Author Topic: I need bike short recs from skinny-ass people  (Read 815 times)

wenchsenior

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I need bike short recs from skinny-ass people
« on: April 26, 2021, 02:57:17 PM »
I haven't ridden a bike in more than 30 years and don't particularly enjoy bikes, but I recently started riding again (only on paved roads) as part of reconditioning a chronic hamstring injury.  Problem is that my butt is a bundle of twigs, and our 30 minute rides cause my butt bones/what little fat I have to actively hurt both during the ride and for 2 days afterward. I'm riding 2-3x per week, so that means I have a sore butt nearly all the time now.

It's a mid-price trail bike; the seat is narrow and rock hard.  My first thought was to try to find a broader heavily padded seat, but then I heard through the grapevine that I should get the proper padded shorts, rather than try to change out the seat.

Thoughts? And more importantly, recs/links?

 

GuitarStv

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Re: I need bike short recs from skinny-ass people
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2021, 03:44:01 PM »
OK . . . first of all . . . welcome to the wonderful world of bike related ass problems!


Getting a good pair of bike shorts helps a lot with butt discomfort and are a good idea to try out for a variety of reasons . . . but if you're getting sore from 30 minute rides, I have a few other recommendations first:

Impacts:
- You don't have to be a pro racer or anything handling wise . . . but it's important to learn to lift your butt a couple millimeters off the saddle when you're going over bumps.  If you don't do this (and stay firmly seated) all the impact goes straight to your rear (which sucks) . . . but more importantly, it puts a lot of pressure and stress on your rear wheel and will lead to premature spoke failure (which sucks more because it costs money!)
- Tire inflation!  OMG, people are often clueless about this - the number of people I know who just fill up to the max rating.  Ugh.  The inflation in your tire really matters - overinflated hurts because it transmits way too much shock to your butt (underinflation sucks because you'll get pinch flats so don't do that either).  It should be determined by your weight and tire size.  If you're light, you're going to want a lot less inflation than someone who is heavy.  If you ride big tires then you can inflate even less still.  Get a floor pump with an accurate guage, and use a tire pressure calculator to figure out exactly what you need:
https://www.cycleschinook.com/tire-pressure-calculator/

Bike fit:
- Are you sitting in an extremely upright position?  The position that you ride on a bike is a balance between hands, feet, and ass.  The more upright you sit, the more pressure on your ass.  Sitting upright puts your body in a less efficient position to put power on the pedals, which means you get tired more quickly, and tends to lead to less pressure going into the pedals . . . besides making you slower, this means that you're going to be putting even more weight on the butt because you're not taking it away with your legs/feet.
- Next thing that goes hand in hand with the above info is bike fit.  First lets make sure that you've got roughly the right distance from the saddle to the pedals.  Get someone to hold you upright on the bike (or grab a wall).  Unclip your feet and put your heel on both your pedals.  Spin the pedals around backwards.  Your heels should be just about coming off the pedals at the fullest extension.  If they're not doing this, your saddle is too low and needs to be raised.  If you are losing contact with the pedals at the furthest extension then the saddle is too high and needs to come down.  Saddle in the wrong spot will cause serious ass soreness!  If you're reaching, then you're grinding your undercarriage every time you pedal.  If you're too short, then you're going to tire very quickly and will be putting more pressure on the butt for that reason.  So make sure this is right!
- OK, bike fit the moderately more advanced class!  Let's start with the fore/aft position of the bike saddle and the reach to the handlebars.  Reach to handlebars should always be changed by getting a new stem . . . but that's expensive and we're all cheap-ass folks, right?  It's a lot easier to slide the saddle forward on the rails to make up for handlebars that are too far forward.  The problem with doing this though, is that it tends to put the rider in a straighter leg position.  Stand up right now and do a squat.  Notice that as you go down into the squat your ass pushes way back to counterbalance your upper body weight?  When you push the saddle too far forward your body can't do this - and it ends up putting extra stress into your hands.  So then people will often tilt the saddle nose up in order to compensate for the 'sliding forward' feel.  This is really bad because it jams the hard saddle nose into your crotch with full body weight coming down on it.  Ugh.  Start out by making sure that your saddle is level with the ground and that it doesn't feel like you're sliding or reaching too far forward.
- Positioning (maybe should have led with this) make sure you're sitting on the widest part of your saddle.  All bike saddles narrow at the front.  If you're scooted too far forwards on the saddle, it's gonna hurt your nads and butt.  Scoot back a bit if you're doing this!

Bike saddle:
- Big, soft saddles hurt when you ride on them for long periods of time.  A saddle needs to be hard enough to provide support, and narrow enough that it doesn't cause chafing.  That said, everybody's butts are different and some people need a wider or narrower saddle.  General wisdom is to measure your ischial tuberosities and then get something a cm or two wider so that you're sitting on these butt bones.
- The shape of a bike saddle matters a lot and is very personal preference.  There are saddles that are rounded or flat along the top, there are saddles with a dip in the middle, there are pear shaped saddles, long saddles, short saddles . . . you have to try out a bunch to find one that works OK.  Unfortunately, if you're like me all saddles feel comfy for the first 60 kms or so . . . so try to find some friends into cycling, or a store with a good return policy because some experimentation will likely be required here.
- Cutouts in bike saddles rock, and help my 'nads hurt less.  Give 'em a try, bigger the hole the better.

Bike shorts:
- This is a very personal preference thing.  They have to fit your body, so it's going to be hard to recommend without seeing a pic of your butt.  (Kidding!  Please don't post a pic of your butt.)  Look for something that fits tight enough that you don't see any wrinkles in the material (this is not a place to go baggy) and something with rubber grips at the end of your legs (without grips you may find that the legs of the shorts ride up and then cause chafing).  Although they feel really weird at first, I'm a huge fan of bib shorts over regular shorts . . . the bib ends up being way the hell more comfortable, but they're usually more expensive.  Also, when you're sitting on your bike you shouldn't feel any stitching digging into your 'nads.  NO UNDERWEAR UNDER BIKE SHORTS - non negotiable.


The average person should be able to do an hour long ride on a bike without bike shorts and without feeling any real lasting discomfort in a pair of athletic shorts.  By adding in a pair of bike shorts that should keep you comfortable for 5-6 hours.  You can get away with something that's OK on shorter rides but the longer you're out there for, the pickier you'll find yourself becoming about saddle, shorts, and position on the bike.  Little problems tend to magnify into TERRIBLE HORRIBLE THINGS if ignored.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2021, 07:39:15 AM by GuitarStv »

Morning Glory

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Re: I need bike short recs from skinny-ass people
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2021, 04:30:56 PM »
I struggled with tailbone pain from commuting about 30 min each way by bike. Solved it by raising the seat and shifting the handlebars forward a little (the stem on mine has a place to rotate it forward). Ended up with wrist pain instead from too much pressure on the hands. Solved that by returning to a closer work site so the commute was only 20 min each way. I just ride in my regular work clothes instead of getting special bike clothes. Now I work from home mostly but I'm thinking of adding a "fake commute" bike ride every morning now that the weather is nicer.

parkerk

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Re: I need bike short recs from skinny-ass people
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2021, 06:39:56 PM »
GuitarStv pretty much provided great info on all the considerations there, but I will add a contrasting experience to the saddle issue.  My bike saddle was described as "grandma's sofa" by the people in the bike store (aka overstuffed) but I love it.  For shorter rides like yours chafing may not be as much of an issue as it would for people riding for hours and hours.  It keeps my butt comfy and I don't get sore from it.  I've tried the tiny hard seats too but even with padded shorts I don't find them very comfy.  I'm well aware I'm an outlier on this and all of my more serious cycling friends don't understand how I can ride on the darn thing, but it works for me.

Disclaimer: it sounds like I have a lot more natural padding on my own rear than you do, so that might be a factor as well.

And per his last point on the saddles I don't know if you have nards, but I don't and I find that my cushy saddle is also nice on my nard-free crotch area. 

But overall his advice that it'll be different for everyone is spot on and I absolutely agree that finding a good bike store that can actually help you try some things out is your best bet.  A good bike store is just an excellent resource in general.  I went into mine totally clueless and walked out with a bike that actually fit and a ton of useful corrections on everything I'd been doing wrong. 

Poor Rod

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Re: I need bike short recs from skinny-ass people
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2021, 10:39:18 PM »
don't particularly enjoy bikes

That part just doesn't compute for me. Who doesn't like bikes?

Anyway, as noted by others, bike fit is really the most important thing here. But once that's sorted out, bike shorts are well worth it. Two brands that I have never regretted buying are Voler and Pearl Izumi. Both have a range of prices, but even the lower priced stuff is good.

Some riders like to use a lotion or creme on the chamois. These are available at bike shops or online, but a fragrance free non allergenic lotion works fine. I used to use these, but these are better on real chamois (and those are pricey shorts). You'll likely end up with synthetic pad in the shorts, these are fine. Lotions and cremes work on these too, but I now just apply a bit triple antibiotic ointment on my, uh, sensitive parts. The petroleum jelly base is enough to prevent chafing, and the antibiotic seems to keep everything else in line.

You'll want to have time to launder them between rides, so once you find shorts that you like getting multiple pairs (depending on how much you ride) is helpful. Oh, and avoid drying on high heat, it will destroy any elastic quickly. Air dry or use low heat.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2021, 10:42:09 PM by Poor Rod »

Taran Wanderer

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Re: I need bike short recs from skinny-ass people
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2021, 11:29:37 PM »
The first five rides are the worst. Then your butt toughens up.  Even then, good bike shorts are a must. Iíve tried less expensive shorts only to be disappointed. Then I got a good pair of Pearl Izumis, and Iím not going back. Regular shorts work well fit shorter rides. For long rides I prefer bibs. They stay in position better.

Beyond that, everything @GuitarStv said, especially the saddle positioning and general bike positioning tips.

Poor Rod

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Re: I need bike short recs from skinny-ass people
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2021, 12:07:58 PM »
I'll add one more thing. The bike fit information given here is good. It will get you very close to the right fit. But understand that small changes, perhaps 1/8th of an inch or less can make a difference. If after five or so rides you are still uncomfortable, try making very small adjustments in seat position.

lutorm

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Re: I need bike short recs from skinny-ass people
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2021, 03:08:25 PM »
I ride a recumbent and have absolutely no ass, neck, or wrist problems. (Because of the bike, that is. I got it because I do have neck and wrist problems...)

robartsd

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Re: I need bike short recs from skinny-ass people
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2021, 03:42:36 PM »
For me with a saddle that I believe fits me well, I feel pressure points at the sit bones if I'm coming back to cycling after not riding for more than a few weeks; but as I get back into cycling regularly, this diminishes.

GuitarStv

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Re: I need bike short recs from skinny-ass people
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2021, 04:49:29 PM »
I ride a recumbent and have absolutely no ass, neck, or wrist problems.

Yeah, but then you have to ride a recumbent.  Life is all about trade-offs . . .

: D

lutorm

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Re: I need bike short recs from skinny-ass people
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2021, 08:10:45 PM »
I ride a recumbent and have absolutely no ass, neck, or wrist problems.

Yeah, but then you have to ride a recumbent.  Life is all about trade-offs . . .
Hah. I don't see why you'd ever ride a normal bike, unless maybe you want to compete since recumbents are banned in "traditional" bike races, being unfairly advantageous!
« Last Edit: April 29, 2021, 08:12:16 PM by lutorm »

wenchsenior

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Re: I need bike short recs from skinny-ass people
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2021, 08:45:51 AM »
Thanks everyone!