Got Padded Shorts?
There is a reason why cyclists wear those pads between their legs. I guarantee you, it is not because they signed up for the latest fashion show!
The answer is really simple. Have you have ridden 100 miles on a saddle which is the size of a door handle with just wearing underwear and shorts? Yeah – me neither. Although I have ridden a saddle that was that small, with padded shorts, and I can say – that was a new introduction to the subject: “Getting to know your bicycle”. A rather unromantic thought really!
Strangely enough you can get a range of padded shorts. In my days, there was only a choice of one sort really, and the idea of creating shorts for women had not even come up on the thought-o-meter! Back then, the padded part was made out of chamois. Of course, if you dried that incorrectly you would get a massive wake call to how underwear would feel if they were made out of sandpaper! Yeah….you learnt very quickly that the best way to dry bicycle shorts was to ensure the chamois remained on the inside not the outside.
Of course, men and women are pretty different for obvious reasons. And, if you have ever been shopping with women you will know that one size does NOT fit all. Of course, going into an all male bike shop does not account for the most flattering experience, especially if it is the first time you are getting shorts.
For me, I chose to shop in a more exclusive environment called my living room. This experience was outstanding, as I lay on a comfy chair (and not on some side of the road), had a nice cup of coffee in one hand and went “window” shopping. Purchasing did not require me to hand the over size object to the skinny and obviously very fit man, standing behind the counter, nor did it require me to have a slight heart murmur when he rang up the items. I was able to browse, compare and buy within seconds.
Of course purchasing online has two downsides. The first is that you are not really sure that the clothes are going to fit you. I made that mistake once before when the sizing chart suggested I order a medium only to find that the medium was actually an extra small. Thinking about it, I should have given that top to the slim and fit guy behind the counter. The other downside, of course, is waiting for the items which thankfully arrived in a week. And I can guarantee you that it was not only my saddle that was happy to know that I had received some padded shorts.
Bib Shorts have been on the market for sometime, and were originally only made only for men. Some women tried them, including myself. I found it particularly disturbing having mesh elastic press against your boobs causing more chaffing that your shorts. And believe me, that look is NOT pretty!
I did find some women bib shorts that came in two designs. Wow, we are pretty lucky really. Guys only had one design and we had two. Wow! The first of the design was like a T-Shape mesh that fitted between the boobs. I imagined that for a second and thought… that is like wearing a cup-less bra. If you are going to do that you may as well wear nothing! Of course I tried to figure out that if you did wear a bra would the straps go over the bra, or under the bra. And then there is the thing about going to the bathroom – which obviously is over-rated…because if you wear the straps under the bar you would have to remove everything. I think by that time I would have just resulted in peeing in my shorts. After all, the pad is like a huge diaper, which means you get two for the price of one! BARGAIN!
The other design had mesh strips coming up the side of the shorts. The back had a T-Shape. I looked at the shoulder area to see how thick those straps were. After all, you will be bending over on the handles bars which would pull on those straps and then on your shoulders. Given my last horrid ride I could imagine this thin straps eating away at my shoulders. *Cold Shiver went down my spine* Once again, I would rather wear nothing and no padded shorts that go through that experience.
Now if you are wondering how could one person talk about padded shorts for so long, then you obviously have not been on a bike for more than 4 hours. To get the experience without enduring the energy expenditure, try driving a car for 4 hours while sitting on a bike seat. Yeah…not so comfy is it?
One of the things I absolutely hate about shorts is the elastic around the leg. I understand that it has to be there, but does it have to be so thin? I decided that this time I would purchase some shorts that had a thicker elastic both for the leg and the waist. There is absolutely no way to say it…..after a 4 hour ride, that elastic feels like it just lipo-suctioned that muffin top right off my hips. Probably a quick way to reshape the figure!
In the end I found a pair of shorts that lived up to its name. The waist was comfy, in fact there was not elastic band anywhere to be found. The padded part was anatomically designed for women and there were no seams on the side. Believe me, stitching around a pad can cause a whole new skin problem which has not be named yet! Maybe I should give it a name now called: Bloody sore!
The shorts in question are X-Bionic. I should really be paid for referring the, but sadly am not. I have experience a lot of shorts, and these one have lasted the test of time. If you can ride 2000 km with the shorts that still can endure another 2000 km, I would say those shorts are worth the investment.
They downside to these shorts is that they are impossible to purchase. For some, or other reason, there are not many bike stores that stock this product. Probably because they cost $250.00 and when you add mark up, not many women are going to pay $500.00 for a pair of shorts. However, if you are able to get your hands on a pair, I would suggest buy as many pairs as possible. My pair is still going strong, but the amount of riding I am doing – I just don’t know how many time I can personally wash a pair of shorts! 😉