Bike Chafing Female (Crotchitis Cycling)

Saddle sore cycling female

So, I get that this is a delicate issue. I understand that it’s not exactly a dinner party conversation topic. But, the important thing to understand is that it’s a really common problem that many cyclists face. Everyone from first-time bikers to the pros.

Just to put it into perspective. 70 people type the same words that you just have, “Bike Chafing Female”, into Google every…single…month.

What we need to do is take action. Let’s work the problem. Go through the solutions. Then get back on the bike and go enjoy pain-free cycling.

Ready?



Bike seat pain female

There are four stages to solving this problem:

  1. Padded Shorts, or
  2. Padded Undershorts
  3. Shaped Saddle
  4. Chamois cream

My Top Recommended Methods of Stopping Bike Chafing

Let’s go through each of these in detail, shall we?

1. Padded Shorts

There are a number of key areas where chafing can happen due to cycling:

  • Inner thighs
  • Buttocks
  • Perineum (the area between the vulva and the anus)

The first line of defense for any of these areas is a good quality pair of padded bike shorts.

These are shorts that have a stretchy lycra / spandex outer layer, with a large foam pad sewn into the gusset. They help you by providing cushioning between you and the saddle, along a broad line from your vagina back to your buttocks.

You can get road bike style ones that look like this.

Or, if tight shorts aren’t your thing, then go with a mountain bike style short like this one.

Useful to know that this comes with the padded gusset stitched into a separate liner, and it’s removable so you can wear them off the bike as well.

Both these types of shorts also provide another relief from chafing as well – the dreaded thigh rub. The road bike shorts and the inner liner of the mountain bike shorts stretch down to just above the knee. That means that the shorts fabric covering your legs will rub together as you pedal. Not the skin of your inner thighs.


2. Padded Undershorts

If you have a favorite pair of shorts that you like to go cycling in, or just don’t like the look of cycling shorts, then you can still get the benefit of that cushiony padding.

You can use padded underwear, just like these.

I love the skulls 😊

Or, in a longer leg version like these, which also gives some inner thigh rub protection.

Do you wear knickers under cycling shorts?

Don’t try and double-up with both padded shorts and padded underwear. It’s just too much thickness and it will probably cause more discomfort. Also, many women tend not to wear underwear with padded shorts as it stops fabric bunching up together. If you don’t want to ‘go commando’ then just team the shorts up with your standard underwear.


3. Shaped Saddle

One common area of chafing is along the perineum. This is the area between the vulva and the anus and is the bit that all your weight rests on when you’re sitting on a narrow road bike saddle. It’s a sensitive area and not exactly designed for this kind of pressure, so it needs a little help.

Padded bike shorts or undershorts can help, but we can also take a look at the saddle, as there are lots of improvements that can be made here.

There are a range of different saddle types that are shaped to put less pressure on the perineum. Here are a couple of different options. Pick the one that suits your riding style best.

For recreational riders, this saddle from Outerdo is a great choice.

Thick padding and shock-absorbing springs are great for comfort.

It’s that cutout that you can see in the center of the saddle that really makes the difference. This is the spot where your perineum lies and so the pressure is all directed to your ‘sit bones’, where it should be, and not to the sensitive perineal area.

Another option is a ‘noseless’ bike saddle.

This is exactly what you’d imagine it to be – you have the padding at the rear for your sit bones, but the nose of the saddle has been taken away.

This means there’s nothing to put pressure on your perineum. Takes a little getting used to, but can be a real winner.

I’ve written a fuller article here about saddles. Have a look if you’d like more details and some more saddle options.


4. Chamois cream for female cyclists

This is a bit of a secret amongst bikers.

The padding on your padded shorts used to be made of leather. Over time this would dry out and cyclists would apply a chamois cream to keep it soft and supple. These days they’re made from synthetic materials and stay soft, so there’s no need to apply anything to them.

So ‘chamois creams’ aren’t really formulated for the chamois these days (although many cyclists still apply them to the chamois). Instead, they’re used as a lubricant and soothing balm and are applied on your skin anywhere where you tend to get chafing.

I’ve got a fuller article about chamois creams for female cyclists here.

If you’d like my top recommendation though, then it’s this one. A great product and it comes in handy tubes, so you can easily pop one in your pocket and re-apply midway through your ride.


Cycling rash groin – ouch!

Chafing is the kind of thing that you don’t even think about until it happens for the first time.

Then it’s the only thing you can think about. Ouch!

There are some easy ways to stop it from happening and I hope this gives you useful methods of doing so.

Stay comfy.