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Pain from bike saddle.
#1
Good day. I know that this is a much discussed topic, but here I go again ..
How do you deal with having pain in the groin area - how to prevent it and how to deal with it? I commute on my Schwinn 5 miles every working day and that is totally fine. But then, on the weekends, I do longer rides with the fam or friends and it damn hurts. Bib shorts are not always an option.

Sometimes I have to switch from a commuter saddle and its foam cushion to a hard road saddle. Both of them - soft one during fam rides, hard one during road rides - actually contribute to my pain. Saddle position and height? Post ride creams?
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#2
Get a proper bike fit Rolleyes
"Carbon is faster"
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#3
(06-19-2020, 05:48 AM)Benjo Wrote:  Good day. I know that this is a much discussed topic, but here I go again ..
How do you deal with having pain in the groin area - how to prevent it and how to deal with it? I commute on my Schwinn 5 miles every working day and that is totally fine. But then, on the weekends, I do longer rides with the fam or friends and it damn hurts. Bib shorts are not always an option.

Sometimes I have to switch from a commuter saddle and its foam cushion to a hard road saddle. Both of them - soft one during fam rides, hard one during road rides - actually contribute to my pain. Saddle position and height? Post ride creams?
Hi Benjo,

You probably picked one of the toughest topics related to cycling and cycling related injuries. Unfortunately, due to everyone's different body types and riding styles it is near impossible to give one definitive answer providing a cure to an individual's discomfort. Although l work in healthcare I am not a specialist in physiology or orthopedics. I am studying to become a physical/occupational therapist, primarily due to the pain/discomfort that l suffer from on a regular basis.
If you wonder why there are so many saddle varieties it is in an attempt to satisfy the different needs of each individual. One thing to mention is that if you are feeling pain on a daily basis then you probably have an actual injury be it minor or not and you are not allowing it to fully heal between times when that same area will be stressed again. Taking a few days off the saddle may just give you a chance to heal up a bit. Also, a "sitz bath" and/or a full body warm water bath with or without Epsom salt may also help in healing and pain relief. I'm curious if you feel any discomfort during other periods of being seated (at a desk, driving, etc.) I you only feel pain during riding then I would assume that to be the root cause, but your pain can still be caused by many individual factors or a combination of of them.
Given that the weight of the body while riding is on a soft tissue area (perineal) and the "sit bones" (ischial tuberosity, part/area of the ischium which is the lower back part of the pelvis), your weight distribution is important and it can cause pain if not supported properly. The "rub" is that we are all of different weights, our "sit bones" are not identical, perineal sensitivity can be different, gender difference, and riding posture difference. With these all of factors alone it seems a miracle that you can ever achieve true comfort on a bike saddle and then you have to consider hip and leg movement which contributes more factors. You should try to make observations of yourself when riding on the different bikes and saddles. If you are riding the same bike but changing saddles out while maintaining the same riding posture then l would try a couple things to try to achieve a little consistency in order to determine more definitively as to what factor or change is causing the problem. It would seem that if you are on the same bike for your commute (5 miles one way, or total?) and longer rides, and you experience the same problem on multiple saddles that your bike set-up and/or riding position may be the underlying issue. Do you keep the same posture for all riding? Do you tend to slide (side to side, and/or front to back) around on the saddle more, less, or the same during all riding? What is your leg position at the bottom of a pedal stroke: straight, nearly straight, obvious knee bend, or severe knee bend; and is it the same or different with each saddle? Do you ride just as hard/fast on average for all your rides? Have you tried any other saddles (tested on your bike, or test rode another's bike)?
I recently built a bike for a friend and gave him an option of testing 4 saddles, he was satisfied after 3.
I ride multiple bikes with different sized frames and riding at different levels of exertion, using the same saddle or one very similar (padding, width, contour, etc.), same angle and front to back set-up, and same pedal stroke posture at bottom. No problems so far. But again that's with my body; we're all different.
I would definitely check your pedal stroke (height adjustment) and make sure you are not getting too straight with the leg; if changing it take a ride before any other adjustments. Having checked that out, using one saddle only, try riding distances that brought on the increasing discomfort, make a small adjustment and ride to determine if things got better or worse. This could take many trials since if you make multiple adjustments at the same time you won't know what solved the problem. Use the "scientific method" of experimenting: one variable with everything else constant. You can go to a bike shop that does "fitting" and see if your bike is set-up properly for you and your riding posture/style. Just for "fun" see if a friend (approx. same height) will let you ride their bike, making no change to it except for saddle height if pedal stroke is wrong (mark their post for ease of resetting original position). All I've got for now except for seeking expert medical consultation.

Take care,
Jesper
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
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#4
Thank you for your informative reply @Jesper! I agree, this is a tricky topic but worth some trial & error.

  • In terms of pain during car rides/desk work. No, it doesn't hurt, only while biking.
  • My position is more upright while commuting and rolling with the fam as compared to longer road rides.
  • What is your leg position at the bottom of a pedal stroke: nearly straight on road bike, almost obvious knee bend on commuter; there isn't a very significant difference.
  • I ride harder for road rides.
  • Not much saddle testing done. Should I try? Any suggestions how and where?
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#5
(07-19-2020, 06:52 AM)Benjo Wrote:  Thank you for your informative reply @Jesper! I agree, this is a tricky topic but worth some trial & error.

  • In terms of pain during car rides/desk work. No, it doesn't hurt, only while biking.
  • My position is more upright while commuting and rolling with the fam as compared to longer road rides.
  • What is your leg position at the bottom of a pedal stroke: nearly straight on road bike, almost obvious knee bend on commuter; there isn't a very significant difference.
  • I ride harder for road rides.
  • Not much saddle testing done. Should I try? Any suggestions how and where?

Are you riding the same bike on the longer rides?

As far as saddle testing I would ask if any one you know has a spare saddle or two (I've got about 20!). If getting a different saddle to try to, set it up the same as the previous one in relation to height (based on knee bend, not post height), angle, etc. If you haven't tried adjusting your present saddle first, I would do that. A little forward, take a long enough test ride to the point where pain is evident during previous rides; if same outcome or worse go the other way (1/4" forward from original set-up; now 1/2" back, or 1/4" back from original set-up) and move the saddle backwards doing the same ride distance. Same thing goes for changing the angle up or down; always do a completely separate test ride to see if any changes were noticed until you get to a point where any adjustment is minimal. Having your own saddle set-up as best as can be, but still not without riding discomfort, change to another saddle and set-up to your best position given your old seat. Try as many saddles as you can until you find a better option. Fizik saddles used to have a testing program for a series of saddles that they designed for different riders based on riding style more than body size. You could go to a shop who sold them and try 3 different saddles to see how each one felt. I think if you go to a shop they will let you try different stuff out. You can't just buy a saddle "off the rack" unless you've had the exact same type before. I can only vouch for one saddle that made my friend happy and that is from "Cloud 9" ("C 9" model). That was technically the 4th saddle I put on the bike I built him. He rides 8-15 miles per trip and has no issues. Granted I have him in an upright posture and it's a cruiser style saddle, but the others didn't satisfy so "Cloud 9" won the day. They make a range of saddles $30-$50. I use so many different types I can't keep track; and since I only weigh 140 lbs, most saddles don't cause any problems except for proper set up on the bike. I put a racing saddle on my 3 spd cruiser because I tend to ride it the same way as my race frames keeping my upper body bent forward.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
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#6
(07-20-2020, 10:18 AM)Jesper Wrote:  Are you riding the same bike on the longer rides?

Yes, I have only one road bike. I do "longer weekend rides" with Schwinn but those are not as long as with my endurance roadie.

Thank you for the tips, superb! I have high hopes that there's a saddle type out there made for my groin. I will ask buddies, a few of them they might have some spare saddles. They are at least a level or two higher than me in terms of road cycling addiction.
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#7
(07-19-2020, 06:52 AM)Benjo Wrote:  Thank you for your informative reply @Jesper! I agree, this is a tricky topic but worth some trial & error.

[*]What is your leg position at the bottom of a pedal stroke: nearly straight on road bike, almost obvious knee bend on commuter; there isn't a very significant difference.
[*]I ride harder for road rides.
[*]Not much saddle testing done. Should I try? Any suggestions how and where?
[/list]

Hey Banjo,

I reviewed your post and had made another reply, but I guess it did not post for some reason. If you are seeing this twice, sorry.

I think your saddle on the road bike may be a bit high based on your "nearly straight" position on the road bike. Try lowering it (if not already tried) 1/4"-1/2", 6-12mm (1/4" to start, and test ride).
You may be "reaching" for your pedals a little without knowing it; your shoe toe should not be pointing down and the pedal should be flat or nearly flat at the extreme bottom of the stroke. "Reaching" causes your hips to "slide" off the side of the saddle a little on the bottom of each stroke; usually causing lower back pain and possibly ankle/foot pain. It also reduces Your pedalling power and efficiency. Your "almost obvious kneebend" on your commuter may be what need when riding the road bike. If you dropped it a 1/2" (after testing at 1/4" drop) and you continued to feel the discomfort then I wouldn't drop the saddle down much more, if any more, because it is probably not the cause, or main cause of the problem.

You could try a "gel" saddle pad cover, but I personally don't like the "feel" when on them. They seem to be more designed for riding in an upright posture.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
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