Getting most men into their first pair of bike shorts is monumental. That’s understandable, since there aren’t too many pieces of clothing that are as revealing or as metro-sexual as men’s bike shorts.
If you’re still on the outside, looking into the abyss of the cycling world, you’ll be lost forever once you pull on those stretchy suckers with the built-in man-diaper.
So here we go with 6 things to know about men’s bike shorts…
Firstly…Don’t Wear Underwear Under Discount Men’s Bike Shorts
Let’s get this behind us! You don’t wear underwear under cycling shorts. There’s so much technology put into the modern pair of bike shorts that to add anything resembling ‘Fruit of the Loom’ may alter the axis of the world’s spin.
Secondly…Honor King Chamois!
It’s all about the diaper chamois!
It wouldn’t be too far off to argue that the entire function of cycling shorts is to house the man-diaper. Ever wonder how cyclists can ride for hours on those ridiculously skinny (and hard) seats?
It’s because they’re carrying the padding with them between their legs.
Originally the ‘pad’ was called a chamois. That’s because it was the last contribution of an ill-fated sheep. In the old days the smooth chamois was a better alternative than having a seam betwixt the legs. But we’ve come a long way since then…
The modern chamois has as much in common with the original sheep skin as does the cell phone to the smoke signal.
Just exaggerating for effect.
The modern chamois has more padding in some parts of it, less in other parts. It may have a ‘channel’ down the middle with no padding at all. It may be made of fibers originally used to send a man to the moon…
It may have a ‘rub-less’ surface.
Here’s a good idea…
Some of the newest chamois (still ‘chamois’ whether singular or plural) have an anti-bacterial substance in them to kill off the bacteria that cause rashes and sores between the legs. The best way to keep the little sores away is still to wash your shorts regularly (after every ride), but the anti-bacterial angle is a good move for some of us lazy busy riders.
The problem with the high tech chamois is that they’re hard to ‘try on’.
What about you…do you want to squeeze yourself into the same ‘house shorts’ at the bike shop that Leonard and Albert just left behind in the changing room?
I didn’t think so.
So the usual fire-drill is to buy some men’s bike shorts, ride in them a few times, and then either decide they don’t match your nether-regions, or that they do and you better buy up the whole batch.
Because in the world of ever-changing chamois, you aren’t likely to find the perfect match ever again.
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Thirdly…Men’s Cycling Shorts Aren’t Homo-Surfaced Anymore
Hetero-surfaceology has taken over men’s cycling shorts.
It used to be adequate to make shorts out of slinky Lycra. It was a supreme advancement over wool cycling shorts (with their itchiness and propensity toward shrinkage).
And for awhile, that was enough.
But not for long. Consumer dissatisfaction needed to be stoked.
Now the different panels of the cycling shorts are made of a whole slew of different materials. Some panels stretch in all directions, some panels ‘breath’ better than others, and some panels squeeze the thighs like compression socks squeeze the calves.
With all of this stretching, breathing, and squeezing going on, it’s easy to understand a man’s natural reluctance to don his first pair of biking shorts.
Regarding which materials are most effective, and where they should be put in the shorts…you may be at the mercy of the crafty advertising staff at the high-tech shorts companies. They all make a good case for their choice of materials.
about the deep discounts at Bike Nashbar.
Fourthly…Number Of Panels Is Of Less Consequence
In the days of yesteryear, cheap cycling shorts were made of fewer sections (panels) than were expensive ones.
It was really quite simple…more panels in biking shorts meant more quality.
This was because more panels enabled the shorts to better conform to the obtuse angles and bulges which define the midsection of modern man.
Now there are so many panels in cycling shorts, with so much stretch, that debating the merits of ‘six-panel vs. eight-panel’ bike shorts is akin to the ‘cassette deck vs. eight-track’ debate.
Modern bike shorts can conform to even the spooky angles of my first girl friend, E. Norma Butts.
Fifthly…And Then There Are Bib Shorts
The next step in the evolution from ‘regular guy’ to ‘unabashed cyclist’ is the bib short.
Here are the advantages of bib shorts.
1). They keep the chamois up against the groin where it’s supposed to be. There can be no ‘wandering chamois’ with the consistent up-ward pull of the bib shorts. The chamois gets no break…it is constantly having to contact that area of the body that many of us deny exists.
2). There is no waistband in bib shorts so there are no ‘belly-roll-above’ or ‘belly-roll-below’ the waistband decisions to be made.
This leaves the cyclist free to solve other problems, like…
How do I get out from behind ‘stinky Leonard’ in this pace-line?
Sixthly…You Can Buy High Quality Men’s Bike Shorts At Clearance Prices
Remember how I wrote that it’s hard to know which chamois will fit without trying out the shorts for a while?
Well, if you have access to deep enough discounts, you can be ‘trying’ a variety of high quality discount men’s bike shorts for a fraction of the suggested retail prices.
I just looked over at Bike Nashbar and within the ranks of ‘50% or more off’, I see such brands as Pearl Izumi, Canari, Louis Garneau, Parentini, Cannondale, and De Marchi.
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