Padded Cycling Shorts – Diapers for Grownups

The padded cycling shorts issue is sure to be one of a beginning cyclist’s most monumental obstacles. Getting up a little bit of nerve, the uninitiated beginner may be able to envision putting on those slinky lycra shorts.

But turn them into padded cycling shorts and people start looking for another sport. One appealing sport would be mocking those who choose to wear the padded cycling shorts.

So what’s the hesitation? Probably the diaper look!

A History Lesson In Padded Cycling Shorts

So what’s with the pad? Well, it started many moons ago when cyclists chose to use the skin of unfortunate sheep to provide a smooth surface betwixt their unseemly parts and the seams of their stitched wool shorts.

The sheep were said to be extremely agitated that they were not only providing the wool, but were being called upon to also provide the skin. However, not having taken the time or effort to unionize, as had the bovines and the porcines, they were at a distinct disadvantage.

The sheep’s suggestion that poodles should participate in the ‘skin contribution’ met with extreme resistance, as most of the cyclists at that time were Frenchmen with fond affection for their fluffy little dog friends.

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The Chamois Defines Padded Cycling Shorts

My, how things have changed in the ‘land down under’. Now we’ve got pads (chamois) made of just about everything except animal skins. The padding in padded cycling shorts is so effective that young riders are even able to ride on saddles made of carbon fiber without any padding whatsoever.

Older riders don’t seem to see the wisdom in subjecting their more matured peri-anal areas to such an edgy approach. Their attitude seems to be minimal comfort before minimal racing advantage.

The chamois merchants now present their products in a variety of shapes to most closely approximate the conformation of the rider. An obvious pitfall to this mentality is the difficulty in determining what ‘conformation’ each of us has in that area of the body.

I’ve asked my wife many times to scribe my anatomical conformation onto tracing paper while I straddle two chairs. Her reluctance continues to be a point of contention in our relationship. padded cycling shorts

The chamois merchants now present their chamois (plural) in padded cycling shorts in a variety of shapes to most closely approximate the conformation of the rider. An obvious pitfall to this mentality is the difficulty in determining what ‘conformation’ each of us has in that area of the body.

Do Padded Bib Shorts Hinder Urination?

padded cycling shorts

Bib shorts keep the crotch liner snug up against the crotch. They also cost more, and make it difficult to urinate while riding. Well actually not exactly while riding, but more accurately, when taking a break during a ride. Both non-bib shorts and bib shorts perform equally well with regard to urinating while riding.

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Sometimes A Man Wears Stretchy Pants…Other Times It’s Padded Cycling Shorts

Caught trying on his Lycra wrestling tights in the privacy of his room, Jack Black, in the movie Nacho Libre, has some explaining to do to the little orphan who’s found him out. nacho libreHis response, “Chancho, when you are a man, sometimes you wear stretchy pants”, should serve to encourage many a timid beginning cyclist. Substitute padded cycling shorts into the quote and you may have the makings of a new hit movie.

Lycra, while it is extremely revealing, is best friend to the wrestler and cyclist alike. Lycra commonly comes in two weights. Six ounce lycra is said to weigh six ounces per yard and eight ounce lycra weighs eight ounces per yard.

Considering that padded cycling shorts may be composed of up to a yard of material, ‘weight weenies’ may see this as a way to gain an undue advantage over their competitors.

Golf Balls and Padded Cycling Shorts

In the world of sports, the dimpled golf ball is the most well known wind cheating device. You see, the uneven surface of the ball creates a cushion of air around itself, reducing wind drag. High class cycling wheels such as those made by ZIPP use the same principle.

Well, guess what? This year our cycling team is being asked to decide if we’d like to have our padded cycling shorts made of dimpled material, in part to reduce drag. And the technology just keeps marching along…

“Chancho, when you are a man, sometimes you wear DIMPLED stretchy pants”…

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