Apparently I Don’t Know How to Ride a Bike

Two years ago, I took a cycling class and bruised my crotch.

I tell you that to explain that yes, I have heard about padded bike seats and padded bike shorts. I am aware, thanks to the Internet, that riding a stationary bike for exercise can cause serious pain to the female anatomy for which the only cure is extra padding. Thank you, Internet, for that disappointing news.

Upon learning that information two years ago, I promptly dropped out of my spin class. It was the perfect justification for laziness. I was protecting myself.

But, I come before you today, completely and totally confused and bruised once again.

No, I have not joined another spin class.

I got a bike.

Like, an actual bike that moves down roads and stuff. I planned to use it for recreation and transportation. I’ve seen people on TV do it and I’ve read about people who bike to work. I remember riding a bike as a kid. I know it is possible to bike for a few minutes (or several hours) a day!

You know what I don’t remember?

Putting on my padded shorts before heading out to play with my friends. There was that one boy that was really into bike shorts, but he was an exception to the rule (on so many levels.)

None of those bike messengers on TV are wearing padded lycra. Or is padded underwear another secret of the bike commuter, like tucking your khakis into your black socks?

There must be a way to ride a normal bike without causing permanent damage to my perineum!

I don’t understand what I’m doing wrong.

Am I sitting on the bike wrong? I’ve tried sitting more lightly, more forward, more backwards. I’ve clenched my butt cheeks in an effort to put more space between my tender nethers and the punishing seat, but that just results in a really sore butt and leg muscles.

Do I weigh too much for casual bike riding? I have gained a few pounds since childhood.

You guys, what am I doing wrong????

Please.  Help me help my crotch.

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  1. Your ass is not big enough, not supplying the required padding. Eat a lot of shiz and sit around for a few weeks. Should help (you can thank me for my pearls of wisdom later).

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  2. FireMom says:

    Oh my God. Someone else! Who gets what I’m saying! I love my new bike. It makes my whole self ache. :(

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  3. beba says:

    Tilt the seat, ladies! Ask me how I know LOL:

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  4. Lisa says:

    Tilting the seat might help a little. My suggestion is to find a bike shop and have them fit your bike. Having your seat in the wrong position can cause all kinds of pain. Mostly, though, you’re just going to have to toughen the area up. The first couple weeks of riding in the spring make me super tender too, even with high-tech shorts. I promise it will go away with regular riding. That’s the trick, though. It has to be regular (a couple times a week will do it). Any time you take time off from riding you’re back at square one.

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  5. Laurie says:

    Is it the seat that is the issue? That’s not a photo of YOUR bike, right? I find that I get hurt if I try to ride a man’s bike, but the women’s version with the slanted body causes no pain at all.

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  6. Mrsfwith4 says:

    I’m with Lisa, get a bike shop to check it. If it has drop handlebars, so you really have to lean forward, it kills my crotch! So I have a nice elegant upright one. You can also, relatively inexpensively, just replace the saddle for a more comfortable one. More armchair, less banana. A good bike shop will help, and be happy to do it!

  7. elli says:

    Thank all things holy that it’s not just me. I inherited my mom’s old…errr…*vintage* bike and while *I* am in love with Lulu (the bike) to the depth of my too-old-to-be-a-hipster soul….my coochie-coo is *not*.

    A friend of mine recommended this:

    I have not tried it yet, but she does triathlons and is just one of those people who know about this kind of thing. I haven’t ordered, either, because every time I try, I get to the name of it (it’s an Anatomical Relief Saddle) and my inner twelve-year-old disolves into unproductive giggles. (Plus, I think it might throw off the whole look of the thing, and as someone with enough padding that you’d *think* butt callouses would be the least of the worries, I’m motivated by the whole image thing when I’m on it. Shallow, yes. Gets me moving, also yes. Therefore, the seat stays.)

    I’m seriously contemplating just strapping a couch cushion to the seat soon if it keeps hurting like this.

  8. You just need more practice. Your crotch needs CALLUSES, girl.

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  9. Suebob says:

    When I used to ride a tandem with my ex, I would sob because it felt like I was sitting on knives. I got told if I pedaled harder, it would help. Sigh. Now I have a recumbent (“sofa”) bike and it works better for me and my delicate lady parts.

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  10. pocket_queen says:

    I live in the land of biking (the Netherlands) and sadly enough had to learn to bike here, when I bought a used bike from someone in a neighboughood (which is most normal here).. and I *had to* teach myself because I knew nobody then and you really can’t live without a bike here! The first week was absolute HELL! But you just need to keep at it and in 2-3 weeks you will have gotten used to it and it won’t be a pain.
    Tilting the seat a bit can help, and also, they sell gel-padded bike seat covers, which are not so expensive (~€10) and help a LOT in the beginning.
    Happy biking!

  11. Jen says:

    I always feel pretty sore when I first start riding in the spring again too…it just takes time to get the muscles (and stuff) used to the bike.

  12. Erin says:

    I have the same problem, which I never seemed to have as a kid/teenager – I’m guessing that when I was living at home, my father adjusted the seat for me without my knowledge. Thanks, commenters, for the suggestions!

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  13. Vikki says:

    You know that I have STRONG feelings about this topic. There is a direct correlation between “lady part pain I’ve experience when biking” and my “strong feelings”. I biked 150 miles and I had the padded shorts and I had the special seat that has the big hole cut out for your hoo-ha and I still suffered. Oh how I suffered and the suffering continues for a long time after the ride. I now have an overwhelming desire to go soak in a warm bath.

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  14. BetaDad says:

    Yup. You just have to toughen up your taint. The first few rides are always killers. Also, get yourself some bike shorts for longer rides. You can even get baggy ones that don’t look as ridiculous. Or wear padded lycra under your cocktail dress.

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  15. Wow, great blog.Thanks Again. Fantastic.

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