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  1. #1
    Senior Member sweetnsourbkr's Avatar
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    What do you do with your shorts?

    I like to wash my shorts after every ride. If you're on a multi-day tour, do you bring a spare wardrobe or do you reuse? What about the laundry?

  2. #2
    Happy Rider
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    I bring an extra pair. Wash out every nite. Carry a small amount of liquid detergent. Wrap them up in a towel and stand on them and get most water out. Hang out to air dry. I don't do any camping. Did too much in army.

  3. #3
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
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    As soon as you get into the campsite (or whenever you feel like it), jump in the shower, lather yourself up head to toe, rinse, and then walk yourself dry, or hang the clothes and put on fresh ones.

  4. #4
    Hooked on Touring
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    Shower?

    After three or four days you don't have to worry about people cutting in front of you in grocery store lines. After a week the shorts become a permanent part of your body. Plus it keeps the mosquitos away.

    People who do remote touring look, act, and smell different than people who do light touring.

  5. #5
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
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    Even in the middle of nowhere its best to at least wash your shorts and wipe down your undercarriage... Wearing the same shorts for a whole week is a surefire recipe for cantankerous saddle sores. Thats uncool even if you're cool being filthy and stinky.

  6. #6
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    I take 3 pairs of shorts and jerseys. I could probably get by with only two but I don't like putting damp shorts on and sometimes it takes more than a day to get my washed stuff dry. It also allows me to use my extra jersey as a t-shirt on an off day, so I take fewer "off bike" clothes.

    I wash my day's biking clothes when I get to my hotel/campsite and leave them over the back rack the next day until they dry.

    Ray

  7. #7
    Senior Member greenstork's Avatar
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    Slightly off topic, what do you typically use to wash your clothes? Do most folks bring a small supply of laundry detergent? Liquid or powder?

  8. #8
    Bike touring webrarian
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    I use a liquid body soap (Dr. Bronner's). It is also good for washing clothes. I usually put the stopper in the sink, pour in some warm water, apply the soap right onto the fabric, push on it and squeeze it for a minute or so and then rinse.

    Ray

  9. #9
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by card
    I bring an extra pair. Wash out every nite. Carry a small amount of liquid detergent. Wrap them up in a towel and stand on them and get most water out. Hang out to air dry.
    +1 you can do this with very little water in camp in need be. If you have a comfy saddle [brooks and such] get some seamless boxers [ex officio] and then you can skip the bike shorts. Quick dry boxers are much easier to wash and dry.
    safe riding - Vik
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  10. #10
    I ride my bike Revtor's Avatar
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    ride until 8:00 PM, start looking for camp spots. find one before dark, set up tent, etc.. get in tent. strip off shorts, clean yo self with wet wipes / baby wipes. let yourself dry a bit, (check maps, read book, make phonecalls, etc) put on clean shorts and socks. pass out. dream of amazing things....... .......wake up, eat cookie you saved from days ride before,. pack up stuff. start riding. stop at a diner/mcdonalds/starbucks/dunkin donuts/deli/breakfast place, etc. bring in your small bottle of liquid soap and your previous days shorts and socks. go to bathroom. wash them in the sink. brush your teeth and wash your grimy face. wring out your newly clean clothes. walk outside and bungee the wet gear to your bike. walk back inside and consume caffeine, sugar, protein and carbohydrates. talk with locals and hang for a while, get the feel of the places youre visiting. pay bill, walk outside and ride on, clothes will be dry in a few hours ready for the next day...

    ~Stv

  11. #11
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybo
    I take 3 pairs of shorts and jerseys. I could probably get by with only two but I don't like putting damp shorts on and sometimes it takes more than a day to get my washed stuff dry.

    I wash my day's biking clothes when I get to my hotel/campsite and leave them over the back rack the next day until they dry.

    Ray
    Same here. I hate doing laundry every night...I have other things to do...and I won't wear the same pair of shorts twice. It was a hard and painful lesson

    Bicycle clothes can even be dried in a drier if you use a low setting. Been doing it for years.

    As for showers and clean up, I don't go more than a couple of days without a shower. I sweat buckets constantly and after a single day of riding, I've got enough salt caked on me that cars are lining up to do speed runs.
    Stuart Black
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  12. #12
    Senior Member sweetnsourbkr's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips everyone. These give me a better understanding of what's gonna happen when I do my first tour. My riding partner won't be a very reliable higienist, I'd reckon, so it's nice to know what other people do.

  13. #13
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I try to take a shower every night. When I do, I take the day's shorts and jersey in with me and wash them by hand. I use CampSuds. It also works for my dishes. It will even work as body wash and shampoo in a pinch. I wring the shorts and jersey out as best I can, then hang them up. In the morning, if they're not dry, I drape them over my luggage and let them dry as I ride. If it's raining, I'll wait and let them finish drying in my tent. (Although, if it's going to be raining a lot, I'll look for a motel.)

    If I can't shower, I wear the clothes a second time. After a few days of this, I wash things in a cooking pot. Sponge baths on your armpits and "nether regions" is a good idea to prevent chafing, saddle sores, and general funkiness.

    I usually carry three pairs of shorts and three jerseys. If I'm riding in a place with lots of showers (like the Oregon coast) I get by with two pairs of shorts and two jerseys.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlueToe
    I try to take a shower every night. When I do, I take the day's shorts and jersey in with me and wash them by hand. I use CampSuds. It also works for my dishes. It will even work as body wash and shampoo in a pinch. I wring the shorts and jersey out as best I can, then hang them up. In the morning, if they're not dry, I drape them over my luggage and let them dry as I ride. If it's raining, I'll wait and let them finish drying in my tent. (Although, if it's going to be raining a lot, I'll look for a motel.)

    If I can't shower, I wear the clothes a second time.
    That's exactly what I do.

  15. #15
    Macro Geek
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    For my credit card tours, I carry one pair of cycling shorts and one jersey, and wash them every night in a sink with liquid soap, or I take them in the shower with me. I wring them out, and if staying in a motel or B+B, wrap them in a towel to extract additional water. Then hang to dry. The clothes are almost always dry in the morning. If still damp, I wear them anyway, and body heat usually completes the drying process before I finish breakfast.

    I used to take two of everything to avoid washing clothes everyday, but I found that I usually had to wash SOMETHING. So now I spend 5 or 10 minutes doing laundry everyday, and carry a little less in my panniers.

    This works because I have a dry place every night. If I were camping, I probably would take more than one of each item.

  16. #16
    Senior Member MichiganMike's Avatar
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    I credit card it. I take the one pair of shorts and one jersey (depending on the weather). I carry a nylon mesh laundry bag (from one of those Dollar Stores). Not real big. After I wash the stuff, I put it in the bag, go outside and spin it over my head. That gets most of the water out. Then I just hang it up over night to finish drying. I was always afraid of getting carried away with wringing my shorts out in a towel or something.

  17. #17
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I bring two pair of shorts with me, and I'm never more than 10 days from a laundry facility. 5 days in one pair and 5 days in the next is usually my maximum.

    Pack the pair you've just worn for 5 days straight at the top of your pannier to ward off potential thieves and people who might be curious what you've got in your panniers.

    As for laundry soap, as I mentioned in another thread, I bring a small bottle of shampoo with me on my rides and as it disappears I refill it with soap from gas stations etc. I use that for everything including my laundry. However, if the laundromat happens to have soap for sale, I might buy a little box and use that.

    And as for saddle sores ... I have ridden almost 110,000 kms and have had 1 saddle sore. It had absolutely nothing to do with the cleanliness (or lack thereof) of my shorts, but rather had everything to do with the fact that I was wearing loose shorts on a rainy day.

  18. #18
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    I saw one mention of cleaning in cooking pot. I finally discovered ziploc bags make great washing machines for small stuff. I have not tried cycling shorts but they should fit in a gallon size. I use dr bonners soap for my hiking shorts and shirts. put soap and water in ziploc, add clothes. play a game of pitch if with another cyclist or just toss them around in the air yourself a few minutes. rince well away from any water supply. I usually hang my clothes over my hammock support line so if raining they can still kinda dry. gets stuff almost as clean as the home washer.

    Coy Boy

  19. #19
    Slowpoach
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybo
    I take 3 pairs of shorts and jerseys. I could probably get by with only two but I don't like putting damp shorts on and sometimes it takes more than a day to get my washed stuff dry. It also allows me to use my extra jersey as a t-shirt on an off day, so I take fewer "off bike" clothes.

    I wash my day's biking clothes when I get to my hotel/campsite and leave them over the back rack the next day until they dry.

    Ray
    +1

    Re washing - liquid soap is usually easier to keep clean and dry than a bar of soap, but a bar lasts longer. I usually take a small Nalgene bottle of detergent (dish detergent seems to work fine for dishes and clothes) and a hotel shampoo (doubles as body wash). Make sure you have enough water to rinse thoroughly, or use a low-residue wash like Sports Wash which rinses out easily.

    Jerseys dry really quickly but padded bike shorts take a while. I reckon take 3 shorts if you have space.

    I've tried riding in nylon shorts/bathers (mesh insert, don't need separate underwear) but I don't like this for more than an hour or two on the bike. Nice to change into after wearing bike shorts all day, though.

    Thermal tops and long-sleeve shirts are good multipurpose tops, you can have quite a flexible wardrobe with just a few well-chosen pieces.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    I bring two pair of shorts with me, and I'm never more than 10 days from a laundry facility. 5 days in one pair and 5 days in the next is usually my maximum.

    Pack the pair you've just worn for 5 days straight at the top of your pannier to ward off potential thieves and people who might be curious what you've got in your panniers.

    As for laundry soap, as I mentioned in another thread, I bring a small bottle of shampoo with me on my rides and as it disappears I refill it with soap from gas stations etc. I use that for everything including my laundry. However, if the laundromat happens to have soap for sale, I might buy a little box and use that.

    And as for saddle sores ... I have ridden almost 110,000 kms and have had 1 saddle sore. It had absolutely nothing to do with the cleanliness (or lack thereof) of my shorts, but rather had everything to do with the fact that I was wearing loose shorts on a rainy day.
    You must be kidding. 5 days in the same shorts, for a WOMAN? That is just plain gross. I've had shorts that after a single day of riding I had to decide whether to burn them or bury them. Even the dog turned up her nose at them, and she usually likes funky stuff.

    I've also biked thousands of miles---and had horrible cysts that lasted for months.

  21. #21
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    I make my own shorts. I line whatever I want to wear with a bunting saddle, I actually like 2 layers. It's basically the same stuff they put in regular shorts. One doesn't wear underwear, which means that there isn't the rubbing back and forth along the seams that causes some of the washing trouble anyway. Normally at the end of the day, my liner looks fine, I just wash out the contact surface and it dries really fast. I carry two pair just in case one gets soaked in rain, or I need a major wash up. There really isn't that much of a clean-up job required.

  22. #22
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    "You must be kidding. 5 days in the same shorts, for a WOMAN? That is just plain gross. I've had shorts that after a single day of riding I had to decide whether to burn them or bury them. Even the dog turned up her nose at them, and she usually likes funky stuff.

    I've also biked thousands of miles---and had horrible cysts that lasted for months."

    You may just have a slightly different biology. I can wear the same T-shirt for 3-4 days in a row, never use pit juice, and when I put it in the wash it smells just fine, and it isn't just me saying it. The same with socks. I'm a big guy, you just wouldn't think it was possible.

    After my plane crash, I wasn't allowed to bathe for 9 weeks until all the holes had completely healed. I could sponge myself but not take a proper bath. It was nice to take that bath, but I wasn't dirty in the interim.

    If you go back to a time before showers and dry cleaning, people had weekly baths, not all that uncommon in the 60s when I was growing up. They had shirts with buttons on collars and cuffs so that several pairs could go with one body that was worn multiple days (also for ease of cleaning and longer lasting). Suits got brushed, not dry cleaned, which some still regard as a superior alternative. There was no leaning against bus stops or lounging around on concrete steps etc... We are in the one culture, and one time, when we can so easily be wasteful in order to be over-clean. It's to the point where some doctors speculate the high asthma rates are due to insufficient exposure to dirt in childhood.

    There was a time when people did not realize the importance of cleanliness, or fresh air, etc... But the modern several showers a days, wear it for a few hours, lather yourself in antiseptic, culture is a major cause of environmental damage. Crap like Swifer, and hand gels are a net environmental negative.

    At the end of the day you have to figure out what works for you. If Machka, who not only does long tours, but Stuff like multiday Rondos has worked something out, it will probably work for others too.

  23. #23
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaddleUp
    You must be kidding. 5 days in the same shorts, for a WOMAN? That is just plain gross. I've had shorts that after a single day of riding I had to decide whether to burn them or bury them. Even the dog turned up her nose at them, and she usually likes funky stuff.

    I've also biked thousands of miles---and had horrible cysts that lasted for months.
    Well, we've been going since September and we wear our shorts for 3-5 times before washing. I often wear underwear with them though and have not had any problem with saddle sore. Husband always wears underwear and he is also comfortable. Granted, we haven't been in any extremely hot conditions yet so maybe this would change with high-summer touring. When we can, we wash out our shorts like any other piece of clothing, with a bit of washing powder and hang to dry.
    We blog about bike touring, with reviews, tips and cycle touring podcasts at Travelling Two

  24. #24
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    To wear Lycra shorts for more than one day at a time is asking for trouble. Tight Lycra shorts are perfect for the growth of bacteria in that they provide a warm, moist atmosphere. Any small cut or abrasion is then at risk of infection and can mean the end of your tour.
    I camp and tour for six weeks or more at a time and to hazard myself by not wearing clean shorts would be absolutely stupid. There are enough risks out there while cycling, so why introduce an unnecessary one.

  25. #25
    Stand For Something mntbikedude's Avatar
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    I bring two pairs of bike shorts. I will wear them two days each. Every fourth day we stop at a laundry. I'll change into swim trunks or rain pants and wash everything else. It works for us. I used to try and wash out the shorts by hand just because washing machines are hard on them. But I really like having really clean clothes that also smell really clean.

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