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  1. #1
    mm9
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    Spandex

    Anybody else find your just not comfortable wearing spandex on your mtb or your road bike? I've been wearing spandex for months on my road bike now, to try to get used to wearing them. Physically they are very comfortable, but I've never felt right wearing it. I don't have any problems with other folks wearing spandex. To each their own. I do feel comfortable wearing them under baggies or shorts on my mountain bike.

    For those who don't wear spandex as an outer layer, have you found other solutions that work well?

  2. #2
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    Eh, at this point I feel weird wearing baggies. Then again, I grew up wearing Lycra (started biking at a young age) so I don't even think twice when I pull them on, except maybe the few times I go to the bike park. I'm on an XC bike anyway, so I might just get weird looks regardless.

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    I ride with good bibs under my baggies. This is primarily for having 2 layers of protection in a crash. Spandex is almost nothing.

    There's little aero advantage to wearing spandex on an mtb. In a pro or elite level XC, there might be some, but it's very little.

    Now on the road, you kind of need spandex. Going 35+ mph and doing any kind of pedaling is parachute and air enema like.

    If you don't feel right wearing spandex on the road, that's up to you. I think baggies on mtb are almost a necessity for crash protection.

    It may also you have not found the right road "kit". Let me help here.
    This one might be a good choice for you.

    Spandex-spray.jpg

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    Or this guy (this guy is famous)
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    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

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    And, of course, if you want to ride to get your dinner for that night, this works well
    Spandex-fish.jpg
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

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    I'll never wear spandex. I have two pairs of baggy shorts with a chamois built in. I have a couple moisture wicking t-shirts that I wear. You can find a baggy jersey and shorts at most bike shops.

  6. #6
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    lycra and spandex all day

    anything else just bulls**ts up the pedaling and hammering action

    who gives a F*c what anyone else thinks.

  7. #7
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    They serve a purpose, and do the job better than anything else. Comfort on the long haul is the name of the game, and a good pair of bibs does it best.

    When I first got into mtbing, a 100 years ago, I used to laugh and make fun of my buddy, who was a xc racer, for wearing lycra all the time. The more I rode, the more I began to understand why. Never ride without my bibs now, don't forget the chammy butter....

    I do wear shorts over them on the mtb now, but it's mainly for fashion.

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    After 25 yrs of lycra and at the ripe old age of 47 I just purchased my first pair of baggies (on sale of course!) and am proud to say I am a convert. I was afraid they would be falling down as well as snagging the front of my post but neither of those has happened.

  9. #9
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    When I was first getting into it, I wore baggies because Mountain Bikers Wear Baggies. Then I started doing some road riding and found out road shorts are better than the liners in baggies all the time. Then I wondered why I was wearing two pairs of shorts. Then I started riding with a team.

    I don't even own summer weight baggies anymore. I do have a pair of gore-tex shorts, but I also have a pair of fitted gore-tex bib knickers. Which are awesome.
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    I used to wear cycling shorts with a long sleeved cotton shirt.

    Nowadays I wear my cycling shorts plus "mtb" or casual shorts over those. Up top still cotton long sleeves or dry fit long sleeves.

    Never with the tight stuff since I have bulges in all the wrong places. Lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by mm9 View Post

    For those who don't wear spandex as an outer layer, have you found other solutions that work well?
    It's about finding good baggies...I love the Zoic Ether. In my opinion, spandex has no place on a mountain biker, but a lot of riders are roadies who converted or dirt roadies...or if they just prefer them, good for them. They just look out of place and I like the protection and feel of wearing good baggies.

  12. #12
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    I go full roadie on my road bike. On the MTB, I wear my roadie bib shorts under the baggies. I've found that even liners will shift around while pedaling. The bib shorts stay in place better than any liner I've tried.

    I did wear my roadie kit on the MTB a few times...and it was nice not to have flapping loose clothes while riding.

  13. #13
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    On a road bike, spandex. It's a big deal, actually, and don't believe a word anyone else says to you about why. Spandex on road bikes isn't about aero. It's not about breathability. It isn't about style, fashion, being able to move freely, or anything else. It is, in fact, only about one, very specific, very important thing: Stinging insects absolutely cannot fly up the leg of a pair of spandex shorts. And at speeds of 30+ mph, that's a catastrophic problem.

    On the MTB, I'll wear the same shorts as the road bike, with a loose club logo'd underarmor type t-shirt and a pair of mesh athletic shorts from target or where ever over top of the spandex. It's cheap and it works.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    lycra and spandex all day

    anything else just bulls**ts up the pedaling and hammering action

    who gives a F*c what anyone else thinks.
    How does it feel when you crash with that thin layer you and that rocky trail?
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
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    I think he's a d!ckhead
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    On a road bike, spandex. It's a big deal, actually, and don't believe a word anyone else says to you about why. Spandex on road bikes isn't about aero. It's not about breathability. It isn't about style, fashion, being able to move freely, or anything else. It is, in fact, only about one, very specific, very important thing: Stinging insects absolutely cannot fly up the leg of a pair of spandex shorts. And at speeds of 30+ mph, that's a catastrophic problem.

    On the MTB, I'll wear the same shorts as the road bike, with a loose club logo'd underarmor type t-shirt and a pair of mesh athletic shorts from target or where ever over top of the spandex. It's cheap and it works.
    Humm, never thought of that bug thing..........for me, it's the parachute effect. Now, I have had 3 bees and one butterfly go down my jersey. 2 bees on the road, 1 sting. On my mtb, 1 bee, 1 butterfly. The bee stung me and I smushed it big time. I gave the butterfly a ride half way across Wilder Ranch state park. I did not know it was in there until I stopped and felt it fluttering
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

  18. #18
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    Less for me (but it is a factor) is the crash protection. Less so for me, moreso for my shorts. Good lycra shorts are expensive. Baggies over them helps keep them from shredding in a crash.

    More importantly for me, though, is the overhanging vegetation that is sometimes thorny and tears at skin or clothing. Baggy shorts are typically made of tougher fabric, and they shrug off that kinda stuff. Saves the expensive, less durable shorts.

    LMAO about the stinging insects. Never had a bee/wasp fly up my shorts while riding, but I have had them get into my helmet vents. Jump off the bike, rip the helmet off, throw it on the ground, and run away screaming like a 10 year old girl. I can imagine one flying up your shorts would be a pure nightmare. Thanks for the bad dreams tonight.

    My favorite baggies, NZO Dobies, can be worn without lycra/chamois underneath. And I wear them that way occasionally. Not for rides longer than 3 hours, when I want as much chafing protection as possible. If I'm going to pull out the chamois cream, I wear a real chamois.

    When it's humid in the woods, I like a shirt that's more loose, but also has an airy weave, as the flapping helps ventilate. When it's too humid for sweat to evaporate, a full lycra kit is miserable. Not as miserable as wearing soaked cotton. But it's not fun.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post

    LMAO about the stinging insects. Never had a bee/wasp fly up my shorts while riding, but I have had them get into my helmet vents. Jump off the bike, rip the helmet off, throw it on the ground, and run away screaming like a 10 year old girl. I can imagine one flying up your shorts would be a pure nightmare. Thanks for the bad dreams tonight.

    .
    Oh that was you????

    I got video and uploaded it. You are totally trending right now. Women want you and guys want to be like you.
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

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    I do not wear spandex no matter what kind of bike I am riding. I started out in the mid 80s riding BMX, so I didn't start off wearing tight stuff to begin with. I am not sure how anyone can claim that a skin tight outfit is comfortable. Skin tight clothes aren't comfortable off the bike, I'm not sure how they become comfortable on the bike. Its really all about fashion just like shaving/waxing. My favorite shorts are Mavic Stratos and I wear non-spandex mtb jerseys. They do not "parachute" even at high speed, and they aren't loose enough that bugs are flying up my shorts.
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  21. #21
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    Lycra is for old people.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ziscwg View Post
    Oh that was you????

    I got video and uploaded it. You are totally trending right now. Women want you and guys want to be like you.
    Most excellent. Be sure to send me 60% when youtube offers to monetize the vid with ad placements.

  23. #23
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    I don't know how anyone can claim to be comfortable doing sports in boxers.
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  24. #24
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    I have always worn normal lycra shorts for mountain bike.
    So much easier to move around on the bike with shorts that do not grab the saddle at all.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ziscwg View Post
    I ride with good bibs under my baggies. This is primarily for having 2 layers of protection in a crash. Spandex is almost nothing.

    There's little aero advantage to wearing spandex on an mtb. In a pro or elite level XC, there might be some, but it's very little.

    Now on the road, you kind of need spandex. Going 35+ mph and doing any kind of pedaling is parachute and air enema like.

    If you don't feel right wearing spandex on the road, that's up to you. I think baggies on mtb are almost a necessity for crash protection.

    It may also you have not found the right road "kit". Let me help here.
    This one might be a good choice for you.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Or this guy (this guy is famous)
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    There's actually a significant aero advantage to lyrca on the mountain bike. Specialized tested it in their wind tunnel.


    Also, for the lads, it has been shown that baggies do not provide enough airflow to the nether regions and can cause issues with those trying to have children. It may vary from person to person and short to short, but just FYI

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    Baggies for me. Looking for some with a white or very light colored cotton outer shell (so I can tiedye it).

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    When I started mountain biking seriously in 2005, I only wore baggies. But about 3-4 years ago I switched to lycra. I'm never going back. Functionally, nothing I've tried compares to a good pair of lycra shorts or bibs. And personally, I think they look pretty good if you're in shape.

    On a related note...I've heard people say - mostly non bikers - that men should never wear spandex, but most of those same people never say a word about the pants football players wear. And those pants are every bit as revealing as lycra bike shorts. In fact, as someone who has worn both, I can attest that football pants are more revealing because they're made out of a thinner material and they don't have a chamois.

  28. #28
    EAT MORE GRIME
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    Quote Originally Posted by ziscwg View Post
    How does it feel when you crash with that thin layer you and that rocky trail?
    it hurts what do you think it feels like, kittens ?

    but I am not a total wuss
    and it is part of the game.

    get hurt, recover, roll

    I only crash for .000001% the time I am on the bike, the other
    times I am happy to be in clothing which allows me to perform.
    why dress up in baggy crap that weighs me down, gets snagged on the
    saddle or other crap, and generally says 'I give up' ?
    Last edited by 127.0.0.1; 06-24-2015 at 06:23 AM.

  29. #29
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    If shorts were slim enough to avoid baggy drag, breathable and offered ass pads and didn't flash $120 tags I'd drop the skimmies. Until then the world watches over my spandex padded ass.

    Also I couldnt think of a good enough pair of shorts to cool me down in Pennyslvania's ballsac sweaty summer heat.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    On a road bike, spandex. It's a big deal, actually, and don't believe a word anyone else says to you about why. Spandex on road bikes isn't about aero. It's not about breathability. It isn't about style, fashion, being able to move freely, or anything else. It is, in fact, only about one, very specific, very important thing: Stinging insects absolutely cannot fly up the leg of a pair of spandex shorts. And at speeds of 30+ mph, that's a catastrophic problem.

    On the MTB, I'll wear the same shorts as the road bike, with a loose club logo'd underarmor type t-shirt and a pair of mesh athletic shorts from target or where ever over top of the spandex. It's cheap and it works.
    catastrophic really ? maybe if you are allergic

    In different rides over the years...have been stung on the achilles 3 times, inside thigh, ear, inside ear, and >>inside the mouth twice<<, all while riding. don't see how clothing has anything to do with it. I kept riding and some of the pain was transcendental but it elevates adrenaline and sometimes feels hot and smoky, almost irreverent.

  31. #31
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    Spandex-150309_a18932-600.jpg
    "Goodbye, Kevin. I could look the other way with the boozing and the skirt-chasing, but I did not sign up for bicycle clothes.



    Funny that a) my name is Kevin and b) I just started wearing a full lycra kit after years of baggies.

    This is going to sound stupid but I wear lycra on my HT SS and baggies on my FS trail bike.


  32. #32
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    For me, it depends on my route for both my road and MTB since both for me involve riding roads to get to my destination. I always wear spandex, but if I'm heading into populous areas I will layer up with baggies out of modesty, quite honestly. If'n I portage the bike to a trail system, I doff the baggies and go spandex for a better ride.
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    I wear spandex on both my road bike and MTB, they're way more comfortable than baggie shorts. I also spend quite a bit of time on my bike throughout the day so I wear lycra alot. I found my level of modesty decreasing as I wore spandex more often, what others think doesn't bother me as I'm in shape and they're not.

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    Lycra on the road all the way. Anything else is just not as comfortable. On the bike, I'm not worried about it in the least. Yeah, I don't go hang out in the LBS or coffee shop in my spandex, but it is all about the right tool for the job.

    On the trail, I seldom wear only lycra shorts. Too many rocks and branches and stuff -- that thin layer of material just doesn't seem like enough to survive a crash. I have a couple pair of baggies, or will just throw a pair of shorts on over my road bibs.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    catastrophic really ? maybe if you are allergic
    .

    My hub got a wasp inside his baggy shirt. He's only mildly allergic but in the midst of swatting at it (one of those automatic things; you aren't thinking) he managed an endo and cracked a few ribs.

  36. #36
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    So long as you're withing five feet of your bike, spandex is A-okay.

  37. #37
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    I wear lycra over baggies!


    I think this was funny the first couple times it was posted in the numerous lycra vs. baggies threads...




    ...but I still get a chuckle out of it, lol!
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  38. #38
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    I didn't wear lycra/spandex in the '70's when I started turning old Schwinn's into knobby tire & very heavy offroad bikes.

    I didn't wear lycra/spandex in the '80's when I had a 10-speed road bike (for a couple of years until it was stolen) or in the '90's when I rode a custom steel folding MTB.

    Since then, I wear long baggy pants with a cushioned liner on super technical and rocky rides and spandex/lycra shorts (with no butt buttr) all other times. If I didn't, my butt would be shredded- particularly on long rides (like the 84 miler I did last Saturday).
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkirkpatri View Post
    So long as you're withing five feet of your bike, spandex is A-okay.
    What if I cased a double and got launched?

    My valet is never there when I need him.
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  40. #40
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    I doubt Sergeant Spandex even knows what a double is.

    Shuttle Monkey knows, though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    What if I cased a double and got launched?

    My valet is never there when I need him.
    Acceptable as the distance is due to an act of riding said bike versus just hanging out.

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    I'm a convert. Always road baggy short/shirts and then I bought a road bike and found out how much better I like the tight stuff. If I can get over riding in that stuff on the road where tons of people see me I can get over nobody seeing me out in the woods in it.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by ljsmith View Post
    I do not wear spandex no matter what kind of bike I am riding. I started out in the mid 80s riding BMX, so I didn't start off wearing tight stuff to begin with. I am not sure how anyone can claim that a skin tight outfit is comfortable. Skin tight clothes aren't comfortable off the bike, I'm not sure how they become comfortable on the bike. Its really all about fashion just like shaving/waxing. My favorite shorts are Mavic Stratos and I wear non-spandex mtb jerseys. They do not "parachute" even at high speed, and they aren't loose enough that bugs are flying up my shorts.
    You're correct about the shaving... but very very wrong about the spandex... If what you are saying was true all mtb and road bike racers would be wearing baggies... and that is certainly not the case..

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwcet8k View Post
    And personally, I think they look pretty good if you're in shape..
    omg so true... when women tell you look bad in the tight shorts... it's not the short's fault bro... sorry all spandex does is reveal what your real body shape is...

    All I know is that a lot of women love to see pro football players in their tight pants... and that is because of theri bodies ... not the outfit..

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by RajunCajun44 View Post
    omg so true... when women tell you look bad in the tight shorts... it's not the short's fault bro... sorry all spandex does is reveal what your real body shape is...

    All I know is that a lot of women love to see pro football players in their tight pants... and that is because of theri bodies ... not the outfit..
    So it's the body that makes the outfit and not the outfit that makes the body. I've been doing it all wrong all these years.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  46. #46
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    I wear a good set of Lycra under MTB-specific baggies. They seem to have an inseam that is cut to accomodate a saddle. I've ridden in non-MTB shorts and they were slightly obtrusive. I've never caught any pair that fit well.

    That said, 95% of the reason I wear baggies is because I wear soft knee pads and mid-top Teva flats on every ride. Lycra and knee pads and flats is maybe the most 'Fred-worthy' thing ever on an MTB. I'm not a fashionista, but that's beyond ridiculous.
    The other 5% is I like to have some pockets for stuff.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkirkpatri View Post
    So long as you're withing five feet of your bike, spandex is A-okay.
    This may be a decent compromise on the subject! With a pair of lightweight pull over shorts rolled up in the cycling shirt back pocket - for lunch stops etc.

    So, I tried out my mtn bike baggies over some lycra shorts on a road bike ride yesterday. Not very comfortable (physically) - I've become spoiled by the lycra only. Comfort vs. modesty!

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    I say run what ya brung. Who gives a rats (Y) if others don't like what you are wearing. What is this grade school?
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  49. #49
    mm9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    I say run what ya brung. Who gives a rats (Y) if others don't like what you are wearing. What is this grade school?
    It's not about others - it's about what makes us feel comfortable. And, the post was to see if there were other acceptable alternatives to the two extremes.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by mm9 View Post
    It's not about others - it's about what makes us feel comfortable. And, the post was to see if there were other acceptable alternatives to the two extremes.
    Alright I'm comfortable in baggies yet not ashamed to wear skin tight Lycra. I just fear the latter brings wayyyy too much attention [more than normal] from the ladies.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  51. #51
    mm9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    Alright I'm comfortable in baggies yet not ashamed to wear skin tight Lycra. I just fear the latter brings wayyyy too much attention [more than normal] from the ladies.
    That's what I'm getting at. The cat calls and propositions are getting old. I just want to ride my bike and be left alone !

  52. #52
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    A good pair of bib shorts will have a chamois come up far enough to cover the junk.

    Honestly most people don't even really care. I've been in markets, coffee shops, fast food joints in my full roadie kit. Most don't even bat an eye.

    I started off wearing board shorts over my bib shorts when I began road riding. The day that made me stop using the board shorts was on a windy day. The buffeting and flapping on my shorts were becoming unbearable. I stopped, took them off and put them in my jersey pocket...never looked back.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by mm9 View Post
    It's not about others - it's about what makes us feel comfortable. And, the post was to see if there were other acceptable alternatives to the two extremes.
    I used to commute by bike and get around town a lot that way. I'd just wear whatever. I used toe clips on that bike so I could wear whatever shoes.

    Some life changes mean that these days, I only ride my bike as a sport. Which means I pretty much only ride it in lycra shorts and a polyester three pocket jersey. Most of the time, they even match.

    When I first started riding with a team, that felt like a costume. But out on the trails, nobody else cares. And at events, all my peers are pretty much dressed the same way. So it feels pretty "me" - my membership in my team is important to me, and there are some trappings. I guess it would be fair to call that fashion, actually, though I think each sport's clothing is still heavily influenced by how it actually performs.

    So I went to lunch with some coworkers after a cycling promotion event. Some cities have bike-to-work day, but Washington has the entire month of May. The irony of driving my ginormous SUV to an event celebrating riding bikes as transportation was too much for me, so I rode the bike I keep at work for lunch rides. I wore casual shorts and a company tee shirt because I wear casual pants and a company tee shirt every day. Usually jeans or Carhartts; the shorts were a concession.

    Turning left onto the main road by my building wearing casual clothes and riding my bike, I felt more like I was in costume than I do when I take that turn in the middle of the work day wearing team kit.

    Kinda funny.

    Just goes to show how much this is driven by familiarity and context.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    catastrophic really ? maybe if you are allergic

    In different rides over the years...have been stung on the achilles 3 times, inside thigh, ear, inside ear, and >>inside the mouth twice<<, all while riding. don't see how clothing has anything to do with it. I kept riding and some of the pain was transcendental but it elevates adrenaline and sometimes feels hot and smoky, almost irreverent.
    I notice your list doesn't include being stung on the junk while trying to negotiate a high speed turn going down a mountain. So, yes, with the wee b***ard still in your shorts, and that not being an area you want to swat, catastrophic.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by mm9 View Post
    It's not about others - it's about what makes us feel comfortable. And, the post was to see if there were other acceptable alternatives to the two extremes.
    However, some feel more comfortable if others are not mocking their apparel. For some, wearing spandex in crowded populated conditions can result in road rage by the haters.
    The only important thing these days, is rhythm and melody. Rhythm...and melody.

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    I used to commute by bike and get around town a lot that way. I'd just wear whatever. I used toe clips on that bike so I could wear whatever shoes.

    Some life changes mean that these days, I only ride my bike as a sport. Which means I pretty much only ride it in lycra shorts and a polyester three pocket jersey. Most of the time, they even match.

    When I first started riding with a team, that felt like a costume. But out on the trails, nobody else cares. And at events, all my peers are pretty much dressed the same way. So it feels pretty "me" - my membership in my team is important to me, and there are some trappings. I guess it would be fair to call that fashion, actually, though I think each sport's clothing is still heavily influenced by how it actually performs.

    So I went to lunch with some coworkers after a cycling promotion event. Some cities have bike-to-work day, but Washington has the entire month of May. The irony of driving my ginormous SUV to an event celebrating riding bikes as transportation was too much for me, so I rode the bike I keep at work for lunch rides. I wore casual shorts and a company tee shirt because I wear casual pants and a company tee shirt every day. Usually jeans or Carhartts; the shorts were a concession.

    Turning left onto the main road by my building wearing casual clothes and riding my bike, I felt more like I was in costume than I do when I take that turn in the middle of the work day wearing team kit.

    Kinda funny.

    Just goes to show how much this is driven by familiarity and context.
    Great insight. I actually joined a casual road ride when the trails were muddy, and I felt kind of like a dufus in baggies and riding a big-tired mountain bike. Everyone was nice and welcoming and I didn't hear any negative comments though.

    I generally wear zoic baggies and a jersey, or if I am behind on laundry, whatever happens to be clean. I'm cool with others wearing spandex, it is functional and even on MTB I'm sure there is a small gain to be had.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crankout View Post
    However, some feel more comfortable if others are not mocking their apparel. For some, wearing spandex in crowded populated conditions can result in road rage by the haters.
    True - it does seem to be a subject of disdain for the road ragers.

  58. #58
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    Baggies with Lycra are great for much cooler weather but here in the deep South, I prefer just Lycra during the hot & humid summer months........I like the "family jewels" to breathe so I'm not getting rubbed raw, even with chami cream.........
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