The Peloton is the ultimate way to get a class cycling experience from the convenience and comfort of your home. As more people have turned to home cycling workouts, they’re discovering the advantages like variety and competition along with the disadvantages of a heavy cycling routine.
Two common issues for cyclists—chafing and saddle sores—are just as common among Peloton and stationary bicycle users as outdoor cyclists. Good news! Preventative skin care, good hygiene, and the right bike fit can get you back in the saddle and keep you there.
The Painful Truth About Bicycle-Related Chafing and Saddle Sores
The more you use your Peloton, the more likely you are to experience chafing and sores. Let’s give you some background on these two issues.
Chafing comes from friction. As the skin rubs against your workout shorts, skin, and bicycle seat, the friction creates tiny tears in the skin. Heat and perspiration get thrown into the mix, magnifying the problem. The skin then becomes red, raw, and sensitive to touch.
Chafing may occur between the thighs, in the groin, or in the buttocks area. You may go for months without a problem, then suddenly start having chafing issues due to changes in the weather, your clothing, or any other number of small factors.
Saddle Sores 102
Saddle sores are a little different from chafing, though no less painful. The term saddle sores can actually refer to several different and specific painful conditions related to cycling. For this article’s purposes, we’re referring to the small, raised, pink or red, sores that develop in the thigh or groin area.
These sores are basically bacteria-filled pores, similar to a pimple or in-grown hair. The heat, moisture, and friction of cycling can cause and make them worse.
5 Tips to Prevent Saddle Sores and Chafing
You don’t have to give up your live Peloton classes, workouts, or competitions because you can prevent the bad (saddle sores and chafing) to enjoy the good (the Peloton lifestyle).
- Use a Liquid-to-Powder Product as Prevention
Before touching your Peloton, apply a liquid-to-powder product like VitalFit’s Liquid-to-Powder Plus. Liquid-to-powder products apply like a lotion but dry to a powder-like finish, creating a barrier between the skin and bike shorts. The barrier reduces friction and, consequently, chafing and saddle sores. This particular product contains ingredients that reduce irritating bacteria, inflammation, and odor, too.
- Change and Shower ASAP
Tight, hot, moist environments are hard on the skin. Change out of your workout clothes and shower as soon as possible. You may even use a hairdryer on a low heat setting to dry the groin area. Then, give your skin time to breathe.
If you’re already battling chafing, your skin will need healing time, too. Help your skin out by applying a day moisturizer that reduces inflammation and a night moisturizer that promotes healing.
- Check Your Saddle and Bike Fit
Check your saddle height. Too high or too low could contribute to discomfort and chafing. You want a soft bend in the knee when the foot is at the bottom of the stroke.
Not all riders fit the same saddle. Try a seat cover or a traditional bike seat, which might fit your anatomy better than the factory saddle.
- Change Your Bike Shorts
Cyclists wear padded shorts for a reason. Invest in a good pair of padded shorts that fit you well. Look for shorts with few (if any) seams. Even a seam rubbing in the wrong place can cause quick chafing and discomfort.
If you already own padded shorts, check to see how worn out they are. A pulled thread or worn material could cause irritation. In this case, new shorts could make a big difference in your comfort.
- Take a Break
Take two or three days off of the Peloton to give your skin time to heal. One of the great things about Peloton is that cycling workouts aren’t your only option. Their workout library covers an extensive range of mat, weightlifting, and bodyweight workouts.
If chafing continues to be a problem for you, consider alternating your workouts. Instead of cycling four or five days a week, try three days a week, every other day. You can still participate in your favorite live classes, but you’ll give your skin a fighting chance. Find a few favorite non-cycling workouts on Peloton for your off days.
A Final Note
Pelotons and stationary bikes are a great way to stay in shape. With the right equipment, pre-ride preparation, and good hygiene, you can keep chafing and saddle sores to a minimum. Consistent skin care can keep you in the saddle long-term, so you can enjoy the challenge, competition, and thrill that comes with owning a Peloton.