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Old 05-12-12, 05:51 PM   #1
MrCjolsen
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4 days, 330 miles. Brooks saddle. Should I skip padded shorts?

I'm aware that the instinctive answer will likely be no. However, I commute 28 miles a day, and generally just wear boxers.

I get a little bit of skin irritation once and a while. But no less than I did when I wore bike shorts.

Recently, I did a few rides with padded bike shorts (I own several pair) and it just didn't seem real comfortable.

The longest I've ridden in one stretch in ordinary "civilian clothes" was 35 miles.

One compromise I was thinking was to carry a pair of bike shorts, and change into them if the ordinary shorts became uncomfortable.

Would chamois cream work with regular shorts?
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Old 05-12-12, 06:01 PM   #2
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I'm sure it'd work, but that big spot on your rear might draw unwanted attention.

Don't blame you for not wanting to deal with the padded lycra on tour.
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Old 05-12-12, 06:02 PM   #3
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The compromise of bringing a back-up pair of padded shorts is probably the wisest answer. If you don't need them, there is not loss involved.

Chamois creme, in my opinion, is unlikely to work with regular shorts appearance-wise because of the soak-through factor. But treatment of abraded skin each night is a good idea.

If you ride now two legs of 14 miles as your commute, then just divide your riding up on the tour into 14 to 20-mile increments. Get off the bike, walk around, shake the muscles down, have drink and something to eat, admire the view, take a few photographs, or whatever. Then get on and ride another 14 to 20 miles.

I am a little vexed by the same conundrum with our upcoming trip. I am keen to ride with unpadded shorts, mainly because they pack down to almost nothing, and I ride Brooks B17, and I've ridden a lot before without padded shorts. But I have a niggling feeling that we might do something like a century several times along the way, and having one spare pair of padded shorts might be a good idea.
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Old 05-12-12, 06:19 PM   #4
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I always wear padded shorts or at least I did until I bought a stick of the Gold Bond Friction stick.. The stuff really works. Rode from Harper's Ferry to Capital Cresent Trail yesterday 68 miles. No pad. Just wipe it on. I had a pair of liner pad sorts with me just in case. By and by the C&O is almost completly unpatroled now. I didnt see ANY park police for the 2 days I was on the trail. I didn't see a Park cop until I got into Bethesda yesterday on the top of the Capital Cresent.
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Old 05-12-12, 06:44 PM   #5
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What's wrong with bike shorts? When you have them on, they're not packed, so wear them. When they get funky, wash them and put them back on the next morning. If you don't know how to wash your shorts, have someone show you. It's not necessary to wash them out every day when touring. I was a little surprised to learn that, but it's true.
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Old 05-12-12, 06:59 PM   #6
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I don't have a problem with bike shorts. I'm just thinking I might be more comfortable with regular shorts considering that's what I wear most of the time when I ride.
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Old 05-12-12, 07:02 PM   #7
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When I tour, I bring both options ... I can cycle with padded shorts, or go with underwear and non-padded shorts (usually beach shorts or basketball shorts).

If you're concerned about feeling uncomfortable, bring one pair of padded shorts, and otherwise go with what you usually wear.
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Old 05-12-12, 07:47 PM   #8
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It's a fully supported tour - a charity ride with rest stops and everything. I'm think I'll keep a pair of bike shorts with me and after 40 miles or so, change if it seems uncomfortable.
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Old 05-12-12, 09:56 PM   #9
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If your saddle is broken in, you're probably fine with what you normally ride in. I've done tours of similar distance and time and never gotten around to putting on the padded shorts I brought just in case.
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Old 05-13-12, 09:48 AM   #10
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What has worked for me in the past, (long self supported tours)
Fresh clean shorts, to put on clean skin,[at least the crotch-region], Daily.
meant 3 pair , in rotation , has kept the carbuncles at bay..
topical antibiotic cream, applied at the sign of one starting..

mine, not so much padded , but absorbent faux chamois lined,
with no seams in the wrong places.

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Old 05-13-12, 09:52 AM   #11
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It's a fully supported tour - a charity ride with rest stops and everything. I'm think I'll keep a pair of bike shorts with me and after 40 miles or so, change if it seems uncomfortable.
Problems start at about 40 miles.

Waiting til your butt is sore then going to chamios bike shorts will be too late.

Start with bike shorts and lube to prevent soreness.
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Old 05-13-12, 09:56 AM   #12
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I, personally, wouldn't skip the padded shorts especially when you're going to be averaging 80 miles/day on the bike. If you're self-conscious, or just need someplace to put your wallet, you can always wear regular shorts over your Lycra cycling shorts. That way you still get all the benefits of bicycling shorts but don't stand out as being a bicyclist. I often keep a pair of regular shorts handy and pull them on when I stop.
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Old 05-13-12, 10:26 AM   #13
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I never wear padded shorts, not for 10km rides nor for 150km rides. I never felt the need to use them, probably because I ride a bit every day, just like you. Wear whatever you feel comfortable with, it's just a bit of cycling.
However, if you're unsure about yourself and have a van following you anyway, it wouldn't cost any effort to have a spare pair of shorts in it so you can change if needed...
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Old 05-13-12, 10:36 AM   #14
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I'm just gonna give you a small slice of my personal experiences with cycling shorts and how I got there.. I used to ride 90% of the time in baggier clothing including *gasp* padded shorts, I thought it was fine since I spent the majority of my time on my brooks B17 S, and my rides maxed out at about 40 miles to boot. Then I began riding daily.. regular shorts and jeans pretty much stopped cutting it, and so did the padded shorts if anything it seemed like they caused my boys even more issues! I finally caved in and picked up a cheap pair of compression shorts.. it took me a while to accept that people can see the outline of my junk! But it's totally worth it.. short rides are much more comfortable and fast in them, long rides I think it goes without saying are much much better.. and of course you can always wear a loose pair of shorts over them too.
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Old 05-13-12, 11:31 AM   #15
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a. padded shorts
b. not padded
c. imho - depends upon the weather. really hot and humid - the cycle shorts will breath better, reducing the risk of sores. consider a lightly padded baggy short, J&G touring short is a good example. they are a good balance of regular short looks and cycling comfort.
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Old 05-13-12, 11:44 AM   #16
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It's not about aesthetics or having a place to put stuff. My only concern is comfort. I ride 4000 to 5000 miles a year and almost never wear padded shorts. And most of the time I am 100% comfortable at the end of the day. Here's the thing, padded shorts bug me. The recent times I've worn them on 30 mile rides have not felt any better than regular pants over the same distance. But on the other hand I haven't been on any long rides in a while with or without padded shorts. (yeah, I know. But it's a very flat ride and a very leisurely pace I'm not real concerned)
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Old 05-13-12, 12:51 PM   #17
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In my small circle of friends I tour with, two never wear cycle pants, whereas I wouldn't be without. At the end of each day, we are all fine (bottom-wise!)

Each bike tourist makes their own choices. In my case, trial and error experimentation over many years has led me to opt for padded shorts and a Brooks saddle.
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Old 05-13-12, 12:54 PM   #18
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It's not about aesthetics or having a place to put stuff. My only concern is comfort. I ride 4000 to 5000 miles a year and almost never wear padded shorts. And most of the time I am 100% comfortable at the end of the day. Here's the thing, padded shorts bug me. The recent times I've worn them on 30 mile rides have not felt any better than regular pants over the same distance. But on the other hand I haven't been on any long rides in a while with or without padded shorts. (yeah, I know. But it's a very flat ride and a very leisurely pace I'm not real concerned)
Why did you start this thread? You already know what you want to do.

If you have any doubt, carry shorts just in case. The extra 10 ounces won't make any difference. (After reading the OP fully) See, we think alike. Except I do wear shorts, and use "cream" at times as needed. But you should do what works for You.

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Old 05-14-12, 01:28 AM   #19
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How many padded shorts have you tried, OP? It seems as if you've set your opinion based on a pair of padded shorts. I have two padded shorts where one did not feel so comfortable and the other did feel comfortable. Needless to say, I used the latter shorts more frequently especially when going for longer rides.
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Old 05-14-12, 04:52 AM   #20
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Bike shorts are designed to be comfortable for riding. I wouldn't tour without them. That said, wear what you find comfortable.

Oh and on the chamois cream... I never felt the need to use that as a preventative and think riding with a bunch of greasy goo on my bottom is not all that pleasant. In the fairly rare instance where I have a bit of chafing an application of Balmex or other zinc oxide diaper cream worn over night on the chafed spots works wonders. The stuff is like magic.

Edit: One thing I forgot to mention... "Airing out" when off the bike is important. I get into loose fitting clothes when off the bike and sleep in something light and loose. For me that usually means running shorts when off the bike and for sleeping unless it is cold weather or too buggy for shorts.

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Old 05-14-12, 06:52 AM   #21
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It's not the padding I need with bike shorts. It's the fact that they don't have seams in the wrong places. I remember a winter ride when I thought it would be warmer to put underwear under the shorts, just for the extra layer of clothing. Big mistake. The seams rubbed, and I ended up with a nice little line of angry red matching the seams. And that was a short ride. I wouldn't want to risk it on a tour.
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Old 05-14-12, 11:53 AM   #22
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The padding in padded shorts is to soak up sweat. If you sweat down there, use padded shorts.
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Old 05-14-12, 09:47 PM   #23
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It's not the padding I need with bike shorts. It's the fact that they don't have seams in the wrong places. I remember a winter ride when I thought it would be warmer to put underwear under the shorts, just for the extra layer of clothing. Big mistake. The seams rubbed, and I ended up with a nice little line of angry red matching the seams. And that was a short ride. I wouldn't want to risk it on a tour.
I've actually found a few brands of underwear that are very cycling compatible with no seams in the wrong places.
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Old 05-16-12, 04:53 AM   #24
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I've actually found a few brands of underwear that are very cycling compatible with no seams in the wrong places.
Do tell.
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