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Old 11-14-11, 08:55 AM   #1
GlynG
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Best cycling shorts for first tour (in tropical Central America)?

In not much over a week Iím embarking on a multi-year tour / working holiday in Costa Rica and Panama for the fist 6 months and then a few years in Australia and New Zealand. Iíve only ever been to a few countries in Europe (I'm British) and never a hot country before, while I only started cycling as an adult this year and I've never toured or cycle camped yet, so Iím jumping in the deep-end somewhat and donít know what Iím doing that well yet.

Iíve figured out most of my kit selections by now after lots of research and reading of kit lists and reviews but Iím struggling with what cycling shorts best suited to the tropical heat. Iíve never worn cycling specific clothing before.

I want baggy shorts or suggestions for two shorts to wear layered on top, I flat out refuse to wear just lycra, especially as Iím unfit and probably bordering on overweight right now.

Iím finding most shops selling mostly or entirely black shorts, which I gather is the last colour wanted for tropical heat/humidity.

Iím going to be sitting on a Brooks Flyer Special saddle, which I gather reduces the need for padding like many cycle shorts have.

Any suggestions on what sort of features I want or donít want or specific makes or shorts I should go for?
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Old 11-14-11, 10:05 AM   #2
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Hmmm, leaving for a tour on an un-proven seat? Not an ideal situation. I would look for a pair of shorts that have a much more breathable chamois. Moisture is your enemy "down there", skin needs air, and without it you will get problems. I wish I could recommend something more specific, but I just know that some of my own shorts are better in extreme heat.
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Old 11-14-11, 10:46 AM   #3
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I'm with you in lycra only. I started at age 64 in a hot humid climate, the Philippines. I recommend the lycra with chamois for comfort. I'm not sure your saddle eliminates need for padded shorts. With a lot of time in the saddle you'll appreciate anything that prevents discomfort. Good for moisture and air and reduces chaffing - quite important. Then pick whatever baggy shorts, jersey, gloves, helmet etc to make you look/feel like a pro. If you sweat like I do you may need a spare pair or a way to wash/rinse them regularly. Sounds like an adventure. Best of riding.
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Old 11-14-11, 10:56 AM   #4
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my solution baggies[quick-dry nylon,light colored]lined ,artificial chamois,zipper pockets TWO pairs [one drying] Keep clean and baby powder I have good experience with Sugoi.I also use a cowboy scarf for heat and red-neck prevention[kept wet]I cycle in semi desert conditions ,Kamloops B.C.Hydrate,on my camel-back I coil light gauge insulated copper wire around the drinking tube,so the end is within sipping distance.Looking like a voice-activated microphone
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Old 11-14-11, 02:40 PM   #5
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Lycra is the way to go. I find baggies hot and constricting when sweaty so usually wear lycra mountain biking too. You are the only person who cares what you look like in lycra. If it bothers you enough, perhaps it will serve as additional motivation to get in shape.
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Old 11-14-11, 03:27 PM   #6
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It's a bit late to be asking these questions now. Both saddles and shorts require some trial and error, and with only a week to do all your trial and error you're asking for trouble.

I'm not even sure where to start. How about ...

Have you actually ridden the Brooks saddle yet? Brooks saddles often require a fairly lengthy break-in period before they are comfortable. Once they are broken in, then they can be very comfortable ... but getting to that point can take a while. And the different Brooks saddles work better or worse for different people.
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Old 11-14-11, 03:28 PM   #7
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I live in Costa Rica you can wear and any shorts above them...november, december and part of january it isnot that hot (15-26 C)... february and march can be hotter,also depending on which part of CR are you going to be traveling. If you are used to the saddle you can even go for 50-75kms with just some shorts (no lycra).

In CR distances are rather short, however, lots of hills...

Cheers y pura vida!
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Old 11-15-11, 04:57 AM   #8
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Just a few days before a long trip - don't have saddle and shorts figured out yet? With all due respect is rather stupid. Hopefully your bike fit is really great - you are going to need it. For many a brooks saddle does take some time to get comfortable - saddle and butt both need to adjust. Riding in a hot sweaty climate my speed this up - some butt cream my help until it is broken in. With a brooks saddle in hot weather, I like a very slightly padded short - the J&G touring short is a good example (not sure what you can get in the UK), plus they wear well and are a great value - black or dark blue color will look better after a lot of saddle time. Plus this type of short is more presentable than most Lycra skin bags.
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Old 11-15-11, 11:07 AM   #9
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Moved from General Cycling to Touring.
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Old 11-15-11, 11:57 AM   #10
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your in england check out Corrine Dennis cycle ware, there baggie mountain bike shorts a fantastic,the inner short is top quality lycra with a great padding and the outer is obviously quality baggies.
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Old 11-15-11, 12:24 PM   #11
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2 pair of quality padded lycra, 2 pair of swim shorts with pockets for overwear. Wash as needed. Some sort of butt cream to prevent chafing. I've found that sun screen works pretty good. Use as needed. Take anti-fungal salve. Why swim shorts? 'Cause they are light, pack well, dry fast, and look sorta like normal short.

Good luck with the saddle. You'll need it.
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Old 11-15-11, 12:42 PM   #12
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Spandex is rubber.. that's what makes them fit tighter.so breathability is what it is.
loose shorts might be OK. seamless underwear frequently washed.
as is the skin on you ..
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Old 11-15-11, 01:18 PM   #13
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http://www.bicycleclothing.com/index.html Loose fitting ,Nylon Taslan shorts, in black or light blue with good chamois and wear like iron.
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Old 11-15-11, 01:34 PM   #14
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What route are you taking? Will you only be in CR and Panama, or are you going to other countries in Central America as well? Two years ago I rode from Cancun to Panama City from Oct to Dec. It was the hottest and most humid riding I had ever done. Get the most breathable shorts you can find, because you're going to sweat. There was so much sweat pouring off of me that puddles formed under me each time I stopped to rest. While riding, the sweat saturated my shorts and dripped off of them onto my calves with each pedal stroke. It was crazy. Got dehydrated despite drinking tons of fluids. BRING HYDRATION SALTS. They saved me. The worst for heat was Mexico and Belize, but it could be hot anywhere down there.

Black may not seem to be the best color for shorts in hot weather, but when it's as humid as it gets down there I don't really think it matters much. I had tan shorts that faded with time, and had the negative effect of turning darker in the area that came in contact with my black seat, which wasn't very fashionable, to say the least. They are nylon and despite trying everything I could think of to clean them, they resist. I'd go with black if I had it to do over again.
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Old 11-15-11, 02:25 PM   #15
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For underwear I use quick-dry boxers from Ex Officio:

http://www.exofficio.com/products/de...ive-n-go-boxer

For shorts I use regular $10 polyester/lycra/synthetic athletic shorts from any store that I find comfortable.

No bicycle shorts for me; I find those hot, tight, confining, and uncomfortable.
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Old 11-15-11, 03:51 PM   #16
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I live in Trinidad, where it is hot and humid all the time. Use regular lycra bike shorts, because you will sweat like a fiend. Bring spares, because you will want to wash your sweat soaked shorts and jersey every day. Real cycling clothes are much better at handling heavy sweating than something like cotton. I also use a sweatband or Buff-like item to handle the sweat from my head. Drink lots of water, eat fruit for electrolytes, and watch the rum. Rum hits real hard when it is hot and humid out. Don't ride in mid-day if you can help it. Get up early so you can ride at first light. That's the nicest time of day. And remember there isn't really any dawn or dusk period in the tropics. It gets light in the morning and dark in the evening quite quickly. Also, with regards to the black colour of the shorts, I find that it doesn't make any difference. However, wear a brighter colour for the jersey. Car drivers aren't real attentive.
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Old 11-15-11, 06:45 PM   #17
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This might sound crazy in hot, humid weather but I'm a fan of merino wool bibs. I have two pair of Ibex bibs that I have worn in 100 F heat and was quite comfortable. They were soaked but they breathed nicely and kept me cool. I've also worn baggies with thin chamois liner (no padding) but after about 60 miles they became uncomfortable. Honestly, it's all personal preference.
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Old 11-15-11, 08:20 PM   #18
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I'll second what just about everyone else has said: lycra cycling shorts work well in hot, humid weather. In areas where cyclists wearing lycra aren't commonly seen, I'll pull a pair of regular shorts on over the lycra when I stop for food, to go into a store, etc.
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Old 11-17-11, 02:05 AM   #19
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This might sound crazy in hot, humid weather but I'm a fan of merino wool bibs. I have two pair of Ibex bibs that I have worn in 100 F heat and was quite comfortable. They were soaked but they breathed nicely and kept me cool. I've also worn baggies with thin chamois liner (no padding) but after about 60 miles they became uncomfortable. Honestly, it's all personal preference.
Yup - exactly. Unpadded wool shorts got me through Central America. I would never want to take lycra or other synthetic fabric into the heat and humidity of Central America! And to have all that padding to get soaked with sweat and stink?? EEEWWWWWW!!!

I had plain ol' unpadded wool running shorts (like bike shorts but without the pad) and word regular cotton shorts over them. On a Brooks saddle.
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Old 11-17-11, 10:41 AM   #20
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There might be some additional useful info here:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ng-shorts-ever

You should assume that you will buy some good stuff and some not so good stuff that you need to replace right away.

I used to prefer a very thin chamois in my shorts but after losing about 15 percent of my weight, I have a lot less natural padding than I used to have. I now prefer a thicker chamois.
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Old 11-17-11, 03:56 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by martianone View Post
Just a few days before a long trip - don't have saddle and shorts figured out yet? With all due respect is rather stupid. Hopefully your bike fit is really great - you are going to need it. For many a brooks saddle does take some time to get comfortable - saddle and butt both need to adjust. Riding in a hot sweaty climate my speed this up - some butt cream my help until it is broken in. With a brooks saddle in hot weather, I like a very slightly padded short - the J&G touring short is a good example (not sure what you can get in the UK), plus they wear well and are a great value - black or dark blue color will look better after a lot of saddle time. Plus this type of short is more presentable than most Lycra skin bags.
I find them to be comfortable even when brand new. I guess everybody's backside is different.
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