idea ... while she is working out the cause of the chafing, try a layer of bodyglide followed by application of her chamois creme of choice (hoo ha rocks!).

Ggood luck!  With a little patience, I'm sure that your friend will find the right setup & be back riding with a huge smile on her face :)

beth h
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 Posted: Mon Jul 5th, 2010 04:18 pm

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Thanks!

The saddle's nose is up after a period of time with it pointing slightly down.
What hurts is intense contact with her sits bones. Tilting the saddle nose up changed the contact points slightly and offered some relief.

As for bike fit and such, we're working with a tight budget here and cannot afford a session even at a local bike shop (let alone a specialty studio), so we are trying a bunch of different saddles. Next step may be to lower the bars slightly (with a different stem), though that may place more pressure on her wrists than is wanted.

Through work I've ordered a pair of Andiamos in her size; I find that they work well for riding around town without having to don full lycra shorts, and they take chamois creme well. (I did a 4-hour Sunday Parkways shift on my cargo bike last week wearing Andiamos and a pair of baggy cotton shorts, and was fine.)

We're working on a trip to a high-end shop with lots of saddle choices next. Cheers --BH

beth h
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 Posted: Thu Jul 8th, 2010 06:09 am

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Update: Still working on the saddle issue, but three rides with the Hoo-Ha have greatly reduced the chafing. She wants a tube of her own. Thanks for all the good tips --BH

beth h
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 Posted: Thu Jul 8th, 2010 03:38 pm

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No problem at all. I had been asked to keep things general because she is VERY shy, especially about weight and exercise issues; but since it's had a positive outcome it's not a problem. Thanks! --bh


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