You got a bike. (Congrats!) Now what?
There's no doubt the single most significant piece of equipment is the bicycle itself if you're new to the sport. Obviously, right? Hopefully, you've got one that fits properly and is designed for the type of terrain and conditions you plan to travel most frequently. (We love #newbikeday!)
Then there’s your bike helmet. (Never ride away without it!) But after those two purchases, it can feel like everything else is optional, even though it isn't. You need to invest in a great pair of biking shorts. Trust us.
At Velorosa®, we’ve enjoyed meeting thousands of women who love to ride their bikes. All types of bikes: hybrids, mountain bikes, cyclocross bikes, gravel bikes, road bikes, tandems, etc. Our customers tell us about changes and improvements they’d love to see the cycling industry make, mainly when catering to women. Some of the most critical conversations Kim and I have with riders center on the fit and design of biking shorts.
The truth is, we've all purchased bad shorts. The chamois is too thick; the fabric is too baggy, the waistband is too binding, the shorts ride up, or they fall. Or we ride in our running shorts or yoga tights. Eventually, there’s a good chance you’ll experience some mystery rubbing and chaffing. That discomfort can, at the least, make your ride miserable. And at worst, it may even cause more serious, ongoing complications.
Confession: I was on a ride several years ago. One afternoon, before Velorosa® existed, I had such a painful ride after buying a pair of new bike shorts that I just quit. Refused to turn over one more pedal. I called my husband to pick me up. I was done. With a flourish, I threw them in the garbage and didn't get back on my bike for a week. (Too many saddle sores.)
There are some key considerations when shopping for biking shorts that we think you should keep in mind:
- Great biking shorts should be designed to fit a woman’s body. Most of us don't fit well in a men’s bike short. There's the cut of the fabric through the hips and the waist, the length of the inseam, and of course, the anatomical design of the chamois.
Great cycling shorts should be constructed with compression fabric (spandex). The shorts should feel snug when you put them on, but there shouldn't be any binding. After speaking with women across the country about what they want in a short, we’ve settled on a yoga-style waistband and compression leg bands to maximize comfort.
- Great biking shorts should have a flexible, breathable chamois. (Old school thinking supported the idea that the thicker the padding, the more comfortable the ride. Wrong! Dead wrong! So wrong!) We now have technical fabrics and higher quality materials that allow for a thinner profile chamois, made of memory foam, that provides plenty of protection and comfort for miles of riding. Also, you might want to look for a darker colored chamois. They tend to show less ‘wear and tear’ (code word for stains). Who needs to see those anyway?
Bottom line: A great fitting biking short can make your ride more comfortable, which in turn means you can go farther and increase your time on the bike. This can build your fitness, extend where you’re willing to explore, and ultimately (and most importantly) help you enjoy your ride. Every single time.
A quick tip: There's one thing we always tell new riders because frankly, someone had to tell us: Don't wear underwear with your bike shorts. Underwear underneath your bike shorts creates additional points of friction. That can lead to some painful problems down the road. As we like to say, "Wear 'em like your swimsuit! Straight on your skin!"
Want to know more about Velorosa shorts? Check out this video on Facebook for some insight! (Be sure to like our page while you're there!)