Those new to cycling may not realise how important the right cycling attire is to race performance, but experienced cyclists would know that form-fitting apparel can help to fight wind resistance while on the move.
While it is perfectly fine to cycle in a baggy top or regular clothes, proper cycling attire can make your ride a more comfortable one, especially under harsh weather conditions or during long races.
As leg movements are the order of the day when it comes to cycling, it is important to ensure that you are equipped with proper cycling shorts to make your rides smoother and more enjoyable.
One thing to note about cycling shorts, though, would be that underwear is not worn with them. It will take some getting used to, but you’re better off not wearing them, as your usual cotton underwear could cause friction against your skin as you ride.
Before selecting your shorts, take the time to consider using padding. It might feel strange putting it on, but your buttocks will thank you for it later. Padding, or chamois, is not an uncommon addition to cycling shorts.
Chamois is the padded protection that guards you from the bicycle saddle. Padded shorts are designed to provide a snug fit so that you experience maximum comfort on the ride.
Available padding options on the market vary in terms of thickness and density. Generally, the longer your ride, the more density you would need from your chamois pad. Thicker pads provide better shock absorption, which will be helpful if you’re riding through challenging terrains.
Regular shorts versus bib shorts
There are two common types of cycling shorts: regular shorts and bib shorts. Both options come with their respective benefits and disadvantages.
Regular cycling shorts are form-fitting shorts that help to reduce wind resistance. These are typically made from Lycra fabric, and have enough stretch so that the material doesn’t bunch up and chafe your skin as you pedal.
Bib shorts, on the other hand, might be more comfortable to some due to their lack of waistbands, which place pressure around the abdomen area. Such shorts are, instead, held up with the help of built-in shoulder straps, making leaning over the bicycle handlebars a more comfortable experience.
Bib shorts also help keep the chamois in place, preventing it from shifting while you’re moving around on the bike. This reduces the chances of “saddle sores”, which might develop if one spends long periods of time on the bicycle.
Yet, bib shorts are not without their drawbacks, and they could pose an inconvenience when going to the bathroom. They also cost more than regular cycling shorts.
Despite the extra cost and hassle, though, bib shorts are still the common choice among many professional cyclists.
For protection against chafing and abrasion, apply anti-chafe creams or lubricants on areas where your clothing would make contact with your body. These preventive measures, along with snug-fitting shorts, are an ideal combination that will help enhance your cycling experience.