If you use and care for the chamois correctly, the chamois padding in your biker shorts will be your best defense against soreness in a sensitive body part caused by riding. But you may use the wrong ways and sabotage the performance benefits of your bike chamois , which may hurt you.
It’s easy to prevent the worst problems just by changing a few bad habits. Proper use of bike chamois can not only extend the life of your shorts but also make you feel happy on and off the bike.
Here are some of the most common chamois mistakes cyclists make, and if you have to do so, you can follow those tips and make some changes.
First, double up your chamois.
You may think that double the chamois, double the comfort, right? Unfortunately, no.
As you ride, your sit bones sink into your saddle, settling on the sturdiest surface available to provide the most power to your pedal stroke. The more foam you add, the harder they will press to find that power—ultimately leading to soreness.
If riding is still painful after a few weeks, you might need to look into buying a new saddle that fits you better or investing in shorts with a differently shaped chamois.
Second, wear underwear under cycling shorts.
It is a common mistake that’s more than just a fashion. Wearing underwear with your bike shorts will cause a lot of problems.
First, it blocks your nether regions from the chamois explicitly designed to trap bacteria and fight friction against your bare skin. That creates a petri dish in your sweaty undies. Second, wearing underpants while riding inevitably leads to wedgies; these create friction and chafing that cause slight tears in the skin, which can then get infected or inflamed—the perfect storm for a dreaded saddle sore.
Third, Washing your shorts incorrectly
Your pad should always be washed inside-out, exposing it to the maximum amount of water possible. How else are you supposed to wash away all that cream, sweat, and other stuff before your next ride? A sensitive skin detergent and the double-rinse cycle are your friends if you’re prone to rashes after long or hot rides since your harsh detergent might be to blame for those.
Most shorts also shouldn’t be thrown in the washing machine, so make sure you hang them to dry somewhere with UV exposure to kill off lingering harmful bacteria. Lastly, please ensure your shorts are fully dry before putting them on again!
Fouth, wearing a expirated chamois
Like any piece of clothing, your bike shorts wear out eventually. If the foam in your chamois seems to be packed so tightly that it feels like a piece of heavy fabric, it’s time to replace your shorts. If the seams are unraveling, replace your shorts. If your elastic grippers are sagging off, replace your shorts. And if no amount of washing is making your chamois smell fresh and clean, you know the deal.
Fifth, wearing the wrong size
There isn’t an industry standard for short bike sizes—they can vary by brand, cut, and model year. So instead of assessing your shorts by size, go by feel.
Your shorts should fit tightly—not so much that they restrict your breathing, but also not so loose that the chamois moves under you. A chamois with too much wiggle room can create that dreaded friction, and loose seams in shorts can cause chafing.
It would help if you were looking for tight shorts to get a bit of compression.
Sixth, Using petroleum based cream
Many riders may choose cheap petroleum jellys instead of high pricechamois cream, but it is a costly mistake.
Because it is easy for you to not won’t wash the petroleum jelly out of your chamois properly, so it is possible that the bacteria will be trapped in there, and can wreck the antimicrobial treatment.
Moreover, the petroleum jelly will damage your saddle.