June 6, 2011

Girly bike issues: summertime edition

By Elisa | 13 Comments »

I have always wanted Bike Skirt to be a blog that focused on cycling for women mainly. Well, today’s post does just that. We have had a few posts that dealt with less than pretty issues (which I started with pretty much the same apology!), but it always makes me a little nervous. However, I firmly believe we need to talk about them and share advice to support and learn from each other.

Summer time riding is hot and sweaty and a general challenge all around! Arriving gross to work or dinner with friends, drinking your weight in water on a ride longer than 3 miles… the list goes on. For us ladies, there are a few special issues that make me want to give up and hop in a car: heat rash and yeast infections (yep, I said it).

I have tried every style of panties known to (wo)man and have yet to find some that do not leave me with heat rash in the booty seam area. Even when I wear chamois, the same thing happens on the chamois seams. The Brooks saddle does make it a bit more comfortable, but only a bit. The only solution thus far has been wearing skirts (the breeze really does help) and putting chamois lotion on as soon as I arrive home or to work. I am sure that taking a few days off when it is really hot would help, but that is not an option for me. Going to the beach or pool with a heat rash on your ass is not the sexiest way to spend the summer.  Have any of you ladies found anything that helps this, or am I doomed to a summer of pain? Maybe bamboo fabric? Some bloomers?

Speaking of pain…Summertime riding means heat and moisture, both of which are the perfect storm for yeast infections. A quick Google search shows that I am not the only one who suffers during the hot months. They are uncomfortable and make riding nearly impossible, but they seem to be inevitable in the summer. Thought I would share a tip that I have found to be invaluable: Azo Yeast. Take one every day to ward them off and it keeps the infections to a minimum. Taking off the chamois/changing as soon as you arrive also helps tremendously. Eating less sugar and more yogurt is rumored to help (and probably a generally good idea). How do you ladies deal with this?

I love cycling, but these 2 issues really put a damper in summer riding. Anyone have any great advice? Let’s share and hopefully have a more comfortable summer.

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  1. On June 6th, 2011 krs said:

    i was going to suggest probiotics (like avo yeast) – they can work wonders.

  2. On June 6th, 2011 Braxton Colagross said:

    What about changing [all] clothes immediately upon arrival? Obviously this won’t be enough if you’re riding for hours on a hot day.

  3. On June 6th, 2011 Elisa said:

    I have tried that and it certainly helps, but is not always an option. That is where things get uncomfortable. My job makes that hard, with working on site at the market 3 days a week. Whenever I can, I change. Always feels better, too!

  4. On June 7th, 2011 Krista said:

    I make sure to wash my chamois very regularly (after 1-2 rides depending on how much I sweat). I don’t really get the yeast infections but I do often get the feeling of an onset bladder infection. I just make sure to drinks lots of water before and during my ride in hopes to push out any bacteria right after my ride. Bringing some baby wipes may help to cleanse our lady areas of any built up sweat. Some babypowder after the ride would help with any rash from becoming to bad.

    I often get saddle sores which are uber painful sometimes but I find using a nice chafe cream helps. I had picked up some ‘Sportslick Solid’ (www.sportslick.com) a while back and love the stuff. It takes away the sores with in a day or 2. It is also an antifungal and antibacterial. I just use it where the seams of my chamois rubs.

  5. On June 7th, 2011 Sam said:

    I don’t mean to be totally clueless, but what is chamois? I’m aware of chamois cream, but chamois?

    I drink a ton of water and keep everything meticulously clean, granted San Diego isn’t as hot as where you are, but I don’t tend to ride much when it is super hot as I rely on Public Transit instead.

  6. On June 7th, 2011 Elisa said:

    Sam, chamois refers to the thick padding on bike shorts. it used to be made of a type of leather called chamois, hence the name. Now they are made of synthetic materials, but the name stuck (at least that is what wikipedia told me!). Chamois cream used to be put on the chamois to keep it supple since it was leather.

  7. On June 7th, 2011 Sam said:

    I can sorta guess why you’d have troubles then….I do allow for plenty of uh…air conditioning because I used to have yeasty problems ages ago. Skirt/dress wearing certainly helps in this case. Also as others mentioned lotso fluids. The consistency of the yeast is a good way to measure the fluid intake. Also you probably already know this, but foul smell is an indication of bacterial infection that will need to be checked out.

  8. On June 7th, 2011 Jenny said:

    The lady parts can definitely be tricky in the land of warm weather cycling but there are a few things that were not mentioned here.

    First off – don’t cheap out on your chamois shorts – every brand of shorts has a different texture of chammy fabric/different padding pattern and different stiffness. So sometimes you get lucky and find a good pair of shorts that keep your lady parts happy and sometimes you get unlucky.

    Read product reviews! Sites like TeamEstrogen.com specialize in the lady friendly bike gear and have lots of reviews.

    Chamois Cream – there are hundreds out there. A lot of them formulated for men…some oily…sticky…etc.

    Try finding a cream that has natural happy lady parts ingredients that keep all your fluids/ph balance happy like Chamomile – a cream like “Hoo Ha Ride Glide” is one such product that tames all the yeasty causing bacteria at bay and your skin in tip top shape.

    Wash your Chammy after every use! The cleaner the better and you wont have problems.

    Saddle Choice. Rash can also be caused by the incorrect saddle on your bike – make sure you’re not on a saddle thats too wide for your sit bones and therefore rubbing in all the wrong places. Most bike shops have a sit bone measurer to help you find the correct width on a saddle.

  9. On June 14th, 2011 Mary Mc. said:

    These are just some things that have worked for me (my girly bits are pretty wussy and seem to get infections at the slightest provocation):

    -sleep naked (if an option, aka no roommates). Gives everything a chance to air out so staves off yeast infections and gives the rash a chance to dry.

    -sounds weird, but go commando when given half a chance. Now obviously wear undergarments when riding and when walking around in a shorter skirt. But this helps keep the funk from getting concentrated in there (remember the joy of the breeze…). Next best thing is cotton undies when you’re off the bike because they allow air circulation.

    -make sure anything you put on down their (lotion, lube, etc.) contains no glycerin. Glycerin is like a sugar, which yeast love.

    Hope some of these help!

  10. On June 14th, 2011 Mary Mc. said:

    down THERE. oops. yay English….

  11. On June 14th, 2011 Abbie Durkee said:

    I just noticed this post and had to chime in. I must say the comfort factor for women goes WAY beyond a little sore booty. I created the Bloomers with the intention of giving women the full attention in this area. I designed the Bloomers to resolve many issues that are way beyond any vocabulary that I would use to ‘market’ them. If you haven’t tried them yet, you really should. I have an amazingly loyal following as my customers smile not just cuz they feel sexy but because they feel good! Smile and Ride!

  12. On June 16th, 2011 Elisa said:

    I think I will order some just as soon as I am back (and financially recovered!) from my trip to Vegas next week. I am really excited to try them.

  13. On June 16th, 2011 Mandy M. said:

    My advice is cotton, baby powder and commando were possible, (not to heavy on the powder). Anything that keeps the air flowing. Next time you see a sale on cotton undies buy a bunch and keep lots of extras at the office. I don’t like anything like lotions as it tends to stop things staying dry. Would recommend something like “Action wipes” or similar for a quick cleaning.

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