We all love riding our bikes, but there is at least one thing that almost all cyclists can come together on and that is that our bike seats are not very comfortable. But why is this?
Today we will be taking a deeper look into 7 of the main reasons why bicycle seats are so uncomfortable, with the hope that you will heed our advice in some regards. Let’s get right into it.
1. The Shape
The most obvious reason for most people, the shape of bike seats is not conducive to being comfortable for long periods of time.
Bike seats are supposed to be ergonomic in the sense that you don’t need to have a massive seat for such a small vehicle, this can of course be problematic for larger members of society that may require a larger seat to support them more effectively.
There are ways to mitigate the effects of saddle shape though, especially for women. Women’s bikes feature larger seats that are more catered to the body shape of female riders, and although not all women need to use bikes with this extra level of support it is good to know that there are alternatives if you need them.
Larger men could in theory use women’s seats to help support them, although you would likely have to ride a women’s bike to do this.
2. You Are Dressed Inappropriately
The second reason on our list today is that many people wear the wrong kinds of clothing when riding a bike, which can only make matters worse when your seat is uncomfortable.
For example, many commuters wear their work clothes when they ride their bike to work and this can include garments such as jeans, suits, and more.
The biggest problem with wearing incorrect clothes for cycling is that they do not provide the same level of support to delicate areas of the body that cycle-specific gear does.
Almost all pairs of cycling shorts are fitted with padding in certain places that can prevent chafing and saddle sores on shorter journeys (these problems are almost unavoidable on longer rides).
These issues can be exacerbated by poor weather conditions, as when the rain begins to fall on your denim jeans, they will start to rub on your skin even more and only further increase the uncomfortable nature of your ride.
If you want to take up cycling, I advise investing in some jerseys and shorts alongside your new bike.
3. You Are New To The Sport
When you first start out riding a bike properly, it can be hard to adjust to the ways in which it can impact your body. One of these problems can be getting used to the uncomfortable nature of the seats.
As we mentioned earlier, you can mitigate this in a number of ways such as having a different seat fitted and wearing the correct clothing.
Unfortunately, becoming familiar with some of the trials of riding a bike are amongst the earliest thing that newcomers to the sport experience. It will get easier in time, but in the beginning, you simply have to push through the pain.
4. The Size of Your Bike
Having an uncomfortable seat is just one of the issues that can arise from riding a bike that is either too small or too large for you.
If you ride a bike that is too small for you, then the seat will likely be very near to the ground and will not provide the elevation that you need to ride in an efficient way, therefore meaning that you will generate less speed and be on the bike longer than you need to be (which will cause more saddle sores).
A similar impact can occur when the bike is too large, as you will likely find yourself overstretching with each pedal stroke and therefore traveling much slower than you would on a bike that suits your stature.
As one may expect, the best fix to this issue is simply to ride a bike that fits you. This way you will be sat in the most normal position possible and be able to get the most out of your legs whilst riding your bike.
5. The Design
There are many different designs of seats, with them being made up of varying materials depending on the price point of the saddle.
Most commonly, bike seats are made of either plastic or carbon fibre and coated with a layer of leather to ensure that the seat is durable in all conditions.
Despite being durable, making a seat out of these materials can cause them to be very uncomfortable. Just think about how horrible those plastic seats at your local stadium are to sit on for hours.
Essentially this issue boils down to the fact that bike seats need to be durable over comfortable for most people.
6. You Don’t Use Chamois Cream
This links back to the point we made earlier about not wearing the appropriate gear for cycling, however in this case we are talking about not bringing the right stuff with you on a longer ride.
Chamois cream is designed to reduce irritation on your skin and is particularly helpful in sensitive areas such as your testicles.
If you don not use chamois cream at the moment, it could be one of the main reasons why you find riding your bike so uncomfortable. If you want to pick up a bottle of the cream, it is widely available on the internet and in most cycling stores without the need for a prescription.
You’ll thank us for this piece of advice, trust me.
7. Pressure on Your Bones
The final reason you may find your bike seat uncomfortable is that you may not be sitting on it correctly, which can cause pressure to build on your bones. A bike seat is only really meant to support your sitting bones (ischial tuberosity) and not your entire body weight.
Sitting on your bike seat for too long can cause pressure on these bones to build, which can sometimes cause inflammation and irritation whilst sitting down.
There are thankfully ways to mitigate against this issue, mainly to reduce the hardness of your seat and to increase the surface area of the place you are sitting (essentially, consider buying a new saddle if this is an issue that is plaguing you at the moment).
Now that you know the reasons why bicycle seats are so uncomfortable, perhaps you’ll be able to handle the pain a little easier in the future and prepare for riding your bike more efficiently.