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Over the last few months, I've seen a lot of posts on social media from people new to cycling or established cyclists posting in forums for advice on how to improve their riding experiences and in particular abolishing the saddle sore.
Some of the usual advice would be first and foremost making sure your bike is fitted for you. Rather than guessing your saddle position, handlebar height and every other tiny tweek, go and get your bike measured up for you. It doesn't have to cost a fortune. There are cycling coaches that can provide a basic bike fit to cycle-specific retailers that provide a more in-depth measurement. It's just as important to have one done as it is for what you wear.
But just as important is a quality pair of padded cycling shorts. It never pays to skimp on the quality when it comes to comfort and usually I go by the rule buy cheap, pay twice! In the case of riding my bike, I don't want to suffer the miserable consequences of poor padding, unforgiving shoulder straps and an uncomfortable ride. Saying that, it doesn't mean you have to fork out an absolute fortune either. Padded shorts are a personal choice as far a cut and style and technical fabrics used but the same goes for the Chamois, the bit that makes up the padded areas inside the shorts. I've tried various brands of bib shorts in the past and they are not all created equal, the same can be said about wearing a padded short made for the opposite sex. Men’s and women’s shorts and padding are not positioned to fit the same...obviously! and while I am on the subject, I have lost count of how many cyclists I have seen displaying their derriere through ill-fitting, holey and see-through shorts, arghh!!
From grocery store offers to branded names I've tried many but what makes the Primal padded shorts/bibs stand out above the others is not only do their shoulder straps on the bibs have a more generous fit, they provide 4 types of chamois padding depending on the type of riding you are wanting to do. As a Primal Ambassador, I am lucky to be able to try them out and I'm always happy with them. It is then your choice if you choose to use chamois cream. I had a comical debate with the Cannondale guys over at their stand at The Prudential Ride London Expo in this subject. They were convinced we should all be slapping it on while I was adamant if you had a decent bit of chamois padding you could get away with it.
The four types of Chamois
Recreational Cyclist looks for the range of bibs and shorts with an E3 Chamois which has a seamless anatomical 4-way stretch that won’t break down over time and has Antibacterial Silver Ion Fabric.
The Mountain Biker/Long Distance Touring Cyclist Look for the bibs and shorts with an E6 Carbon Chamois. The technology in the chamois promotes blood flow and the reduction in lactic acid. It also comes with an air mesh insert for increased shock absorption and moisture management.
Competitive Road Cyclists/Teams Look for the bibs with the APX Chamois Three layers of density foam, 4-way stretch and an anatomical shape allow for optimum comfort while maintaining a free range of motion and super comfortable. The moisture control in the padding is built to last and won’t break down over time.
The All-Rounder Look for the bibs with the HX8 Carbon Chamois. This Chamois is engineered for the progressive reduction of foam thickness, with a 4 density, 4-way stretch premium chamois designed to form to the body, preventing abrasion and promotes blood flow.
Whichever choice you go for, whether it’s the suggestions above or custom kit think of it as an investment just as you would for a pair of running shoes, and a happy bottom on a bike ride!