Why does my bike seat hurt and what can I do about it? Chances are you are struggling with this question as a novice or experienced cyclist.
If you’ve ever been on a bike, you’d be forgiven if you thought the seats were invented by some sort of bike-hating masochist.
Expecting us to perch on a narrow, uncushioned seat atop a two-wheel vehicle is less than reasonable.
Especially if we’re putting in a massive effort to get fitter.
The great news is that you can do something about it, and we’re here to help.
Whether you’re a newbie or putting your bottom to a seat is second nature, we’ve sourced some solutions to take the pain out of pleasure.
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Bike seats vary in shape and size, much like we do. There’s no one-size-fits-all alternative.
Have a look in your nearest bike shop and pay attention.
A larger cushioned seat doesn’t automatically mean it’s better than a more structured one.
Everything depends on your body and where your sit bones naturally settle onto the saddle.
You’ll have to try a few, so don’t feel you have to automatically settle with the seat you’re given.
Tip: Check our buying guide Best bike seats for big bottoms to discover the best saddles for people with a larger size.
Second tip: Read our related article How to choose bike seats and saddles as a plus-size cyclist to start your quest for a good bike saddle well informed.
Buy padded shorts for more convenience
Padded shorts are essential if you’ll be riding for any length of time.
We understand that you may be on a budget, and although there’s a lot of choice out there, we strongly recommend that you don’t skimp on this one.
The reason is simple: Your pants are the first barrier to pain.
They vary in thickness and mostly use foam pads, although you may find some made of gel.
If you’re starting out, you’re going to want lots of padding, especially if you’re planning on longer rides.
You might prefer thinner padding if you’re a triathlete who wears the same outfit for running, biking and swimming. The same goes for the more experienced rider.
Whichever it is, keep in mind that biking shorts are meant to be worn without underwear.
The extra layer triggers friction, and that’s something that you want to avoid.
Apply cream to minimize friction
It might feel strange to use a thin layer of cream straight onto your undercarriage or the inside padding of your shorts, but hear us out.
The cream offers a thin yet incredibly effective layer of protection between you and the seat, and will stop any potential discomfort before it even starts.
You don’t need it for a quick, 25-mile ride, but if you’re going to be out all day, or even multiple days, that cream can work miracles. Get it.
Gradually increase the quantity of time you are on the bike seat
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is your biking expertise.
We suggest that you develop at a somewhat slow pace. The more time you spend on the seat, the less pain you’ll endure.
Don’t start off your biking experience by going on a long trip. The same applies if you’re not a newbie but you’ve got a new seat.
Instead, build your tolerance gradually. Start off with short trips, and increase the distance over several weeks.
If you’ve taken our (tried and tested) advice, you’ll have got yourself a pair of great biking shorts.
And together with what we’ve suggested above, you’ll adapt faster and encounter much less discomfort.
This one’s easy to do. Standing up during a ride relieves discomfort by distributing the load on the muscles being used to other parts of your body.
Aim to stand up every 10 to 15 minutes for a couple of seconds to give your bottom a break.
Have your bike fitted to your body
If your seat is in a position that is too high or too low, your legs won’t be able to support your weight on the pedals.
This will put additional pressure on your seat to make up for it and that is something we’re trying to avoid.
The same goes for your seated position. Leaning too far front or back means that the connecting point position to your bike will be too uncomfortable.
Get properly fitted out for your new bike, and this won’t be a problem.
Why does my bike seat hurt? Conclusion
Why does my bottom hurt when riding my bike and how can I solve this problem? Have a look at the following tips below…
Just adjusting your bike’s seat, seat post, or handlebars will usually fix the problem, and this is your first go-to.
However, if your butt or crotch is hurting you even after a short ride, then these are the things to check:
- A misaligned saddle or seat post
- Improper handlebar positioning
- Simply being in the wrong position on the saddle
- A damaged or low-grade seat
- Poor or inappropriate saddle design/fit (if you are interested in buying a new bike seat, read how do I choose a bike seat? for great tips and the most important selection criteria).
- Excess fabric/body tissue between the saddle and your body