Woman Department

Updated May 2016

There’s no difference between a man and a woman when it comes to… strength. A man is physically obviously stronger. A woman mentally. But not always. Sometimes… well… forget it. This is going to be a page for woman in the saddle. Yet, when we are all equally strong, but on other fields, woman do need other stuff then man.

  • The cycle-short

The balance is ever so slight

I keep having troubles. My Brooks saddle seems too hard, not giving at all. The flat bolts keeping the saddle to the frame are slightly protruding. Warm weather, sweat and continuous cycling are debt to it as well, and so I have reached out for a cycle short again. I bought one in Bulgaria, a Bizioni (Czech made) and a Pearl Izumi (Netherlands). I have made sure that the front part is not too thick and that seems to help a bit. Let’s see…

I still don’t know whether I should forget about the padded cycle shorts altogether?! Well, for sure, they reveal too much, but they also fill up your front and sitting area in such a way that it suffocates, where it should be able to breath. Of course, I am not a designer if it comes to cycle-shorts, but try the cheaper variation of fitness shorts! Seams are running in places not disturbing the saddle area, the waist line is often designed not to cut your stomach and material often soft and natural, thus using it as underwear is only logic. And I always wear a short or legging over it…

  • The bra:

A lot of bumping and sweating wears out many things.

 Sweaty Bra 

It wears a bra out: being exposed to the sun covered only by one thin layer, on a back dripping in sweat. It will make the iron hooks start to rust and eventually break. While the bra is still fine I find it a pity to throw it, only because the hooks are broken, so I stitch a newer ‘hooks and eye’ part on. This ‘hooks and eye’ part I had taken from another old bra I did not wear anymore, but you can buy them in the shop too.

  • Our Periods:

The MoonCup comes in very handy.

The Cup

It took me some while to get accustomed to it but once I did it’s so comfy that sometimes I forget about it. This is the way to go if you don’t like to use Tampons. The benefits are extraordinary: you never have to buy anything, Tampons might be hard to find, and you never have to carry extra load, however light. The Cup has to be washed each time and occasionally you need to leave it in boiling water for 10 minutes or so, to disinfect it. That’s all. According Cup itself you can leave it in for about 4 to 6 hours. But I leave it there up to 8 hours and overnight, and that’s fine, it depends a bit on your blood flow. You won’t feel it when you’re on the saddle either. It’s not smelly, unlike hygienic pads.

So Cindy, are there any negative sides to your lovely Cup? Yes, there is: when you remove it above a squat toilet, move away from the hole. Because sometimes the Cup might slip out of your hands and will fall down into the hole where you just peed and emptied your bowels. That’s to overcome. But not if many more people did this before you and no flush to remove that stuff. So make sure if it slips, it will fall on safe ground.

  • The Saddle:

Switch from soft to hard and be better off!


Smooth and Hard

Saddles are different for woman. Smaller. And be sure it’s a hard one. At first such a hard thing looks a bit daunting, but after a while, you get accustomed to it. At first I had a Terry Liberator which was not too soft when new, but after 12.000 kilometers or such, it seemed to become softer and not as firm anymore. A Brooks was shipped in and as soon as I sat on it, I didn’t need a bulky padded cycle short anymore. How unimaginable this might sound…

Well, I do have a lot of troubles around my saddle area, it’s irritated very often. The bones in my bottom hurt often too. I guess have to deal with it…

  • Sunscreen:

Mirror mirror on no Wall. We all want to look good, sometimes.

SunscreenSuncreen II

I find cycling doesn’t make the female more charming. Is it when I am dripping in sweat, encrusted with earth, being unwashed and really smelly that I look most attractive? Maybe because then you don’t notice the hard lines in the face, the wrinkles trying to break through (not yet succeeded). Use a high facial cream, don’t bother with the rest of the body, but do keep the face protected. Wear a hat and always a cream as your face is constantly exposed. Cycling forms muscles and make the body and face rather bony, so do eat a lot of croissants and doughnuts. Stuff that face!

  • Iodine:

Let scars not shatter all over your cycling body

IodineIodine I

Tropical circumstance comes with bites from all sorts of insects. Insects who will leave you behind itching. Itching which will lead to open skin. Put iodine on it as soon as possible so flies don’t like to nibble from it as much, thus infections has less change to grow.

  • Talcum Powder:

More than just your average talcum.


Prickly Heat can be annoying and when a balm or cream won’t ease the itching this powder may help. It gives an extra clean feeling too, and when bathing in cool rivers it makes the skin tingle with a heat sensation (if you’ve got the right powder)

  • Balm:

Purol, the Dutch Nourishment.


This balm is good for dry lips, for cracked lips and rough skin but also for your bicycle. When things need to be oiled or you want it to be more shiny, add some multi functional cream. I use this cream on the inside of the pump too, since the pump is stiff every time I need it. Any kind of this cream is preferred over special lip balm because it last much longer, and it won’t give off easily.

  • Tape:

When things really got wrong in the saddle.


Tape it. And skin doesn’t rub anymore. I had to tape the area between my inner tights with tape so the skin would not rub. Use cotton tape and not paper-like tape, as I did in India, and tore the skin off. Leaving me blessed with a huge open blister… made matters only worse!

  • Earplugs:

Sweet dreams for a sweet mellowed woman on the road.


Whether the hotel has thin walls, the neighbor just too loud or all the village dogs are barking, this mutes it all. Make sure you always have these with you! They’re expensive everywhere out of Europe and hard to find. You really need a good night sleep to be able to enjoy the activity of the cycle day ahead of you.

  • Synthetic Netting:

Scrub those dead skin off, be shiny throughout your journey


Same stuff as we got in the West, only here it’s a big piece without being stitched into a ball. Easier to wrap around your soap and keep it neatly separated in the rest of your toilet bag.

  • Aggressive Methods:

Never liked aggressive, but apparently it can be sweet too.


If it comes to skin, I prefer natural products over these battle-alike facial products. But things chance. Being forty and getting way too many pimples and open pores, I decide otherwise. Cycling on the dusty roads for hours and hours leaves your skin deadly dirty! My skin, sensitive but though, need to be cleaned, scrubbed, soaped (though soap free) and tackled thoroughly. This is the only product, along with (if available) soap-free wash gel, night cream and 50+ sunscreen, which keep things shiny. It’s forceful ingredient being: salicylic acid.

This product is a real good one too, get more info on Paula’s Choice

Paula's Choice

  • Padded cycle short

Most overrated item when it comes to cycling!

 Two Padded Fellows

There is no benefit form a padded cycle short for me. Such a big lump of synthetic padding in your crotch isn’t comfortable. Imagine temperatures above forty degrees, hovering up to a fifty, nicely hot and steamy just isn’t the best thing for those parts of the body. Perhaps due to my synthetic saddle, maybe too much rubbing due to wrong saddle height, but I got serious irritations. To a certain degree where sitting on the saddle really hurts me… If you can do without them, do! I cycle now with fitness shorts, the tightness does the trick for me: no rubbing, no uncomfortable padding and no seam lines.

17 responses to “Woman Department

  1. Man: Great idea the synthetic netting. Always found kitchen spongies just not man enough! Hard all the way with a Brooks! Endura do a very good cycle underwear (not lycra). Works for me, never had a rubbing issue. Some issues the same for Mars and Venus!


  2. Personally I don’t think that scars or the fact that a woman is dirty/sweaty/smelly when motiving a heavy loaded bicycle along is generally unattractive to men. I believe this is a handy preconception in the same way as the “You are a guy and I am a woman. Guys can travel alone, but women can’t (for XYZ reasons)”.

    You and many other women are proof that females can and do travel solo, and apart from that have always done so (Alexandra David-Neel, Dervla Murphy, Ida Pfeiffer, Nelly Bly, just to name a few). However, not in such quantities as guys. I do agree, that for large parts it was a cultural thing, women had been and still are oppressed in many socielties and they do have further (theoretical) risks, too.

    Still, I do believe that it is a matter of mindset whether a person wants to adventure and also to do it solo.

    Getting back to the scars and toiletries: wear them proudly and nobody will regard them as unattractive in the same way as you stand firm and people will be less likely approaching you in a negative manner.


    • Andreas,

      I completely agree with you. My words should have been taken in a humorous way. Differences between man and woman will always exists, happily so!

      That’s why a man is a man, a woman a woman. We attract opposite. Man man man woman woman woman…

      Now a day no one is approaching negative. If they do its usually your (my) own shortcoming/unbalanced mood.

      Scars are fine. Stories at least. Stories of adventure.

      Smell smells adventures too.
      Unavoidable and even pleasant!

      So yes…. totally agree!


  3. Hi, I have been using a moon cup for about 8 or 9 years and so wish I had discovered it earlier. Not only environmentally friendly but the only way to go when out bush bush, whether hiking, cycling or kayaking, just brilliant 🙂 Does take a bit of practice, but I agree well worth persisting.


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  5. Thanks for talking about things woman have to deal with. Being older I’m no longer inflicked with the monthly cycle. But heat rashes yes. My solution (well actually my sister’s, she gets terrible rashes) is merino undies and a cycling skirt (sister’s design) keeps the down under cooler and drier. Or loose stretch trousers/shorts. Cooler weather I wear merino 3/4 leggings. I do use a gel seat. But the longest I’ve cycled is 4 month tour. Also only average about 50km a day.


    • Hi Glen, I notice the rash won’t appear when I wear no padding and cycle less, like maximum 60 km a day. I am sure merino underwear with longer leg parts (shorts) would work on me too but often they have seams where I don’t want them. I use synthetic running shorts now, very tight ones work for me. My saddle is moved backwards more and that was a very good advice someone gave me too. I am quite okay nowadays! Thank you for your comment Glen : )


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