Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bicycle Pants

While out driving around in my car today I observed several bicycle riders pedaling down the road. I laud them for their profound dedication to exercise. It must be very enjoyable taking in the scenery while biking.

There is one thing though that I am curious about. Do you have to wear those silly pants in order to be considered a serious bike enthusiast? If I happen to see someone riding their bike and enjoying themselves and they are not wearing the bicycle uniform does that mean they are not serious bikers? Does it have anything to do with how far they go on their outing? If someone were just recreating and riding for a few miles for some fresh air and exercise when is it a "must" to suit up in the bike pants? Are the bike pants unisex or are there special ones for males and females? Logically, you would assume their would be, since there is a different part of the anatomy to take into consideration. Speaking of naughty bits, it appears that the buttock area has a layer of padding most likely providing a cushion and comfort to the posterior. It's probably a good idea.

The material these bike pants are made of seems to be some type of stretch-leotard spandex. Since they look tight fitting this might involve some type of aerodynamic design. I am also fascinated by the shape of the helmet which looks like it is aerodynamic too. The cone shape at the back of the hat makes the head look misshapen. Have these people ever taken a look at themselves in the mirror without a chuckle? When did they make the conscious decision to go out and buy themselves special bike pants and funny hats? Did they want people who saw them riding their bike to think, "oh yeah, there goes a serious bike rider".

If it is cold out or if it is windy do these pants keep you warm? It doesn't look like they keep you warm but maybe it helps cut down the wind resistance but does that really matter unless you are participating in some type of organized road race? It looks like there may also be a reinforced area in the inner thigh which might help reduce chaffing. Someone once told me that your butt and other anatomical areas grow a little sore after balancing on a hard banana shaped seat for long periods of time. Maybe that seat is where they should really get some soft padding. Do the bikers know that the way they perch on the little bike seat actually makes their posterior look rather large? I don't think people with large bottoms would look very attractive in these bike pants but then again the serious bikers who ride longer miles probably have minimal body fat.

Lance Armstrong has certainly helped biking gain in popularity. He certainly is an amazing athlete after overcoming testicular cancer and coming back to win the Tour de France several times. The French hate him but then the French hate everyone.Maybe they are the ones who have conspired to make the bike riders look ridiculous in those costumes.


underOvr (aka The U) said...

Hi gaf85,

Someone (I believe in a cycle shop) suggested I get biking shorts for riding. They provided a measure of comfort when riding a bike for extended periods of time.

At the time, I did not consider myself a serious bike enthusiast, I just wore the shorts to be comfortable.

I didn't wear a helmet at that time probably because it wasn't mandatory.

I no longer cycle and I don't have any idea if there is a difference between cycle shorts for each gender.

It's been my experience that a serious cyclist would never wear the sign, "Wide Load" on their back.


MilesPerHour said...

They must be mandatory cuz some people who wear them, well they really shouldn't if you know what I mean.

Madame DeFarge said...

Hi - here is, I am reliably informed, a difference between gentleman's shorts and ladies shorts. The position of the padding is key. M. DeFarge bought the wrong ones and endured a painful ride to work. He no longer wears them and wishes never to reminded of the incident. This may due to my abject lack of sympathy.

gaf85 said...

U, Now that must have been a sight, pedaling your ass around town. What would the Borg say?

Miles, My sentiments exactly. Not even Lance.

Madame,I guess Mr. could have worn his bike pants under his clothes and noone would have known he was wearing them. "Poor chap"!

Amy said...

I have many pairs of said shorts. I wear them for indoor and outdoor riding. They are like the spandex "sliders" that the kids used to wear under their soccer shorts....they provide a bit of support and hold in the flab a bit. I agree that they aren't particularly attractive but they do cut down on irritation. For long rides (I don't consider myself a bike addict but when you're out for a couple hours it makes a difference) it's much more comfortable if you don't have seams in the seating area. And yes, men's and women's are padded differently. If you think Tim would ever wear them, think again!

The shirts are another matter. I do own a few bike shirts, which usually have pockets in the back for whatever (kleenex for my runny nose in my case), but that's really the only feature I like. Well, the design on my Harpoon IPA shirt is useful because now people know what to get me at the bar.

In my observation cyclers are like skiers or golfers. There are those who have to have the best and latest equipment to look good (and they think it makes them perform better...hey, maybe it does...), and there are those who buy what's necessary and just have a good time.

Oh and I do wear a helmet because I have an annual big crash or fall and it comes in handy. :)

gaf85 said...

Amy,Do you get many driver's who "toot" their horn at you? Helmets are definitely important for those who tend to fall on their heads. I hope your injuries were not too serious.

Amy said...

Only the ones in Squantum! Just kidding.

Some drivers do, but there are a lot of bikers on the road.

I'm fine, now, (more or less) after several visits to the chiropractor and massage therapy! Just a few scars and an occasional sore back.

Funny, I was out yesterday and was thinking about this thread, and wondering exactly HOW big my butt looked on the bike! Did I care???? Naaahhh.

gaf85 said...

Amy, I heard your butt had a crack in it. Sorry for the sophomoric humor but I couldn't resist. I'm sure you have a very nice posterior.

Wendy said...

If you're riding long distances the bike shorts are a DEFINITE must. I didn't really like them when I first started wearing them because 1) I'm on of those people who should not be wearing spandex, 2) the padding made me feel like I was wearing a diaper and 3) I pretty much felt like a total idiot in them and 4) did I mention I'm one of those people who should not wear spandex??

BUT... they did allow me to ride for a long time and after a while i started to look more like one of those people who COULD wear spandex and get away with it. I never quite got there, but at least approached some reasonable approximation.

Also, as far as the big butt on the small seat issue... I never wore the bike shirts -- instead I wore a big gigantic t-shirt that hangs over my butt and made me look wide ALL OVER instead of just on my ass. Somehow it made me feel better even though I'm sure it was dreadfully unattractive.

gaf85 said...

Wendy, Thanks for visiting and leaving your comment.Who knew that riding a bicycle became so complicated?
I had a chance to visit your blog and that is quite an interesting view about celery.