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3. I recently finished a 460-mile bike ride in six days. I developed saddle sores that got infected and the last couple of days were miserable. I'm trying to find a solution and everybody has ideas. I'm currently trying a new saddle and have adjusted the way I sit in the saddle.

Let me ask a few questions. First, did this issue occur before you changed saddles? Even if a saddle is more comfortable, it can cause "breaking in" issues for weeks until your body adjusts to the new saddles, this can come in the form of pressure discomfort, or wear issues (rubbing). Either of these can cause saddle sores to develop.

In our experience there are two basic types of saddle sores. The kind caused by saddle pressure and the kind caused by rubbing(wear). The former takes the form of internal or surface bruising accompanied by small pimple type sores that in aggregate can be a sore and often a group of them causes an entire area to be red as the body fights the little pimple infections. The pimples can be caused by pressure closing pores which them become infected and inflamed.

Bruising is not likely from your shorts. If you are getting a bruising it is more likely from a saddle that doesn't fit your body well. A saddle pressure problem can almost never be solved by shorts and chamois. Since the longer you sit there the more pressure accumulates between you and your saddle.

Wear sores come from seams or improperly fitting shorts or from a bad position on the bike that causes excessive movement on the saddle. These kinds of issues cause the skin to rub repeatedly from side to side or front to back or some combination thereof. These issues cause a sore where the skin is rubbed raw often worn through the surface. Sometimes this is improperly sized shorts, they should never be so loose they move while you are riding or you invite wear and tear (this is the reason that the hip measurement is the most important when fitting shorts). Sometimes a seam on the chamois is in the wrong place for your particular combination of skin folds on that particular saddle or in general.The best solution here is to try a different chamois or different short material or design or perhaps all three.

Another saddle sore type can be caused by improperly cleaning the shorts. Most common detergents have fragrances, softeners and other ingredients to make clothing smell good and feel soft to the touch. These additives are bad for shorts and accumulate in the material. Atsko Inc. (available on the web) has done researchregarding this and it is published on their web site They make some clean rinsing soaps for exactly this reason. At any rate, the accumulation of soap products could be an issue if you are sensitive to these products. A chamois would act like a sponge for these additives over time causing a concentration that would be released by sweat. A pair of not fully cleaned shorts would have the same affect but it would be dirt/body oils and sweat by products causing the irritation. If you were, you would get a red swelling and irritation of the skin, over a longride this could result in a symptom similar to a wear problem but should be more general over a larger area.

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