Although Cycling is one of the best ways to have fun while getting some exercise, like all other sports, it can also take a toll on your body.
This toll comes in the form of soreness in your muscles and body, especially your butt and thighs. This is a natural effect of cycling, as you place most of your body’s weight on two small bones in your pelvis, and it takes time for your body to adjust to the strain and positions.
In this article, we’ll answer your questions on whether your butt and body will get used to cycling with time (And how long will it take), reasons why they hurt, how to stop your bum from hurting, and how you can treat a sore bum.
Will My Bum Get Used to Cycling?
Your bum and thighs will get used to cycling, but this is not something that will happen in a day or week, but over a long period of time and with constant cycling.
Like with most physical activities, the soreness and pain that you feel after using your bicycle will fade after the muscles in your body adjust to your bike and to cycling.
Why Does My Bike Seat Hurt So Bad? (3 Reasons)
There are a couple of reasons why your bike seat could hurt so bad and feel uncomfortable.
1- Adjustment Problem
If the problem is that your current saddle needs to be adjusted, it could be causing you pain for several reasons. These reasons include:
1- The angle of your saddle is off
2- The saddle isn’t level
3- The saddle is too high or too low
4- The fabric or padding is worn or not correctly fitted
2- Wrong Saddle
The cause of the pain could also be that the saddle itself is a bad fit for you.
This could mean that the saddle’s structure, padding, and shape are not providing the support you need to have a comfortable cycling experience.
3- Wrong Position
One reason could also be that you are positioning yourself wrongly on the saddle.
You aren’t meant to rest your full weight on your saddle and sit bones. Instead, it should be distributed and supported by the pelvis/saddle, hands/handlebars, and your feet/pedals.
The best way to be sure about the cause of saddle problem is to go to the nearest bike store or mechanic. They can also help you adjust the seat and have new saddles in store if you need a replacement.
3 Effects of Cycling on Bum & Thighs
Cycling has various effects on the body that can feel painful and uncomfortable, especially if you are a newbie to strenuous physical activity and cycling.
Most of these revolve around the bum/saddle area. Let’s talk about the effects cycling can have on your bum and upper thighs:
1- It Can Cause Loss of Sensation in the Perineum
The perineum is a region of the body that contains the arteries and nerves that supply blood flow and oxygen to the private parts of men and women.
According to Harvard Medical School, When you sit on a bicycle saddle, you place pressure on the perineum, which compresses those nerves and arteries. (Source)
This can be very dangerous as it causes loss of sensation due to reduced blood and oxygen flow and can lead to erectile dysfunction and arousal problems.
When the skin in your upper thighs and bum rub against the bicycle saddle during cycling and are not adequately protected with the proper clothing, it can lead to chafing.
This leads to redness and irritation in the skin and can be very uncomfortable. However, Chafing can be prevented.
If not treated immediately, it can also lead to bacterial infections and other skin issues.
3- Soreness in Your Butt and Thighs
This results from 2 factors:
A- Whole Weight on Sit Bones
In cycling, soreness is very common because most of your body’s weight is put on two small bones in the pelvis. (Source) This is prevalent in people who are not usually physically active or fit and people who are new to cycling.
The body is not used to supporting your weight with just those muscles and will adjust with time.
Like with all other forms of physical activity, cycling brings on a lot of sweating. When you have this sweating and rubbing of the skin in your upper thighs and bum against the bicycle saddle, there is the possibility of saddle sores forming. (Source)
These are painful lesions that come in the form of boils or pimples and are usually an indication of skin infection in that area. Saddle sores typically occur where there is severe chafing that has been left untreated.
How Long Does It Take To Get Used to the Bike Saddle?
We’ve mentioned that it takes time for your body to get used to supporting your weight on the sit bones of your pelvis, but how long exactly does it take? A few weeks of constant cycling.
However, even this depends on a few things:
If you cycle more than is needed when you have your first few rides and take long rides without breaks, you might experience some pretty bad pain, which can make it take longer for your body to adjust.
It might take longer for you if you are also a complete novice at cycling and strenuous physical activity.
Tip: Try to take a break between each ride, especially if you take long rides.
If you want to speed up the adjustment process, try taking minute breaks during rides to adjust to a more comfortable position and add in stretches before and after your rides.
Also, avoid longer rides at a go until you are more experienced and more comfortable in the saddle.
How Do I Stop My Bum from Hurting When Cycling?
There are a couple of methods you can try. We’ll look at three that are easy and affordable!
1- Try Saddle Padding and Appropriate Cycling Wear
You can add an extra layer of padding to your saddle so that it is more comfortable and supportive to your sit bones.
Also, loose-fitting cycling wear doesn’t protect you from rubbing skin and chafing, so you should get some tight-fitting bib shorts that will protect your bum and thighs and give you a more comfortable experience.
2-Try Taking Breaks during Rides
This is especially important if you take long rides at a stretch. Taking a break to stand and stretch every 10 minutes can do wonders for your bum.
It can help relieve the pressure on your tissues, restore circulation to your pelvis area, and prevent pain, chafing, and other injuries.
3- Adjust Your Riding Position
It is crucial that you try out various cycling positions on your saddle to discover which is the most comfortable for you.
When doing this, you must remember not to rest your full weight on the saddle. Choose a position that distributes your weight evenly but also feels comfortable.
How to Treat a Sore Bum from Cycling (4 Tips)
Here are a few tips that you can use to treat your sore bum, alleviate that pain, and protect against future soreness and irritation.
1- Keep the Area Clean: This is the most important thing you need to do. Showers and rinses will get rid of bacteria and clear sweat buildups so that it heals faster and prevents the problem from worsening. (Source)
2- Sudocrem: This is a common antiseptic healing cream that works well to treat saddle sores and hasten the healing process. Using it will also help soothe your sore bum and make you feel more comfortable. (Source)
3- Get Fitting Bib Shorts and Cycling Clothes: Ensure that they are breathable, as this will go a long way in preventing soreness and pain in the future.
4- Chamois cream: Chamois cream is great to prevent a sore bum from getting worse and provide more comfort for you when cycling.
It reduces friction and has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties to protect against bacteria.
Is a Wide Bike Seat More Comfortable?
Generally, a wider bike seat is more comfortable as it provides more support and comfort than its narrower counterparts. However, this is relative to the cyclist, their sit bones, and the type of cycling they do.
Also, if a bike seat is too wide, it can be just as problematic as if the seat was too narrow.
The best thing you can do is to try out narrow as well as a wider bike seat and choose one that is more comfortable for you.
The soreness, irritation, and pain may sound scary and feel very uncomfortable, but once your body has adjusted to the rigor of cycling and you understand how to protect yourself from these issues, you will get to experience the joy of cycling.
It can be very enjoyable and a fun way to get in a little bit of work out. So stick with it, apply our advice for that sore bum, and soon you’ll be comfortably enjoying your bike rides like a pro.