OK, its not what you think. This isnt about working out the glutes, this is about preparing the butt for long distance cycling. On June 5th I do the 600 mile lifecycle which is 100 miles a day which sounds like a lot but it isnt. Anyone in good health can get them into good enough shape to do this easily with about 9 months of training. Surprisingly, the problem for most people is not the muscle strength, the muscle endurance or their cardio endurance – its butt problems. Doing one 100 mile ride is no problem but it really takes a toll on the butt after a few days and it can be crippling and stop riding altogether for many people. Rashes, chaffing, numbness, boils, pressure points, are but a few of the things that happen to the uninitiated.
I’m no bike racer but I put in my share of miles every month and usually do two to three trips a year over 500 miles so my butt is pretty well callused. For those new to long distance riding, I offer a few tips:
- Its called a “saddle”, not a “seat” – dont sit in it like a chair. In fact, dont sit unless you absolutely have to. Softer is not better, in fact, I like hard seats. A long distance ride is not a time to try a new saddle. If you are renting a bike, consider bringing your own saddle and pedals.
- Dont start a long distance trip out with a new pair of cycling shorts! Make sure they are well worn in and comfortable.
- Stand every chance you get. If you are going uphill, stand and honk.
- If you are coasting downhill, stand on your pedals with you butt hovering about 1″ above the seat and squeeze the seat between your powerful thighs with a deathgrip to insure stability. Stay off the saddle the entire downhill.
- If you are coasting slowly thru town, give a few quick pedals to get up speed then do what I call the “flamingo stance”. Stand on one pedal and move the seat from between your legs to the outside of the straight leg. This is actually a very comfortable, stable position that puts the bike at about a 30 degree lean. (photo coming)
- Some people swear by butt balm, I think these oily, slimy greases are disgusting beyond belief. My favorite preventative measure is old fashioned baby powder – apply liberally each morning and after your shower each night.
- Stay clean and dry. If you arrive late, cold, and hungry, then eat a quick snack and take a shower first. Sweat, oil, and grime is your enemy – get it off you ASAP and re-apply that baby powder.
- By all means, at stop lights get off the saddle and stand!