Why does a person need bike shorts? It’s not just the snug fit of lycra, although sports science says that compression of muscles provides better muscle function. It’s also getting rid of seams between the rider and the saddle. Before the 80’s, most shorts featured a piece of chamois sewn into the crotch area. This covered the seams, and helped prevent chafing. However, when washed, real leather develops the texture of cardboard. So many riders aired out their shorts instead of washing them, and special leather salves were applied to the chamois. Now it’s OK to wash yer britches! Today’s ‘chamois butter’ is appled to the butt, and not to the pad, which is most often made from heat=molded layers of machine washable anti-bacterial fabrics.
Bike shorts are designed for riding, not for standing around. The waistline is low in the front for bending forward, and high in the back to prevent the dreaded plumber tan line. The legs are long enough to cover most of the quadriceps muscle. They are worn without additional underwear. The jersey goes over the shorts, and is never tucked into the waistband. Riders who spend long hours in the saddle love the bib style shorts, which eliminate the waistband entirely.
You can pull on other garments over the traditional black bike shorts: warm-up tights or legwarmers, waterproof trousers, a mini-skirt, or bike dress. Baggies are a style of double short with an outer short for mountain biking. Tri-shorts have a very small pad for triathletes who may choose to wear bike clothes under a wetsuit. The staff at Criterium have chosen shorts that provide the best options for our region and our riders from $40 to $145. Try them on, and share the secret of a comfortable bike ride.