Padded cycling shorts - yes or no?
- ICI staff
If you're a regular indoor cyclist or an instructor, you know that comfort and performance are crucial for an enjoyable experience on the bike. While you may have the basics covered with cycling shoes and appropriate clothing, there's one item you may want to think about: padded bike shorts. These shorts can make a significant difference in your comfort, performance, and overall experience during indoor cycling classes. Let's have a look at how you can benefit:
Say 'goodbye' to a pain in the bum
One of the most common complaints among cyclists is undercarriage pain, which can be uncomfortable and affect your performance. Padded bike shorts are designed with cushioning, designed to reduce prolonged pressure from the saddle on sensitive areas. This cushioning can help alleviate numbness and pain caused by pressure on key pelvic areas as well on the sciatic nerve which runs from your spine, across your buttock and down your leg, as well as reduce friction between the saddle and your groin, preventing uncomfortable chafing and therefore making your ride more comfortable with less pain, aching and/or numbness.
Quality padded shorts will wick moisture (sweat!) away from the skin, helping to improve comfort and reduce risk of chafing or rashes.
If you're preoccupied during your ride with avoiding discomfort, this can affect your technique, whcih can then affect your training effect. Taking away the discomfort means you can focus on your technique and nailing your personal best.
Find the right fit
When choosing padded cycling shorts, fit is important. Look for shorts that hug your body, but are not overly tight. The right cut and contour for your body, including leg grips and crotch chamois that suit your needs, can ensure maximum comfort and effectiveness. Wear your padded shorts without underwear to reduce friction. If you're prone to chafing, consider using chamois cream (available online and also at reputable bike and triathlon shops) as can further reduce friction during your sessions.
If you have persistent pain or numbness
Generally saddle pain reduces as you get used to spending more time on the bike - providing you've got an effective and appropriate bike setup for your dimensions (get it checked if you're not sure). The part of the pelvis that we use for sitting on a saddle is not the part of the pelvis that we're usually putting our bodyweight on, and so it can take a bit of getting used to when we're starting out or upping our ride time. If you feel any pain or numbness is unusual, the discomfort persists, or if you are worried, it's best to get checked out by a doctor.
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