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  1. #1
    Rain, rain go away john423's Avatar
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    Overwhelmed Clyde makes road pick/more shorts stuff

    I was interested in getting a road bike to do some club riding/road races on, and one of the worst things about this little hobby/obsession is the paralysis by analysis that sets in and sets in hard when trying to make a decision about which bike to buy.

    So many things whiz through your mind: "Aluminum vs. steel?" "Will these wheels hold me up, or am I gonna have to spend more on an upgrade out of the box?" "What about bike weight?" Plus there's really a lot of good LBSs in my area, all worthy of my business.

    So I finally settled on a 2010 Specialized Allez Elite Compact. I wanted the 105 components, and it seems light enough, and hopefully the 34-spoke wheels will hold me up (6-2 1/2, 240 pounds).

    So now I also gotta buy all the crap that comes with road biking, like the shoes for the clipless pedals and a computer and even an emergency bag (I've got a pannier for my commuter).

    One ignorant newbie question: I'm also getting ready to buy some of the damn bike shorts. I can't get a straight answer on this anywhere on the Internet - if, for example, I wear size 44 pants, do I just find whatever shorts that say they're 44s (usually XXLs?) Or is there a special way to measure for bicycle shorts?

    And how do you Clydes who are losing deal with going down a pant size? Buy more shorts? I hope to drop from an XXL to an XL relatively soon, so I'd hate to buy tons of XXL shorts and turn around and have to buy new ones.

    Can you try on bicycle shorts, considering you're supposed to wear them sans underwear? And do any of you wear them a couple of times before washing, or is that just nasty?

    I've gotta go to a laundromat to do clothes, and I'm not looking forward to the idea of having about 6-7 pairs of shorts to keep me from having to go to the laundromat every other day. Anybody ever just wash them by hand in a sink and hang 'em up somewhere to dry? I could always string up a clothesline in my apartment.

  2. #2
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    There is no special way to measure for bike shorts, but be aware that sizing can be all over the map. In my experience, about all you can count on is that most of the time, you'll find the typical S, M, L, XL, 2XL, etc, to be about one size off from what you expect in street attire. IOW, if you normally wear XL shorts, you can usually count on needing a 2XL in cycling garb. But even that's not consistent. Which makes a well-stocked shop invaluable - someplace you can actually try them on before buying.

    Going down a size or two as you lose weight is the one downside to getting fitter - there's little option but to replace the old shorts with new, smaller ones. Depending on how often you plan to ride, I'd buy two or three pairs at the most for now, if you think you're on the brink of shrinking. And yes, you can wash them in the sink and hang to dry. I've never done it, but like many men, my laundering skills are meager. I would think that the important thing is to make sure the soap is well gone from rinsing. And whether they've been washed by hand or machine, I always air-dry my shorts. I don't trust dryers not to damage the fabric, the chamois (real or not), or both.
    Craig in Indy

  3. #3
    Rain, rain go away john423's Avatar
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    So you can try them on before buying at the shop? Do you try them on under "game conditions" (translation: no underwear)? I'm shocked there aren't laws against that sort of thing I'm scared all the shorts at the LBS will be high-dollar, and I'm not paying a fortune for shorts. Guess I'll find out later today.

    This habit is insane - a "cheap" pair of shorts is freaking $40, which should be able to buy you a pretty decent pair of jeans. I've got like three pair of jeans in my closet and I'm spending $40 on shorts in late October.

    Speaking of which, I should have no problems wearing warmups OVER the shorts, right, as long as I go commando? I don't wanna buy those damn long pants/tights if I can help it. I gotta keep the costs down.

    Thanks for the help.

  4. #4
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    I've never had a problem trying on shorts with my unders still on. For me, the critical fit areas are waist and leg openings. Hips are marginally critical for me, but not to the extent that underwear would give me a false reading. And I suppose if I was concerned about who had tried them on before me, I might wash them before wearing, but to be honest, that's something I've never been concerned about.

    Shorts at an LBS will be high dollar, relatively speaking. And while I don't encourage this sort of behavior, if you're really strapped for cash you can try on several pair from different manufacturers at the LBS to try to get a handle on what size you are, and then shop for that size online.

    You can wear anything you want over the shorts - just keep in mind if they aren't cycling-specific garments, there's a good chance they may have some unfortunately-placed seams that can cause discomfort on long rides. Go ahead and give it a try and see if they cause any problems for you. They may, they may not.

    Yes, it's an expensive hobby/sport/pursuit. You can't get around that. You do what you can to mitigate it, but in the end it'll always be more expensive than, say, running. It's probably comparable to golf, overall.

    BTW, I neglected to say congrats on the new bike. That's a nice ride. Get out there and put it to use.
    Last edited by CraigB; 10-26-10 at 06:44 AM.
    Craig in Indy

  5. #5
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by john423 View Post
    ...and hopefully the 34-spoke wheels will hold me up (6-2 1/2, 240 pounds)...
    32-spoke?

    Quote Originally Posted by john423 View Post
    One ignorant newbie question: I'm also getting ready to buy some of the damn bike shorts. I can't get a straight answer on this anywhere on the Internet - if, for example, I wear size 44 pants, do I just find whatever shorts that say they're 44s (usually XXLs?) Or is there a special way to measure for bicycle shorts?
    Most clothing manufacturers have sizing charts available on their websites. Check there. They'll usually tell you how many inches/cm's for the size. But an LBS is invaluable here for trying on anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by john423 View Post
    And how do you Clydes who are losing deal with going down a pant size? Buy more shorts? I hope to drop from an XXL to an XL relatively soon, so I'd hate to buy tons of XXL shorts and turn around and have to buy new ones.
    Good problem to have. Consider it rewards.

    Quote Originally Posted by john423 View Post
    Can you try on bicycle shorts, considering you're supposed to wear them sans underwear?
    Yes: try them on. But when you do this, leave your undies on. Be careful though, as this will make them a bit tighter than normal.

    Quote Originally Posted by john423 View Post
    And do any of you wear them a couple of times before washing, or is that just nasty?
    It has been, and still is, done. Not nasty unless your leaving toxic clouds behind you as you ride. Ask a friend. Also, be very careful about this, as bacteria will build up, and could cause infections ("saddle sores").

    Quote Originally Posted by john423 View Post
    I've gotta go to a laundromat to do clothes, and I'm not looking forward to the idea of having about 6-7 pairs of shorts to keep me from having to go to the laundromat every other day. Anybody ever just wash them by hand in a sink and hang 'em up somewhere to dry? I could always string up a clothesline in my apartment.
    Yep. Classic. In the old days, all the pro racers used to wash their own. And yes, I never let a dryer touch my clothes.

    Visit The C-Blog : the blog about cycling.

  6. #6
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Oops...I thought the OP was asking if folks wore their brand new shorts before washing, and not if they wore shorts several times between washings. If the question was the latter, then my answer is no - I never wear them more than once between washings. There's just too great a chance to develop saddle sores, at least with my body chemistry. I even make an effort to get out of them as soon after riding as possible just to avoid stuff like that.

    YMMV, as they say.
    Last edited by CraigB; 10-26-10 at 06:46 AM.
    Craig in Indy

  7. #7
    Neil_B
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    You can order shorts online for less money than the shops. Love2pedal has a great exchange policy if they don't fit.

    As for fit, Lycra stretches. You have to lose a lot of weight to have your bike shorts stop fitting.

    Don't wear them more than once between washings. Simply hand wash them with a little Woolite, wring them out, and hang them to dry.

  8. #8
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    ^^ Just make sure you rinse them really well. The party line on it is that soap left in the fabric can lead to irritation of sensitive areas. Not sure how true that is, but why tempt fate?
    Craig in Indy

  9. #9
    Rain, rain go away john423's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    I've never had a problem trying on shorts with my unders still on. For me, the critical fit areas are waist and leg openings. Hips are marginally critical for me, but not to the extent that underwear would give me a false reading. And I suppose if I was concerned about who had tried them on before me, I might wash them before wearing, but to be honest, that's something I've never been concerned about.

    Shorts at an LBS will be high dollar, relatively speaking. And while I don't encourage this sort of behavior, if you're really strapped for cash you can try on several pair from different manufacturers to try to get a handle on what size you are, and then shop for that size online.

    You can wear anything you want over the shorts - just keep in mind if they aren't cycling-specific garments, there's a good chance they may have some unfortunately-placed seams that can cause discomfort on long rides. Go ahead and give it a try and see if they cause any problems for you. They may, they may not.

    Yes, it's an expensive hobby/sport/pursuit. You can't get around that. You do what you can to mitigate it, but in the end it'll always be more expensive than, say, running. It's probably comparable to golf, overall.

    BTW, I neglected to say congrats on the new bike. That's a nice ride. Get out there and put it to use.
    Thanks for the congrats. OK, I get it now. I wasn't concerned about who had tried them on before me, just that I might not be able to try them on at all. And I'm a step ahead of you on sizing at the LBS and going online if I have to - look, I'm dropping a pretty decent amount of cash at this place, I think the least he can do is take the hit on this one. I looked at the Aerotech Designs site recommended by a few people in another thread and came to the conclusion that for now, $40 is my ceiling. If the LBS has a pair for $40 or under, hooray. If they don't, I'll go online.

    I'm even buying the shoes from the dude for $90 when I could find cheaper shoes online in a minute. But hey, they're comfortable. I was shocked at how comfortable they felt. So he can take the hit on the shorts.

    Quote Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
    32-spoke?
    Yeah. Sorry. I mis-spoke. Get it?

    Most clothing manufacturers have sizing charts available on their websites. Check there. They'll usually tell you how many inches/cm's for the size. But an LBS is invaluable here for trying on anyway.
    That's what I thought. Some products have special measuring instructions as where to exactly measure, some don't. So i didn't know if pant size or current measurement at my navel was the way to go.

    Good problem to have. Consider it rewards.
    Not when you're the yo-yo king. I'm a classic endomorph - it comes off easily, but it also goes on easily. I've got clothes packed away that don't fit any more on both sides of the spectrum in case I gain or lose weight. "Consistency" and "moderation" are two words I've been unable to do much with over the years.

    Yes: try them on. But when you do this, leave your undies on. Be careful though, as this will make them a bit tighter than normal.
    Will do, thanks.

    It has been, and still is, done. Not nasty unless your leaving toxic clouds behind you as you ride. Ask a friend. Also, be very careful about this, as bacteria will build up, and could cause infections ("saddle sores").
    I'll play it by ear, as it were. I might get into the habit of wearing them twice, then hand-washing them. I'll have to see/smell/whatever.

    Yep. Classic. In the old days, all the pro racers used to wash their own. And yes, I never let a dryer touch my clothes.
    They should be washed in cold water, I've read. I've gotta spring for some Woolite or some other kind of "gentle" detergent if I'm gonna wash them by hand.

    Thanks for the help, y'all.

  10. #10
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    John423, I suggest that you buy more than one brand of shorts. This is also one of the you get what you pay for items, but some moderately priced shorts have held up well for me, namely Shaver Sports. I also wear my shorts only once and machine wash in cold water and machine dry on the 'wrinkle free setting' as it alternates temperature.

    Other items you mentioned... Road shoes should have a stiff sole to spread out the load and one of my favorite saddle bags is from Ultrasport.

    Brad

  11. #11
    is The Stig pjn0629's Avatar
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    Buy legwarmers, that way you get options, and they're cheaper than long pants, and they'll keep you just about as warm. As far as where to buy shorts I usually go to my LBS to try them on, or realcyclist to get them fairly cheap. A good pair of bibs will last you a LONG time, I've got a couple pairs of bike shorts that are at least 7 years old, and still going strong.
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    I don't think anyone has said this here yet, so I will: don't waste your time and money on shorts; get bibs instead. They are way more comfortable. I second the Historian on Love2Pedal. Their bibs are cheap and functional, customer service is good, and in my experience they size true. The non-deluxe bibs are thin and very stretchy but still pretty durable.
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  13. #13
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boyd Reynolds View Post
    don't waste your time and money on shorts; get bibs instead. They are way more comfortable.
    Not everybody shares the same opinion....But yeah, $40? GO with Love2pedal. 40 at the shop will gety ou an ugly thin uncomfy pair of shorts that snags on the seat everytime you stand.

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    2 cents, i wear both riding shorts with shamis and compression shorts when i ride (no, not at the same time) I find if the ride is under 20-25 miles my butt doesnt hurt so i wear the compression shorts. Stuff over 25 miles i where the riding shorts. I you can do somethign similar u can get a few compresion/spandex short and two to three paris of riding shorts and be able to stay out of the laundry mat for a week.

    You could also just hand wash them too, probably best if you are going to spend $60 on a pair of shorts.

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    I am partial to Bibs as well- I find them FAR more comfortable. Some people don't like the 'look' of a bib, they think the straps makes it look odd- but no one will even know, since you've got a jersey or shirt on over it anyway...

    The Falconi brand that Love2Pedal carries is pretty decent, especially for the price.They've also got one of the best return policies out there- You can actually RIDE with them for a while before you decide, and if you don't like 'em, send 'em back! With a $40 budget, you'll be disappointed at what you'll find in local stores. Not all shorts are created equal, and you usually get what you pay for!

    I recently picked up some Gore bike wear Bibs- It's the first time I've bought 'high end' bibs- And I can't Believe what a difference they make. They have more panels, and a better fit, plus are made from a 'technical' fabric that's more compressive in the right areas, without being restrictive. And, the pad is invisible- You just don't feel it there- yet it works. They were a splurge, But I'm glad I did it.

    As for washing- I do at least a rinse after each wearing- I 'stole' a trick from friends of mine that ride- Since I'm going to shower anyway, I hop in wearing the shorts (and, often even the jersey too!), rinse everything off, then let the clothes drip dry... I rotate through 2 pairs, and wash them every week or so in the washer. Use a MILD soap, and never use heat to dry- That's the fastest way to destroy lycra.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Pinyon's Avatar
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    The advice is all over the board on this one! Here are my preferences.

    I prefer shorts over bibs. I think this is mostly because my legs are proportionately much bigger than my waist. When pants or shorts fit my legs, they tend to be 1-2 sizes too big in the stomach and butt. When bibs fit my legs, you can sometimes see down the front of my shorts where they sag open (never can tell where shirt will end up...). When the bibs fit my tummy and butt, then the legs are too tight, and the shoulder straps tend to turn the garment into a wedgie machine (cycle thong?).

    I like really thin pads in my shorts. Just thick enough to prevent chafing where I contact the saddle (pad holds fabric to same spot on saddle, less rubbing). Thicker pads are too hot, and often have the tendency to...pull hair down there. The problem with thin-padded shorts is, that the only shorts with pads that thin, tend to be very cheap, and the fabric DOES catch on the saddle more often. Given a choice between an uncomfortable bottom, and my shorts snagging on the saddle, I prefer to live with them snagging on the saddle.

    My favorite shorts right now are Pearl Izumi Attack shorts. They are the cheapest ones from PI ($55 - $75 per pair, depending on time of year). I like them better than the more expensive versions. The only problem with PI Attack shorts, is that this type of cheap lycra almost becomes see-through after a bit. I have one old pair, where the area just above the knees looks more like dark nylon hose, than cycling shorts.

    Washing? I will wear the same pair on multiple rides on the same day (even if the morning ride before work a 2+ hours), but always wash them between days. I also only wear shorts that can take regular machine washing and drying. The only time that I wash them out by hand, is when I get caught in the rain during my morning commute, and they are all muddy.
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    OK, you guys caught me making the assumption that what works for me will work for others. My bad. We know what happens when you assume....

    Bibs work well for me, and I think that the love2pedal gear is a good deal at the lowest available price.
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  18. #18
    Rain, rain go away john423's Avatar
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    Here's what happened to my $40 budget at the bike store - this is funny:

    I wanted to try on a pair of $40 Trek shorts. The guy who owns the LBS, either seeing me as a money-bleeding sucker or actually trying to do me a favor, tells me that's fine, but to try on a pair of these $90 Bontrager Race Shorts, too. OK, whatever.

    The Bontrager blew the Trek shorts completely out of the water. They're twice as expensive but felt 15 times as good, it was crazy. I couldn't wait to take the Trek shorts off and I felt like I could wear the Bontrager shorts around the house. So the LBS owner knocked the price down by about $30 and I splurged. I needed a pair to ride right away, and now I can start to hunt deals online.

    I'd like to try a bib. It seems like a good idea, and I don't think the look is dorky, having grown up a professional wrestling fan and having some of my heroes use trunks with shoulder straps. So that's on my short list, too.

    So I got:

    1. The bike
    2. Pair of Specialized shoes (felt amazing)
    3. clips and pedals put on the bike
    4. a wireless bike computer (no cadence)
    5. an emergency seat pack
    6. water bottle cage
    7. water bottle
    8. pair of shorts
    9. spare tube
    10. rear view mirror

    $1,572.35. Easy come, easy go. I should be regretting it, because my car's transmisson started really slipping after I told the guy I wanted the bike. With 167,000 miles on my car, it probably isn't worth fixing. So it's new used car time. No use stressing the bike, though, can't do anything about it now.

    Thanks for the help and all the ideas where to find good gear cheaply.

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    My $.02. You get what you pay for with shorts. Bibs rule!
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    Hey,
    the most painful part of riding is where the pad meets the undercarriage , if you wear cheap shorts or ones that don't fit you, you will not ride, or want to ride over one hour.
    Some bike short companies make narrow pads and wider pads , something may work for you but not someone else. Try a sample of those pad lubes , its can maake a big difference
    bicycling is a very energy efficant sport, most of the benafits that occur are on longer rides. most people who quit riding daily have fit issues comfort is very important to distance.
    BE sure your bike fits, this usally requires a fit at the bike shop frame size, angles, seats, distance to handlebar, height of handle bar even something as little as cleat placement can wreck your knees.. One problem can cause re-occuring pain.
    Good luck with the shorts, I find the right size Bib helps slim the waist ..And as you loose some weight you will need to pay attention to fit, I had to down size my bibs to maintain fit.
    for me if I wear shorts I need suspenders or they roll down at the top, when I am on the bars.
    Doug

    PS my learning curve tried the bargin basement stuff , and after years I only like the quality shoes, Bibs, helmets, its a learning curve . The bargin basket stuff is in the bottom of my bike WEAR/GEAR storage container.. hehe
    Last edited by djnzlab1; 10-27-10 at 05:52 AM.

  21. #21
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Re: the $90 vs $40 shorts: I rode for many years wearing bargain shorts, mostly from Performance. They had a model they used to sell back in the '80s for about $20-$25. I thought they were fine until the first time I wore a premium pair that I got as a gift. Man, oh, man. It was like the difference between sitting on a cloth bench seat in an old Ford Fairlane and sitting in a well-designed leather bucket seat in a sports car.

    That was my first bike apparel light-bulb moment. My second was the first time I wore bibs, also a gift. For me, the big selling point in bibs is 100% related to the lack of waist-band rollover. Being a chub, I fought that particular problem with my bike shorts for as long as I can remember. I just assumed that was the way things were for us bigger folks, at least those of us who carry a lot of their weight in the torso. I knew bibs were out there, but assumed since they were more like the stuff the pros wore, they wouldn't be available in Clyde sizes. I am so grateful I was proven wrong. Bibs are da bomb, as far as I'm concerned.
    Craig in Indy

  22. #22
    Rain, rain go away john423's Avatar
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    I'd say I'll be experiencing the problems with shorts soon - it's been rainy as crap around here lately and my first ride isn't gonna be in the rain - but hopefully I'll get some experience in tomorrow.

    I had a very similar experience when I tried to buy some running shoes before my body told me it hated the idea of running. There was a $70 model and a $120 model of the same shoe. The $70 model didn't feel much better than the Walmart shoes I walked in there with, while the $120 model felt about six times better. When it feels that much better, the price difference doesn't seem so great. Those $40 Trek shorts felt the same way - they felt incredibly uncomfortable OFF the bike, much less on.


    Is this the general consensus about bib sizes?

    Someone said when getting shorts to take what should be your size and go up 1 size. That's what happened with me. I should be a 2X, but a 3X felt better. But bibs tend to size more exactly, which means I should stick to a 2X. Right? They had some bibs at the LBS - when I "money up" again after this massive expenditure, I'll have to go down there shopping around.

    Outside of the local bike shops, about all I have in my town is a Dick's Sporting Goods. Someone mentioned Pearl Izumi as a good brand, which is one of the ones at Dick's, but they also have Canari and Quest. Guess I just have to try them on first.

    Are there any advantages to Joe Rider having a jersey, except for the pockets? I'm thinking a jersey is the ultimate in optional equipment, for now.

  23. #23
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    IMO, there are two advantages to jerseys for "Joe Rider." One is the pockets, as you mentioned. They can be extremely helpful in keeping certain things at hand, from snacks to the garage door opener. The other advantage is the fabric. Don't discount the benefit of technical fabric's wicking abilities. It doesn't take much exertion on a ride to get to the point of feeling clammy in a cotton t-shirt. That's when most jerseys prove their worth.

    Having some of the typical Clyde-related body image issues, I avoided jerseys as long as I could, because of the combination of their relatively tight fit, and clingy fabric. I was psychologically uncomfortable putting myself out there because of those things. No one wants to look like two St. Bernards fighting their way out of a bag. Add to that the eye-catching graphics, when I wanted to catch no one's eye, and you can imagine how uncomfortable they made me. Luckily for me, quite a few years ago I found some Nike jerseys that were larger than most, so I snatched up 4 of them just before they were discontinued and have been happy in them ever since. I'm just now getting my weight down to where I'm not so self-conscious in tighter ones, as long as I'm on the bike and not just walking around town. And I'm happy to be at that stage since I do enjoy what jerseys bring to the equation.
    Craig in Indy

  24. #24
    Senior Member Spudd's Avatar
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    I bought some T-shirts at the sports store on clearance that were made from wicking fabric, not cotton. I use those for my rides. I don't see the jersey pockets as worth it, for me. I just carry what I need in my saddle bag.

  25. #25
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    Good choices on the stuff you got with your bike. I rode with cheap shorts for a year, they were OK, but got a better pair at about twice the price when they were on sale. Should have just got the expensive shorts to begin with. I wash my shorts, jersey and socks in the sink with a little laundry detergent after every ride, rinse and then wring the water out of them and hang up to dry. They are ready to go the next day. The jersey is worth getting, you can find some quite inexpensive ones, my favorite I got at Performance bike for about $20 on sale. Two things make it worthwhile, one is the pockets in back and the other is the fabric, sweat passes right through and evaporates unlike a cotton t-shirt which will get soaking wet. Plus you can get colors that make you very visible to cars.

    The only pieces of essential equipment I didn't see on your list you got with your bike would be a floor pump and helmet, but I assume you have both of those. Also carry a couple of tire levers (I recommend the yellow Pedro's plastic ones) with your spare tube and either a frame pump (I have the Lezyne hp road drive mini pump, it's great) or CO2 inflator. I recently got my first flat of this year and had no problem getting back on the road thanks to carrying the pump, tire levers and spare tube.

    Enjoy riding you new bike!

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