I'll just leave this here...
High Court victory for nude cyclist
It is a natural process when one first begins to cycle:
1. Wear loose shirt and shorts
2. Wear MTB shorts and loose shirt
3. Wear cycling shorts with baggy shorts over them with loose cycling jersey
4. Wear cycling bibs with tight jersey
Start at #1 and you will appreciate #4 so much more.
Cat 3 pack fodder and I like it.
Topsport Cycling Team p/b Rabobank
You are probably going through what most cyclist have experienced when getting into road cycling. I had the same feelings as you and swore that you would never see me in spandex shorts as long as I was breathing. I don't know if your issue with spandex is because of your weight or your generation. My hangup was more of a generation issue than weight, although I did have quite a gut on me when I first started riding. In my generation (I'm 65), any male wearing anything spandex could find themselves seriously injured, and not from the sport.
Once I became serious about cycling, my daughter got me a pair of cycling shorts as a birthday present. I thanked her and stuck them in the drawer. The more I rode, the longer the rides became and the less comfortable I became on my bike. One day, I decided to try the shorts my daughter bought me. I put them on, looked at myself in the mirror and took them off. Then I thought, if I went to the park (MUP) and rode when there was no one to see me in spandex, it may not be so bad. I went to the MUP at a time when it's usually empty and, to my surprise, it was full of cyclist, runners and skateboarders. Since I was there, I said "screw it" and did my ride. What I found was that no one even noticed that I was there, let alone what I was wearing. That was about two years ago and I haven't looked back. I even wear my cycling shorts for neighborhood rides with my wife.
As others have said, once you overcome the stigma of spandex, you'll never ride in anything else. I also agree that you should try shorts (without an elastic waistband) and bibs to see which suits you the best. I personally don't like bibs because the shoulder straps irritate the crap out of me, especially when I'm in an aero position. Cycling specific clothing does make a difference and you have to find what works best for you.
Once upon a time, when I rode as purely transport, I rode in jeans and t-shirts. Few things suck as bad as a fast descent with sweat-soaked t-shirt beating against your cold clammy chest as you blast down the flipside of the hill you just climbed. THe jeans chafed, and required the use of dork band to avoid ruining the jeans with drivetrain schmutz or worse -- sucking the jeans into the chainring, throwing the chain, destroying the jeans, and putting me in terrible risk if I was in traffic -- which I nearly always was. I may have been riding for transport, but I rode a light-ish lugged steel bike, and rode it hard. Toeclips, straps, HTFU, the works.
Later I went to denim above-the-knee shorts. Chafing. Put Pearl Izumi padded liner under that. STill not good. Quit cycling. By this time it was just a hobby, a fitness thing but my heart was no longer into it.
Finally, 3 years ago when I got back into cycling, I tried out proper cycling clothes. By this time I was 40 with a nice gut. By this time I didn't give a rat's ass what anyone else thought of me. So I went and got me some Canari shorts, spandex, thinly padded. I've grown to like them -- their non-sticky yet grippy elastic legbands don't pull on my leghair -- which I refuse to shave. I really like these cheap canari shorts! Must get some more. I got used to the thin padding. Having a well-adjusted saddle and bike did more to get rid of sore butt than anything -- including putting on miles.
I also tried Canari jersies, but those are meh at best. For jersies I like Louis Garneau. Got me a few of those. They have super-sticky bottom hem elastic, which is really nice, holds the jersey to the shorts.
Once I got all that sorted out, I realized the clothes is the other half of the equation for cycling comfort -- the first half being a perfectly-fitted bike. I don't even feel my bike anymore. I don't feel the clothing, either.
Bluntly put, the difference was night and day, going from street clothes to cycling clothing.
Forget about the hangups -- this stuff works.
My next steps will be bibs, a base layer, and maybe thin merino wool. As nice as cycling with this spandex stuff is, my skin's always a bit aware that it's plastic and not something natural. I don't rash up or anything - it's just the same sensation as wearing a shirt with polyester in it.
The one feature I will always look for in shorts / bibs is for them to have the same type of non-sticky elastic legbands the Canaris have. They grip just fine, but don't yank hair.
Yawn; any of the dri-fit shorts and tees work just fine...Nike tennis or running wear is perfect. If you want some padding, and you may, get a liner- briefs with a crotch pad to wear under the shorts...Mt. Borah makes a great liner. Don't get Nashbars, it's simply overdone...less is more with liners.
Liners are great, throw them on and go ride with anything from swimsuit, shorts, sweats, jeans, track pants, etc.
JCPenny is selling 'fast-dry' thin cotton tees right now that a very comfy for cycling, $6.
If you want to go the spandex super-hero route that's also fine, lots to choose from. I think the real "advantages" of the super hero look is those tight shorts, bibs and jerseys tend to add a compression effect for the muscles..you feel a little pumped up... and nothing is flapping in the wind. I think once off the bike you'll look ridicious, and I typically ride to a destination, but each to their own...'...to infinity and beyond'.
As many others have pointed out, the tight fitting spandex is for multiple reasons.
Noodling around at 8 mph might work for you, but not everyone does that.
As far as cotton goes, I really hope you get caught out in a rain squall that drops the temperature from a sunny 70 to a windy, wet 55, while wearing a cotton t-shirt.
Bet you feel like a real super-hero then.
..started with some padded inner liners,that lasted about 2 weeks....loose shorts get caught on saddle when you shift position on saddle,and when you sit and stand...now I only use the inner liners with some Nike running tights(spandex) for Winter riding. I do like to ride in 100 % cotton white T-shirt if it is not too hot,and the ride is not too long.....also have alot of golf,tennis quick drying shirts I like to ride in,tighter fit best
The problem with dri-star t-shirts is that they flap in the breeze. That gets pretty annoying when descending or riding in windy conditions. The loose fit acts like a sail causing them to ride up flashing plumber's crack to anybody behind you. I guess if you have no roadie gut you could get away with wearing a tighter fitting size making them more practical.
I normally ride baggy nylon workout shorts over spandex $10 Starter brand boxers. They don't flap in the breeze and I find them to be just as comfortable and cool as skin-tight cycling shorts. I've thought about trying some tighter mountain bike shorts to see if they'd work any better.
Last edited by Dunbar; 05-19-12 at 01:11 PM.
I'm here on Earth to help others. What on Earth the others are here for, no one knows.
(did I mention the shirt hides my 5 lbs of extra stuff around the waist)
Hey awesome story, lol, today I finally went with a sports dri fit small size pair of shorts that are pretty fitted, pretty close to spandex but just not spandex. But my tshirt was a tight fitted spandex and I found I flew by today. I was riding much faster, it was also hot and the tight spandex tshirt didnt bother me actually. I thought it would. Im starting to see why its important. And i think ill wear spandex under my dri fit shorts for now. and soon enough I think ill be ok with just the spandex.
I think I finally agree now how much proper clothing makes a difference if your really trying to improve performance while biking.
I think those steps, you pretty much nailed it. its my first real cycling season. today I already went with a tight spandex tshirt and soon enough I think the spandex shorts will come in.
If you ride a bike for enough years, it permanently warps your sense of fashion. This happens in stages.
Revulsion. When you first start riding, you find cycling clothes off-putting. The jerseys are too tight, and the colors are ridiculous. The shorts are obscene, and the chamois, well, it makes you look foolish and awkward.
Acceptance. After a time, you realize that bright jerseys help motorists see you, the polyester wicks sweat pretty well, the tight fit keeps the jersey from flapping in the wind or inflating like a kite, and those tight lycra shorts — chamois and all — do a good job of keeping your legs from chafing and don’t get in the way of your ride.
Enjoyment. After riding long enough, you begin to associate the pleasure of cycling with the clothes you wear while cycling, and somehow your head makes you think that you actually like the clothes themselves.
Wanna feel better? There's tons of these dudes out there:
Now if you just wanna look great the fastest way, Super Mario got the brightest idea:
OMG!! I want that outfit. Course on me it would look like a ziplock bag full of oatmeal.
My usual outfit is a pair of cycling shorts that look like regular shorts. Thin dryfit material with built in cycling shorts with a gel pad. I work in a steel mill and high visibility lime green shirts are required attire,so I have plenty of seeme green T's on hand.
"Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey