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  1. #1
    Very Senior Member MikeR's Avatar
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    Ladies riding apparel question

    I have a questions for you female riders:

    Here's the background. Michele (my 17 year old daughter) recently got interested in cycling for fitness. She is not at the point where she is totally hooked on cycling (yet) so I'm trying to make our rides really enjoyable for her. I don't want to do anything to discourage her.

    Being a 17 year old, Michele is more concerned with her looks than anyone should be. She thinks that spandex biking shorts are "weird"; so she has been wearing street clothes with standard underwear. Needless to say her but is getting really sore.

    I hear that there is cycle specific riding underwear for women. Do any of you wear them? How do they compare to the standard bike shorts? Where do you get them?

    She also 'might' wear baggy bike shorts as long as the pad is not too obvious. Do any of you have any suggestions with these?

    Thanks.
    It's better to cycle through life than to drive by it.

  2. #2
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    It's possible to get padded 'briefs' which can be worn under loose garments in place of a cycling short, but I have found it much easier just to purchase some elasticised pull-over skirts in an appropriate length, and wear proper cycling shorts underneath.

    When I get off the bike, it's not possible to tell that I am wearing cycling clothes, but my tender bits thank me.

    I've never used the baggy mountain bike shorts, but my husband won't wear anything else. They apparently work for him, as he's never complained about anything being numb (I know, he's not female, but that's my only experience with the baggy shorts).

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  3. #3
    * vpiuva's Avatar
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    The soreness hasn't overcome the "weirdness" factor yet? Sounds like my 16 yr old.

    From a male perspective, I started out with some cycling undershorts from Performance. They were cheap but made to wear under baggies and I bought 'em. They did add some level of comfort, but the main thing they did was make me realize that real shorts were the way to go. So they were the "gateway drug" for me. In that sense it was worth buying them, but I don't use them except in a pinch.

  4. #4
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    Here's the background. Michele (my 17 year old daughter) recently got interested in cycling for fitness. She is not at the point where she is totally hooked on cycling (yet) so I'm trying to make our rides really enjoyable for her. I don't want to do anything to discourage her.

    That is a good attitude to have. I am glad she wants to cycle at this stage of her life. Most teens appear to avoid bikes after they could get a drivers license.

    Being a 17 year old, Michele is more concerned with her looks than anyone should be. She thinks that spandex biking shorts are "weird"; so she has been wearing street clothes with standard underwear. Needless to say her but is getting really sore.

    I don't wear those "weird" bike uniforms that the serious cyclist seems to wear. It seems more of a fashion statement to me or an attempt to overcome some serious problem of fitting a bike to their unique measurements whether male or female. If it persists, go to a good bike shop that takes fitting seriously. She may need one and bike parts that address this problem, rather than a knee-jerk attempt to solve soreness problem.

    I hear that there is cycle specific riding underwear for women. Do any of you wear them? How do they compare to the standard bike shorts? Where do you get them?

    The only thing that I can say for sure about this question is: This is up to the individual. I think that bike clothing tends to be overrated. Women have cycled for years without fancy clothes. It is the actual bike's fit and saddle fit that is critical.

    She also 'might' wear baggy bike shorts as long as the pad is not too obvious. Do any of you have any suggestions with these?

    I just recommend to use regular street clothes that don't have harsh seams that can irritate her (or even men). I use stretchy fabrics that give in bending and regular cycling motions. And these clothes (pants and skirts) are regular street clothes that can be worn both on and off the bike. And far cheaper too.

    Oh by the way, I am female.

  5. #5
    Senior Moment Member Gee3's Avatar
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    When I first got into cycling (last year) I wore the padded cycling shorts with baggy shorts over it. And from what I've seen, the women's cycling shorts are not as long as men's so she can probably find a good pair of Abercrombie & Fitch shorts that aren't so baggy to go over the cycling shorts and still remain stylish! hehe!

    Good luck!
    This day will be over... one of these days!

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  6. #6
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    As folder fanatic says, it's an individual thing. I ride with skirts, with shorts on underneath, but I've also ridden many miles riding home from work wearing my work clothes--which are not cycling specific by any stretch of the imagination. As long as your daughter stays away from seams going up the crotch, and has a properly fitting saddle, she should be okay.

    East Hill
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  7. #7
    contrarian lala's Avatar
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    Andiamos
    chcek it out: http://www.teamestrogen.com/se_andiamo.html
    Also look here for some fashion stuff.
    Higher ground for the apocalypse!

  8. #8
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    Also biking pants, like these: capris

  9. #9
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    I was a 34 year old male when i started and apparently i was too concerned with appearance as well. So I bought exactly what you speak of. They are basically boxer\briefs with a chamois in them. I don't think i hardly ever used them but that is beside the point. I imagine that there is a women's version somewhere.

    One idea is to try and get her to ride with some attractive younger females who can show her that cycling shorts are just part of the wardrobe and there is nothing dorky about them at all.

  10. #10
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Well.... "looking good" depends upon this particular 17-year old's figure. I'd have to say that tight-fitting lycra short are not the most flattering clothing for my fat-ass at this moment in time. Wearing baggy cargo-shorts with cycling-shorts underneath looks a lot better. I also have lots of pockets for sunglasses, cellphone, wallet, etc.

  11. #11
    Junior Member paulbridges02's Avatar
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    My finace is just getting into cycling a little more and when we go out I have spandex shorts and a cycling jersey, clipless shoes, etc and she has soccer shorts and a tshirt. Right now, all I am concerned with is that she has fun and wants to continue to ride with me. I have explained the benefits of cycling specific clothing and told her that if she is ever ready to try some that I will help her pick something out. I lay hints every once in awhile like pointing out a cute jersey or something, but I won't ever try to push her to get something shes not comfortable in.

    If you daughter doesn't think its "cool" to wear cycling gear, let her go without it. She will find her own path some day if she continues to ride and ride frequently. The most essential park of cycling gear is fun, as long as she is having fun you have nothing to worry about.

  12. #12
    Very Senior Member MikeR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulbridges02
    If you daughter doesn't think its "cool" to wear cycling gear, let her go without it. She will find her own path some day if she continues to ride and ride frequently. The most essential park of cycling gear is fun, as long as she is having fun you have nothing to worry about.
    I was letting her go - she was wearing her soccer shorts. Everything was fine. Now she is complaining that her butt is really sore and can't go for another ride until it gets better and she can prevent it from getting sore again.
    It's better to cycle through life than to drive by it.

  13. #13
    newbie commuter
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    What about shants?: http://swrvecycling.com/womensknickers.html

    They seem more suited to cycling than a pair of jeans at least.
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  14. #14
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    I'm a father, not a mother, and I'm about four years away from having had a teen-ager, but there are several ways to approach this:
    1. Meaning no disrespect, it's her butt. If she's more concerned with fashion than function, it doesn't reflect badly on you.
    My kids wouldn't wear coats for a long time because coats weren't cool. I made them do it until they were 11 or 12. Then I figured, "What do I care? If they'd rather be cold, let them." A few days of waiting for the bus in 18-degree weather tends to focus the mind.
    2. Cycling undergarments are widely available for about $25. Andiamo is one brand; Pearl Izumi is another, and REI has some under its own label. I wear them occasionally under street shorts and they work OK.
    3. What about mountain bike shorts? I haven't worn Lycra in at least 15 years, because decent MB shorts are just as comfortable and look like regular street shorts. My wife won't wear anything else..
    4. You'll drive yourself crazy trying to satisfy every whim of a teen-ager, and girls are worse than boys. A neighbor of mine is a psychologist who specializes in kids that age, and he cautions parents all the time against "trying to organize your life to please the least rational member of the family."
    Get her some shorts that fit and show her where they are. Forcing her to wear them will be more trouble than it's worth.

  15. #15
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Get her to have a look over Nashbar's selection of women's clothes. They aren't expensive but there is some variety:

    http://www.nashbar.com/results.cfm?s...20%26%20Tights

    For example, there are several types of mountain biking shorts, which have a padded part inside similar to regular cycling shorts, and then a casual shorts exterior. And Cannondale has "innershorts" for sale there which can be worn under casual shorts. There are a couple different skorts which might be a nice option (I'm actually eyeing those for an upcoming trip to Europe).

    And maybe a cute jersey to match might complete the ensemble.

  16. #16
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by folder fanatic
    The only thing that I can say for sure about this question is: This is up to the individual. I think that bike clothing tends to be overrated. Women have cycled for years without fancy clothes. It is the actual bike's fit and saddle fit that is critical.
    I agree. I only wear bike shorts for longer rides. Most of my riding is done in street clothes and I don't get chafing. My boyfriend doesn't ever wear cycling clothes. He's done centuries in swimming trunks and experienced no discomfort whatsoever. Also, some of the worst chafing I experienced was bike shorts and saddles not fitting together very well at all.

    However, the OP's daughter does seem to get sore. She can try mtb shorts, I guess. No specific suggestions, but I think most of them don't have the pad showing at all.

    I just recommend to use regular street clothes that don't have harsh seams that can irritate her (or even men).
    Or she can try that too. I have some really plain underwear that's not going to impress any lovers, heh heh, but I can bike in it all day and be ok. Of course, I have a comfy saddle. Is her soreness really due to chafing or is it a bad saddle or bike fit?

  17. #17
    M_S
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    Spandex leggings are in, for girls.

    What, has your daughter been living under a rock?

  18. #18
    ex-everything. soze's Avatar
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    Dude, just buy her a teamestrogen.com gift card and be done with it.

  19. #19
    Feral Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Cycling shorts underneath normal shorts. Simplest solution IMHO. Or other solutions as suggested already.

    And unless your daughter is a mega-muffintop porker then I'd really much rather see as much spandex as possible
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  20. #20
    Very Senior Member MikeR's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of your suggestions. I now have a rough idea of what's available and where to get them. I think that she and I will sit down at the computer and do some shopping.
    It's better to cycle through life than to drive by it.

  21. #21
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    terricycles is a whole company devoted to women's cycling - bikes, clothes, etc.
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  22. #22
    Very Senior Member MikeR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chephy
    Is her soreness really due to chafing or is it a bad saddle or bike fit?
    That's a good question. I was not concerned with her bike fit when she was just scooting around in front of the house for 30 minutes, but now that we are doing some serious millage I'd better check.
    It's better to cycle through life than to drive by it.

  23. #23
    Very Senior Member MikeR's Avatar
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    I've been riding for about 6 years. When I started I swore that I would never wear tight spandex with a pad. At some point my love of cycling was so strong that I didn't care if other people thought I looked weird - I wanted comfort and performance on the bike. Michele is not yet at that point. I want to get her there.
    It's better to cycle through life than to drive by it.

  24. #24
    Respect Your Hill spindog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apclassic9
    terricycles is a whole company devoted to women's cycling - bikes, clothes, etc.
    +1

    Terry makes great women's specific clothing and women's specific saddles. The Terry Butterfly saddle is the saddle that literally saves my butt.

    If your daughter decides to try cycing shorts but wants less padding - I recommend checking out triathlete clothing. The women's shorts are usualy "short-shorts" and have minimal padding so that they can be worn during the swim and the run as well as on the bike.

  25. #25
    Senior Member
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    My better half wears "skorts", lycra cycling shorts including a saddle pad, with a fabric wrap-around to look like a short skirt. She finds them great. We've toured together for a number of full day rides. I think Trek, as well as other companies, makes a range of them

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