You’re just getting into cycling and have taken your new bike out for a ride on a nearby trail. You were having fun and feeling fit, so you spent a good hour exploring the trail and got home feeling incredible. Fast forward to the next day: your butt is super tender. It might even be tough to sit down. Did you do something wrong on yesterday’s ride? Did you pull a muscle? If you’re getting back into riding as an adult after a long break, having a cranky-caboose after your first long ride can be common.

 

Why is my butt so sore?

Bike saddles are meant to support you at or around your ischial tuberosities, or sit bones. On your rump, you can easily find this area as it’s marked by crease at the top of each of your thighs (where your butt meets your leg). Although this is the best area to situate your saddle, there are still some muscle and connective tissues in the area that needs to get used to riding. So, even though you might feel uncomfortable after that first ride, when you’ve logged in more rides over the next couple weeks, you’ll find the extra time in the saddle doesn’t leave you sore the next day.

How can I be nice to my behind?

There are a couple strategies to avoid or minimize that feeling of tenderness if you’re thinking of getting back into riding.

Start with short distances and build from there.
Don’t charge whole-hog into getting back into cycling if you haven’t ridden in a few years. Keep your trips to 30 mins at a time and take breaks.

  1. Try sticking to roads when you’re getting started
    Sometimes it’s not those few huge bumps that are the problem, but the thousands of tiny bumps that, over time, cause soreness to your behind. Try sticking to roads or paved trails when you’re getting started. A flat riding surface is a great thing!
  2. Don’t position your seat too high
    Although we see a lot of folks who are riding with their seats way too low, having your seat too high will result in soreness after your rides –event for folks that have been riding for quite some time. There’s a “Goldilocks” zone of seat height that will keep you comfortable on your rides, and will help with endurance and power on your rides as well. Speak to someone at your local bike shop to determine the ideal height for you.
  3. Get into shammy shorts early on
    Shammy shorts, or bike shorts, have built in padding to make your ride more comfortable. It’s not going to cushion your back-end from all bumps and jostles, but it’s definitely going to make you feel more comfortable during your ride, and minimize soreness afterward. Quick note! The cushion in a cycling short is supposed to stay in contact with your skin. Don’t think twice about going commando!
  4. Find the right saddle for you
    One size doesn’t always fit all. If you find that soreness isn’t gong away after multiple rides, your local bike shop might have you covered. There are lots of saddles out there for folks with wide or narrow hips, or for people who need more, or even less cushioning on their saddle (yes, lost of saddle cushioning can lead to problems). Take a look at some options and drop by your local bike shops with further questions about saddle options.

Although we’ve tried not to be cheeky with this post, we hope you’ve found it interesting. Don’t be intimidated from soreness after your rides if you’re just starting. After your sit bones get used to cycling, you’ll soon find that those 50-100km rides that you’ve been scared to try suddenly aren’t such a big deal anymore.