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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    6

    Riding without a Chamois?

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    Excuse me ladies, but I'm just going to be frank with the issue I'm having...I've recently changed from a hybrid to a road bike. While riding the hybrid, I never wore shorts with a chamois. Now that I'm on the road bike, the length of my rides (time in saddle) are increasing. I bought my first pair of shorts with a chamois. I just can't seem to like riding with the chamois. It seems to add pressure to my clitoris, and after a 40 mile ride, I'm really hurting from being smashed and rubbed.

    Do any of you ride without a chamois? Are there unforeseen issues/problems I will encounter without a chamois and long rides?

    Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    1,414
    Different strokes for different folks.

    Try riding a short-to-moderate distance (20-30 miles?) in unpadded shorts and see how you feel. If you feel good, try increasing the distance - and see if that works. We are each a grand experiment of one.

    Typical entry-level shorts (probably PI?) tend to have a relatively thick, stiff chamois. You might want to look at slightly more expensive shorts, European brands, or even tri shorts. Personally, I'm a big fan of Castelli shorts - from the bottom of the line to the top, the chamois tends to be thin and flexible and exceptionally comfortable.

    If you aren't using it, you might want to try some chamois butter as well.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    462
    I'm guessing your saddle has some cush to it. One woman I ride with prefers no chamois but a cushier saddle than I like. I prefer a harder saddle and shorts with decent chamois, and have even learned that I prefer shorts that don't have thick chamois. If I had a cushy saddle, I'm not sure I'd like bike shorts. I'd think it would be too much of a good thing and would squish my parts in a not good way. Find whatever works for you and enjoy.
    2013 Kirk Frameworks JK Special/Selle Anatomica
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Rowland Hts, CA
    Posts
    473
    I totally need the chamois pad in my bike shorts on my road bike (my hybrid has the Serfas Rx seat along with a suspension post...so no padding was needed). My girly soft parts were also squished while wearing the chamois , but my new Selle Italia Max SLR Gel Flow saddle has a HUGE cutout which has greatly relieved this issue.

    There are lots of TE member threads about different saddles for different women.
    ______________________________________________________________
    2012 Specialized Amira Elite, upgraded carbon handle bars, Jett saddle 143mm switched to 145mm 2012 Selle Italia Max SLR Gel Flow saddle

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,713
    I'd take a look at your saddle. I'd also consider going with shorts with a thinner chamois.
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,856
    Quote Originally Posted by Owlie View Post
    I'd take a look at your saddle. I'd also consider going with shorts with a thinner chamois.
    Yeah, you're not just riding for longer periods, you're also sitting differently. A saddle that works on a hybrid could be painful on a road bike.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    212
    My biking shorts do not have a chamois or any other padding. I found that, given my riding position, the extra padding increased the pressure on my "girly bits". To avoid chaffing, I wear some very tight yet breathable underwear so that my shorts cannot rub on the "girly bits".

    What works for one may not work for all - it depends on your riding position, the hardness of your saddle, and the sensitivity of your body.
    JEAN

    2011 Specialized Ruby Elite - carbon fiber go-fast bike
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Beautiful NW or Left Coast
    Posts
    5,645
    check your saddle fit. Maybe it's not set right for you. And different chamois. It's probably too late to take this one back.. you might try another pair of shorts though.
    like someone else said, cushy saddle=bad. Maybe you need a different one. THe pain (if any) should be on your sit bones, not your delicate front end.
    I like Bikes - Mimi
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    6
    I have also heard the creams help a lot with that. I'm trying a cream for the first time tomorrow so wish me luck with that.

    Maybe part of it is the way you are sitting? If you have a good bike shop around you try going in there and talking to them about it. They may be able to put you on a trainer and watch you pedal. Then they can give you some advice.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    +1 on saddle fit. Have you read the saddle fit threads here?

    First thing to try is riding your road bike in the same shorts that you wear comfortably on the hybrid. There's no law that says you need to wear cycling shorts on a road bike. They're just more comfortable for most people. But if you have the same issues in the same shorts on both bikes, it's not the shorts - or at least not only the shorts.

    That said, I'm in the camp of much preferring a thinner chamois (also a firmer saddle). Anything squishy, whether shorts or saddle, is going to move around and chafe.


    Lastly, I think a lot of people buy their first pair of cycling shorts too large. Cycling shorts should fit like pantyhose - they shouldn't bind or constrict, but there should be no bagginess or poofiness anywhere.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    6
    Thanks everyone. I bought a pair of Louis Garneau, Neo Power Shorts. I love the fit, but I'm just not used to the chamois. I currently ride 20 miles with no chamois, I will up it to 30 and see how I do.

    Riding 40 WITH the chamois was torture. I started reading the saddle threads. I was hoping that I could just transfer the saddle from my hybrid, that I long searched to find, to my road bike. Guess that isn't to be. I dread starting a new saddle search.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    74
    Quote Originally Posted by Leesann View Post
    Thanks everyone. I bought a pair of Louis Garneau, Neo Power Shorts. I love the fit, but I'm just not used to the chamois. I currently ride 20 miles with no chamois, I will up it to 30 and see how I do.

    Riding 40 WITH the chamois was torture. I started reading the saddle threads. I was hoping that I could just transfer the saddle from my hybrid, that I long searched to find, to my road bike. Guess that isn't to be. I dread starting a new saddle search.
    I do not wear chamois. They make me crazy.

    My saddle is a Brooks B-67 (the one so many people recommend). This same saddle is on my hybrid, my mixte, my cyclocross, and my road bike.

    My longest ride has only been 85 miles, but it was fine in shorts with no chamois and an unpadded Brooks leather saddle.

    Don't be afraid to go against conventional wisdom.

    And read Murienn's amazing and comprehensive saddle fit thread. Her information will change your life.
    Existence is empty, but I am full of myself.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,982
    We're on cycling touring ride. 52 km. today, yesterday 50 km. Tomorrow 65 km. Day after 70 km. homeward.

    I've done harder and longer cycling. Did not wear chamois. Other rides have included several days each of 100 kms. per day with loaded panniers.

    So try a thinner chamois.

    I also...use water based lubricant ...so that my tissues are fine, not raw from being in saddle for hours.

    I actually have not used any chamois for the past 20 yrs. of regular cycling. And we vacation tour on our bikes. And I bike all over city, etc.

    Do what your body feels most comfortable over the long haul. Yes, I do wear cycling shorts and tights without the chamois. There are specific types of walking shorts I wear for cycling that I look for in construction, location of seams, etc.
    Last edited by shootingstar; 08-04-2012 at 08:30 PM.
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    262
    Quote Originally Posted by Leesann View Post
    Thanks everyone. I bought a pair of Louis Garneau, Neo Power Shorts. I love the fit, but I'm just not used to the chamois. I currently ride 20 miles with no chamois, I will up it to 30 and see how I do.

    Riding 40 WITH the chamois was torture. I started reading the saddle threads. I was hoping that I could just transfer the saddle from my hybrid, that I long searched to find, to my road bike. Guess that isn't to be. I dread starting a new saddle search.
    You'll find the right combo of shorts and saddle. It just might take some time and money. I prefer a thinner chamois and have cycling shorts with thicker chamois still in my drawer that were always the last resort... I only wore them if all the others were dirty. My favorite shorts have nothing more than a layer of suede/ultra-suede (they are from the late 90's from when I used to ride before) and no actual "padding". It took me a long time to find the right combo, too. Only you know what works best for you, which may be unconventional. Good luck!
    The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world. ~ Susan B. Anthony

 

 

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