Beating saddle sores

Beating saddle sores

Posted by Ben Baker on Jul 3rd 2017

When it comes to the things we don't like about riding, saddle sores are not something that usually tops the list. Until experienced that is.

Saddle sores are created by pressure or chafing from sitting in one place too long. It's the same thing as bed sores. These days it's more common for bicycle riders, because of the configuration of that tiny seat, but it can hit anyone who rides on two or three wheels. Horses and horse riders can also get them.

The best way to not get saddle sores is to ride more. Over time, your body will become accustomed to the pressure points and make adjustments. It's like playing guitar. Eventually, you'll get calluses on your fingers.

"People with a high butt/short back tend to feel pain at two points, the bony ends of the lower rear section of the pelvis known as the ischium. This double bun-ache also results from poor riding posture, when your weight is carried forward over the saddle. Low butts, and those who sit back or bolt upright, seem to get a centered ache since the coccyx (what's left of our discarded tail) grinds into the seat. The nerve pain some riders encounter down the back of the left leg, is the result of coccyx-supported posture," writes Jamie Elvidge  from Cruiser.

In the meantime, here are some tips to help you cope with butt pain.http://www.motorcyclecru...

Stand Up

You have pegs or floorboards. Stand up for a bit. Get some blood moving. Pressure point sores are created in part by a lack of blood flow. You know how to stop bleeding? Apply pressure. No blood, no bleeding. That also means the flesh there is not getting a blood supply. Bad news.

Standing up is also going to take some strain off your back. Not all the strain, but it will redistribute what is there.

"First, things that you can DO include moving around a lot. Change your seating position. Stretch your legs. Stretch your arms. Stand up on the pegs. Move your wrists and ankles to the limits slowly, turning and twisting. Stretch your calves. Stretch your neck. Work your fingers. Almost anything you do will help," says MotorcycleBob at Vagabond Journey.

Change the saddle

The standard seat on many rides is not the most comfortable thing in the world. Aftermarket saddles provide more comfort and more support. If you go this route, try to find some rides with a custom seat and sit on them. Decide which you like best and get that.

Another option is a seat pad. This straps over your existing saddle. It adds padding at crucial points. Elvidge's article above takes a look, a road-tested look, at some seat pads.


Yeah, it may not be the manliest of things, but various powders will stop the chafing. Some anti-chafing sticks (think antiperspirant or deodorant). You can spend a fortune on commercial products that claim to have added medications to reduce soreness. Just go to the kitchen and get some corn starch. It does the exact same thing and is a lot cheaper.

This article at a website for cyclers points out a lot of the anti-chafe powders contain corn starch. While the advice is for pedal pushers, it translates directly across for those on steel steeds.

Padded shorts

Bicycle riders will wear padded shorts. This puts extra cushions on the points where saddle sores are most likely to happen. Some companies are producing underwear designed for motorcycle riders too.

These undergarments are most used by the Motocross riders. They need some extra cushion.

Too Late

So it's too late and you've got saddle sores. You're going to have to take a break and let things heal. You can get some spray on or roll on pain relief to help you cope in the meantime.

If you have to keep riding, then you'll need to stand up, take more frequent breaks and move around more to keep the matter from getting worse.

Iron Butt

When you reach the point you can do 1,000 miles in a single ride, join the Iron Butt Association. It's not going to do anything about saddle sores, but you do join a group of riders who proved tough enough for the journey.

Back Pain

If you need help dealing with back pain, check out MadMoto's article at The Hub.