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WOMEN'S CYCLING LIBERATION
Ride comfortably to the fullest.
Never allow pain on the bike. Everyone can enjoy cycling, the most beautiful sport in the world. With the right preparation and tips, you can fully focus on what really matters. Take good care of your sensitive intimate area. Before, during, and after cycling.
THE RACING POSITION
When riding a road bike or gravel bike, you naturally adopt an aerodynamic posture to move faster. Unfortunately, this forward-leaning position exerts extra pressure on the delicate parts of the female genitals. Furthermore, rides on a road bike or gravel bike often last longer than on a city bike, where you assume a more upright posture. Considering that the constant rotation of the pedal movement also generates additional friction in these sensitive areas, it becomes clear how crucial a perfect bike position is to prevent discomfort and pain.
A custom-made bike and the right bike position are not only beneficial for your performance but also ensure that you ride more comfortably, avoid discomfort, and fully enjoy longer rides.
In men, the most sensitive areas are typically located higher up in the pelvic region or can be temporarily repositioned. In contrast, women have their sensitive areas positioned differently. This emphasizes the importance of careful and specific attention to this aspect of cycling, taking into consideration the anatomical differences between men and women.
THE 3 CRUCIAL FACTORS
THAT ENSURE A HIGH-PERFORMANCE
AND COMFORTABLE RIDE.
01 — SEATING POSITION
The correct posture is the foundation of everything. It is determined by the perfect pedal rotation, the right balance, and the pursuit of an aerodynamic position that doesn't compromise on comfort while keeping as much weight as possible on your sit bones rather than your pubic bone.
02 — SADDLE
The right saddle depends on your ideal riding position. Do you need a saddle with a cutout, should it be slightly tilted forward, what about the setback... often, racing saddles are too narrow for a woman's sit bones.
03 — CYCLING BIBS
To minimize contact and friction between the saddle and your most sensitive areas, a pair of shorts with a chamois specifically designed for women is a must.
We often hesitate to discuss the pain we experience in the genital area during and after cycling. It can be embarrassing: infections, swollen labia, excessive friction, inflamed sores. At times, we might even think that we're the only women experiencing these discomforts while cycling. More often than not, the opposite is true. Many women encounter discomfort and pain while cycling, usually caused by an improper riding position.
Now, let's list some of the most common complaints and pains, as well as how to prevent them:
Vaginal infections, such as yeast infections, can affect any woman, but women who cycle frequently have an increased risk.
Tight cycling clothing with a chamois, perspiration, and a warm environment create an ideal setting for fungal growth and rapid bacterial multiplication. This can lead to itching, burning, unusual discharge, and an unpleasant odor when urinating.
Avoid keeping your cycling shorts on when unnecessary. Avoid using soap, as it can disrupt the pH balance, and definitely do not use fabric softener as it can be retained by your chamois and disrupt your pH balance when cycling.
You can also make yourself more resistant to infections by consuming more probiotic foods like yogurt, miso, chickpeas, kefir, etc.
If you do develop an infection, you can treat it with a specialized cream for fungal infections.
Tingling and vaginal numbness are common occurrences. This is because there is pressure on your nerves, causing them to be pinched. In the long term, this can cause damage. Therefore, you should not just endure this.
Incorrect posture on your bicycle, improper geometry of your bicycle, or a poor saddle. Or a combination of various factors. Having a somewhat good saddle and a somewhat correct bike position is not sufficient and can lead to genital numbness.
A professional bike fitting will help. During your ride, your weight should rest on your sit bones or the front part of the pelvic floor (pubic ramus). Avoid having your soft tissues, which are located more towards the front, constantly bear the weight. For example, if the reach of your bike's geometry is too long, you'll be too stretched out, exerting a lot of pressure on those soft tissues. This also affects the length of your stem and the height of your saddle. Everything is interconnected.
! At Jaegher, you can test various saddles specially designed for women that have already proven their effectiveness. You will have ample time to thoroughly test these saddles before deciding which one to purchase for your custom-made road or gravel bike.
The scientific term is 'Labial Hypertrophy,' which refers to the swelling or enlargement of the inner or outer labia.
Similar to genital numbness, excessive pressure is the culprit here as well. While numbness results from pressure on the nerves, in this case, it's pressure that constricts the lymph nodes. Once there is swelling, it can lead to further constriction, causing the swelling to worsen. Even saddles with cutouts to relieve pressure can sometimes lead to problems.
Prevention is the only solution, and it starts with achieving the perfect bike position and using the right saddle.
! At Jaegher, we reimburse your professional bike fitting when you purchase a custom-made road or gravel bike tailored to your specifications. This offer extends to any bike fitter in your vicinity.
A urinary tract infection is a bacterial infection, similar to vaginitis. In this case, it primarily affects the kidneys, bladder, and urethra.
Wearing tight cycling shorts, sweating, and heat can allow bacteria in your chamois (cycling pad) to thrive and potentially cause an infection in your bladder.
Naturally, it's uncomfortable to constantly feel the need to urinate and experience a burning sensation. To prevent this, make sure to remove your cycling shorts promptly after cycling. Stay well-hydrated by drinking enough water, and consider consuming cranberry juice, which contains components that can help inhibit bacterial growth.
Your body is not accustomed to experiencing constant pressure and friction in the same area, which can lead to tiny skin tears developing on and around the labia.
Friction and constant rubbing in the same spot can irritate the skin, leading to small cracks or wounds that can become inflamed and cause infections.
Minimize friction by, for example, applying chamois cream. A proper bike position and the right saddle are crucial in preventing this issue.
Jaegher & Peloton De Paris
Jaegher & Peloton De Paris
Jaegher & Peloton De Paris
BEFORE. DURING. AFTER.
Most discomforts can be easily prevented. Some things are one-time occurrences, and others become a habit before or after cycling, much like staying hydrated during your ride. Even if you consider everything, you should also give your body some time to adapt to this wonderful sport and your bike position. Gradual progression is the best advice.
Read the tips to fully enjoy cycling:
This is a lotion or ointment used to minimize friction between your cycling shorts and skin. For women, specific creams are available that take into consideration your pH balance.
Anti-chafing gels (such as Lanacane) also exist, forming a silky protective layer on the skin to prevent friction between skin and clothing or skin-on-skin.
It still happens - both men and women wearing underwear beneath their cycling shorts. This is strongly discouraged as it causes additional friction and discomfort. Moreover, the fabric of your underwear is likely not suitable for sports, so it doesn't wick away sweat and moisture, potentially leading to bacterial growth and skin infections. Wearing cycling shorts without underwear helps keep you dry and comfortable since the fabric of the shorts is designed to wick moisture away, eliminating concerns about sweaty undergarments.
Choose cycling shorts with a seamless chamois that fits comfortably. Wear your new shorts for a few hours before embarking on a long ride to get accustomed to the feeling of the padding.
Shaving and hair removal:
Avoid shaving your bikini line just before a long ride, as this can cause small wounds. Pubic hair can serve as a buffer or provide extra protection.
The Right Saddle:
Choose a saddle that suits your anatomy. It's easier said than done. Often, racing saddles are too narrow for a woman's sit bones. Additionally, some women tend to lean slightly less forward than male cyclists, which can put more pressure on the sit bones. However, a saddle that is too wide can also cause problems. Everyone is different, and fortunately so. The only way to find the right saddle is to test different ones. Testing a saddle doesn't involve sitting on it for 5 seconds in a store; you need to actually ride with it for several hours. You should also know that some saddles need to adjust to your body, or vice versa, your body may need some time to get used to the saddle.
At the most professional bike fitters, you can undergo a real saddle test. They put a kind of cover with electrodes over the saddle to precisely identify where the pressure points and most weight are on the saddle. They can also see if these pressure points are symmetrical and if one side experiences more pressure than the other. Through small adjustments to your posture, they can fine-tune everything, enhancing your performance and comfort on the bike.
Your cycling posture, the height of your saddle, the distance from your saddle to your handlebars, handlebar width, how your hands rest on the handlebars, and achieving perfect balance – everything starts with the fundamental idea of sporty cycling: the most efficient pedal revolution. During cycling, it's essential to maintain a comfortable yet performance-oriented position. The right geometry for your bike takes into account your individual body dimensions, strengths, weak points, and cycling goals to ensure you're optimally positioned on your bike. Proper bike setup and the right riding position allow you to cycle efficiently and aerodynamically with minimal air resistance.
Your saddle height should be adjusted so that your leg is almost but not fully extended at the bottom of the pedal stroke. If your saddle is too low, you lose power, and your knees may go outward, which is not visually appealing and detrimental to aerodynamics. If the saddle is too high, you won't be stable on your bike, and it might wobble with each pedal stroke. You'll also exert unnecessary pressure on your knees.
For most men, the saddle is perfectly horizontal. For some women, tilting the saddle slightly forward can be helpful, around 3 to a maximum of 10 degrees. This reduces weight and pressure on the most sensitive areas located more forward. Doing this utilizes the hamstrings and glutes more effectively when pushing the pedals. However, there's no one-size-fits-all rule for this either. A professional bike fit will help determine the best saddle height and whether a slight saddle tilt is ideal for you.
Your handlebars should be set at a height that feels natural and comfortable. If your handlebars are too low, you might achieve a super-aerodynamic position, but it can put more pressure on your back. Not only your dimensions matter, but a professional bike fitter also takes into account how flexible or supple you are. If your handlebars are too high, it can strain your neck and make steering more challenging.
The width of your handlebars should match the width of your shoulders. You can't be satisfied with a standard size that happens to be on your bike. If your handlebar width isn't tailored to your body, it can lead to discomfort, pain, less control over your bike, or unstable riding behavior.
Showering After Cycling:
A refreshing shower that removes sweat and provides some rest after the ride works wonders.
Skin Care Creams:
You can treat minor wounds with a healing or protective ointment. Aloe vera is also soothing for the skin. Choose products with the highest percentage of pure aloe vera and avoid those with added fragrances.
Female riders absolutely need customized geometry, even more so than men.
Women tend to experience more discomfort in the front of the saddle and sensitive tissues. Most women have less leg strength, which can result in more pressure on the front of the saddle and on the hands. Customized geometry, such as a raised head tube and a shorter top tube, can make a significant improvement in this regard.
Jean-Luc — Bike Experience
for UCI ploegenand elite riders.
GOOD TO KNOW.
Stronger legs reduce saddle pain. When you have strong legs, they act as support for your body and reduce pressure on your saddle and perineum, even in a forward-leaning position. This can help reduce saddle pain and improve your overall cycling performance.
So, if you want to reduce saddle pain, don't forget to train your legs. All exercises are beneficial, from pilates to squats with added weight on your shoulders. This will pay off in the long run, both in terms of comfort and performance.