Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Perfect Riding Shorts

I, like most people have some favorite clothes. I’ve already told you about my thing for tie-dye shirts. Well, the article of clothing that is one of my favorite pieces of cycling attire is a very comfortable pair of camouflage shorts.

Years ago when I started to get serious about cycling I posted a question on a cycling forum in our area about what types of clothing I would want to wear in preparation for my first century. Almost everyone came back with a response that cycling shorts where not only a nice to have but a necessity. A couple of wise souls also added that if I was uncomfortable sporting the lycra look that it was acceptable to wear some shorts over top of them. That way I could ease into wearing cycling shorts in public. I took this advice at the time and bought some pearl izumi cycling shorts (which are super comfortable by the way) then dug through my closet to find the perfect pair of shorts to wear over my cycling shorts. Given the fact that I only owned one pair of shorts at the time this was an easy choice.

Sporting the Camo's on the STP

So, the camouflage shorts became my cycling shorts of choice and I’ve stuck with them ever since. Here are some reasons that I like them so much.

They randomly shrink and stretch
I got these shorts for one of my 29th birthdays (I’ve had many of them) so I’ve been wearing them for years. Through the years they seem to go from fitting perfectly to fitting fairly snug and on occasion they are even baggy on me. I’m not really sure how this happens because I’m quite sure that I’ve always maintained the same body size all of this time. This leads me to believe that these miracle shorts randomly shrink and stretch.

They don’t chafe my knees
These shorts are the perfect length.
They are long enough to cover my bike shorts but they are short enough that they don’t rub on my knees as I ride. If they were any longer I would have to apply chamois butter to my knees and that would be just plain wrong.

More pockets
Because they have pockets on the sides I’m able to carry extra gear when necessary.
They are perfect for a gel or two, cliff bar, or the remote control when I ride inside on the trainer. You’re probably wondering why I would wear shorts over my cycling shorts inside. If you saw the look my kids give me when I don’t wear shorts over my cycling shorts you probably would wear them too. I can tell they want to shield their eyes like superman does to kryptonite but they resist.

Creates a great illusion
Finally, since my shorts are camouflage they tend to blend into the scenery.
On multiple occasions I’ve heard people say, “Hey look, Mike’s not wearing any shorts”. I guess my shorts are good for a laugh. I’m game.

The other day I found a 2 inch tear in my beloved camouflage shorts. I guess after thousands of miles of riding with them on it was bound to happen. If I weren’t wearing cycling shorts under them I would probably have to get rid of them. Lucky for me I always wear my pearl izumi’s with them so I’m thinking there’s probably years of wear left in them.

I guess the ultimate plan of working my way away from the camouflage shorts into just cycling shorts is taking a little longer than expected. Some day I may be a full fledged cyclist proudly sporting my cycling shorts as I fly down the road but for now if you see someone in the Seattle area wearing some really beat up camouflage shorts with a hole in them be sure to say hi.


331 Miles said...

First -- the color combo in that photo made my eyes bleed.

Second -- from what I can see, you have no reason to be worried about how you look in lycra.

Third -- the camo shorts do indeed look comfortable!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I stopped being phased by lycra the first time I saw my father wearing it. And once I encountered a whole group of my students while riding through town on a century I stopped caring who saw me in it.

Now if only they had bike shorts in a camo print... that would be the ticket.

(Sorry for the delete, I had to edit)