• You don’t need special bike underwear

    by  • January 16, 2013 • Education • 1 Comment

    From Grant Petersen’s “Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike“:

    By Grant Petersen

    Underwear isn’t even a topic among bike riders, because most serious American riders don’t wear it – they wear bike shorts instead. I say, wear underwear – even if it’s cotton. That goes against a powerful rumor mill that considers cotton underwear a no-no for any kind of ride beyond a ten-minute commute. The naysayers say it gets wet with sweat; the sweat makes your skin more vulnerable to chafing; the seams are uncomfortable at best and will cause saddle sores at worst.

    Hogwash. I have never, ever, had a ride of any length wrecked by inadequate underwear. Now, I haven’t ridden in cotton underwear for longer than about four hours, so I’m not recommending it for ultra-events or your next long-distance tour in the rain. For those rides, real bike shorts with built-in, smooth, antibacterial pads are the ticket. But I’ve got to say that any ride that requires or genuinely benefits from a padded, anatomical, high-tech, anti-microbial synthetic chamois slathered in crotch cream is a ride I don’t want to do. On any fair-weather ride of a few hours or less, your underwear – cotton, polyester, or silk; brief or boxer – doesn’t matter. There’s just not enough time for your underwear’s deficiencies to surface.

    My favorite underwear for riding is light, seamless, 100 percent wool. I can ride it in all weather and not change it after the ride, because it doesn’t get clammy.

    When the bike is a good and friendly part of your everyday life, you shouldn’t have to change your underwear before riding. Take a few risks, see what works for you, and I bet you discover you have a whole drawer full of riding lingerie.

    Don’t worry about special socks, either. I ride in bike socks most of the time, but I wear them off the bike most of the time, too, so I don’t consider them bike-only. Bike socks are just over-the-ankle socks: thinner for road, thicker for trails, wool for cold, polysomething for hot. And even thin, cotton socks – bad for hiking – work fine for riding, because your foot stays put in the shoe and doesn’t sweat as much, so there’s no chance for a blister.

    Excerpted from JUST RIDE: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike, by Grant Petersen.  Used by permission of Workman Publishing Company, Inc.  All rights reserved.

    One Response to You don’t need special bike underwear

    1. Adam
      August 29, 2013 at 6:35 pm

      I disagree. If you’re commuting to work, or even a night out to eat, you don’t want to be sitting on a crotch full of sweaty cotton. Synthetic fibers like polyester or lyric, most commonly found in “sport underwear,” work best. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, pretty much anything that can wick some moisture away from your skin is better than materials that absorb it. I do agree with you on the socks though.

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