Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ten Short Rules to Prevent Saddle Sores

Peaks Coaching Group Ten Short Rules Prevent Saddlesores

This may be a rudimentary topic, but it's one we all deal with, and after many years on the bike and a massive quantity of miles in my legs, I have learned by trial and error the importance of the proper cleaning and preservation of our cycling shorts (and the preservation of our buttocks!). Here are my ten “short” tips to prevent those unpleasant saddle sores.

1.    Find padded shorts that are comfortable and fit you well. Don’t settle; try different styles until you find the one that works. (More padding isn't always better.) The old adage holds true here, too: you get what you pay for. Generally the more expensive shorts are more comfortable. If you have shorts that aren't great but you don’t want to toss, read on to rule number 2.

2.    Chamois crème is gold! The more miles you ride, the more it becomes part of your daily routine to add comfort and prevent chafing. My preferred slather is Chamois Butt’r Euro Style (it contains witch hazel and menthol, both of which help fight fungal and bacterial issues). Assos Chamois Crème is another good option.

3.    Get out of your shorts as soon as the ride is over. Sitting around in sweaty shorts is bound to lead to saddle sores and other nasty conditions.

4.    Wash your shorts inside out after every ride, the sooner the better! Shorts left in a waterproof bag will blossom with bacteria.

5.    Wash your Lycra shorts with regular detergent (or a specific sports wash) in cold or warm water.  Bacteria is tough to kill, though; detergent doesn’t always do the job, and the water needs to be 140-150 degrees Fahrenheit in order to kill bacteria, which is pretty hot for our expensive shorts. So the trick is in the drying.

6.    Air dry your shorts inside out. Drying them outside in the sun is best, but on overcast days, air drying in a well-ventilated room will do. Occasionally, if the weather has been sunless for a long time, I’ll put mine in the hot dryer just to kill bacteria.

7.    Every once in a while, add half a cup of white vinegar (in addition to the detergent) to the wash cycle with your shorts. This will kill bacteria, and it’s anti-fungal and anti-smell.

8.    Never let your shorts sit in the washing machine for more than sixty minutes (or even thirty minutes), because they can pick up other washing machine bacteria. If they sit longer than an hour, rewash them.

9.    Occasionally run your washing machine through an entire cycle with nothing in it but a cup of bleach. This will get rid of lingering bacteria in the machine itself.

10.    All of the rules above will work with all standard nylon cycling clothes except specialty products like wool, Gore-Tex, and other waterproof, breathable shells. For those materials be sure to follow the manufacturers’ instructions.

Photo: the backsides of Hunter, Tim, Scott, and Brig in Mallorca, Spain

Author Kathy Watts

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