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What's Up With Biking Clothes?

Old 12-31-06, 07:15 PM
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What's Up With Biking Clothes?

One of the reasons I chose Mountain Biking over Road Biking is that it seems like road bikers always wear funny lookin spandex and things like that, while mountain bikers where more normal types of clothing. Do roadies wear that stuff because they have to or is it just kind of the style?
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Old 12-31-06, 07:20 PM
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Both, for a lot of folks. The aspect that you are missing though are the roadies who are wearing it because of how well it works for their style of riding.
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Old 12-31-06, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by rule
Both, for a lot of folks. The aspect that you are missing though are the roadies who are wearing it because of how well it works for their style of riding.
It works better for mountain biking too. Nothing is more embarrassing than crashing because you caught your baggies on your saddle on a bit of technical trail. Lycra shorts fit close, don't flap on fast sections of trail (or road), don't have seams that rub you raw, don't constrict your leg movements and don't get caught on things. Plus most baggies have a lycra short liner in them anyway, so why not just eliminate the middle man?
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Old 12-31-06, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by drmain
Do roadies wear that stuff because they have to or is it just kind of the style?
I used to feel that the "style" thing was bizarre, but after awhile you get used to it. Now when I wear my black spandex shorts with the flames up the sides and the rear-end that reads "badboy," why, I hardly notice that most people in the 7-11 look at me like I just stepped out of a softcore video shoot.
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Old 12-31-06, 07:42 PM
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The brighter the clothing, the more visible you are. The point is to make sure you are seen. This way, you minimize the likelihood of being hit. But then, of course, it doesn't prevent *******s from running over a cyclist, just because they are a cyclist.
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Old 12-31-06, 07:45 PM
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Dedicated shorts are very necessary on a road bike because you want the chamois/pad to stay where its supposed to stay. Lycra works very good at that. Wool did also.

Jerseys aren't really necessary but convenient on a long ride to store things in the pockets. I don't have one.
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Old 12-31-06, 07:54 PM
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Lycra also doesn't flap in the wind thus slowing you down, drag is the enemy in road biking.
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Old 12-31-06, 08:13 PM
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I recently read an article by a mountain biker that had experimented with road cycling. He too had questioned the bright Lycra and the tight clothing. He also questioned the strange pack behavior of pace lines. After experiencing the roadie life he realized that roadie behavior is determined mostly by their focus on speed. All the stuff he scoffed at helps roadies achieve their speeds he also posited that fast is fun- worth the funny looking clothing.

You see, almost everything roadies do is based on achieving faster speeds for distance with a secondary focus on increasing their personal safety on the road. Mountain bikers operate in vastly different environments and have different goals that encourage different clothing. MTB clothing has different benefits (style) with some costs (weight and drag) that is acceptable in mountain biking but is mostly disdained in road cycling.

Personal motivations to wear "roadie clothing" differs amongst roadies but no one really forces amateur roadies to wear particular styles (racers may have sponsor obligations). For newbies, being embarrassingly dropped is enough motivation for most to mimic the faster riders in their tight and bright Lycra.
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Old 12-31-06, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Trevor98
Personal motivations to wear "roadie clothing" differs amongst roadies but no one really forces amateur roadies to wear particular styles (racers may have sponsor obligations). For newbies, being embarrassingly dropped is enough motivation for most to mimic the faster riders in their tight and bright Lycra.
Walking funny and being in extreme pain in the middle of a 1000 mile bike tour from seamed shorts that have rubbed tender nether bits raw is also motivation
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Old 12-31-06, 08:46 PM
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When I started riding long distances (>50 miles) thirty years ago, I swore I wouldn't look like a fairy like those Road Fairies I saw speeding by. After a particularly long haul, I complained to anyone who would listen about how my feet hurt so much (I wore tennis shoes) and how the seam of my shorts had sawn my bits in two. A pal advised me to buy the Fairy shorts and the Fairy bike shoes. My God; what an improvement. But I would overheat, sweat terribly, and swear at the sun. Another pal convinced me to lose the T-shirt and get a Fairy cycle shirt... I bought a loose-fiting one... My God, what an improvement... got even better when I got a tight one. So now am a Fairy, but a very happy and comfortable Fairy. No logo's though... maybe I'll get a wand.
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Old 12-31-06, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by kirbyx
When I started riding long distances (>50 miles) thirty years ago, I swore I wouldn't look like a fairy like those Road Fairies I saw speeding by. After a particularly long haul, I complained to anyone who would listen about how my feet hurt so much (I wore tennis shoes) and how the seam of my shorts had sawn my bits in two. A pal advised me to buy the Fairy shorts and the Fairy bike shoes. My God; what an improvement. But I would overheat, sweat terribly, and swear at the sun. Another pal convinced me to lose the T-shirt and get a Fairy cycle shirt... I bought a loose-fiting one... My God, what an improvement... got even better when I got a tight one. So now am a Fairy, but a very happy and comfortable Fairy. No logo's though... maybe I'll get a wand.

hehehhe, your post was cracking me up man! Makes sense though.
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Old 12-31-06, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Walking funny and being in extreme pain in the middle of a 1000 mile bike tour from seamed shorts that have rubbed tender nether bits raw is also motivation
Oh. I thought that was just for style, too.
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Old 12-31-06, 10:04 PM
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The cost of road bike clothes can be high. Since I live in So Calif, I choose to buy surfer wear. They use rash guards and that's what I mostly use. The other stuff is what triathletes use and lucky for me TYR is in my hometown and they have two factory sales a year. One year I grabbed up a bunch of their triathlete clothes and its been 5 years and I still haven't gone to buy new bike shorts. The tri shorts can be worn for swimming too.
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Old 12-31-06, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Nermal
Oh. I thought that was just for style, too.


You obviously have never seen me in lycra. Strictly functional.
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Old 12-31-06, 11:17 PM
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Get yourself a saddle sore. That should clear that question right up.

Jerseys are more akin to shirts for me, jerseys are the easiest way to personalize how I dress. Shorts are shorts but a nice jersey livens things up. That and the pockets are very useful and not flapping like a sail helps quite a bit. We have some very entertaining winds around here during unsettled weather patterns and winter.
There are viable reasons to dress this way. Hence the reason the first cycling specific clothes came out shortly after the bike. Sure they were made with wool or leather but the concept has been around since the late 1800s. I should really get a life and stop reading historical books.
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Old 12-31-06, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by San Rensho
Dedicated shorts are very necessary on a road bike because you want the chamois/pad to stay where its supposed to stay. Lycra works very good at that. Wool did also.

Jerseys aren't really necessary but convenient on a long ride to store things in the pockets. I don't have one.

The added length of jerseys prevents a gap when in riding position. Also the hi-tech fabrics & zipper wick moisture & give some temp control while a t-shirt doesn't do either.
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Old 01-01-07, 01:00 AM
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My ansi vet always covers up anything I wear ontop.
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Old 01-01-07, 01:54 AM
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How much extra speed can one expect by sporting tight cycling clothes compared to more baggy regular clothes?
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Old 01-01-07, 02:41 AM
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Originally Posted by spingineer
The brighter the clothing, the more visible you are. The point is to make sure you are seen. This way, you minimize the likelihood of being hit. But then, of course, it doesn't prevent *******s from running over a cyclist, just because they are a cyclist.
Yeah definitley. Gotta watch out for those cars on the single track.
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Old 01-01-07, 03:12 AM
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Another difference, I suspect roadies ride further distances and longer hours in the saddle. It's not for show, for the most of us at least. Unless, you consider the need to have bright colors making one visible to motorists. NUmber 10's fairy bit is a bite over the top. First of all, clothes has little to do with the person. It's function. And, want to diminish the fairy look, just cover up with traditonal shorts, once you get off the bike.
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Old 01-01-07, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by kirbyx
When I started riding long distances (>50 miles) thirty years ago, I swore I wouldn't look like a fairy like those Road Fairies I saw speeding by. After a particularly long haul, I complained to anyone who would listen about how my feet hurt so much (I wore tennis shoes) and how the seam of my shorts had sawn my bits in two. A pal advised me to buy the Fairy shorts and the Fairy bike shoes. My God; what an improvement. But I would overheat, sweat terribly, and swear at the sun. Another pal convinced me to lose the T-shirt and get a Fairy cycle shirt... I bought a loose-fiting one... My God, what an improvement... got even better when I got a tight one. So now am a Fairy, but a very happy and comfortable Fairy. No logo's though... maybe I'll get a wand.


I love it! I do use the cycling shorts and jerseys when on long haul rides, but 99% of my rides are lower speed around town rides on an upright bike so I wear what I have on. I also abhor logos why should I PAY for the privilege of advertising somebody's else's stuff? Hey! maybe I can get a jersey advertising my wife's bridal shop and she can PAY me to wear it while riding around town
I am also of the opinion too many roadies are trying to make a statement with their choices in cycles and wear. Yes form follows function but too much of it is nothing more than pure marketing.

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Old 01-01-07, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc


I love it! I do use the cycling shorts and jerseys when on long haul rides, but 99% of my rides are lower speed around town rides on an upright bike so I wear what I have on. I also abhor logos why should I PAY for the privilege of advertising somebody's else's stuff? Hey! maybe I can get a jersey advertising my wife's bridal shop and she can PAY me to wear it while riding around town
I am also of the opinion too many roadies are trying to make a statement with their choices in cycles and wear. Yes form follows function but too much of it is nothing more than pure marketing.

Aaron
Thanks, Thanks, Thanks! I used to think I was the only one who felt logos are ridiculous. I actually painted over the white SIDI logo on my shoes. I absolutely hate the conspicuous consumerism associated with bicycling. It's ugly, tasteless and embarrasing to those of us who actually lived at a time when people didn't walk around like living billboards.
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Old 01-01-07, 10:28 AM
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I'm clad in lycra both on my mountain bikes, and my road bikes. For me, it's all about performance. I know that if I spend much time at all sans a chamois, my behind will be angered and punish me with pain. That, and every time I've tried baggies on my mtb, they just seem to get in the way and I nearly crash!
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Old 01-01-07, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick
How much extra speed can one expect by sporting tight cycling clothes compared to more baggy regular clothes?
Hmm, lets see - two equal riders on equal bikes TTing over equal distance, one wearing tight fitting spandex, the other wearing looser fitting shorts - maybe a tenth of a second?

All the rap against looser fitting shorts is silly. They don't have to be that baggy that they catch on the saddle, they don't have to have seams that dig into your crotch, and they don't give the average rider any significant speed advantage in the majority of riding conditions. Even the comfort part is suspect - my bits are much more comfortable and get more cooling air wearing, say J&G touring shorts for example, than tight fitting spandex. One added benefit of regular 'shorts' is that you look more 'acceptable' to the general public when off the bike doing some shopping, errands, or whatever - at least if you're a guy.
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Old 01-01-07, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by chipcom
Hmm, lets see - two equal riders on equal bikes TTing over equal distance, one wearing tight fitting spandex, the other wearing looser fitting shorts - maybe a tenth of a second?
No, actually we can be talking minutes depending on the length of the TT. Here is some interesting info. on aerodynamics, and cycling:

http://www.cervelo.com/content.aspx?...i=Aerodynamics

Here's another that shows that just taping over your shoe laces subtracts about 7 seconds over a 40k TT:

http://damonrinard.com/aero/aerodynamics.htm

I do agree that for the non-racing cyclist, the speed/time difference is minimal, and really not a factor.
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