9 Ways to Avoid Getting a Sore Butt While Riding a Bicycle

One of the biggest complaints I hear from new cyclists is that they get a sore butt from riding a bike. Unfortunately, many new cyclists give up on the joy of cycling before they overcome the pain. Here are nine common and some not so common tricks I use to eliminate the problem.

1. Padded shorts – Padded shorts have become a cycling standard because they work by reducing soreness from cycling. A little bit of padding goes a long way, so don’t overdo a good thing. Your shorts don’t need to be Lycra. There are plenty of baggy padded cycling shorts available. However, tight fitting Lycra shorts don’t bunch up into a wedgie like baggy shorts can.

2. Go Commando – Lose the underwear when wearing cycling shorts. Cycling shorts are designed to be worn without underwear. Wearing underwear only causes problems such as bunching. While Lycra shorts may have a “freeing” feeling that may take a little getting used to, they also have a modesty panel built in so the “freeing” feeling is not also revealing.

3. Get a gender specific saddle – There are saddles designed specifically for men’s and women’s anatomies. Make sure you have a saddle designed to fit your anatomy that helps to relieve pressure where it counts.

4. Get off your butt – You can greatly reduce the beating your butt takes simply by taking your weight off the saddle when riding on rough sections of road or when encountering bumps.

5. Change Positions – Luckily, touring bicycles have drop handle bars that allow you to change your position on the bike easily. In doing so, you are also reducing the pressure on the same points on your butt.

6. Keep riding – Toughen up the tissue around the sit-bones by continuing to ride. Most seasoned cyclists do not experience a sore butt except on very long rides because they have toughened up this area over time.

7. Wax the saddle – This is a secret I’ve used for years but I find many cyclists don’t believe me when I tell them. While it is a common practice for riders with an unpadded leather saddle to wax their saddle, I’ve found that it is just as useful for padded saddles as well. I use spray furniture wax on my saddle. A waxed saddle helps me to easily slide to a new position. Frequently changing my position on the seat helps prevent pain caused by remaining in one spot too long.

8. Massage – It’s always worth a laugh when I tell a new rider to get a butt massage. However, I find that massaging the sore area after my ride eases the inflammation, improves blood flow and reduces the soreness in my butt for me.

9. Reduce tire pressure – While cycling across the United States in 2015, the chip seal road surface throughout most of Texas was a jarring experience not quickly forgotten. To reduce the beating on our bodies at the contact points at the handlebars and saddle, we reduced the air pressure in our tires by several pounds per square inch (PSI). Let your tires absorb some of the beating rather than your butt.  Thankfully,  with today’s tubeless tires you can ride in comfort with much lower tire pressure.

I hope these nine tricks help to get you back in the saddle again.

Ken Whittaker

Day 52 – Palatka, FL to Saint Augustine, FL

APRIL 27, 2015

Day 52 – Palatka, FL to Saint Augustine, FL

Day 52 – Palatka, FL to Saint Augustine, FL – 43.91 miles – Elevation: +322 / -449 feet

The final day. Fortunately, the route was only about 44 miles and we completed it by lunchtime, even riding at a leisurely pace.

About a mile from the end we stopped, posed for a group picture then rode the final mile in single file to the end. The group was lead by Don, a man who was an inspiration for me every day of the trip. Don finished at the end of the pack almost every day. In fact, most nights I was in bed sleeping before he was able to get a shower.

So what made Don so inspiring? He got up every day and rode the complete route with a prosthetic leg. It was only fitting that the man who finished last so many days got to finish first the last day.

I completed a lifelong dream and it was an incredible journey I will never forget. I hope everyone gets to complete their dream. Thanks to everyone who followed me on my journey and for all of the kind words and encouragement!

Day 52 – C2C 2015 Group Picture

Ken Whittaker

Day 51 – High Springs, FL to Palatka, FL

APRIL 26, 2015

Day 51 – High Springs, FL to Palatka, FL

Day 51 – High Springs, FL to Palatka, FL – 85.69 miles – Elevation: +1,594 / -1,562 feet

Today is the second to last day. While it was supposed to be an 84 mile ride, I got to do a few extra miles. As luck would have it, one of my riding partners forget the cue sheet this morning so I offered mine. Since I ride with a bicycle GPS, I general don’t use my cue sheet.

Unfortunately, we got caught in a thunderstorm this morning while I was in front leading the group. We each take turns leading for two miles. Unknown to me they dropped off and found cover from the rain and lightning while I sped up in an effort to outrun the storm.

To make matters worse, I missed a turn and without a cue sheet I couldn’t find my way back to the route. A quick call to SAG and I was back on the route. Once back on the route, I met up with Ron and Nancy and rode with them until I met up with my group again.

I was pleasantly surprised by Colleen at dinner tonight and I am looking forward to finishing the ride tomorrow and returning home.

Ken Whittaker

Day 50 – High Springs FL – Rest Day 8

APRIL 25, 2015

Day 50 – High Springs FL – Rest day. While I really could have used the rest today, I took the opportunity to go kayaking. Who knows if or when I will pass this way again.

It was great fun. Someone said they saw 89 turtles. I wasn’t counting but there were a lot.

Ken Whittaker

Day 49 – Madison, FL to High Springs, FL

APRIL 24, 2015

Day 49 – Madison, FL to High Springs FL

Day 49 – Madison, FL to High Springs FL – 77.54 miles – Elevation: +1,280 / -1,348 feet

Today was a 77 mile ride. It turned out to be another excellent cycling day just like we had yesterday. We are all getting visibly stronger and less intimidated by the high mileage days. Unfortunately it’s a bit late since the trip is drawing to an end. We only have two riding days left and less than 130 miles to go until we dip our front wheels in the Atlantic Ocean.

The highlight of the day was the scenery and wild flowers.

Day 49 Wildflowers

Ken Whittaker

Day 48 – Tallahassee, FL to Madison, FL

APRIL 23, 2015

Day 48 – Tallahassee, FL to Madison, FL

Day 48 – Tallahassee, FL to Madison, FL – 49.33 miles – Elevation: +1,160 / -1,084 feet

Today was a relatively short day with only a 48 mile ride. Fortunately, the hills leaving Tallahassee were not as steep as the ones coming in. I never realized how hilly the area was before this.

The weather and scenery were great. In fact, I would rate it as an ideal cycling day. Along the way we stopped at the hometown of Ray Charles and had some fun taking pictures of ourselves with his statue.

The spirits of the group are very high now as we near the end of the ride.

Ken Whittaker

Day 47 – Marianna, FL to Tallahassee, FL

APRIL 22, 2015

Day 47 – Marianna, FL to Tallahassee, FL

Day 47 – Marianna, FL to Tallahassee, FL – 75.14 miles – Elevation: +2,457 / -2,448 feet

Today was a 75 mile ride. Without a doubt Florida has the best roads to cycle. Lisa had to break off from the group because she had a TV interview to make and I had to ride at a slower pace because of my injury.

Check out Lisa and Jeff at Puppy power: Couple pedaling cross-country for service dogs (channel3000.com).

Ken Whittaker

Day 46 – DeFuniak Springs, FL to Marianna, FL

APRIL 21, 2015

Day 46 – DeFuniak Springs, FL to Marianna, FL

Day 46 – DeFuniak Springs, FL to Marianna, FL – 69.64 miles – Elevation: +1,617 / – 1,742 feet

Today was a 69 mile ride. Since I missed the riders’ meeting last night, I didn’t realize that breakfast was a half hour earlier than usual. Nevertheless, my riding partners waited for me and helped me live up to my promise to the doctor to go easy for the next few days. I can’t begin to tell you what a great group my riding partners are. I will dearly miss them when this is over.

In addition, the slower pace gave me some time to recover from the emotional roller coaster that I was on yesterday and helped me realize how lucky I am and how many people had helped to keep me going.

  • Colleen for arranging the initial doctor’s appointment at the very last minute.
  • Bubba for lending me a SAG vehicle to go to the appointment.
  • The doctor for seeing me on a very short notice and for asking the surgeon to see me.
  • The surgeon for staying after hours to perform the surgery.
  • And everyone’s comments and support.

Everyone helped me get my head on straight. Thank you. I am truly blessed.

Ken Whittaker

Day 45 – Milton, FL to DeFuniak Springs, FL

APRIL 20, 2015

Day 45 – Milton, FL to DeFuniak Springs, FL

Day 45 – Milton, FL to DeFuniak Springs, FL – 54.71 miles – Elevation: +951 / -860 feet

Today was a relatively short 54.5 mile day. Unfortunately, I had a doctor appointment at 1:45 PM. Since the doctor was more than an hour’s drive from the finish point, I really had to push hard to finish the route and make my appointment. In fact, I may have been the first rider in.

As I mentioned before, my goal is to complete the whole route. However, today was one of the days that I almost didn’t complete. I had a similar dilemma on day 23 leaving Sanderson when I broke my front shifter cable. SAG wanted to drive me to the rest stop to have my bike fixed there. However, I refused and continued on so I could complete the whole route,

The question I am struggling with today is do I have to cycle every inch of the route to say I successfully completed the coast to coast route? What do you think? Anyone?

Day 45 – Tree sculpture

Ken Whittaker

Day 44 – Dauphin Island, AL to Milton, FL

APRIL 19, 2015

Day 44 – Dauphin Island, AL to Milton, FL

Day 44 – Dauphin Island, AL to Milton, FL

Today’s 85 mile ride started with heavy rain while we waited to get on the ferry to leave the island. While waiting for the ferry one of the riders accidentally dropped his smart phone into the bay. Shorty afterwards the rain subsided. Thank you Bruce for the sacrifice.

However, the day wasn’t without other mishaps. Udi broke his second spoke of the trip and had to use a loaner wheel to finish the route. Nevertheless, rains, lost phones or broken spokes could not keep us from entering Florida, our 8th and final state.

Day 44 Welcome to Florida Ken Whittaker

Ken Whittaker