How to Avoid a Numb Bum When Cycling
Having a numb bum is never fun. You can never predict when and where it’s going to happen, but when it does occur, it’s pretty much game over. And if you've been there then you'll have bad memories of the pure pain of what a saddle can do. Cyclists have compared it to some sort of ancient torture method.
However, cycling shouldn't be a pain in the bum (...yes pun intended).
On a bike, a cyclist’s body is supported by 3 contact points–hands, feet and the crotch. Along with constant downward pressure into the saddle, it can cause cyclists to suffer numbness, overall genital pain and discomfort. And that’s never a fun thing to experience. So here's 5 ways to try and avoid a numb bum when cycling!
Adjust your bike fit
From the get-go, it’s important that your bike is set up to fit your body because it ensures that you'll ride in proper alignment, which reduces the likelihood of injuries and will make your experience way more comfortable.
Start off by standing next to your bike with your hands on your hip bones and setting your seat to that height. If your seat is too high, you’ll rock your hips as you ride, causing chaffing in your downstairs area across the nose of your saddle.
Also, if you can adjust how far the seat is from the handlebars, then place your elbow at the tip of the saddle and shift the seat forward so it's a forearm's distance from the handlebars. If the seat is too near the rear wheel, you’ll tend to sit on the narrow part of the saddle nose, trying to reach the handlebars and if the seat is too close to the handlebars, your knees bash into them when your legs move.
Or maybe, tilt down. Changing saddle tilt is an easy, one or two wrench job. Adjust so the widest part of your saddle, supports your weight mostly on your two "sit bones"–the bones that hold you up if you’re perched on the corner of a table.
If your saddle is tilted too far back, it can put pressure on the soft tissue at the front. But be careful - if you tilt it too far forward, you can find yourself sliding off the saddle, and resisting that with excess pressure on your hands. For most people, the top of the saddle should be roughly level, but experiment to see what works for you. A small change can make a massive difference!
Get kitted up
It’s time to bite the bullet, loosen the pennies and get a pair of proper cycling shorts. The price of them might shock you at first but they’re a cost-effective move because they’re a life changer.
The lycra fabric used for cycling shorts gives maximum breathability and exceptional compression to avoid any uncomfortable bumps or wrinkles and reduces the amount of sweat. Padding has a similar effect by providing comfort and critical support to never-regions with its adaptive super-soft cushioning.
Want to know more about cycling shorts? Check out our blog post, telling you everything you need to know about cycling shorts for more information and click to shop our Men's & Women's padded cycling shorts
For most cyclists, doing a 35 miles flat bike trail means at least three hours of sitting. That's three hours of pressure, reduced blood flow and perhaps sweat on your nether parts. It’s similar to how you would feel sitting on a 3-hour car journey. So why not, do your bum a favour and stand up once in a while. Stand up on the pedals and take the pressure off your behind. You can stand while coasting down any little hill, stand while climbing a hill, stand and pedal even if there is no hill and, of course, you can stop the bike and stand up for a rest. But do stand up to let some blood and air circulate! Trust us, it really helps!
Time to grease up
Or maybe, powder up. We know this doesn't directly deal with bum numbness, but saddle soreness can be just as painful and can add to discomfort you're facing in the saddle. Some saddle soreness comes not from pressure on the wrong bits, but from chafing. Some riders apply skin creams, petroleum jelly, medicated ointments, or baby powder to reduce friction. But if chafing is part of your problem, lubrication means less friction and less pain.