When you start biking you get into a sport that requires new gear. And as we all know gear is cool.
You need the bike (obviously) and a helmet (hope fully obvious as well). After that you have lots of different more optional pieces of gear. At some point you are going to be thinking about biking shorts.
Biking shorts have padding in them that cuts down on discomfort when you are riding. (They also give super cool tan lines, but I digress.) They are made out of a thin, skin tight, Lycra.
You will have a moment when you get your first biking shorts when you are confronted with the fact that you are not supposed to wear underwear beneath them. (Yup, commando with these things.) This may come because you try to wear underwear under them and discover chafing or it may come because you have more experienced biking friends who tell you how to wear them. (BTW. It’s not a joke when they tell you no underwear. We bikers do lie a lot, but that’s not one of the lies.) Regardless you will have that moment. When you put the super thin Lycra on… and nothing else. That moment fades.
The second option in biking shorts are bibs instead of standard shorts.
At some point down the road you will try a pair of bib shorts and either your life will be changed forever or it will do nothing for you. For most of us its a life altering moment but there are some hold outs (crazy I know). Bibs are much more comfortable, they stay in place, and they give better support. But you still have the same modesty problems. (Those bibs are Louis Garneau Fit2 Sensor bibs. I got a pair this winter. Best bibs I have ever had. Hands down.)
Coming into biking on the road side those were the options. Lycra shorts or bibs. Well I discovered a 3rd option. The mountain bikers have been holding out. Baggy biking shorts!
These shorts look like cargo shorts on the outside. They have pockets, a belt, even a fly! Inside is a liner with some chamois padding. The modesty issues are gone while keeping the needed padding. These would be perfect for… say… teenagers on a MTB team who might be coming to grips with growing up. (Or really anyone who doesn’t want to wear a thin Lycra “covering”).
I got a pair of baggy shorts for my birthday. They are great. Very comfortable. The addition of pockets gives extra options for carrying gear. I don’t think I would wear them on a supper long ride, but I like them for hacking around on the trails.
(They also make you look more like a shredder and less like a roadie…….. Think ski apparel vs snowboard apparel and you get the idea.)