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Bike Clothing: Are Bike Shorts Really Necessary?

Certain activities like biking and swimming requires special pieces of clothing. Cyclists, for instance, wear spandex shorts and tight-fitting tops. But bike riders in the UK have proven that you can ride a bike without tight-fitting jerseys, bike shorts, gloves, special shoes or any piece of clothing. In fact, they organize the World Naked Bike Rides, which are held in various cities in the UK. If they can go on a bike ride without wearing special bike clothing, why would you even bother with all that Lycra and Gore-Tex? Why does it matter what you wear on bike rides?

Your regular clothes are acceptable for when the weather is good or if your journey is relatively short. But for serious cyclists, who intend to go on longer rides, wearing special bike clothing is an absolute must.

What you wear on bike rides will impact your comfort and performance. We understand that you want to look good while riding your bike, but your cycling clothes should be more about fit and comfort and less about fashion.

Comfort

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Mountain bike clothing like bike shorts are recommended on long rides. They are designed to protect you from chafing and irritation and to make your ride more comfortable.

As opposed to regular shorts, men’s padded biking shorts are made of stretchy fabrics like Lycra and nylon. The fabric moves with you as you pedal; hence, reducing friction. Plus, the padded area provides a little extra cushion between your bum and the saddle.  Another great thing about these shorts is that they wick away moisture and allow your skin to breathe. They enhance your riding comfort and allow you to ride longer.

If you’ve been experiencing any discomfort with the seat while riding, we highly recommend that you invest in a good pair of men’s padded biking shorts.

Aerodynamics

 

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For years, cyclists wore a one-piece suit for important races and some time trials. This was the preferred clothing for biking back then. They are very comfortable and aerodynamically efficient. However, they look silly.  People who wear them are obviously devoted to their sport. Luckily, we no longer have to wear one-piece suits since more and more brands are producing stylish cycling jerseys and shorts.

For cyclists who prefer speed, we highly recommend that you wear cycling shorts. This is important because of aerodynamics. Have you ever tried riding a bike wearing loose clothing?  Loose clothing creates a drag. Drag is a backward force created by air friction. It is the main thing that slows cyclists down. This is the reason why they wear tight clothing. It may seem odd looking, but it helps them go faster and enjoy the sport.

Padded mountain bike shorts

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Cycling shorts are different from that of regular shorts. These shorts are usually made of stretchy material, which provides freedom of movement while cycling. Since they are tight-fitting, they won’t flap in the wind.

Every bike shorts has a padding sewn into the saddle area. This is designed to provide cushioning where you make contact with the saddle. It also prevents bacterial growth, wicks moisture, and minimizes friction. They are designed to provide the maximum amount of comfort and reduce chafing and friction on longer rides. This is where most of the money goes. Generally, the more expensive the shorts are, the more comfortable it is.

Cycling shorts fit snugly against your body. If you’re wondering whether or not you should wear underwear, you shouldn’t. Yes, that’s right. You’re not supposed to wear underwear underneath the bike shorts. Why? Because the fabric will just bunch up and rub against your skin. This will be extremely uncomfortable. Ditching your underwear may feel awkward the first few times, but you’ll get used to it.

Bib shorts

 

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Most cycling shorts come in two options: regular biking shorts and the bib shorts. Most beginner cyclists would choose the regular shorts because they find the bib shorts weird-looking. There is no denying that they look odd. They may even raise an eyebrow to non-cyclists. But when shopping for cycling shorts, we suggest that you give it a try.

Bib shorts are very comfortable for long rides. Often, they are made from a lycra-blend fabric with shoulder straps to hold them in place. They are actually very similar to that of regular cycling shorts. What set these two apart are the suspenders that are integrated into the shorts. They are not removable. Once you put on your cycling jersey, the straps will be hidden from view. No one will be able to tell that you’re wearing bib shorts.

As compared to regular shorts, bib shorts have no drawstrings or waistbands. That said, most cyclists find them more comfortable than regular shorts. Plus, they conform well to your body, especially when you’re in the riding position. They also rise a little bit higher on the waist. Since they have straps that are designed to keep your shorts in place, it eliminates the need for an elasticated waist. The straps are wide and stretchy so they don’t dig in to your skin.

Just like the bike shorts, bib shorts have pads that add a great deal of comfort. If you’re just starting out in cycling and you plan on riding frequently, it’s worth investing in a good pair. Bib shorts are hard to beat for comfort for any ride that combines speed and distance.

How to find the best padded bike shorts

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Comfort is always something to consider when purchasing women’s biking shorts. That said, look for cycling or bib shorts that are made of nylon, spandex, and polyester material. Also, make sure that you don’t feel any irritating stitching in the material.

Besides the fabric, the fit is something you need to take into consideration. While these shorts are made of stretchy material, they are not one-size-fits all. You want to make sure that the shorts fit you just right. Not too tight, not too loose. Any cyclists who pedal for a long period of time will benefit from tight-fitting shorts.

The padding is the primary feature that separates a pair of cycling shorts from the regular ones. It helps insulate you from the saddle. They are usually foam or gel padding. The shape and density of the padding will play a big role on how comfortable it will be.

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