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To bib, or not to bib, that is my question

Old 02-10-21, 07:17 AM
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To bib, or not to bib, that is my question

I ride with (and appreciate the benefits of) cycling shorts (bibs) but wonder about their practicality for a long tour. I realize there will be some long-time tourers among you who have calluses on your calluses, and for whom therefore, there is no need for padding. I direct my question to those among you who can remember your first tour and ask whether the inconveniences of maintaining cycling shorts on that trip wasn’t worth the bother ( either because the hassle is too big or the “toughening up process” is quite short) or whether you’d recommend cycling shorts.
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Old 02-10-21, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Jno
I ride with (and appreciate the benefits of) cycling shorts (bibs) but wonder about their practicality for a long tour. I realize there will be some long-time tourers among you who have calluses on your calluses, and for whom therefore, there is no need for padding. I direct my question to those among you who can remember your first tour and ask whether the inconveniences of maintaining cycling shorts on that trip wasn’t worth the bother ( either because the hassle is too big or the “toughening up process” is quite short) or whether you’d recommend cycling shorts.

dude, it's your butt.....you decide.

you don't gotta crowdsource everything.
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Old 02-10-21, 07:57 AM
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Always padded cycling shorts, right back to 1989 on my first tour. As I've gotten older, I've been getting better padded shorts, and over a long day, I very notice the difference between my few remaining cheaper ones with less padding, less dense padding, and or ones that don't fit my various nether regions .
I remember a not so long ago trip, Montreal to Boston, where I had one really old pair and a better pair, and my sit bones etc were clearly more sore with the old thinly padded pair.

everyone one is different, so brands and models are different for everyone, but padded bike shorts are worn for a reason.
**important-- bib shorts are with straps that go over shoulders
bike shorts don't have straps
bibs are inconvenient for taking a quick leak or if unlucky, a "Tom Dumoulin" (a pro racer who won the giro ditalia 4, 5 years back despite having to pull over suddenly and stripping to have a dump at the side of the route. "Dumoulin is having a mechanical!! Oh wait, no no Nooooo" .Cameraman finally realized and panned away.....)

Racers wear bibs, bike stores will tell you bibs are more comfortable, I've always worn shorts and never had an issue, but I'm slim

bring two pairs, wash them immediately after or in shower after setting up tent. After getting as much water out by hand, Use towel "roll" technique to get as much water out, hang in sun or wind. Don't leave outside overnight as dew usually makes them wetter. Usually dry by evening. If not, use 2nd pair in am, strap damp to tent or rack, dry as you ride.

So yes, your arse and undercarriage will thank you for wearing these.
this year, figure out what shorts work best for you.
ride
ride
ride
get all set this year and use what works. Simple

A few people may say they don't use them, I can't imagine it, but hey, if you can, great.
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Old 02-10-21, 08:23 AM
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My first tour was 4 months. There is not appreciable inconvenience maintaining cycling shorts vs. other shorts. Glad I had them.

Today I wear bibs exclusively. Haven't donned a pair of "half shorts" for any reason in well over a decade. I went bib and will never go back. The types I use pull down easily in the front for No. 1. If I have to squat in the woods, it's not a problem for me to take off the jersey and [pull down the straps.

But you do you.
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Old 02-10-21, 08:25 AM
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Bibs for my hour commute in the winter because the pad provides some very beneficial thermal protection. Sometimes I just wear my felt-lined wind pants with some boxer briefs if the conditions are right.

Summer touring is usually mesh basketball shorts or quick dry golf shorts/pants. Often I’ll ride the early and late hours with the tighter knit golfwear and from 11-4 be wearing the mesh.

Bike fit and lower back strength are essential to going all day every day with or without padding.

lower back strength.

lower back strength.

lower back strength.

padded shorts/bibs take up quite a bit of space in the panniers.
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Old 02-10-21, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by hsuBM
Bibs for my hour commute in the winter because the pad provides some very beneficial thermal protection. Sometimes I just wear my felt-lined wind pants with some boxer briefs if the conditions are right.

Summer touring is usually mesh basketball shorts or quick dry golf shorts/pants. Often I’ll ride the early and late hours with the tighter knit golfwear and from 11-4 be wearing the mesh.

Bike fit and lower back strength are essential to going all day every day with or without padding.

lower back strength.

lower back strength.

lower back strength.

padded shorts/bibs take up quite a bit of space in the panniers.
my few experiences with mesh inner type shorts = abrasiveness and seam issues, your mileage is very different
as for one pair of padded bike shorts taking up lots of space (one on me) one pair of flat shorts under other clothing to me isn't an issue

keester and undercarriage interaction with a seat certainly is about fit and seat position, but imo, very much simply about skin/ material interaction, not lower back stuff.
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Old 02-10-21, 09:13 AM
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I wear bibs, and subscribe to the 2 pair plan. Just plain works. No problems at all. 1 extra pair of bibs takes up very little room, with almost no weight.
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Old 02-10-21, 09:25 AM
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For bibs: You put them on and they stay put, no waistband issues or constriction.

For shorts: You don't need to get undressed to poo (which you'll probably have to do at least once).

To echo what was said earlier about comfort: Skin/fabric interface will make or break your tour, which is where cycling shorts would excel, padding or not. I had sore spots under my sit bones after my first tour, but I was really green and rode 100 miles round trip. That was with padded knickers (not bibs). If I was dealing with cotton underwear, seams, and chafing, I could have done a whole lot worse.
Ride and ride and ride some more to get a feel for what you need. Short rides, long rides, there's just no substitute for listening to your body (when you're not miles from home) so you can make the tweaks you need.
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Old 02-10-21, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Unca_Sam

For shorts: You don't need to get undressed to poo (which you'll probably have to do at least once).
Even when I wore shorts I pulled them down to poo, but to each his own.
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Old 02-10-21, 09:51 AM
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Bibs are awesome. Love the ones my wife got me last year. The Windstopper C3 bib tight by Gore wear.

They are a suspender style bib and are a snap to get on and off. Also warm as heck!

Had never used them before. Mostly stuck to Pearl Izumi. But am open to other brands now lol.

Last edited by Rage; 02-10-21 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 02-10-21, 11:39 AM
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Never tried bibs, wear shorts for touring.

I admit I am in a minority here, I wear underwear under the shorts (which often on this forum generates comments), wear Ex Officio briefs and change them daily. My bike shorts get changed less often.

When I have an opportunity I do sink laundry at the campground. By opportunity I mean if there will be a good chance that my laundry will be no more than damp the next day.

Bring one pair of bike shorts and one pair of bike pants that can be converted to shorts by zipping off the legs. I bring four pair socks and four pair underwear. Usually bring two jerseys, both high vis, often one is long sleeve if I expect to be in cool weather for part of trip.



If you have a chance to buy a flat silicone sink stopper, get it. Campgrounds almost never have sink stoppers on their sinks. I also bring a 100 ml squeeze bottle of laundry soap and a thin diameter 8 m long cord for clothesline, a dozen wire clothespins. But that list of laundry supplies is for a solo trip, with four people you might do occasional group laundry instead?

If you get Ortlieb or other brand of water proof panniers, packing damp clothing in them might not work so well on hot sunny days. I often strap damp clothing on top of a front pannier or on top in back somewhere, often in a mesh bag. It does not dry when strapped on like that, but with fresh air it does not mildew either.

ADDENDUM, added the photo below.


Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 02-10-21 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 02-10-21, 01:04 PM
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I'm not sure how you assess "practicality" of bibs.

#2 on tour? Yes. Indoors, last time I remember open toilets was back in a college dorm freshman year -- subsequent years the dorm improved. In the woods, a couple more minutes to proceed. It's not unworkable.

I don't need a load, I AM a load. For long days in the saddle, the bibs stay up where I want them to, and don't roll down looking for a waist. That added comfort is worth any additional hassle IME.

Extra pairs take up space, but only a minimal volume. And unless they're wet, they don't weigh anything.
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Old 02-10-21, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Even when I wore shorts I pulled them down to poo, but to each his own.
HAAA!

What I intended to say was that you usually have to take your jersey or shirt off to get the straps on the bibs down to do your business vs. the standard drop trou procedure. I'm interested in learning a better way! I guess you could pull your arms in your shirt (definitely not into any of the jerseys I own) to get the strap off your shoulder, or somehow pull the strap out of your sleeve?
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Old 02-10-21, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Rage
Bibs are awesome. Love the ones my wife got me last year. The Windstopper C3 bib tight by Gore wear.

They are a suspender style bib and are a snap to get on and off. Also warm as heck!

Had never used them before. Mostly stuck to Pearl Izumi. But am open to other brands now lol.
Your wife loves you very much, because GORE isn't cheap. I've been looking for a red and black C5 short sleeve jersey under $50 before shipping for at least a year.
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Old 02-10-21, 01:32 PM
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Aw man, I’m crazy about her, too!

Love her more’n them bibs, which is saying something because I love love love them bibs hahaha!

What’s especially nice about these is the fact that they have these little buckles/clasps on the straps and you can remove them without taking off your top.

And if I weren’t snowed in, I’d be in ‘em on a bike outdoors right now and I’d be toasty-warm!
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Old 02-10-21, 01:33 PM
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Arthur?!
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Old 02-10-21, 01:34 PM
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Spoooooooooon!!!
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Old 02-10-21, 01:44 PM
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That's right, just your mild-mannered accountant/superhero.
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Old 02-10-21, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by djb
...
ride
ride
ride
get all set this year and use what works. Simple
Lets not forget this... you gotta come up with a solution that fits your needs and riding is the best way to do it. I'm a fat guy who has lost weight and if its shorts they will usually end up rolled up in my Fat Flap at the gut making it very uncomfortable. Bibs used to cost considerably more than they do now so I rigged a form of suspenders out of nylon basting to hold the top of my padded bike shorts up. This works for me but I am sure a person who did not have a weight problem could find affordable Bibs, and that might be the best way to go.

Yep... two sets of Bibs with padding... Thumbs up!
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Old 02-10-21, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Unca_Sam
HAAA!

What I intended to say was that you usually have to take your jersey or shirt off to get the straps on the bibs down to do your business vs. the standard drop trou procedure. I'm interested in learning a better way! I guess you could pull your arms in your shirt (definitely not into any of the jerseys I own) to get the strap off your shoulder, or somehow pull the strap out of your sleeve?
I always tour with at least one full-zip jersey. They come off with little effort. If not full zip, my jersey is usually loose enough to pull over the head with ease. No more work that taking off a jersey to remove a base layer after a chilly morning start. Plus, I am not always wearing bibs, or have the straps down, when nature calls in camp. That's why morning coffee.

But funny story that taught me a lesson. I sat down on the side of the road to strip off layers before a long climb in Montana. Pulled down the bib straps to remove my base layer. Pulled them back up and put my jersey back on. The pain started shortly thereafter. Little stings. Turns out I had sat down on top of an opening for an ant colony. They were not amused. I had trapped some between by skin and the bib uppers. I also had some crawling on my neck. Had to quickly remove the jersey and pull down the straps to swipe them off. Fortunately, the area was deserted so I could check "down below" as well.

Be careful where you sit when stripping off layers.
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Old 02-10-21, 02:00 PM
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Hahahahah! It is I, old chum, the tick!!!
After we became separated, I found myself on the Isle of Man-hattan where I had to seek employment until the pandemic!
Subsequent to that, I find myself hiding out in the suburbs with my blushing COVID bride, coincidentally a CPA!
Once again partnered with an accountant!
Together we continue my crime fighting by moonlighting as bicycle security consultants!
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Old 02-10-21, 04:07 PM
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Bibs. They stay put and are comfortable. Ive dont cycling shorts and liners too, but bibs are 10x better.
MTB shorts with a liner can be good for those who are concerned about blending in with the locals, if you find the right fitting shorts.

Carrying an extra pair of bibs just isnt much room, especially when compared to any other shorts. I have bibs that pack smaller than some athletic shorts and definitely smaller than some MTB shorts. Space seems like an odd reason to avoid using bibs.
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Old 02-10-21, 04:26 PM
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I wear bike shorts rather than bibs, but wear what you find comfortable. I figure bibs are most likely to benefit two types of cyclists, ones who are so thin they have trouble keeping shorts up and ones who are fat enough that the waist bands on shorts cut in or roll. There may be other reasons why folks prefer bibs though.

I figure that if you are already used to and comfortable with one or the other, that is what I'd tour with.
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Old 02-10-21, 06:16 PM
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back to washing and drying
Ive nearly always taken to washing my padded bike shorts in the shower with me, along with jersey and socks. I'm lazy and just want to get it done and out of the way.

Getting the most water out of padded shorts is the key to faster drying, along of course with developing a good nose to ferret out the best sun / wind area / near to a wall or whatever where heat from sun is greater.
I try to keep part of my towel dryish, and after a reasonable hand wringing (not too hard for the stitching ) and doing the "let them hang a bit while I wash myself" (usually can find a spot on the shower curtain rail or something) , this at least allows a bunch of water to settle at the lowest points, then squeeze out this part as best as I can, and then after drying myself, I use the dry end of my towel and do the "roll the shorts up in the towel and stand on it, if possible" thing. Gets a bunch more water out of the padded bit, and this goes a long long way to faster drying, just cuz theres less water to evaporate.

another good reason to get into a campsite not too late , to take advantage of sun and wind to dry things. In summer, Ive found it works most of the time, and when not, just use other clean and dry shorts in the morning.
Bike jersey is always dry, pretty much same with socks.
Hotel visits are easier as there are more real towels to do the rolling up standing thing, but my travel towel does a reasonable job camping.
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Old 02-11-21, 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by djb
back to washing and drying
Ive nearly always taken to washing my padded bike shorts in the shower with me, along with jersey and socks. I'm lazy and just want to get it done and out of the way...
Ditto. I usually just hang the shorts and jersey on a line and then off a bungee on the bike the next day if they haven't quite dried. Usually by mid morning they are.

I'm in the two padded cycling shorts camp. Either a bib or shorts, doesn't matter. For a longer trip like the OP's I would probably take a lightweight change of street/relaxing clothes as well, but I'm a minimal packer so that's just my opinion.

I've posted my clothing list before but for the OP, this is what I take as a minimal list.

Basic riding kit:
merino wool socks 2x
cycling shorts 2x
jerseys 2x (shorter trip just 1)
Medium weight merino wool pull over 1x
arm warmers 1x
knee warmers 1x
cycling gloves 1x
running hat or bandana for sun protection, mainly for my neck 1x

Shell kit:
water resistant lightweight pants 1x (thin tapered cycling style)
water resistant lightweight jacket 1x
waterproof cycling shoe covers 1x
wool gloves or mittens 1x
lightweight nylon rain poncho 1x
Toque or microfleece balaclava for under helmet 1x
Compressible down jacket 1x

This allows me to layer up and down during the day and meet most weather conditions.
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