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I Don't Want to Buy Bike Shorts. I Just Don't.

Old 01-23-17, 12:03 AM
  #1  
CanadaWriter
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I Don't Want to Buy Bike Shorts. I Just Don't.

Hey all,

Look, it's about a lot of things and I've read all the arguments for and against. But basically I'd like some feedback to see if I'm being stupid.

I'm in Malaysia (I'm not Asian), first tour, it's going to be credit card touring, and I'm not bringing much gear. All my clothes wick, including underwear. My seat is pretty good and I've been training for a few weeks on a hard stationary bike with no discomfort. Well, none anymore. I plan on riding slow and easy. I'm not speed racing. I have lots of time. My first day planned out is only 25km! I figure that's good just to test the waters. Then I don't plan on doing more than 50km a day anywhere. And Malaysia is developed enough that I can just stop in most places and flag down someone for a ride if there's a serious problem

Most importantly, every 150km or so there will be big-ish cities with bicycle stores. I say this because I'm thinking if after some time I really can't do it anymore, I can give up and get the shorts.

So, is it a pretty safe bet that I'll be at least "OK" with trying out no padded bike shorts with this plan?

-Dave
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Old 01-23-17, 12:10 AM
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You don't need them if you stand all the time.

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Old 01-23-17, 12:51 AM
  #3  
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There is no rule that says you have to wear bike shorts.

I did a tour through parts of Europe without taking a single pair of bike shorts. Good underpants made of lycra type material and overpants were it.

If you a comfortable saddle and you are butt-hardened, go for it.
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Old 01-23-17, 12:57 AM
  #4  
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Originally Posted by CanadaWriter View Post
Hey all,

Look, it's about a lot of things and I've read all the arguments for and against. But basically I'd like some feedback to see if I'm being stupid.

I'm in Malaysia (I'm not Asian), first tour, it's going to be credit card touring, and I'm not bringing much gear. All my clothes wick, including underwear. My seat is pretty good and I've been training for a few weeks on a hard stationary bike with no discomfort. Well, none anymore. I plan on riding slow and easy. I'm not speed racing. I have lots of time. My first day planned out is only 25km! I figure that's good just to test the waters. Then I don't plan on doing more than 50km a day anywhere. And Malaysia is developed enough that I can just stop in most places and flag down someone for a ride if there's a serious problem

Most importantly, every 150km or so there will be big-ish cities with bicycle stores. I say this because I'm thinking if after some time I really can't do it anymore, I can give up and get the shorts.

So, is it a pretty safe bet that I'll be at least "OK" with trying out no padded bike shorts with this plan?

-Dave
No one can tell you what your needs are. Personal experience is the best way to determine what those may be.

Lots of people tour without buying a padded short and do fine. I skip them when riding around town and for distances of less than 15 miles. The biggest reason I use them is to keep the bits in place, though the smoothing out of the movement where the thigh's touch the saddle helps as well.

How much have you ridden on your "pretty good" seat? If you have enough miles on it to know its pretty good, you are the only person who can make the judgement call on whether or not you need cycling shorts. And training on a stationary bike is just that, stationary. It may harden your butt up a bit, but riding an actual bike can give far different points of constant contact and rubbing.

My first tour I prepared for by spinning on a flywheel trainer in my workshop, and struggling to ride ten or so miles at a time on an actual bike. I did get a pair of shorts and don't regret it, I now have a drawer full of them.
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Old 01-23-17, 01:40 AM
  #5  
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You say you've read all the arguments for and against, that you are comfortable without and stated the availability of them if you later change your mind.
Just wear what you want and don't make a big deal of it. They are just shorts. If they don't work out - buy another pair. Same with underwear and socks.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 01-23-17 at 01:45 AM.
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Old 01-23-17, 01:49 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by CanadaWriter View Post
- My first day planned out is only 25km! I figure that's good just to test the waters. Then I don't plan on doing more than 50km a day anywhere.

-So, is it a pretty safe bet that I'll be at least "OK" with trying out no padded bike shorts with this plan?
-Dave
Looks like you'll be reading 1-2hrs a day, max. You can pretty much anything you please, I think you'll live.
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Old 01-23-17, 03:40 AM
  #7  
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If it works, it works.


Continuing with what works isn't stupid.


Continuing with what doesn't work would be stupid.


IME, the odds for finding stuff that works are better with bike-specific stuff.
But not only found there.


Be attentive though.
Once you start getting a pressure/chafing injury, it's hard to get it to heal while continuing to ride, even if you're doing fairly short distances.
Sweat and humidity won't help.
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Old 01-23-17, 04:00 AM
  #8  
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Dave, There's only one judge and that's your butt. I like cycling shorts, but not any with padding, just a chamois.

There are basically two styles of cycling shorts, road and mountain. Road style is the classic lycra and mountain style adds outer cargo style shorts. If you like something with pockets the mountain bike style or standard outer shorts over a road style pair of shorts works well.

Any style of outer shorts with a thick middle seam, like cut-off jeans, is a no-no for me. A well fitting saddle that your butt has become comfortable with is perhaps the most important item.

Brad
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Old 01-23-17, 07:10 AM
  #9  
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I wear decent underwear and $5.00 gym shorts from K-Mart when I ride as I don't find padded shorts to be any more comfortable. I guess I'm just a hard ass!! Though my wife would likely remove hard from the previous sentence.
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Old 01-23-17, 07:20 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by CanadaWriter View Post
Hey all,

Look, it's about a lot of things and I've read all the arguments for and against. But basically I'd like some feedback to see if I'm being stupid.

I'm in Malaysia (I'm not Asian), first tour, it's going to be credit card touring, and I'm not bringing much gear. All my clothes wick, including underwear. My seat is pretty good and I've been training for a few weeks on a hard stationary bike with no discomfort. Well, none anymore. I plan on riding slow and easy. I'm not speed racing. I have lots of time. My first day planned out is only 25km! I figure that's good just to test the waters. Then I don't plan on doing more than 50km a day anywhere. And Malaysia is developed enough that I can just stop in most places and flag down someone for a ride if there's a serious problem

Most importantly, every 150km or so there will be big-ish cities with bicycle stores. I say this because I'm thinking if after some time I really can't do it anymore, I can give up and get the shorts.

So, is it a pretty safe bet that I'll be at least "OK" with trying out no padded bike shorts with this plan?

-Dave
I'm a commuter-type cyclist (and I've done a few tours) and I'm also a very fast rider, but I also don't wear bike shorts. When I first got into cycling I also wore cycling shorts, even on my first tour around the East Coast of the U.S. However, I gave them up. Just too much money for no real benefits; I now wear just cheap shorts, usually nylon or some other material.

I've been riding for so long that I no longer get saddle sores, nor do I suffer from any other problems that cycling shorts are suppose to guard against.


They are not needed; save the money and get something that is really needed.
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Old 01-23-17, 07:22 AM
  #11  
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The only cycling shorts I have are baggy mountain shorts with an unpadded chamois liner. With "regular" clothing, I feel I fit more in with the local population.

My anatomy, conditioning, and saddle allow me to ride up to 50 miles per day with no special clothing. Touring long days, I need a little something. Same with gloves and shoes, by the way--all contact points become important.

Besides, I'm a scrawny old man and Lycra "sausage pants" are not my best fashion choice. Some people can pull it off.
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Old 01-23-17, 07:31 AM
  #12  
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You could buy a pr of shorts so you personally experience the difference. But kind of a waste if you decide against. They don't cost that much. Who knows you just might wear them now and then. It's not a big deal, particularly for the distances you are talking about.
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Old 01-23-17, 07:51 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by CanadaWriter View Post
...I'm in Malaysia (I'm not Asian), first tour, it's going to be credit card touring, and I'm not bringing much gear.

Most importantly, every 150km or so there will be big-ish cities with bicycle stores. I say this because I'm thinking if after some time I really can't do it anymore, I can give up and get the shorts...
best to find a pair that fits well, break 'em in, take 'em with.

you'll be a western dude in an asian country, with bike shops that cater to asian
body styles. don't expect to find anything that fits. even if they have something
close to your size, the cut of the nether regions will likely be uncomfortable.

note: i wear M in the us-of-a, XXL in thailand, XXXXL or sometimes XXXXXL in china.

there are enough western (and now asian) cycle tourists wearing lycra that you
won't be a major distraction to the locals. wear if comfortable, go with mtb
baggy shorts if you're self-conscious.
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Old 01-23-17, 08:21 AM
  #14  
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I'd say just do what works for you. Personally I prefer to wear bike shorts for a number of reasons, but there is no reason you can't get by without them. It sounds like you are accustomed to riding without them and will be doing modest mileage. So they are certainly not a necessity.

I don't get the notion of baggy shorts being important because self-consciousness, but that is apparently important for some folks.

As far as fitting in... On tour, I kind of like to be instantly recognizable as a cyclist when off the bike, so I don't mind standing out a little as a cyclist. Again, only personal preference though. When people recognize you as a long distance touring cyclist, they are more likely to offer hospitality, to cut you some slack for being underdressed for where you are at stops, or for being all sweaty and maybe un-showered for a day or to.

You will get more folks who ask about your trip when you are in bike clothes. Whether that is a good or bad thing depends on whether you like to chat with the local folks. For me it is a plus.

My comments are based on my experience (all in the US), but I'd think it would all apply in Asia as well.
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Old 01-23-17, 08:39 AM
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So don't?

I personally like the baggy MTB shorts, so I have a dedicated pair of "cycling" shorts, and because they tend to be lightweight and dry really fast, but I also regularly ride with gym shorts, cargo shorts, etc. I don't really need the padding, I ride regularly without it, but it doesn't hurt anything.
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Old 01-23-17, 08:47 AM
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One doesn't have to wear spandex roadie shorts. I wear mt bike shorts, loose and baggy with a padded liner. Sometimes I wear polypro underwear and nylon shorts. Do what works best for you. The only thing required for bike touring is a bike and the willingness to pedal. Enjoy.
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Old 01-23-17, 09:43 AM
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Buy a Recumbent, then you wont need them.. wear a kilt for ventilation..
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Old 01-23-17, 10:15 AM
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I have some nylon shorts and wicking underwear. I also have a pair of padded, cycling underwear. For a single day of riding, like out to the campround, camp for a night or three, then come back, I don't bother with the padding. For consecutive days of riding, I swap the padded pair in every other day or so to change up the pressure points. In all cases I wear them under a pair of baggy shorts.
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Old 01-23-17, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by CanadaWriter View Post
Hey all,

Look, it's about a lot of things and I've read all the arguments for and against. But basically I'd like some feedback to see if I'm being stupid.

I'm in Malaysia (I'm not Asian), first tour, it's going to be credit card touring, and I'm not bringing much gear. All my clothes wick, including underwear. My seat is pretty good and I've been training for a few weeks on a hard stationary bike with no discomfort. Well, none anymore. I plan on riding slow and easy. I'm not speed racing. I have lots of time. My first day planned out is only 25km! I figure that's good just to test the waters. Then I don't plan on doing more than 50km a day anywhere. And Malaysia is developed enough that I can just stop in most places and flag down someone for a ride if there's a serious problem

Most importantly, every 150km or so there will be big-ish cities with bicycle stores. I say this because I'm thinking if after some time I really can't do it anymore, I can give up and get the shorts.

So, is it a pretty safe bet that I'll be at least "OK" with trying out no padded bike shorts with this plan?

-Dave

and there is nothing better out there than a good quality bib short, when your all day on the saddle of a bike.
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Old 01-23-17, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Buy a Recumbent, then you wont need them.. wear a kilt for ventilation..
Heck no, if I had a bent I'd be going commando with really baggy shorts...
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Old 01-23-17, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
You don't need them if you stand all the time.


I once read about a recreational cyclist who did that, but w/o a broad pad on top of the seat tube, that just looks like a really ugly accident waiting to happen.
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Old 01-23-17, 10:38 AM
  #22  
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I haven't worn cycling shorts for years - and have ridden close to 100,000 miles since.
In town, on the highway, on dirt - - and my butt is no worse for the wear.
Nice cotton boxer briefs (which are kinda like cycling shorts) and nylon hikers overs.
The key is to wash/rinse the underlayer frequently.
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Old 01-23-17, 11:08 AM
  #23  
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I dunno where the rules came from.

I would rather eat live earthworms than wear lycra, but that's just me.

This is what works for me: Single layer of loose-fitting nylon, loose enough to preserve my modesty.

Durable, doesn't accumulate sweat and get stinky like crotch pads, thin enough to sweat through and thin enough to feel cooling breezes. Hand wash and its almost dry overnight, or put it on dripping wet and its dry in 15 minutes. Most important to me after 30+ years in the Texas sun, UPF 50 even when wet.

Tuck the pants legs into ordinary dress socks, wear any kind of inexpensive sandals (I did 2,000 miles in 30 days wearing $12 dollar store slip ons).

Bring rain gear as an overlayer if its cold, or cold and wet, warm rain don't both with the rain gear.

Brook's saddle w/Dryrider cover for use in the rain.

NY 2014, 2,000 miles along the way....



Ireland 2016, on my way to the ferry to France, 30 days and about 750 miles into it. That's a "Buff" hat on my head, they rock.



As long as you are comfortable, and the wheels are turning beneath you, you're touring.

Mike
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Old 01-23-17, 11:13 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Sharpshin View Post
I think I've seen you somewhere before.
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Old 01-23-17, 01:58 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post

I once read about a recreational cyclist who did that, but w/o a broad pad on top of the seat tube, that just looks like a really ugly accident waiting to happen.
Not if you are a proctologist.
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