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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 07-29-08, 09:04 PM   #1
Fairmont
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Do you wear Bike shorts to commute? If so, what should I look for?

I am commuting four miles each way, and am currently using cotton shorts and t-shirts.

While the t-shirts are fine, I'm wondering if I should invest in some riding shorts (and even shirts).

I shower before riding to work. I'm very fortunate in that deodorant works for me, even if I sweat. In fact, as long as I shower and don't exercise, I can go all day without deodorant. Now, I know you're probably going to flame me by saying, "I feel sorry for your coworkers," and such, but the truth is that I rarely need deodorant. We all have something we like about ourselves, I guess. I have ugly teeth, but rarely have odorous pits. Sometimes people will say, "do you shave your armpits?" if they see me without a shirt, and I say, "no." I hardly have any hair or BO from the pits.


Shoot, TMI.


Anyway, so I shower, put on deodorant, and ride to work. I arrive a little sweaty, but nothing too crazy.

Then, after about a ten-minute cool down I put on my work clothes (slacks, shirt, tie), and then start teaching.


So, since I ruin (for the day) my cotton shorts and t-shirt, I was wondering about bike shorts.

1. Is there a particular brand/style I should seek?

2. I want padding. What should I look for?

3. What fabric would be best for my situation? (I ride four miles to work, with a couple hills---hybrid bike--Trek Soho, like the Trek FX).

4. Do I need to wash the shorts everyday? Once a week?

5. Visibility is not a concern (all bike paths to work), so no goofy colors. I want simple blacks, browns, tan, white, etc. No orange, pink, yellow or all that other Tour de France stuff.


I really don't want to ride in slacks, shirt, tie, etc. I'd much rather arrive to work, relax with some coffee, cool down, and then change before the students come into the building.

Thanks for any advice.

Mike
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Old 07-29-08, 09:19 PM   #2
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Do you want baggy (mountain) or lycra (road) shorts?

Opinions vary, but the vast majority wash cycling shorts (or padded liners) daily. I know I do.

---------

Somewhat off topic, but I'm a huge fan of wool shirts. I've been wearing a wool jersey for a while now, and more recently a wool (merino) t-shirt. I can easily go a week without any smell. Same goes for my wool socks. The reduction in laundry is appreciated.

--------

One option is to wear lycra shorts under the shorts you're wearing now. They will absorb most of the sweat and possibly prevent you from having to wash the outer shorts daily.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:31 PM   #3
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For a 4 mile commute I would think you can get along with out them. Having said that I bought some of the padded undershorts from either Bike Nashbar or Performance they are longer like a bike short but thinner material so they aren't as hot and the padding is pretty thick but not like regular bike shorts they work really well for me. REI sells a brief but they are cut really high not like a regular pair of tighty whities I don't like them as well. The padding on the Performance brand doesn't come up as high in the front but the Andiamo brand is the ones I like the best really nice padding and very light. I can never seem to find them in any color but black even though white is listed.
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Old 07-29-08, 10:00 PM   #4
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Do I have to throw them in the washing machine, or can I do a quick number in the bathroom sink each afternoon when I return home from work?

I like biking to work, but I also don't want a routine that lasts thirty minutes per day just to get ready to ride.

I don't like to think too much about my morning commute.
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Old 07-29-08, 10:32 PM   #5
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Here's some good information from Rivindell about bike clothing.

http://www.rivbike.com/article/cloth...hes_for_riding
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Old 07-29-08, 11:04 PM   #6
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I've got a pair of these:

http://aerotechdesigns.com/menshort.htm

which are pretty decent, and a couple of pair of gel shorts. The gel shorts have more padding, but for four miles you probably don't need that.

I ride ten miles each way, and wear my short two or three times before washing them. When I do wash them, I toss them in the washing machine on the hadwash cycle and then hang them on a clothes line when they're done. The next day they're dry and ready to wear again.
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Old 07-29-08, 11:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fairmont View Post
Do I have to throw them in the washing machine, or can I do a quick number in the bathroom sink each afternoon when I return home from work?
Wear 'em in the shower, rinse when you're done. They'll dry overnight, usually. That type of hand washing is much easier on the fabric, I've heard. I'll throw them in the machine if I've got a load going. Line drying in the sun takes care of bacterial/smell issues.

I'm using some Pearl Isumi shorts that I like a lot. The chamois makes the 10 mile commute comfy. They're black, which I prefer. I also have a blue pair that I usually hide under a pair of gym shorts since they leave nothing to the imagination as far as anatomy goes..

Until I tried the Pearls, I was a dyed-in-the-wool, street clothes rider. For rides longer than 10 miles or so, I swear by 'em.
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Old 07-29-08, 11:15 PM   #8
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T shirts would work ok as long as they are wicking material , but then my commute was 26 miles. I found Descent shorts to be the most comfortable.
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Old 07-29-08, 11:49 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Powerarranger View Post
I'm using some Pearl Isumi shorts that I like a lot. The chamois makes the 10 mile commute comfy. They're black, which I prefer. I also have a blue pair that I usually hide under a pair of gym shorts since they leave nothing to the imagination as far as anatomy goes..
same here - i have two pair of pearls, one longer and one shorter - and, for my 8-mile-one-way commute, i always wear them. my delicate bits thank me. i don't get all that sweaty and i change out of them immediately when i reach work, so i have to wash one of the pairs every couple of days or so.
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Old 07-30-08, 12:02 AM   #10
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I'm a believer in bike clothes. I always wear 'em, commuting or weekend rides. But 4 miles? Don't bother. Really.
The cut off for "worth the trouble" seems to be about about 5.
That said, I find both Performance Elite and Ultra to be good deals.
Wash cold water and hang dry.
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Old 07-30-08, 12:19 AM   #11
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you could try the combo jobbies, you know the shorts with the built in chamois.
http://www.primalwear.com/p-232-noma...ggy-short.aspx

I have a pair of these, never wear 'em. I was in your position, needed a pair of shorts but was a little modest about wearing cycling shorts, so I got those ones and a pair of regular cycling shorts. The fit and comfort of the regular cycling shorts were vastly superior. Now having been commuting for 3 years, it's only bib shorts for me, once you go bibs, nothing else compares.

If you do start riding in cycling shorts, here's a tip, keep a spare pair of undies in a desk drawer or locker, you'll be glad you did.
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Old 07-30-08, 12:37 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Ash View Post
Here's some good information from Rivindell about bike clothing.

http://www.rivbike.com/article/cloth...hes_for_riding
From that article:

"Click-in cycling shoes are a miracle of marketing. There are times when being that joined to the pedals is helpful. Racing and all-out efforts in wet weather group rides, for example."

What? Miracle of marketing? I kind of quit reading after that.

Oh, sorry to get off topic folks.

Last edited by daredevil; 07-30-08 at 12:41 AM.
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Old 07-30-08, 03:06 AM   #13
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look at a pair of J&G touring shorts.
lightweight nylon material to keep you cooler on humid days,
they have a thin "chamois", are rugged and fairly inexpensive.
I have a couple pair, often wear them just as regular shorts.
+1 for wearing them in the shower to wash them and air dry after.
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Old 07-30-08, 03:12 AM   #14
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I just got a couple of pairs of MTB shorts from Performance and can't say enough good things about them, they absolutely rock.
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Old 07-30-08, 04:59 AM   #15
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I've gotten to like cycling shorts very much. I've been wearing tri shorts lately and really like 'em a lot. My commute is a short one too (~5 miles one way).

I have a couple of pair of cheapos from eBay that I rotate. I can shower at work and I have a locker--kinda nice because if I feel like going all out I can just go ahead and sweat. I really like just getting to work, letting them pull inside-out as I take 'em off, and just let them hang that way (no pun intended ) all day in my locker.

Tri shorts are more like swim suits in their material weight, and with very light crotch/sit bone padding compared to regular bike shorts. Plenty comfy for me, they dry pretty fast, and are cooler (inseams are usually a good bit shorter than bike shorts).

For me anyway, less is more...
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Old 07-30-08, 05:40 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Fairmont View Post
currently using cotton shorts and t-shirts. ... I rarely need deodorant.
That's partly cause of the cotton. If you sweat you'll soak it through, yes, but once it evaporates the smell will be pretty much gone. If you have somewhere to hang the tshirt and shorts so they can air out/dry during the day, instead of throwing it in the bottom of your bag, then they should be good to ride home in too. The only real concern is whether you're getting sweaty enough for the clothes to be soggy and uncomfortable while you're riding.

Synthetics won't get soggy, but the smell doesn't dry off like with natural fibres, and I think they will make you smellier even once you change out of them if you're not showering when you arrive. If you're going to switch over to something synthetic I'd be very careful at first not to take your usual lack of odour for granted, cause you may well find you get a nasty surprise.
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Old 07-30-08, 06:55 AM   #17
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The odor thing is body chemistry for me. I do smell badly sometimes, but only after a day of no showering and exercise. I guess it just takes a little longer for me to build up the bacteria. My dad is the same way. It's weird. If I shower in the morning and drive to work, I usually don't wear any deodorant at all. Of course, maybe I'm the smelliest man in the world and nobody has told me, but I would think my wife would say something or the kids (they're brutally honest).

So, if I shower and put on deodorant, and ride four miles (which isn't very far), I can get by that day (as long as I take a quick shower in the afternoon after work).

I'm interested in the riding shorts primarily for the PADDING. My seat hurts my butt a little. Of course, it's not agonizing or anything. I can live with it and will probably get used to it (it's a new bike and I'm a new commuter).
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Old 07-30-08, 06:56 AM   #18
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Old 07-30-08, 07:05 AM   #19
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For my twelve mile (round trip) commute, I like to ride in a baggy mountain biking short. I don't so much care about what shirt\jersey I'm wearing.
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Old 07-30-08, 07:14 AM   #20
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Speaking of all this stuff.

I'm a pretty stylie dude. I prefer to wear "fitted" clothes. Not to say wearing ultra Baggy is not "stylie" but lets say I'm more "european" styled. Problem is, I have trouble finding clothes that are fitted.

I'm 5'9 124 lbs. I'm a rail.

I'd like to find shorts/pants that are good for cycling, that have a more "fitted" look. They don't have to have padding.

But a breathable fabric that wicks moisture and all that other mother jazz.

I know Swobo and Chrome has a few pairs of Knickers that aren't too bad, but regular shorts, and Pants seem harder to come by.

Not to mention they are cycling specific, which makes them REALLY EXPENSIVE.

suggestions?
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Old 07-30-08, 07:14 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fairmont View Post
I'm interested in the riding shorts primarily for the PADDING. My seat hurts my butt a little. Of course, it's not agonizing or anything. I can live with it and will probably get used to it (it's a new bike and I'm a new commuter).
Yeah, your butt will be sore for the first week or so of daily riding as it gets used to being on the saddle. Very common and perfectly normal. Wait a week or two and see if you still feel you need extra padding. If you do, any bike short with a chamois that you like the looks of will do fine. In my experience the main advantage of bike shorts is they eliminate the chafing in sensitive areas that you get with regular clothes, so if you're not chafing you probably don't need them.
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Old 07-30-08, 07:32 AM   #22
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My commute is ~13 miles each way and I usually wear cycling specific shorts (baggies). Sometimes I just wear cargo shorts (or the like) though. For rides over about 10 miles I find that I'm more comfortable in cycling shorts. If my commute were 4 miles I wouldn't bother with cycling shorts.
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Old 07-30-08, 07:51 AM   #23
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I wouldn't bother with bike-specific shorts for a 4-mile commute myself. I'd say get a more comfy saddle and you'll be set, comfort-wise.
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Old 07-30-08, 08:11 AM   #24
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For short rides, I went to a sporting goods store and got some compression shorts. They wick away moisture, and help cool the skin. I just throw a pair of regular shorts over them and I have no issues. I use them for everything I do outdoors, golf, sports, they help so much, and multitask better than a bike-specific short with padding would.
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Old 07-30-08, 08:13 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fairmont View Post

1. Is there a particular brand/style I should seek?
Depends. Are you comfortable with tight fitting clothes or not? If so, then your standard bib shorts are my choice. Velowear.com has a good reasonably priced selection. If not, you could pick up a pair of mountain bike shorts or padded underwear from your local bike store.

Quote:
2. I want padding. What should I look for?
The chamois (the pad) generally does not pad that much. It is more for anti chafing. Just pick up a pair and try them out. Everyone's rear is different so it may take a little while to find one you like.

Quote:
3. What fabric would be best for my situation? (I ride four miles to work, with a couple hills---hybrid bike--Trek Soho, like the Trek FX).
Lycra.

Quote:
4. Do I need to wash the shorts everyday? Once a week?
Everyday unless you want saddle sores. You can shower with them on to get around this.

Quote:
5. Visibility is not a concern (all bike paths to work), so no goofy colors. I want simple blacks, browns, tan, white, etc. No orange, pink, yellow or all that other Tour de France stuff.
Visibility is always a concern. However, most cyclists wear black shorts for reasons that it shows dirt less and does not become see through as easily. Mountain bike shorts can come in brown, black, and other shades of tan.


That being said, at 4 miles I would consider not purchasing cycling shorts. They tend to be expensive and that distance is rather short. Instead I would wear gym shorts and an athletic t shirt. All made out of a wicking material such as polyester.
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