Part 2: Some initially strange things to expect when owning cycling shorts (FAQ)

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

Part 2 of this blog (here's part 1) lends itself to possible questions that can arise before, during, and after owning a pair. I wanted to share an honest FAQ that tends to be learned after the fact something (usually an unglamorous side) has happened. I'm generally a proponent of experience being a strong teacher in life. Though, if you can prevent repercussions from happening earlier through curiosity and a helpful friend to guide you, that's better! Here are some oddities that can arise:


Do I need to wear underwear?

No, never wear underwear with cycling shorts/bibs. It’s meant to be worn on its own. It’ll take a few rides to get used to (and even forget about). The design of the chamois is to trap bacteria and provide a specifically smooth surface area to prevent friction. And it beats having the underwear bunch up, accumulate bacteria, and cause, you guessed it, more chafing.


How often should I wash it?

After every ride, especially if the ride is greater than 2 hours. Bacteria builds up in the chamois area, it gets moist and it can get smelly. It’s best to wear bibs once and wash it afterwards. Again, treat this like it’s underwear (blog on how to care for clothes coming soon!)


I’m getting painful sores (bumps) after a ride, what is this?

Probably saddle sores - a pimple like mound, could also be a small open wound from constant irritation found anywhere there is contact with the saddle (I told you this was unglamorous). This often happens when you ramp up the saddle time too fast. You can get this from:


  1. Starting to get used to riding for long periods of time and

  2. Chamois not fitting right for you which can aggravate a hot spot

  3. possibly a new saddle position or new saddle in general


Tips to reduce saddle sore occurrence:

  1. For the first time, I suggest wearing it for rides under 2 hours for the first few rides so your body can acclimate to the extra material. This can also reduce the chances of getting sores and allow your body time to adapt to the new clothes.

  2. If you feel any pain after a ride in the crotch area, stop and rest for a few days until it goes away. If it persists, you may need to experiment with new bib shorts or even add try chamois cream.

  3. Chamois cream - For long rides (long is relative, I know but I'm assuming 3+ hours), try chamois specific cream to address chafing. If the bibs fit like a glove, then you might not even need chamois cream at all.

Conclusion

The rule of thumb is, you should be riding comfortable for at least an hour without experiencing any sort of chafing or pain. If you do, you may need to investigate the bib, saddle type, and bike fit, to see what could be the culprit.


The above is meant to inform you and address some questions that may arise as you start cycling with cycling shorts. The benefits of owning a pair FAR outweigh what can arise from the above and when you find that special pair, you are off to the races!


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