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Long distance bike shorts

Old 05-31-19, 06:35 AM
  #1  
qclabrat
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Long distance bike shorts

I've been doing some rando rides and after about 60-70 rides I'm getting pretty sore.
What are some good options for long >15 hour days of riding? Also been doing some saddle swaps to see if it helps.
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Old 05-31-19, 08:15 AM
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Body glide, good shorts and a comfortable saddle. Varies widely. Bike fit good? I'm a fan of wtb saddles, but everyone is different.
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Old 05-31-19, 08:57 AM
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I have experimented with several saddles until finding two that work for me, a B67 for upright type riding and a B17 style called the M3 touring saddle by Velo Orange (they don't make it anymore). Both are leather and sprung. I also have a Brooks C17 that I want to love but after about 100 km's it starts to give me friction blisters as the fit is just a bit wrong for my butt.

The brand isn't so important as others will have similar success with various saddles as well. You just have to try and find one that fits your shape. It can be a frustrating process. Make sure the seat is adjusted correctly. Too far downward and your wrists/hands suffer. Too far up and your perineum will go numb. This is important if you ride dropbars and switch from hoods to drops. The two positions tilt your pelvis back and forth and will increase/decrease pressure on the perineum. It's one reason some people who ride the flats/hoods a lot find the drops hard to maintain for long.

In any case I wear padded shorts for long continuous hours in the saddle. Those pros and trans continental riders can't all be deluded. My current thinking on them is:



  • Very breathable (hot summer cause a lot of moisture to be trapped which is not good for saddle sores).
  • Thinner pad (again thick seems to trap moisture).
  • Not a tight waist band. I have a pair of bibs and the only difference they make is in this area.

I have a strategy of standing and cranking for a bit if my butt starts to hurt. I try to stand on downhills to improve circulation. If it's long and flat I will also walk a bit to do the same. You still move forward but use difference muscles so it acts like a rest and recirculation. When I stop, if it's hot I try to adjust and ventilate the shorts to evaporate moisture.

Keep the shorts and skin clean. I wash shorts nightly on trips and carry two sets to rotate. I also carry body glide and Anusol, which is for hemoroids (no I don't have those ). If I feel a saddle sore or blister I hit it with that. This stuff shrinks inflammation and has a mild topical anaesthetic (sp?)in it.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 05-31-19 at 09:03 AM.
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Old 05-31-19, 09:47 AM
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If you're just sore as in tired of being on a bike, the best thing to do is simply ride more. A leather saddle (Brooks B17 or Pro) might relieve some local pressure after you've broken it in, but that can take 500-1,000 miles IME.

As far as shorts, some people claim you can find a model that fits you and buy a bunch of them. I've probably tried a dozen makers and models (or more) and haven't found that magic short. However, Chamois Butt'r or a similar cream applied to areas of chafing before the ride can work wonders. I apply chamois cream to the chamois seams in the crotch, and to areas on my butt that need them. I've found it best to re-apply around the century mark.

If you can stand 15-30 seconds every 15 minutes or so, that might also help. I have better luck drinking on a schedule than standing (and I've cut a couple rides short because I ran low on fluids).
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Old 05-31-19, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by qclabrat View Post
I've been doing some rando rides and after about 60-70 rides I'm getting pretty sore.
What are some good options for long >15 hour days of riding? Also been doing some saddle swaps to see if it helps.
You asked this question on the touring forum. Most people here are on the bike for less time than you would have been on a bike during a 200k brevet. Maybe you need to ask some of the other riders when you do rando events? When they are on the saddle for 200 or 300 or 400k events, they certainly would have the experience to give you advice.

I personally like a leather saddle that is well broken in.
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Old 05-31-19, 10:32 AM
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I don't do rando, I sleep at night

I brought 3 , so I had a clean dry pair daily , and paid attention to skin hygiene

Lined, but not padded , well broken in Brooks Team Pro I've used for 40 years..
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Old 05-31-19, 08:15 PM
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Have a look at the 7Mesh MK3 bibs, or the previous version MK2 if they are still available. They are also available as shorts.

The Elastic Interface "Space 2" pad is like riding your rich uncle's Cadillac. Super cushy.

Keep in mind that these are warm compared to most. Thicker pad and some other construction details make them too hot for the height of Georgia summer, but otherwise the are my favorite for long gravel rides.


-Tim-
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Old 05-31-19, 09:38 PM
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I used wool shorts with the leather chamois. I carried two pair of shorts. The brooks pro fit me and I did 100 plus mile days.
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Old 06-01-19, 08:03 AM
  #9  
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I rode a pedicab in ATX for more than a decade. During special events, I was sometimes in the saddle working for 12-16 hours and commuted back and forth by bicycle.
Brooks leather saddle, high tech underwear, and any comfortable shorts worked for me. No padding, bike specific shorts not necessary.
Also, shower, soap, good hygiene, between rides. Knock down the bacteria count best you can before getting back in the saddle.
Some folks use disinfecting wipes to help with bacteria.
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Old 06-01-19, 09:21 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by qclabrat View Post
I've been doing some rando rides and after about 60-70 rides I'm getting pretty sore.
What are some good options for long >15 hour days of riding? Also been doing some saddle swaps to see if it helps.
For long rando rides I'd try buying a few different pairs of top-quality cycling shorts. Not always necessary for comfort but in general it's the best bet. Yeah, top pros get them free but OTOH cycling shorts are a complicated garment, stands to reason that the best fabric & construction work best for ultra-long distance.

Of course it's important to determine if it's the shorts or saddle that's causing soreness. I figure that getting nice comfy bike shorts solves at least half the problem. IE a great saddle won't help much if the shorts aren't working.
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Old 06-04-19, 08:11 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
For long rando rides I'd try buying a few different pairs of top-quality cycling shorts. Not always necessary for comfort but in general it's the best bet. Yeah, top pros get them free but OTOH cycling shorts are a complicated garment, stands to reason that the best fabric & construction work best for ultra-long distance.

Of course it's important to determine if it's the shorts or saddle that's causing soreness. I figure that getting nice comfy bike shorts solves at least half the problem. IE a great saddle won't help much if the shorts aren't working.
clabrat, the underlined sentences pretty much sum it up, that its always going to be a combination of shorts, seat and seat/bike position.

Better made padded bike shorts do make a difference, but they have to fit your properly, and then all of the seat to body interaction has to work well also.

Ive used those chamois creams and they do reduce friction and rubbing, so they do help, but you have to get the other factors to work even more.

given the number of hours you are talking about being on a bike, as someone else pointed out, 15 hour days are a whole other scale of "long" compared to what I have ever done touring. I don't think Ive ever actually ridden for more than 7 hours, so a huge difference, and even then Ive spent years sorting out the bike short-bike seat-bike position factors.

re the variious bike shorts available--depending on your riding experience and being able to assess how diff brands shorts fit you differently, even the same size, I would really recommend trying on lots and lots of different brands, and lots and lots of varying price ranges also.

I have found that the higher up ones do make a difference--but trying on in a store just cant let you know how they are and how the pads compare.
Shorts do soften up a bit after a number of washes and stretch very slightly, but you still come back to 1- personal feeling, and 2-your bike and seat setup--so it really does come back to being very personal.

and then there are the different brands of chammy creams.....

bottom line is that you have a lot of trying on to do, thinking astutely of your bike fit, thinking of how your bike seat interacts with you, and simply lots of hours spent riding assessing all this stuff.....

good luck
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Old 06-04-19, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
You asked this question on the touring forum. Most people here are on the bike for less time than you would have been on a bike during a 200k brevet. Maybe you need to ask some of the other riders when you do rando events? When they are on the saddle for 200 or 300 or 400k events, they certainly would have the experience to give you advice.

I personally like a leather saddle that is well broken in.
lol, I've been told by a buddy that I'm too young to be on a Brooks
He's doing the PBP this year and just finished his 600k qualifier in under 23hrs. I'm only planning to do a 300k and call it quits for the year....
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Old 06-04-19, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Have a look at the 7Mesh MK3 bibs, or the previous version MK2 if they are still available. They are also available as shorts.

The Elastic Interface "Space 2" pad is like riding your rich uncle's Cadillac. Super cushy.

Keep in mind that these are warm compared to most. Thicker pad and some other construction details make them too hot for the height of Georgia summer, but otherwise the are my favorite for long gravel rides.


-Tim-
looks good, pricey but worth the coin
what's the difference btwn the two?
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Old 06-04-19, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick View Post
I used wool shorts with the leather chamois. I carried two pair of shorts. The brooks pro fit me and I did 100 plus mile days.
people still wear chamois in 2019? LOL
I still have a pair from my teen years of riding. No way the butt can handle them again.
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Old 06-04-19, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by AusTexMurf View Post
I rode a pedicab in ATX for more than a decade. During special events, I was sometimes in the saddle working for 12-16 hours and commuted back and forth by bicycle.
Brooks leather saddle, high tech underwear, and any comfortable shorts worked for me. No padding, bike specific shorts not necessary.
Also, shower, soap, good hygiene, between rides. Knock down the bacteria count best you can before getting back in the saddle.
Some folks use disinfecting wipes to help with bacteria.
Yeh, I have a friend who just stopped wearing bike shorts
I don't know how its possible, even a hr at a spin class starts to feel it back there
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Old 06-04-19, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
For long rando rides I'd try buying a few different pairs of top-quality cycling shorts. Not always necessary for comfort but in general it's the best bet. Yeah, top pros get them free but OTOH cycling shorts are a complicated garment, stands to reason that the best fabric & construction work best for ultra-long distance.

Of course it's important to determine if it's the shorts or saddle that's causing soreness. I figure that getting nice comfy bike shorts solves at least half the problem. IE a great saddle won't help much if the shorts aren't working.
I read somewhere someone was wearing two pairs and rotated in a pair for the wash. So one was alway drying out. I might give that a try, but it seems like a recommendations on wearing two pairs of socks and it's usually not a good result
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Old 06-04-19, 02:19 PM
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people still wear chamois in 2019? LOL
I still have a pair from my teen years of riding. No way the butt can handle them again.
I know they do, but it its not my butt that is the problem it is my gut. Another 40lbs off and I might be able to fit the largest of the wool shorts available. You should not worry about what your butt can handle. Just get the wool shorts or bibs with the leather and ride.
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Old 06-04-19, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by qclabrat View Post
looks good, pricey but worth the coin
what's the difference btwn the two?
MK3 are the newer version. MK2 are last year's model.

I'm sure they tweaked the fit somehow and probably some other details but I don't know the specifics.

Check around for sales. Backcountry and some of the UK sites carry their gear.


-Tim-
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Old 06-04-19, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by qclabrat View Post
I read somewhere someone was wearing two pairs and rotated in a pair for the wash. So one was alway drying out. I might give that a try, but it seems like a recommendations on wearing two pairs of socks and it's usually not a good result
so you know, noone wears padded bike shorts on top of padded bike shorts.

now, double layer socks are a thing and I find they help with skin friction, even in hot weather. Some of my favorite bike socks are these.

https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5026-3...4aAsfXEALw_wcB
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Old 06-05-19, 04:44 AM
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I got saddle sores biking across Kansas many years ago as part of my Trans-Am tour. I wore 2 pairs of padded shorts on top of each other for a week until I healed. Felt weird but it did help. Wouldn't recommend it for general riding.

David
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