I used to think bike shorts just made you look cool, and weren’t necessary for anything other than enhancing the aerodynamic-ness in competitive cycling. That is completely wrong!
Bike shorts are mandatory if you are going to be riding a bicycle for any length of time longer about 5 minutes a day. Why, you might ask? Well, remember in high school anatomy when you looked at the human skeleton, and mused over the usefulness of a tailbone? I am still wondering what the use is, and haven’t figured it out; however I have figured out what happens when you put 250+ pounds on your tailbone! The next week after your first 5 or 10 mile ride, you walk around all day like John Wayne, having to carry around a doughnut pillow to work in shame. I am serious folks, bike shorts are an ABSOLUTE NECESSITY!
But which bike shorts to pick? Because they range in price between $20-100+, it is sometimes hard to pick out the exact ones you need without spending too much money. My first pair of bike shorts two years ago was in the lower range, I think about $30-35. They were functional, had a thin pad, and were useful on rides up to 5 miles without a great deal of pain. The first time I used them on a 15 mile ride, I was sore for about 2 days. If you are truly using a bicycle as a recreational activity, once a week or month for a shorter distance, these should work ok.
For the caliber of training Anna and I are trying to perform, with a daily requirement of at least 10 miles, we had to kick up our bike short choice up a notch. TJ and the guys at Sun & Ski suggested that we use the Canari Elite Gel Cycling Shorts ($59.99).
When I first put the shorts on, I noticed that the pad was indeed very large and marshmallow-like. I was a little apprehensive because I thought maybe the pad was TOO large (again, I was used to a thin layer of padding). When I was driving my car to Memorial Park, I constantly noticed the pad between my legs. Anna and I were commenting to each other beforehand “I just don’t know about these shorts”.
It’s been over 3 months since I’ve touched a bike, and as such, I usually ride about 5-7 miles just to get my pelvis acclimated to the bicycle. The next day, with my old bike shorts, I used to be sore for at least a day.
This time, it was different. Anna and I rode 10 miles on an unfamiliar bike, and the super pad worked! I was not sore immediately afterward, nor am I sore the day after! While I am not a fan of lounging around in these shorts due to the awkwardness of the large pad, the extra amount of money spent on bike shorts, if used on any ride longer than 5 or 10 minutes at a time, is defintely worth it! Go Canari!