Saddle sores

by joe24773   August 25, 2010  

In order to save money I started commuting the 17 odd miles to work a few months ago on an old Pashley Roadsters that my brother lent me. I looked a bit of a prat but loved it and after sticking to it for 6 weeks or so decided that I'd earned the right to but a new bike to speed up the journey and make it easier.
So I bought a Ridgeback Horizon and well, it's a lovely bike and my ride to work is both quicker and easier.

Only problem is comfort. My hands ache after 20 minutes and the saddle kills me. Will this wear off in time? is it worth investing in a new saddle or are they all the same? I'm new to all this and am concerned that I might just be being a bit weedy.

12 user comments

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If your getting sore hands and ar.. saddle then its possible your position on the bike is causing the issue. The pashley is a very sit-up position and the horizon a bit more stretched so consider taking it back to the shop and ask them about setting it up to be more comfortable, maybe raising the bars a touch or adjusting the seat. Of course it could be the type of saddle and grips that are casuing you pain, they are easilly swapped and there are a HUGE amount of options, so we can only reccomend what suits us and it may not suit you.

I run Ergon grips (they are made by a number on companies) that have support for your palm, lessening the pressure on your hands. For saddles a lovely Brooks leather model suit my posterior perfectly, and as they are common on pashley's perhaps they suit you too?

EDIT: p.s. Kudos on doing that sort of distance on the Pashley! good effort!

STATO's picture

posted by STATO [410 posts]
25th August 2010 - 17:10

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Thanks for the tips STATO.
I do like Brooks saddles, just that I'll have to save a bit before getting one. I'll look into the Ergon grips as well.
Cheers.

BikeBloke

posted by joe24773 [14 posts]
26th August 2010 - 9:53

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Obvious question, but are you wearing mitts? If not, buy a pair, close fit but not too tight with cushioning in the palm area, and you will notice a huge difference, particularly if you're covering that distance each day. I know I did after buying my first pair a few months after taking up cycling way back when.

Also, depends on changing facilities etc available to you, but if you're not wearing cycling shorts, think about it, even if you stick them on under a pair of longer shorts - I do (and as a result I'm unsure whether or not I'm a MAMIL. Maybe I belong to the covert ops unit) Wink

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7894 posts]
26th August 2010 - 10:27

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if your hands are aching you definitely want to try adjusting your balance of weight, Stato's right. it sounds like a shorter/higher stem might help, and you could try double wrapping your bars or fitting tape with gel inserts.

saddles are a very personal thing but the Charge Spoon is worth a punt, it's (almost) universally liked and not expensive. you'll have no trouble selling it on if it doesn't suit Smile

one other question: what do you wear to ride? if you don't have shorts with some kind of padding (don't have to be lycra!) and some decent gloves, then both those things will help a lot.

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7252 posts]
26th August 2010 - 10:32

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Simon, sounds like you're a middle aged chap mounted in comfort hiding an extra layer, or MACMICHAEL Big Grin

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7252 posts]
26th August 2010 - 10:36

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Thanks for the tip chaps!
As i said, I'm new to all this so hadn't thought about mitts and padded shorts. I usually just wear ¾ length shorts and a t-shirt, then get changed in the office loo. I actually tried wearing two pairs of underpants today (why am I admitting to this?) and it did make a differnece so padded shorts, "escodidos" like Simon, sounds like a good idea. Smile

BikeBloke

posted by joe24773 [14 posts]
26th August 2010 - 16:39

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altura and endura both make good baggies with liners if you don't want lycra, the endura humvees are especially good

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7252 posts]
26th August 2010 - 17:26

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Good on you, and kudos for doing it on a Pashley. The Ridgeback should be a good choice.

Saddles are a personal thing. I couldn't get comfy on the stock perch on my Giant SCR road bike but I've tried two Specialized BG models (both MTB saddles as it happens) and a WTB Devo and all 3 have been an improvement. I bought them all secondhand on ebay so didn't splash out much in case I found they were no better.

Padded shorts (with nothing underneath) are a must for any distance. Swap them regularly as clean shorts and clean skin are essential to avoid sores. Lusso shorts are good value, High on Bikes were selling the basic 6 panel for about £14 and the Pro 20 for a bit more the last time I looked, again on ebay. I wear Endura coolmax undershorts beneath my Altura cruisers as I prefer this to lycra underneath the tights, and no bare knees below 15 degrees. Apply Sudocrem daily, either to the skin or the pad of your shorts. Branded chamois cream (Assos, DZ etc) are effectively the same thing but cost more.

I often ride without mitts. Although they help, I suspect your discomfort may not be entirely down to the absence of gloves - it could be the way you're holding the bars or hoods, for instance. Also, have you tried running a lower pressure in the tyres? 60-80 psi is more comfortable than the rock hard feeling of 100+.

You may have realised by now that commuting by bike is not really a good way to save money. Once you start replacing or upgrading components, buy several sets of good quality cycle clothing and shoes plus a second bike for best and relegated your main steed to status of 'winter hack' the bank account is not looking so good. And that's before you get adding up the extra food you'll need! But I guarantee it will make you happier and healthier than putting £50 in the fuel tank every few days. Cool

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posted by Simon E [1902 posts]
3rd September 2010 - 0:21

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Maybe you could examine the angle of the handlebar grips as your palms meet them. Just rotating the bars will give subtle changes in angle which may ease the pressure on (for example) the heel of your palm.

posted by Joe Hunt [10 posts]
12th September 2010 - 20:47

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The pashley is an upright bike without drops
The horizon is a touring bike with drops

The horizon has a Selle Italia FLX saddle and the pashley probably has something like a Brooks B67

Basically, in terms of the contact points for the two bikes it's about as unalike as possible

Also if you are putting too much weight on your hands the bike might be too long, maybe you have the wrong size

Stuff you could do:

Raise the bars on the horizon, possibly by getting a cheap adjustable stem

Drop the nose of the saddle on the horizon slightly

Pedal harder. This will move weight off your backside and hands

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posted by vorsprung [285 posts]
13th September 2010 - 13:17

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Thanks everyone for all the great feedback.

It could be that the frame is a little to big - I got a 60cm (I'm 6'2") but as I have long legs and comparatively short arms this probably means that I'm stretched out a lot more than I should be. I don't really know as I'm new to this. I didn't get a proper fitting as I bought from Evans over the internet. Probably false economy, I know.

I will dfinitely try the cream (chafing is actually a problem I was too embarrassed to mention!) and get some proper shorts and mits. I'll have to get some lights soon as well as autumn draws on....and waterproofs etc.

Oh well, I'm still saving money and hey, I love it.

BikeBloke

posted by joe24773 [14 posts]
13th September 2010 - 13:45

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joe24773 wrote:
Thanks everyone for all the great feedback.

It could be that the frame is a little to big - I got a 60cm (I'm 6'2") but as I have long legs and comparatively short arms this probably means that I'm stretched out a lot more than I should be. I don't really know as I'm new to this. I didn't get a proper fitting as I bought from Evans over the internet. Probably false economy, I know.

I will dfinitely try the cream (chafing is actually a problem I was too embarrassed to mention!) and get some proper shorts and mits. I'll have to get some lights soon as well as autumn draws on....and waterproofs etc.

Oh well, I'm still saving money and hey, I love it.

That size bike should be ok. A bit of a push but then again I ride XL bikes (60cm road and 21" MTB) and I'm only 3" taller than you. You might want to check your layout - first make sure your saddle is at the right height, as are your handlebars. For more info on how to determine this, and much MUCH more, go to www.sheldonbrown.com. You should aim for a slightly more upright position for commuting as it is not only more comfortable, but it is also safer as your head is a bit higher allowing increased visibility for both you and motorists.

You mention that you have proportionally shorter arms, so you may want too look into reducing the length of your stem and raising your bars a bit. This will move your centre of gravity back a bit and reduce the amount of pressure on your wrists.

As for the saddle, I cannot stress enough how important it is to get measured. Specialized have what they call the Ass-o-meter which measures the width of your seat bones, which is where your weight rests, not your buttocks as commonly perceived (which is why so many are mislead into thinking that wider saddles are better). Once you know your seat width, look for a saddle made for that width and your seating style (e.g. Racing saddles are for very forward dynamic seating position, and MTB are for a more upright commuter friendly position).

Oh, and from experience, for wet weather you would be best served by mudguards and neoprene booties (most front mudguards are too short and your shoes will get soaking wet).

posted by Ciclismo [19 posts]
21st September 2010 - 11:16

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