Women Bike: Riding while having your period
As women, there are a lot of topics relating to cycling comfort which are either not frequently talked about or just too embarrassing to ask a male salesperson at the local bike shop. Topics like: “I’m hurting down there” or “Do you have any tips about riding while menstruating?” or “Why can’t I find cycling clothes that fit?” You get the idea: personal, women-specific and potentially awkward to explain. We’ll do our best in addressing these topics here.

 

Today’s topic: riding while having your period 

Cycling is a great way to battle those pesky mood swings and cramps that come with our monthly period. Yet, that bloated feeling or the thought of having to change your tampon every few hours during a heavy flow can make spending time in the saddle less than appealing.

Here’s a tip to make cycling while menstruating a bit more comfortable: the menstrual cup.

A few months ago, as I was preparing for a trek to Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal, I decided to give the Diva Cup a try.
The menstrual cup, a silicone insert, eliminates the need for tampons or pads and can be reused over and over again for up to a year, thus preventing having to pack in/pack out tampons and the waste they create. I found that the cup is not only a great option for backpacking and trekking, it also makes cycling while menstruating so much more comfortable and practically stress-free.

Made from medical grade silicone, the cup is worn inside the vagina during your period to collect your menstrual fluid. Manufacturers say it can collect up to a day’s worth of fluid, but the cup should be removed, rinsed and reinserted every eight hours. It’s good for bike riding because, while on a long ride, you may not know when or where your next potty stop will be.

With menstrual cups holding much more fluid than even the most super-absorbent tampon, you don’t have to stress about leaks. Plus, it’s reusable so you don’t have to carry extras on you or dispose of anything! As long as you have potable water to clean the cup every eight hours, you’re good to go.

The downside, however, (there’s always at least one) is that it can be a bit messy and inserting it takes some getting used to.

But for me, not having to worry about my period when I’m spending four or five hours in the saddle is a such a relief, it outweighs the cons.

Looking to give the menstrual cup a try? There are various brands on the market offering different designs, colors and capacities. More commonly available brands include Diva Cup, Moon Cup, Soft Cup and Lunette. Check the web on where to buy.

Hope this tip helps! Read our previous column here.

Please email me your questions at amrook@cascadebicycleclub.org and I’ll answer them anonymously.