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Padded bike shorts... yes or no?

skinnyrev2bskinnyrev2b Member Posts: 370 Member Member Posts: 370 Member
Hey lovely peeps.
I'm one of the 'covid-cyclists' and loving it. Gradually upping my mileage and trying to ditch the car whilst doing it. Most rides have been less than an hour, and longest to date has been 9 miles. Not much, but taking it slowly...
The reason for the back story is that yesterday's 9 miler was awesome. Really fab. Today on the other hand, after a 35lt rucksack was filled with the weekly shop, I had to stop several times just to get some blood to my buttocks... Will this go away over time (been cycling 2-4 times a wk for about 2 months now) or do i really need to invest in padded shorts?
(Oh, hoping to eventually be able to commute 18 miles round trip to work).
Thanks in advance!
Gill
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Replies

  • anniep2711anniep2711 Member Posts: 5 Member Member Posts: 5 Member
    I've been biking for about a year and a half without them, but I've heard people say that they really make a huge difference. I'll probably give in and try them soon! My longest rides are only in the 20-30 mile range, though, and my butt does get a bit sore by the end.

    It's also worth taking a look at your bike seat. Padded bike seats feel comfier, but the padding can actually cut off blood flow - you may find that a harder seat, while less comfortable, helps a lot with the circulation issue.

    I've been told the ideal combo is hard seat + padded shorts. I get by fine with just the hard seat and regular leggings, but your mileage may vary!
  • myfp67myfp67 Member Posts: 27 Member Member Posts: 27 Member
    A hard seat with padded shorts is better than a soft seat.

    When you get to longer rides then you need to ditch underwear. Underwear has seams which cause friction burns and saddle sores - they are painful and can be dangerous.
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,755 Member Member Posts: 18,755 Member
    If this was your first 2 days in a row - that could easily be it.

    That aspect of one day after another will go away eventually as sit bones and muscles under them get used to it.

    Padded bike shorts or under shorts (so you can wear them with whatever other shorts you want to wear) can help for sure with many of the reasons. Same as padded gloves to help against road vibration can help stop tingling fingers.

    If you've been doing day after day rides already, other subtle differences could have been the reason for the different effects seen.
    Extra weight.
    You could have had less pedaling and more coasting along with extra weight. Or more bumps right along with it.
    more coasting means less muscle activation, the act of pushing the pedal means pushing some weight up off the seat.

    Ditto to bike seat. If too gelly, the extra weight could have had it squishing gel where you don't want it. normally not an issue except with extra weight.
  • JthanmyfitnesspalJthanmyfitnesspal Member, Premium Posts: 2,753 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,753 Member
    YES!!!! I like Pearl Izumi.
  • sgt1372sgt1372 Member Posts: 3,877 Member Member Posts: 3,877 Member
    Let the amount of PITA be your guide.

    If it hurts to ride beyond a certain/time or distance, no need to be so proud that you refuse to buy/wear padded shorts, if doing so will extend your time/distance while riding.
  • ritzvinritzvin Member, Premium Posts: 2,764 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,764 Member
    I have a padded bike seat cover that I really like, and have used for multiple seasons (even picked up extras for my hybrid and fat bike). (Had excellent reviews, including loads from hesitant roadies, so I tried it...glad I did). I just wear cheap non-padded shorts, since I don't need them with that. Previous to that, had issues with the padded shorts (at least the ones I owned), the edge of the chamois tended to chafe to the point of drawing blood.

    ETA:
    vlc7iun5f2fc.png
    edited June 2020
  • skinnyrev2bskinnyrev2b Member Posts: 370 Member Member Posts: 370 Member
    (Eta bit about the Izumi clothing line)
    Thanks so much guys.
    I'm hesitant to buy clothes a)cos I'm hoping I'll change sizes ;-) And b)cos I've always been a 'gear junkie' with it being shelved after x months of use. I can use my running gear for cycling, so that's great.
    It's not the first back to back ride, but it is the first back-to-back with heavy rucksack, so I'm assuming it's the "comfort" saddle that came with my "Comfort Voyager" Raleigh bike all those years ago. (I was certainly peddling - it's uphill all the way from the shop to home).
    I'll have a look at the Pearl izumi clothes though - thanks for that, and all the other advice. Any good saddle recommendations?
    edited June 2020
  • CM_73CM_73 Member Posts: 549 Member Member Posts: 549 Member
    Saddles are such a personal thing that it's difficult to recommend anything in particular. The Specialized BG range always come out well in reviews, and I've always found them comfy but padded shorts really are the way to go.
    Even cheap ones work well and give you an idea if you want to invest a bit more as you progress.
    For a decent commute, like the one you aspire to, I really couldn't recommend a padded saddle, a firm saddle and padded shorts is the way forward in my experience.
  • mjbnj0001mjbnj0001 Member Posts: 967 Member Member Posts: 967 Member
    Yes. I never ride without. And that's from a guy who toured by bike decades ago in normal shorts and underwear without issues or care. I'm not as tough "down there" as I once was, so I appreciate the padding. Bike shorts and butt cream, both. No matter the saddle, although you want a comfortable fit there too. Actually, years ago, I eventually switched to padded shorts when my mileage and repetition went up; in those days, we called them "chamois" and it was truly chamois. Now, "chamois" generally means a synthetic pad. Cream in the old days was meant to re-lube the chamois after washing, as it got stiff as a board; nowadays, it is meant for your bottom to reduce chafe. Women's shorts typically have padding cut to reflect anatomical configuration different than men's. You can get baggy shorts if you feel conspicuous, or padded underliners that go under other shorts, but I stay simple and use just the one item. Oh, and it's a "go commando" thing. Good luck!
  • sijomialsijomial Member, Premium Posts: 18,382 Member Member, Premium Posts: 18,382 Member
    Yes you do acclimatise over time but padded shorts get a definite "OH YES!" from me.
    Only time I don't wear cycling shorts is on short trips.

    See you are in England too.....
    Wiggle and Evans Cycles online often have clearance sales and for short'ish rides you don't need to be aiming at the very high end ranges. Altura are a decent mid-range brand, DHB also cover from mid-range to high-end shorts.

    Bike fit also makes a big difference, it's surprising how many people don't get their saddle position even vaguely close to optimal. There's online guides which will get you close for no financial outlay.

    Saddles are very personal - some people have very particular needs and others seem to cope perfectly well with whatever came with their bike. (I've got a cupboard full of saddles and after 26,000 miles I'm still looking for a saddle that remains comfortable for long rides.)

    A free measure to give your backside a break is to do some standing cycling on the way up hills and take your weight through your pedals when coasting downhill.
  • helen_goldthorpehelen_goldthorpe Member Posts: 326 Member Member Posts: 326 Member
    Yes from me.

    If you want to wear running kit (or non cycling clothes) you could also consider velovixen padded pants underneath. But you could probably find actual cycling shorts for a similar price!

    https://www.velovixen.com/collections/underwear/products/velovixen-padded-cycling-knickers-dandelioness

    On weight loss, I've found that my cycling shorts are the bits of clothing which have best adapted to me losing weight - most of them were stretched sufficiently when I was at my biggest that they still fit ok now, 15+ kg later.
  • Machka9Machka9 Member Posts: 18,868 Member Member Posts: 18,868 Member
    Female long distance cyclist here ...

    I ride men's Brooks B17 standard saddles.
    I wear shorts with a light padding.
  • JthanmyfitnesspalJthanmyfitnesspal Member, Premium Posts: 2,753 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,753 Member
    ritzvin wrote: »
    I have a padded bike seat cover that I really like [...]

    I have been really curious about those. My old bones start to complain after about 1.5hrs. The easiest solution is to take a rest, but I've wanted to get back to the really long days and do some charity rides of up to 100 miles or more, and I had lots of pain in the past with those. So, maybe a seat cover would help!

    Now, the conventional wisdom of bike comfort is to put the padding mostly in the shorts, keeping the seat rather hard and slippery (with perhaps some gel). Most cyclists will tell you that this arrangement reduces friction and improves comfort. I think there is also a performance issue in reducing the friction, if you care about that. I find that it works until you hit the limits imposed by the pressure (not friction) on your pelvic region (you actually lose connective tissue in that area as you age so it does get harder). So, I might try a seat cover for longer rides.

    Thanks for posting!
  • Machka9Machka9 Member Posts: 18,868 Member Member Posts: 18,868 Member
    A strong core can really help a person feel more comfortable on a bicycle for longer periods of time too. :)
  • jjlbrickjjlbrick Member Posts: 65 Member Member Posts: 65 Member
    Yes padded shorts, you will be a lot more comfortable. Yes as you ride more you will get tougher in your seat area.
    I’ve been cycling since 1980. When I rode 500 miles in a week on a department store bike with that cheap seat that came on It & cut off Levi shorts. I was young I learned a lot that week. It hasn’t made me thin but it has kept me off prescription drugs
    I’m fond of terry. Terry makes shorts up to 3XL.
    In 2012 I called them told them I was going to spend 52 days riding across America in 2013
    They recommended a butterfly seat, and Bella shorts. They were right but even if I hated the seat I had a 30 day love it or leave it return policy. Bella shorts are pricy but they make several different models of shorts in different price ranges. Same with seats. The money I’ve spent on clothes and equipment have paid for itself.
    I commuted to work for years. It was only 3 miles in bad weather, take the scenic route in good. I did errands on my bike, rode to doctor appointments, meetings. I usually just commuted in street clothes.
    I kept track I rode 15,000 miles in 20 years just doing that. It cost .58 cents a mile to operate a car. Add parking fees.
  • skinnyrev2bskinnyrev2b Member Posts: 370 Member Member Posts: 370 Member
    Thanks so much for your inspiring stories and really helpful advice. I've gone for a new saddle (£40 so not too pricey if it needs to go to EBay.) and am thinking more seriously about the shorts - thanks again folks!
  • johnflorojohnfloro Member Posts: 1 Member Member Posts: 1 Member
    ritzvin wrote: »
    I have a padded bike seat cover that I really like, and have used for multiple seasons (even picked up extras for my hybrid and fat bike). (Had excellent reviews, including loads from hesitant roadies, so I tried it...glad I did). I just wear cheap non-padded shorts, since I don't need them with that. Previous to that, had issues with the padded shorts (at least the ones I owned), the edge of the chamois tended to chafe to the point of drawing blood.

    ETA:
    vlc7iun5f2fc.png

    I just ordered one for my road bike. Willing to give it a try. Thanks for the tip!
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