The Numb Bum & Saddle Sores


Alternative Title choices included:

  • Clunge compression
  • “Nether been in so much pain”
  • Fannying Around
  • Tough Muff
  • Tingle in my dingle
  • Muffled misery
  • I can’t get no Saddlesfaction!

Unfortunately for some people the biggest downside to cycling is the saddle. To some extent we all accept feeling a little ‘saddle sore’ after a long ride, however there is another condition out there that can strike forth your lady garden at any time – perineal numbness. This can occur from spending long hours in the saddle but is typically brought on more quickly in a stretched forward ‘racey’ position so that the pressure usually felt on the sit bones is transferred to more tender parts.


The perineum is the area between the anus and the vagina. It contains the vessels which supply the nether regions with blood and sensation- which are vulnerable to being squashed by the saddle and the weight of the rider. This can lead to the uncomfortable feeling of pins and needles, pain and numbness down below. These symptoms are usually very short lived, but prolonged compression can go on to cause symptoms for days.

Fear not dear readers, this does all sound rather horrific. It would be extremely rare for these symptoms to last forever and there are simple ways of preventing it from happening:


  1. Have the right saddle – If you are a lady, trying a  women’s specific saddle may help. These saddles are designed to encompass the female anatomy and nearly always have a well placed gap in the middle for the most sensitive area. Be aware the padding is less important than the fit of the saddle. Some places even offer a saddle fit which looks at how you distribute the pressure down below when pedalling. I have not tried this but it sounds like a great use of technology.
  2. Check your saddle height and experiment with the angle of your saddle. Tilting the saddle forward can help relieve pressure.
  3. Wear your bike shorts – the padded chamois will also help spread the pressure to less sensitive areas.
  4. Change your position on the saddle when riding, avoid longs spells seated in the saddle and stand up every now and again to relieve pressure or just have a well earned café stop.
  5. Chamois cream – this will reduce any friction or irritation. You don’t have to buy expensive chamois cream you can buy Dermol 500 from most chemists. It is unperfumed, cheap and works just as well if not better than fancy chamois cream.
  6. Keeping your nether regions clean. This is fairly obvious but using an antibacterial shower gel can help reduce the risk of any sores becoming infected. Pubic hair is designed to protect the area so shaving and waxing can also increase the risk of problems down below. Embrace the bush.


Saddle soreness doesn’t just affect us mer mortals it also affects the professionals How Scientific rigor helped British Cycling overcome saddle sores

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: