Shammy Shorts and Cream

Well, this is all a bit embarrassing – time to talk about ‘barnacle bum’ syndrome.

As riders get more experienced, and find they are spending longer in the saddle, a few problems can occur in the ‘lower regions’. Sores, in the form of spots or even abscesses, can occur around the ‘saddle area’ of your body. This is caused by a combination of friction, sweat and/or grime that builds up during the ride.

To combat saddle sores you should wear freshly laundered cycle specific clothing and change out of your sweaty gear as soon as you can – even if there’s no shower nearby. Keeping cool and dry will certainly help things post-ride.

If you are doing longer rides, or even just riding a lot more frequently, then consider getting cycle shorts with a build-in padded area. This padding used to be made of chamois leather – like the stuff used to clean car windscreens – hence the name shammy (or chammy).  The chammy liner is there to wick away moisture, reduce friction and to provide a bit of padding. Getting the correct fit is important too, otherwise you’ll be missing out on getting the most comfortable ride. You mustn’t wear underwear beneath your padded shorts, either – it’s important that the ‘chamois’ is next to your skin so it works as intended.

Even wearing shammy shorts may not be enough to ensure comfort for longer hours in the saddle, so consider getting some chammy cream. This cream is applied to your skin around the contact points of your saddle, reducing friction and providing an antibacterial barrier. Apply it liberally to your skin, and possibly also the padding: you’ll have to learn by experimenting on yourself. It feels a bit odd when you first start using it, but it can dramatically improve your comfort.

There are lots of shapes and sizes of chamois shorts: bib shorts; ladies specific; built in armour, and creams come with different formulations too – from £20 tubs of cycle specific goo, to nappy cream (Bepanthen), or even a humble tub of vaseline. If you find that you’re getting post-ride problems, or you are simply looking for a lot more comfort, then pop into your local bike shop and get some well-fitting padded cycle shorts and a tub of chamois cream.

Even with chamois shorts and cream, remember to change out of your damp stuff as soon as you can – even if you can’t get to a bath/shower right away.

Happy riding.


Club Jerseys – Sizing

We’re easily going to hit our order target of 50 jerseys for 2016, so we are not far from placing our order. Get your order in soon or you may miss out. We are only ordering for those that have pre-paid. We will not be ordering any spares.

Jersey order page:

These jerseys come up very small, so you must be sure of sizing!

I have a jersey from the last batch which is two sizes bigger than I would normally get (honest), and it’s perfect.  It’s very important that you order the correct size as we won’t be able to exchange them for a different size. Mr Cycles in Seaford (opposite the train station) has samples of every size that you can try on to find your perfect fit. They’re expecting members to pop in, and many already have.

If you’ve already placed your order without trying one for size then it’s not too late to change your order. Just get in touch with the treasurer on our contact page:

Loan Lights

Cycle Seahaven have some very powerful front lights for members to borrow on club rides. You can request a loan set by selecting ‘Loan Kit’  from our Contact page. Let us know your membership number and when you require the lights and we’ll arrange to get them to you.

The front lights come with a rechargeable battery and are easily fitted to the handlebars without the need for tools.

If you take a shine to the lights (ha ha) then you can purchase your loan light from the club for £14.50.



Contact page


What to carry on a bike ride

Your bike is clean and prepared,  you have the right clothes for the weather,  lights,  helmet,  gloves,  and you’re ready to go on a ride. You’ve told someone where you are going and what time you’ll be back,  but what if you have a puncture or some other mishap? Here are some suggestions for the things you may want to take with you:


  • Water
    it’s important to stay hydrated so it’s good to get into the habit of taking on fluids regularly. You can carry a cycle specific water bottle in a ‘cage’ mounted on your bike,  bring a bottle of mineral water bought from a shop,  or use a hydration pack that allows you to sip while you ride.
    Keep your water container clean or you may pick up a tummy bug.
    Check out our cleaning tips: Quick Tip #3
  • Food
    For rides over an hour it’s a good idea to carry a snack to keep your energy levels topped up. A longer ride will require more food. Get some ideas from our blog on the subject:
  • Tools
    You can carry separate tools, like allen (hex) keys and spanners which you may already have in the house. Or you can opt for cycle specific ‘multi-tools’,  which are all-in-one devices like a Swiss army knife for bikes. If you’re thinking of getting one you’ll need to know if it includes the tools that are specific to your bike. As a minimum you’ll need to be able to remove your wheels and tyres to fix punctures. Take your bike to the local bike shop and they can advise what will fit your bike.
  • Puncture repair, spare tube & pump
    Even if you don’t know how to fix a puncture it’s a good idea to carry what you need in case you meet a helpful soul who can help you.

    • Find out what size inner tube fits your bike and carry one as a spare;
    • A puncture repair kit is a sound investment and you should always carry one. Traditional kits include rubber solution (special glue) and patches, while newer versions have self adhesive patches;
    • A pump. Make sure it fits your type of valve.
  • Safety
    Some form of ID,  a credit card and/or some bank notes, a mobile phone. All these can help you out of a fix. Pop them in a sealable plastic bag (freezer bag) or wrap them in cling film to keep them nice and dry.


If you are going a long way without a support vehicle, or you intend to do an epic ride where there are very few shops or people, then you may want to take things that will make you more self sufficient.

  • First Aid
    You can get first aid kits from many places. Include plastic gloves for first aid (and also greasy repairs on the bike) and sterile wipes for cleaning cuts and your hands.
    Consider also adding an antihistamine for bites and stings and a space blanket to keep warm if you get seriously stuck.
  • Whistle
    If you get really stuck somewhere remote and away from a road a whistle is the great way to get attention. Six good long blasts for an emergency. Also good if you have a puncture and you’re at the back – three long blasts should get some attention.
  • Suncream
    You’ll be glad of it when you’re stuck in the same riding position, exposing the same part of your body (neck, ears, one arm) to the sun for a long time
  • Anti histamine or sting cream
    For hay fever, nettles or insect bites. These come in various guises from tablets & ammonia pens to gels & creams.
  • Cable Ties
    A couple of these don’t weigh much and can fix an amazing number of problems, including (at a push) a snapped chain.
  • Duct Tape
    Easily carried when wrapped around your pump, and fixes an amazing array of problems. See Quick Tip #2
  • Toilet paper
    Doesn’t weight much and can be used for many cleaning duties,  including the obvious. Pack it in a waterproof sealable bag (sandwich or freezer bags work well).
  • Master link
    Also called a Quick-Link, it’s a special link that can be used to fix a broken chain. They come in different sizes depending on how many gears you have (chains get narrower the more gears you have). Bear in mind you may need a special “chain breaker” tool, shown below…
  • Chain Breaker
    Sometimes you get this special tool as part of a multi-tool, or you may need to buy one separately. It’s used to (partly) push out the pins of a chain so you can split it open and re-join it. Handy for removing damaged parts of a chain and joining it back up again (or replacing a broken section with a few spare links you just happen to be carrying). A chain can often be re-joined with a few links missing – at least until you get home. Carry a few Master Links (Quick Links) or even some short sections of spare chain (if you replace the chain you often have a spare bit left over, which is handy for running repairs).
  • Map
    Much more reliable than a smartphone if you get stuck. You may know exactly where you are going but a map may highlight some interesting options you’d never considered before,  or a quicker way home if you get in trouble.
  • Tyre Boot
    A ‘tyre boot’ is a shop bought patch to temporarily repair a torn/split tyre so you can at least get home. You take part of the tyre off and slip in the ‘boot’ to cover the hole. Without it your repaired inner tube will poke through the split/hole in the tyre, expand like bubble gum then pop.
    You can also cut the top and bottom off a toothpaste tube and cut it open along one side to make a square of strong and pliable plastic, or use a section cut from a plastic milk carton, or even a section cut from an old tyre. The new plastic £5 note is also quite sturdy, and so are the wrappers from gels or bars. All will block the slit/hole so you can ride home.
  • Mech Hanger
    A small piece of metal that connects your rear gear changer (mech) to your frame. It’s designed to be a weak point to protect expensive parts – it breaks so that your frame or mech doesn’t. They come in lots of different sizes so you’ll need to make sure you get the right one. Your local bike shop can advise.

Riding with kids

  • Disposable wipes
    Great for cleaning up after an ice cream or a fall. Also good for cleaning your hands after putting a chain back on.
  • More Drinks and Snacks
    As a reward or a bribe you can’t go wrong with treats. Try to mix simple and complex carbs to give them both short term and long term energy.

Do you have any other ideas?  Leave a comment below or use our CONTACT page. We’d love to hear from you.

Quick tip #3

Use a tablespoon of Baking Soda (also known as Bicarb or Sodium Bicarbonate) mixed with a pint of hot water to clean or freshen up your drinking bottles and hydration bladders, especially if you use additives and energy drinks.

Milton or baby bottle sterilisation tablets are cheap to buy and will help make your drinking kit hygienic. Follow up with the above Baking Soda tip to get rid of lingering odours and leave a pleasant freshness.


Quick tip #1  Quick tip #2

2B MTB Friston Winter rides survival kits.

Bike kit:

compact hand pump (from £12.99)

glue less patch kit ( from £2.49)

glue type  patch kit  (from £2.99)

2-3 tyre levers (from 99p)

inner tube (from £3.49)

a few zip ties

old credit/club card (to clean mud from tyres)

small rag  4×4 ” to clean punctured tyre

1pr latex gloves

small plastic bag  (sandwich bag to stick in muddy rag, gloves etc)

Power Links, 9 or 10-speed, depending on your bike

piece of card or cut-down Biro casing wrapped with a length of duct tape

a cut down flat piece of plastic milk bottle about 2×2 inches (for emergency repairs on slash tyre)

Personal kit:

Small camelbak or back pack

water bladder or bottle

charged mobile phone

eye protectors (cycling, safety or military glasses, to stop mud getting in your eyes, from £6)

emergency rear marker/flashing lamp, (cheap dangly type from £3.99 if you have no rear light)

a spare jersey or gilet, a buff tube or similar (for those who ride hot you will cool very quickly if we have to stop for any length of time)

lightweight rain jacket according to weather condition

you own small medical kit with a few wipes and a few plasters (any personal medication, please make the ride leader aware)

 This is in addition to your normal riding kit, ie  helmet, jersey, gloves etc

 I have placed a few (from) prices to show that you can kit yourself up quite cheaply!

These are not must for our 2b rides but I would encourage riders to carry most of the items listed for a safe and easy ride.


Electronic mapping

If you’re looking for a new cycle route then online maps can help you avoid the traffic and take you to some interesting places. At the moment they are no substitue for a proper printed map (or a helpful guide/ride leader, who can also fix punctures), but they can certainly spark interest in where to go next.

Free Online Mapping
There are a number of free online maps that you can use to help you decide on a route, so here is a selection of some of the ones I’ve used.

Google Maps has a number of display modes including Aerial photo (Satelite), road map and also has an excellent option to include ‘Bicycling’ routes. This includes Trails, Cycle Friendly roads and dedicated cycle routes. You can also plan a cycle ride from point to point using cycle friendly routes then save and share a copy via email (Clive does this for most of his rides). Printing the map falls short of ideal when venturing off-road. The map willl show the route in relation to highways and towns, but will it not show O/S style features or paths, thus making it quite useless for off-highway excursions.

StreetMap has a range of OS maps at different scales that are free to browse. You can print a very small section with OS detail for free, but not enough to be useful when you’re out on your bike.

Bing Maps is Microsoft’s own offering, and like Google it has Satelite and Road Map options. But unlike Google it drops the ability to see cycle friendly routes in favour of an excellent O/S option. Like Google the printed version is a basic road map and you lose the OS overlay that is important when venturing off road.

Ordnance Survey provide superbly detailled maps that are invaluable for the off-road explorer, and their online ‘Get a Map’ service is a free way to get a piece of the action. A half-page a4 O/S map is free to print, and might just about be enough if you know most of the route but need a little help on a small section. Anything larger is by paid subscription or one-off fee.

ESCC RoW maps use a combination of O/S maps overlayed with Rights of Way data that make new routes very easy to find. For cyclists it’s very easy to see Bridleways and Byways, along with Stiles, Gates, Bridges and planned closures. There’s no print option, but it’s a great way to discover what’s out there.

Friston Forest has a great network of trails for families and the more experienced off-roader. There are many unofficial trails in the forest, so we recommend you take care when following trails as you may come across jumps and other trail features.

Paid for electronic mapping
If you are serious about electronic mapping then you may consider paying for the priveledge.

Memory Map provides PC, tablet and smartphone software for O/S mapping. You can define and download your own maps, plot routes and upload/download to and from most GPS devices.

Ordnance Survey  have a similar service to Memory Map, but it’s all done online.

Cycle GPS Devices
Dedicated cycle-specfic GPS devices have been available for a while from companies such as Garmin and Memory Map. These fit onto your handlebars; some provide a map with a ‘you are here’ pointer to make navigation easier, while others simply remember where you’ve been and how fast you were going.

Smartphones are often very capable GPS devices with free apps such as Strava, Endomondo, MapMyRide, and many more. Free versions can be upgraded to paid-for version for improved functionality including navigation. Most of these apps don’t require a data connection for basic functionality, so you shouldn’t rack up any additional data bills. If in doubt then check with the developers or disable data on your phone. Battery life may suffer when running these apps. To preserve battery life try turning off WiFi and any data hungry features you don’t need.

Online GPS Sites
A GPS device on your bike can give you basic information like speed, average speed, total height climbed and distance, but they come into their own when coupled with mapping software. This software lets you review the route you took and lets you share it with others. Some also compare your ride with the last time you took the same route, so you can see if you’re getting quicker or are having a bad day.  Many allow you to ‘race’ against others over defined ‘segments’, placing you on a leaderboard with all other riders with the same app.

Here are a couple of free GPS mapping and tracking apps for smartphones, though there are many more:

Strava –
Endomondo –

RideWithGPS – We have a number of club rides mapped with this free software on our website here:

Paper maps
For worry free navigation when you’re on your bike you can’t beat a paper map, ideally laminated or printed on plastic for proof against the rain and hard use. They don’t run out of batteries and there’s no problem with small screens. But they do get out of date, and may not show the latest rights of way.

If you have a favourite mapping application that’s also free then we’d love to hear about it.

See you on the trails.


 updated 20th July 2015