How to make your bike seat more comfortable: 7 Tips from a Group Fitness Instructor

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By Robbie Ferri, Cyclist, Personal Trainer, and Group Exercise Instructor.

Many people get put off of indoor cycling to start with because it can feel uncomfortable afterward. As a spinning instructor and avid cyclist, I often have people come to a session, and then when they return for the next, they say their behind was quite tender. We all have different bottoms, so each person will get a unique feeling from a bike saddle, sometimes good, sometimes not so good.

The first thing to say is that this is normal and you shouldn’t worry about this. The majority of bike saddles will feel uncomfortable when first used, and it takes time for your body to adapt. Feeling discomfort from your bike seat can not only make you feel tender, but it also has a lot of other negative effects such as:

  • It puts you off cycling indoor again
  • It causes you to train less regularly 
  • It makes indoor cycling a painful experience 
  • Focus less on the class and more on the uncomfortable feeling
  • It might even make you stop spinning altogether

 I am often asked how to help alleviate this feeling, and I am going to tell you in this article.

How to Make Your Bike Seat More Comfortable

1. Set your bike up correctly

This is probably the most essential point to make in this whole article. Make sure your saddle height is correct, and the saddle is flat. This is where saddles are designed to be, and if they are not, then there’s a good chance you’re getting pain from sitting on it incorrectly. Going on Youtube and watching some advice on setting your bike upright is vital.

2. Get used to it 🙂

The first thing I always recommend to clients is just to try to get used to it. It might be pretty blunt advice, but it actually does work. I have used many different saddles in my cycling, and the first time you used them, they were uncomfortable. You need to give the body time to adapt and adjust to it. If it has improved in five rides, I personally say, then start looking at other ideas on this list.

3. Change the Saddle

All Spin bikes and all outdoor bikes you can buy on the market pretty much all used the same bracket to mount a saddle. This means you can change to other saddles very easily. If your saddle isn’t working for you, just swap it out for another. I would recommend not going for the most padded saddle. Just go for a different design. Padded saddles are not always better. It is the shape that matters, not the padding when it comes to saddles.

4. Use Cycling Shorts

Cycling shorts are a fantastic tool for indoor cycling and spinning. They hug your body, stay in the same place, and provide a support pad. They will wrap around the saddle and hug your body to remove the friction from the area. This will probably be the quickest fix if you are getting any discomfort.

Related: Best Indoor & Outdoor Cycling Short for Women

5. Double layer your clothing

If you don’t want to buy cycling shorts and are looking for a quick fix, a good idea is to double layer your clothing. When I first started cycling, I did this to help from getting friction in the saddle area. I had sports leggings on and then a pair of shorts on top. This vastly helped remove friction from the saddle and did take some of the discomforts away.

6. Chamois Cream

Chamois cream is a product designed to eliminate friction on your behind. This is recommended by many and used by a lot of indoor cyclists. I think it is ok to use the first few rides on a new saddle or bike to bed it in, but I highly recommend doing some sessions without after to let your body just self adapt to the seat. 

7. Keep it Hygienic 

If you’re planning on doing a class and then running some errands afterward before washing, this will not do you any favors. A lot of the reason is that when you sweat, salt leaves your body, which can cause the skin to chafe and be painful. When we cycle indoors, we can irritate an area, and leaving salt on an irritated area is not a good idea. Wash as soon as you finish your session. 

Conclusion

All these tips will aid you in finding more comfort on your bike. The most valuable thing you can do though, in my opinion, is to have your bike set upright and give it a few rides before doing anything too drastic like changing your saddle. 

Robbie Ferri

A Personal Trainer and Ultra Cyclist living in King's Lynn in Norfolk, UK. From Ultra Cycling World Records to Bikepacking Races and a huge amount of time on the gym floor training myself and clients my experience when it comes to Health and Fitness is vast.

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