I spent last year getting reacclimated to riding a bike after 35 years. I've found most advice works for me. But I was resistant to bike shorts primarily because of the expense, and secondarily because, after replacing the factory saddle with a proper one, I never experienced any of the chafing or discomfort everyone talks about.
In-season, most of my non-commuting rides were in the 30-40 mile range and a my longest was 73. I was perfectly comfortable and happy in cheap, Sam's Club cargo shorts, especially after I found that by adjusting ballast in the pockets, (keys, change, etc.) the legs could be held open to duct cooling breezes right up to the boys. Through the winter, plain old Levi's 501 jeans have suited me just fine, supplemented in single-digit temps with plain, old white waffle longjohns.
But everyone reports something magical attributed to bike shorts, so I figured I ought to try them. I've gathered from the forums that bike clothing sizes run different than normal clothing. For my first pair of bike shorts I bought cheap, Nashbar Essential, so I could get the sizing right. The fit is fine (medium) but I'm finding them very weird.
First, it's still snowing here. Actually riding in these is a few weeks off. I tried them on, and sat around in them for a while, and couldn't wait to get them off. Maybe things are different when you're on a bike?
What's up with the chamois in there? It's stiff as cardboard, the edges (and especially the seams where it's sewn it place) dig into my thighs, and it makes me walk and sit bowlegged.
As for the boys, they certainly don't like all the extra heat from the insulation R-factor of this thing. Sitting in a chair on a cold winter's night and reading book, things got pretty sweaty in the nether regions. Forget fiberglass and high-R sheathing! Insulate your house with bike short chamois.
I found forum advice on saddles to be spot-on, primarily that they need only the merest whisper of padding. Then I put on these shorts and it's like tying a futon between my legs. Isn't that exactly backwards from the padding advice regarding saddles? (Advice which I followed and works for me?)
In summary, these are precisely reasons the why I haven't even owned underwear for over 30 years. I can't take the heat or the bunching-up. I can't think of any way to make shorts more uncomfortable, except perhaps to make them from barbed wire.
My questions are:
Does this chamois thing need a break-in period?
Are they available thinner and more flexible? Or smaller?
Can you get shorts without one entirely?
Are the issues I'm having due to buying cheap, generic shorts?
Is there something I just don't get?