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I am 67 years old and can only ride my mountain bike about 45 minutes before my glutes hurt a lot.

Then I have to walk my bike awhile before getting back on.

I have a gel foam wide bike seat.

And I have tried those gel bike shorts as well.

I looked here. Butt pain during riding

Anything I can do to minimize that?

Thanks.

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    just to clear a potential confusion, does it hurt like from sitting, or like from muscular effort ? Sep 12, 2022 at 10:36
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    It hurts like from sitting. I did not mention that I have had back and neck pain caused by car wrecks. I had spinal fusion which relieved much of the neck pain. @Ciprian Tomoiagă
    – fixit7
    Sep 12, 2022 at 12:51

4 Answers 4

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As a 60+ yo myself, consider age being a factor. We can try to outrun it (outride it actually), but it will creep in an have an affect. But I don't believe this is the primary cause - just something to factor in.

It could be the seat that you are using is causing the issue you are experiencing. Wide and soft/squishy seats are usually not the best for riding longer distances. They may appear to be by visual perception and physical touch, but that is deceiving. For relatively short rides/utility cyclists the soft/squishy seat may serve a rider well enough, but for most riders, a firmer (but not rock-hard) seat provides support in the right places, and the correct width and shape for YOU supports you on your two sit bones.

I would recommend looking at your seat selection first. A local bike shop may be able to fit you better. The shop may also have test saddles to try out. Try different models/shapes in the real world on your bike. You might be surprised at the comfort you discover and may resolve the pain in the glutes issue you are experiencing at the same time.

Your use of good bike shorts/bibs with a padded chamois is a smart one. Differences between the quality/density of the chamois is not as stark as the differences in saddle shape/width/firmness, but it can play a part. Work on the saddle choice first before changing around different bike shorts.

Beyond the seat selection, your pain could be compounded by your fit to your bike. A competent bike fitter can identify problem areas with how your bike is adjusted to fit you that could be the source of your pain. A good fitter will accommodate for age, gender, the riding style, and even for injury or skeletal limitations. A local bike shop or a community cycling club/team, or other experienced riders would be good sources to locate a good bike fitter, and if your pain persists, I would suggest seeking out their professional advice (you are the engine and it needs to be aligned correctly to the machinery to operate efficiently, without pain, and avoiding repetitive motion injury.)

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    I have used test saddles in the past to dial in the shape/model of the saddle I prefer. I tried models that some respected riders proposed, but testing them out for several rides revealed that they did not fit me as well (were painful after some time) as a different shape. It seems like a small detail, but if it is painful to ride, you won't ride. And that is not the goal.
    – Ted Hohl
    Sep 11, 2022 at 19:03
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    I am going to the bike shop tomorrow and have him look at my seat etc.
    – fixit7
    Sep 11, 2022 at 22:46
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    I'd perhaps amend that to "wide and squishy seats are usually not the best for riding long distances". They're perfectly fine, and may in fact be preferable, for short-range utility cyclists. Sep 12, 2022 at 11:39
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    Additionally, making sure the geometry of the bike is right is really important. Just adjusting the seat position (height, handlebar distance, etc) can make a huge difference in comfort, and getting it right will usually also improve your efficiency on a bike. Sep 12, 2022 at 12:28
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    Yes, I strongly suspect that sitting-type pain in the glutes is caused by sitting on the muscle rather than the sit bones, not helped by the muscles working at the time. I had something similar on a hired bike with a big saddle. Swapping to a narrower saddle may be a long term fix with short term discomfort as you get used to it. Narrow doesn't exclude a decent bit of padding, but obviously less can fit than in a squishy saddle.
    – Chris H
    Sep 14, 2022 at 17:55
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Usually pain from the seat will be in the groin area, not the glutes. The weight should be supported on the two protuberances from your pelvis.Riding will use your glute muscles. When I was younger I used to race and infrequently did one hour time trials. I could hardly sit afterwards because the glute muscles hurt so much where they attach to the back of the leg. I've had similar pain if I tried doing heavy squats after not lifting weights for several months.

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Age is not necessarily a reason to stop riding. I am 68 years old, I ride 200km every week, at 28km/hr, on a standard racing bike saddle. But then, I have been riding for almost 50 years now, I take it training and experience play a role.

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    I am not letting pain stop me from riding. It is too much fun and rewarding to stop. @Christine
    – fixit7
    Sep 14, 2022 at 12:25
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The choice of saddle/short and the correct positioning of the saddle would be the first item to check. The main characteristics for the choice of a saddle are the distance between the sitbones (that you can measure by sitting on soft carton) and the inclination of your trunk. Wide padded saddle. The more horizontal is the trunk, the narrowest should be the saddle. Saddle manufacturers now have 'guides' that can help you to choose the right saddle.

If you use your mountain bike on rough surfaces (gravel, cobbles,...) another item to consider is the transmission of the vibrations/impacts to the saddle. Aluminum bikes are notoriously stiff (if you have such a bike), and if you inflate your tires at high pressure, there's basically nothing that will prevent the vibrations to reach your saddle.

  1. The tires can make a significant difference: quality (tubeless) tires are designed to be run at low pressure (2-2.5 bars), which will stop most small vibrations.
  2. If you have an aluminium seatpost, changing it can also make a difference - either by a carbon one or a suspended one. Choosing a seatpost is a beyond the scope of this question, but as a general advice, the best seatposts provide compliance longitudinally (it may sound counter-intuitive, but the movement to compensate is not a vertical translation but a rotation around the axle of the front wheel). So better to avoid the ones that are just damping along the axle of the seatpost.
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  • I keep my tires at 50 psi. Is that too high? @Renaud
    – fixit7
    Sep 15, 2022 at 11:20
  • @fixit7 the pressure depends on the kind of tire (width and rigidity of the carcass), your weight and personal preferences, so it's difficult to answer when knowing only pressure. It seems high to me though (when offroading). Personally, when I'm riding on gravel trails, I aim for 40psi (40mm tubeless gravel tires). Just to take the example of the Schwalbe Smart Sam tire (good polyvalent entry level MTB tire): 45psi is the minimum recommended pressure for the 44mm version, and the maximum recommended of the 65mm.
    – Rеnаud
    Sep 15, 2022 at 11:42
  • I will lower it to 40 psi. I think at 50, the tires absorb little vibration. @Renaud
    – fixit7
    Sep 15, 2022 at 12:04

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