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alternatives to cycling shorts?

Old 05-15-02, 07:02 AM
  #1  
SilverStreak
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alternatives to cycling shorts?

I'm not a fan of skin tight lycra/spandex/whatever gentleman's cycling shorts. I do a lot of riding with my $15 cargo shorts and comfort is touch-and-go, depending on distance of ride. I like to stuff things in my pockets, etc.

Anyone actually tour in regular cotton shorts? Anyone have tips to improve comfort for those of us who prefer to wear regular, cotton shorts while riding?

Thanks.
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Old 05-15-02, 07:17 AM
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what do you dislike about the lycra cycling short? if you dislike the look of skin-tight lycra shorts and pockets are what's important, then lycra shorts with other shorts over work really well. I usually wear surfing-style "board shorts" (basically stiff baggy swim trunks w/o a liner) over my bike shorts. i find ones with 1 or 2 pockets, but mostly i use them b/c
1) they look cooler and more 'normal' and better for going in to the store or work or whatever for commuting
2) for off-road they're more durable than bike-shorts and when i get really muddy they're easier to get out of and clean up - also saves my expensive bike shorts if i scrape a tree or have a minor crash that destroy lycra fast
3) they don't hold water and dry really fast

for other occasions i wear more hiking style shorts (synthetic) over my lycra shorts - these have lots of pockets.

but i would not recommend cotton as it soaks up water and does not dry.

with synthetic shorts over bike shorts, you get the advantages of the bike shorts... only disadvantage is if they're too baggy (super skate-board 'young punk about to fall off' style) they can get caught on the seat or flap too much or just get in the way --- but 'normal' synthetic shorts over lycra is great!

Last edited by nathank; 05-15-02 at 07:21 AM.
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Old 05-15-02, 07:25 AM
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MTB shorts - sort of like cargo shorts with a padded cycling liner sewn in - can work well. I have a couple of pairs from Zoic ("Vigor," I think was the model) that I sometimes wear to commute and then just keep them on all day.

You can also buy padded underwear.

But the longer the ride, the more the benefits of regular cycling shorts become evident. The heavier chamois, that they stay put and don't ride up your legs or flap in the breeze, that they don't retain moisture... all this can start to really matter after a few hours. Some people carry a pair of lightweight "modesty" shorts and just pull them on over the cycling shorts when they need to go inside a store or something.

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Old 05-15-02, 07:37 AM
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If I can change clothes at my destination or if I am just out for a bike ride, I wear my cycling shorts. For transportation cycling, such as to a store, I wear regular walking shorts, or even long pants, over them. For short transportation trips, regular briefs with shorts or trousers are fine, but for longer rides, I really want that chamois padding.
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Old 05-15-02, 11:10 AM
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I feel ABSOLUTELY NAKED in Lycra bike shorts!


Thatís why (if itís warm enough) I never ride in anything else.
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Old 05-16-02, 01:22 AM
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I have gotten to not give a darn about what other people think or like. As mentioned earlier, those critical of bike shorts at work, told them- I did not want to secret puss on common chairs at work. That shut them up.
A new cyclsit I ride with, Paula says bike shorts makes her feel like she is carrying a 'load.' Well, that is why bike shorts are effective. So she sits on a clumisly super padded whoopee cushion. I fiind those awkard and a source of friction, since they are so wide. So she wears cotton cut offs, with hems that must cut into the skin and have no give.
Bike shorts are effective. They do not bind on the horn of the saddle ripping themselves apart and interfering with the peddling and the chamois seems more effective since it is tightly secured- where it needs be.. They are very comfortable and cooler with the wicking aspects of lycra..
So for the moments when you want to be more conservative, like in stores, etc., I just pull over my bike shorts- some soccer shorts. While on the bike, wear what works. And what cycling has done for the legs, why hide it?
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Old 05-16-02, 06:32 AM
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Originally posted by SilverStreak
Anyone actually tour in regular cotton shorts? Anyone have tips to improve comfort for those of us who prefer to wear regular, cotton shorts while riding?

Thanks.
Yes, I have worn cotton shorts while touring and regreted it. When the cotton gets wet from sweat, it clings to your legs and abraids your skin.

If not lycra bike pants, get some other synthetic material.

They make mountain bike shorts that aren't lycra/tights that might suit your needs as well.
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Old 05-18-02, 05:50 AM
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Get a recumbent, then you can wear anything you want!
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Old 09-11-10, 03:15 AM
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I usually wear surf shorts. For me, they're more comfortable, look normal, and well...I'd probably look pretty weird going to the beach with a board in my rack and bike shorts on.
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Old 09-11-10, 03:22 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by beowoulfe
Get a recumbent, then you can wear anything you want!
Just not too baggy,otherwise you may be "Advertising" or a magnet for flying insects!
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Old 09-11-10, 06:50 AM
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Look into replacing your saddle also. Look for a touring style saddle, they are a bit wider and have some give to them. I have and know people who do not wear padded shorts and ride longer distances. Brooks is popular, but I use a old Avocet seat. It is comfortable to me to use with out padding. I do normally wear padded shorts while riding, but they are triathlon style, little padding.

What is it about cycling shorts that you do not like, if you dont mind me asking.
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Old 09-11-10, 09:50 AM
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I almost always wear cycling shorts when on tour, but on occasion I have worn my zip off leg pants for a day, usually when sightseeing more than riding. They work OK. They are nylon and have a built in brief like swim trunks. They are also great for around camp in the evening. The ones I like are World Wide Sportsmanģ Nylon Angler Zip-Off Pants from Bass Pro Shops for about $20.
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Old 09-11-10, 10:30 AM
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A Kilt.
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Old 09-11-10, 05:21 PM
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I wear knickers to cycle, always. I loathe "cycling shorts", bibs, etc. I put around 5-8k miles on my "last" pair, and the current pair has easily 3k miles. I figure about 4-6 months of daily wear before I have to replace them. I've been using the Bicycle Fixation knicks. 4 way stretch gabardine wool with a silk gusset - they look classy, while still serving their purpose.
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Old 09-11-10, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by SilverStreak
Anyone actually tour in regular cotton shorts?
Yup, me. And I've toured a lot, and never in lycra. I only find cycling shorts comfortable in a very narrow cool temperature range, so I don't wear them. Like you, I like pockets. I ride in either cotton shorts or nylon shorts, with 100% cotton briefs underneath. I sometimes wear cycling tights, although lately, I prefer a pair of loose fleece cycling pants I picked up somewhere. I love an old pair of soft nylon tights with real chamois (which eventually disintegrated, sigh) I picked up years ago in France. The fabric is so much more comfortable than more modern synthetic fabrics, but nobody seems to use that fabric anymore. They're also warmer than newer synthetics, too.

My advice is to wear whatever feels most comfortable to you, and don't worry about what anyone else thinks, including what other cyclists think, with one proviso: In some cultures, it's insulting for people of either gender to expose their knees or thighs. I've got some convertible pants/shorts. I ride with the bottoms zipped off, and later off the bike, or to visit religious or other certain sites (e.g. royal palaces in Thailand), I zip the bottoms back on.

Last edited by axolotl; 09-11-10 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 09-11-10, 08:08 PM
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I feel absolutely naked when I don't have anything on. Hey! Have any of you ever participated in one of those nude bike rallies like the one last weekend in Philly?

Originally Posted by MikeR
I feel ABSOLUTELY NAKED in Lycra bike shorts!


That’s why (if it’s warm enough) I never ride in anything else.
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Old 09-11-10, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by SilverStreak
I'm not a fan of skin tight lycra/spandex/whatever gentleman's cycling shorts. I do a lot of riding with my $15 cargo shorts and comfort is touch-and-go, depending on distance of ride. I like to stuff things in my pockets, etc.

Anyone actually tour in regular cotton shorts? Anyone have tips to improve comfort for those of us who prefer to wear regular, cotton shorts while riding?

Thanks.


I tour and ride day to day in my regular street clothes....for longer rides I use synthetic boxer briefs with a minimum of seams in the crotch to avoid irritation. Other than that I just wear normal clothes.

I tend to wear synthetic shorts/pants because they dry fast and don't get uncomfortable when wet. The photo above shows my typical touring clothing.
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Old 09-11-10, 09:36 PM
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I've worn the typical lyrca bike shorts for years but this summer I went to Europe and wanted to wear something a little more modest and versatile. I bought some Pearl Izumi Launch Kicker shorts with a snap-in chamois lining and found them to be realy comfortable and, dare I say it, stylish. I'm planning on picking up another pair or two for general touring.
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Old 09-11-10, 09:38 PM
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simple cotton athletic shorts.
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Old 09-11-10, 11:04 PM
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I just do my biking in basketball shorts and carry a pair of casual shorts if I plan on getting off the bike. So when I stop there, I just put the shorts on over my basketball shorts and when I'm ready to ride again, I strip the casual shorts off.

Come to think of it, the only time I'm wearing lycra is on my "hardcore" road bike. And the only time I'm on it usually is on my organized rides or my training for an organized ride.
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Old 09-12-10, 08:44 AM
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It's obvious that just as different women wear different bra sizes, so too do men have different sizes below the waist. My problem is I have too much for practical bicycle riding. And the challenge is where to put it all, and how to keep it packed up and out of the way. Padded lycra riding shorts help there, but at the end of the day, I'm sweaty, creased and sore. I just haven't found anything that's comfortable.

I'm positive I'm not the only one with the problem. I would love to know how other guys deal with it.
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Old 09-12-10, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by axolotl
Yup, me... I ride in either cotton shorts or nylon shorts, with 100% cotton briefs underneath...
Ah, finally someone else! I thought I was the only one

I love cotton... never got this new fangled expensive padded and breathing stuff! Humbug!
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Old 09-12-10, 09:03 AM
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flat-seamed, Merino wool boxers/briefs, cargo shorts with flat-seams or gusseted crotch, preferably of a more wicking type material than cotton
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Old 09-12-10, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by xizangstan
It's obvious that just as different women wear different bra sizes, so too do men have different sizes below the waist. My problem is I have too much for practical bicycle riding. And the challenge is where to put it all, and how to keep it packed up and out of the way. Padded lycra riding shorts help there, but at the end of the day, I'm sweaty, creased and sore. I just haven't found anything that's comfortable.

I'm positive I'm not the only one with the problem. I would love to know how other guys deal with it.
This is the reason why I prefer boxers & shorts/knickers/pants - more room and you can sling it around while riding if you have to.
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Old 09-12-10, 10:34 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by chipcom
This is the reason why I prefer boxers & shorts/knickers/pants - more room and you can sling it around while riding if you have to.
Keeping it out of the spokes can be a problem, though.

I have a couple of pairs of Falconi baggy cycling shorts that work pretty well. My only complaint is one pair is a light tan and my black saddle has bled onto them, which is rather unsightly. That's probably more of a complaint of my saddle than the shorts, however. If I was to order them again I'd get dark ones.
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