Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

Worth it to wear bike shorts on a ~3 mile commute?

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.

Worth it to wear bike shorts on a ~3 mile commute?

Old 08-22-11, 08:54 PM
  #1  
AlphaDogg
I let the dogs out
Thread Starter
 
AlphaDogg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 1,934

Bikes: 2011 Fuji Roubaix 1.0, 2003 Ti Merlin Solis, & 1994 Raleigh MT200

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Worth it to wear bike shorts on a ~3 mile commute?

School starts tomorrow, so I am eager to start bike commuting. Still waiting for the rack and panniers to come, so I will be wearing a backpack until Friday (that's when they're supposed to arrive).

Once the panniers arrive, I will take the long way (via the MUP) which is about 6 mi each direction. Since I don't have the panniers yet, I will be taking the direct way, by the streets. By street, it is about 3 miles each direction.

I'm wondering, is wearing bike shorts for that short distance worth it? Just looking for your opinions. Maybe I will wear bike shorts under my regular shorts.
AlphaDogg is offline  
Old 08-22-11, 09:04 PM
  #2  
SouthFLpix
Senior Member
 
SouthFLpix's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 1,230

Bikes: 2007 Giant Cypress DX, Windsor Tourist 2011

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Depends on how you want to ride. If you're going to push hard and get all sweaty, yes it's good to have bike shorts otherwise your underwear is going to be soaked with sweat. If you're just going to take it easy and cruise the 3 miles, in that case you can just wear regular clothes.
SouthFLpix is offline  
Old 08-22-11, 09:07 PM
  #3  
lostarchitect 
incazzare.
 
lostarchitect's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 6,897

Bikes: See sig

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 40 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 4 Posts
I'd take the MUP even with the backpack. 6 miles is not all that far.
__________________
1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson), 1973 Wes Mason, 1974 Raleigh Gran Sport, 1986 Schwinn High Sierra, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2011 Dick Chafe, 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter
lostarchitect is offline  
Old 08-22-11, 09:12 PM
  #4  
AlphaDogg
I let the dogs out
Thread Starter
 
AlphaDogg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 1,934

Bikes: 2011 Fuji Roubaix 1.0, 2003 Ti Merlin Solis, & 1994 Raleigh MT200

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
6 miles is not all that far.
Yeah that's true. Over summer break, I would often do 3-hour 30 mile trips. I guess I will do the 6 mile by MUP route. The backpack probably weighs 10lbs, so it's not too bad. Last year, it grew to weigh as much as 40lbs. It was IMPOSSIBLE to commute with that.
AlphaDogg is offline  
Old 08-22-11, 09:17 PM
  #5  
1nterceptor
LET'S ROLL
 
1nterceptor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: NEW YORK, NY - USA
Posts: 4,747

Bikes: 2014 BMC Gran Fondo, 2013 Brompton S6L-X

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 288 Post(s)
Liked 12 Times in 9 Posts
Originally Posted by AlphaDogg View Post
I'm wondering, is wearing bike shorts for that short distance worth it? Just looking for your opinions. Maybe I will wear bike shorts under my regular shorts.
You can try mountainbike/baggy shorts. They have
a padding inside and just look like regular shorts.

http://www.rei.com/search?search=Cycling+Shorts&cat=4500003_Cycle+Clothing&jxBest+use=Mountain+biking&hist=cat%2C450000 3_Cycle+Clothing%3ACycle+Clothing^search%2CCycling+Shorts^jxBest+use%2CMountain+biking
__________________
One day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20X43026ukY&list=UUHyRS8bRu6zPoymgKaIoDLA&index=1
1nterceptor is offline  
Old 08-22-11, 09:24 PM
  #6  
AlphaDogg
I let the dogs out
Thread Starter
 
AlphaDogg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 1,934

Bikes: 2011 Fuji Roubaix 1.0, 2003 Ti Merlin Solis, & 1994 Raleigh MT200

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I don't feel like buying new shorts. I have two pair of lycra shorts with good chamois's (it's weird because you say shammies, not kam-oys-es), which I guess I will be using. I think I will wear regular shorts over them and when I get to school, I will take off the bike shorts from under the regular shorts and wear regular shorts for the rest of the day. I wear compression shorts under my bike shorts, so I won't be "going commando" for the entire day.
AlphaDogg is offline  
Old 08-22-11, 10:06 PM
  #7  
accordionfolder
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 214
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
You'll be fine, up to about 8 miles I don't even notice the difference. 3 miles each won't bother you at all.
accordionfolder is offline  
Old 08-22-11, 10:25 PM
  #8  
SweetLou
Senior Member
 
SweetLou's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 2,114
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Just try both ways and see which way you like better. For me, anything less that 20 miles and I don't wear them. I had a co-worker that wore them anytime he got on his bike. His commute was about the same as yours.
SweetLou is offline  
Old 08-23-11, 02:09 AM
  #9  
rykard
Senior Member
 
rykard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Midlands, UK
Posts: 80

Bikes: Scott Arapaho, Merida T1

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I always wear bike shorts for my 3 miles commute, I hate sitting in sweaty underwear all day...
rykard is offline  
Old 08-23-11, 02:19 AM
  #10  
Drew Eckhardt 
Senior Member
 
Drew Eckhardt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Sunnyvale, CA USA
Posts: 5,681
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 267 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by AlphaDogg View Post
School starts tomorrow, so I am eager to start bike commuting. Still waiting for the rack and panniers to come, so I will be wearing a backpack until Friday (that's when they're supposed to arrive).

Once the panniers arrive, I will take the long way (via the MUP) which is about 6 mi each direction. Since I don't have the panniers yet, I will be taking the direct way, by the streets. By street, it is about 3 miles each direction.

I'm wondering, is wearing bike shorts for that short distance worth it? Just looking for your opinions. Maybe I will wear bike shorts under my regular shorts.
It depends on how hard you ride and how much you sweat.

I can sweat a liter an hour at 70 degrees F and get the outside of clothes wet in 1.5 flat miles (on even cooler days) riding hard.

I can also stay dry and comfortable over about 7 miles.

If I'm going to ride fast enough to avoid boredom and need to change clothes anyways I'll start in cycling gear with black shorts instead of putting a vaguely saddle-shaped road dirt + sweat stain on nice shorts/pants.

If I can ride boringly slow cycling shorts are more comfortable around ten miles.
Drew Eckhardt is offline  
Old 08-23-11, 06:40 AM
  #11  
AlphaDogg
I let the dogs out
Thread Starter
 
AlphaDogg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 1,934

Bikes: 2011 Fuji Roubaix 1.0, 2003 Ti Merlin Solis, & 1994 Raleigh MT200

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I don't sweat very much unless the temperature is above 90F. I'll see how different that story is when climbing the hill on my way back from school (I won't be getting a lot of wind as I will be going slower), so the heat will get to me easier.

Last edited by AlphaDogg; 08-23-11 at 06:58 AM.
AlphaDogg is offline  
Old 08-23-11, 06:43 AM
  #12  
Igo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Henderson/Las Vegas NV
Posts: 1,498

Bikes: Giant Defy 2

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I can't go into my place of business wearing bike shorts so I ride in with knee length baggy Columbia Swim shorts. They look like any cargo shorts but have mesh liner and deep pockets. Fresh underwaer rolled up in a pocket and I put them on in a handicapped stall at work. I use this saddle on my bike because the board stif saddles make no sense to me.
http://www.rei.com/product/736826/se...ty-saddle-mens

With this saddle I can wear much less dense/confined padding in bicycle shorts for my long weekend rides and never experience any discomfort.
BTW, my commute is 7 miles each way and I ride in 110 degree Nevada heat.
Igo is offline  
Old 08-23-11, 06:44 AM
  #13  
Zrane
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Posts: 219
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I sweat a whole lot, but I don't bother with bike shorts on my 3 mile commute. I just throw a pair of underwear in my bag and change it along with my clothes when I get to work.
Zrane is offline  
Old 08-23-11, 06:53 AM
  #14  
Mauriceloridans
Senior Member
 
Mauriceloridans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Shreveport
Posts: 314

Bikes: 1983 Trek 520, early 80's Univega Gran Tourismo, '98 Santana Arriva, '71 Dawes Galaxy, '77 Peugeot UO10

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
IMHO mesh liners are not suitable for cycling. I cut 'em out. Swim shorts are otherwise good for shorter rides.
Mauriceloridans is offline  
Old 08-23-11, 07:09 AM
  #15  
Mr IGH
afraid of whales
 
Mr IGH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Front Range, CO
Posts: 4,322
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 346 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
My neighbor kits up in spandex for his 3 mile ride to school, I find it strange. What kind of teacher shows off his twig and berries to all their peers/collegues (and maybe even students, Jr High in this case) for a 3 mile ride?
Mr IGH is offline  
Old 08-23-11, 07:46 AM
  #16  
tjspiel
Senior Member
 
tjspiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 8,112
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 50 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Mr IGH View Post
My neighbor kits up in spandex for his 3 mile ride to school, I find it strange. What kind of teacher shows off his twig and berries to all their peers/collegues (and maybe even students, Jr High in this case) for a 3 mile ride?
I think his berries would be just as visible after a 20 miles ride.

I often wear a fairly loose tech fabric shirt rather than a jersey to work. It hangs over my berries. But yeah, for 3 miles I don't know if it's worth the hassle of changing. I suppose if you get sweaty enough, the distance doesn't really matter.
tjspiel is offline  
Old 08-23-11, 08:12 AM
  #17  
idc
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Virginia/DC
Posts: 1,454

Bikes: quite a few

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The short version of my commute is only 3.5-4mi but I still wear bike shorts as I tend to ride hard and sweat a lot. I'll do either a) liner/inner-style bike shorts with gym shorts b) regular bike shorts or c) mtn bike shorts.
idc is offline  
Old 08-23-11, 08:25 AM
  #18  
UberGeek
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Buffalo, NY
Posts: 1,144

Bikes: Schwinn Tourist (2010), Trek 6000 (1999)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Mr IGH View Post
My neighbor kits up in spandex for his 3 mile ride to school, I find it strange. What kind of teacher shows off his twig and berries to all their peers/collegues (and maybe even students, Jr High in this case) for a 3 mile ride?
Are you sure it's only a 3 mile ride? Is he possibly taking the long way, and doing 30 miles?

My opinion: Wear your "normal clothing"... I've never sweat enough on a 3 mile ride to warrant special clothing to do it.

3 miles, pushing hard is easily only about 6-7 minutes of riding. Taking it easy, maybe 15. I do 4 miles on an all-uphill, and I do it in about 25, pushing with a moderate effort.

Last edited by UberGeek; 08-23-11 at 08:29 AM.
UberGeek is offline  
Old 08-23-11, 09:37 AM
  #19  
rhm
multimodal commuter
 
rhm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: NJ, NYC, LI
Posts: 19,076

Bikes: 1940s Fothergill, 1959 Allegro Special, 1963? Claud Butler Olympic Sprint, Lambert 'Clubman', 1974 Fuji "the Ace", 1976 Holdsworth 650b conversion rando bike, 1983 Trek 720 tourer, 1984 Counterpoint Opus II, 1993 Basso Gap, 2010 Downtube 8h, and...

Mentioned: 438 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1539 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 11 Posts
Originally Posted by accordionfolder View Post
You'll be fine, up to about 8 miles I don't even notice the difference. 3 miles each won't bother you at all.
+1. But this is not a question for the internet; no one but you can figure out what works for you. I ride centuries in trousers and cotton briefs (yes, really, I do). It really depends on you and your saddle.
rhm is offline  
Old 08-23-11, 09:45 AM
  #20  
chipcom 
Infamous Member
 
chipcom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 24,365

Bikes: Surly Big Dummy, Fuji World, 80ish Bianchi

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by AlphaDogg View Post
I don't feel like buying new shorts. I have two pair of lycra shorts with good chamois's (it's weird because you say shammies, not kam-oys-es), which I guess I will be using. I think I will wear regular shorts over them and when I get to school, I will take off the bike shorts from under the regular shorts and wear regular shorts for the rest of the day. I wear compression shorts under my bike shorts, so I won't be "going commando" for the entire day.
Why not just wear the compression shorts and skip the bike shorts? As long as they are made of a wicking material, you'll be fine. I wear flat-seamed wool or poly boxer briefs under my shorts/knickers/pants for my commutes and the vast majority of my under 50mi rides.
__________________
"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
chipcom is offline  
Old 08-23-11, 09:45 AM
  #21  
pdlamb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 5,220

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 964 Post(s)
Liked 35 Times in 25 Posts
I once stood outside talking with co-workers until one said, "Look, you've soaked your shirt all the way through with sweat after only five minutes!" It was only a little warm, at least for this area.

With that as background, it's got to be pretty cold for me NOT to soak my clothes while cycling. I'm picky in my old age, I don't like to sit around and wonder when my underwear is finally going to get dry any more. So since I'm going to change clothes when I arrive, I may as well wear something comfortable to ride in - bike shorts.
pdlamb is offline  
Old 08-23-11, 09:55 AM
  #22  
sunstorm
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Cary, NC
Posts: 84
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I change for my 5.5mile one way commute, though I wear mountain biking cargo shorts or a biking skirt. Then again, we are still hitting high 90's during the afternoon, so even if I was ok in the morning, I'll roast in the evening, and my route is hilly, so i'll sweat alot. Our classrooms are so air-conditioned that I need slacks, shirt, and jacket to make it through lectures, which aren't really compatable with my bike ride.
sunstorm is offline  
Old 08-23-11, 11:54 AM
  #23  
AlphaDogg
I let the dogs out
Thread Starter
 
AlphaDogg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 1,934

Bikes: 2011 Fuji Roubaix 1.0, 2003 Ti Merlin Solis, & 1994 Raleigh MT200

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
Why not just wear the compression shorts and skip the bike shorts? As long as they are made of a wicking material, you'll be fine.
Thats what I ended up doing.
AlphaDogg is offline  
Old 08-23-11, 12:20 PM
  #24  
Seattle Forrest
Senior Member
 
Seattle Forrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 19,091
Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7984 Post(s)
Liked 191 Times in 125 Posts
No.
Seattle Forrest is offline  
Old 08-23-11, 06:47 PM
  #25  
Igo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Henderson/Las Vegas NV
Posts: 1,498

Bikes: Giant Defy 2

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Mauriceloridans View Post
IMHO mesh liners are not suitable for cycling. I cut 'em out. Swim shorts are otherwise good for shorter rides.
Oh, they're perfect....in my opinion. LOL
Igo is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.