Author Topic: Alternatives to bike shorts?  (Read 4164 times)

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Offline BikeFreak

Alternatives to bike shorts?
« on: March 12, 2023, 03:24:29 am »
Hi,

In connection to my previous post about ethanol and staying hygienic: https://forums.adventurecycling.org/index.php?topic=17600.0

Ideally, I would like to find a laundromat about every week and do my laundry. I simply don't have the patience/time to wash every single evening.

1. If you theoretically remove the chamois/pad from the shorts to the saddle itself, basically installing a saddle pad, then you can use whatever normal shorts you want. With that solution, you get rid of bulky bike shorts and can use rather normal thin underwear. But this solution is not common. Can anyone explain more scientifically the problems with that solution?

2. It is common not to use any underwear when using padded shorts. But what about going against and use some thin underwear anyhow? Thin underwear that is lightweight and low in bulk. Then the idea is to wash and handle the thin underwear instead of the padded shorts.

For me, chafing from seams or fabric folds has never been a problem. For me, the red pimples are my main problem.

Anyone with some hands on experience?

Lucas

Offline John Nettles

  • World Traveler
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Re: Alternatives to bike shorts?
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2023, 07:42:27 am »
Hi,

In connection to my previous post about ethanol and staying hygienic: https://forums.adventurecycling.org/index.php?topic=17600.0

Ideally, I would like to find a laundromat about every week and do my laundry. I simply don't have the patience/time to wash every single evening.

1. If you theoretically remove the chamois/pad from the shorts to the saddle itself, basically installing a saddle pad, then you can use whatever normal shorts you want. With that solution, you get rid of bulky bike shorts and can use rather normal thin underwear. But this solution is not common. Can anyone explain more scientifically the problems with that solution?

2. It is common not to use any underwear when using padded shorts. But what about going against and use some thin underwear anyhow? Thin underwear that is lightweight and low in bulk. Then the idea is to wash and handle the thin underwear instead of the padded shorts.

For me, chafing from seams or fabric folds has never been a problem. For me, the red pimples are my main problem.

Anyone with some hands on experience?

Lucas
I can't really help with #1 as I have always used bike shorts with a built-in chamois/pad.

As far as #2 goes, I don't know either.  BUT, the main reason to use a pad/chamois is that the pad basically prevents the skin from chafing by sliding on the outer fabric.  The original true chamois worked really well for this but stuck to the skin and retain moisture and then the chamois became a little stiff until washed properly.  Underwear, regardless of how thin, may cause friction which causes the chafing but you say that does not effect you.  Of course, millions of cyclists ride with underwear all the time, i.e. a lot of commuters in China, India, Europe, etc. where they typically ride short distances.  A lot of the world cyclo-tourists do also but there daily distances are usually not as great as a typical North American touring day.  Plus, I am guessing they are a bit more toughed up but that is just a guess.

As far as the pimples go, if they are the really hard kind, they can be a literal tour ending issue.  They are primarily an infection caused from minute amounts of bacteria getting into the skin from the micro skin abrasions while riding. 

Super clean shorts and skin greatly help to prevent them.  The heavier you are, the more likely you are to get them due to more abrasions taking place. If you do get them, the prescription (at least in the USA) medicine clindamycin gets rid of the pimples after a few days when used with diligent cleaning, i.e. use a baby wipe 5-6 times a day plus a good cleaning in the infected area with soap and water. 

The only times I get the pimples is when I do not have an opportunity to decently clean the shorts say during remote tours and the shorts are not properly washed.  Most likely for me on long hot and/or non-paved riding days.  Since you say the seams of underwear do not cause issues, you can just try your idea of wearing clean underwear and see how that works.  Report back as this is not an uncommon question.  The most important thing is to just keep the area really clean.

Hope this helps, John

Offline jamawani

Re: Alternatives to bike shorts?
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2023, 08:31:04 am »
I've toured for 35 year - - tens of thousands of miles.
Early on I switched to boxer briefs under full length hikers.
(More because I have a very fair complextion and need the long pants.)
But I've always been comfortable and never had butt rash.
Maybe I just have an iron butt, though.
Makes hand washing/drying and laundry much easier.

You'd need to do a few longer test runs to see if this works for you.
YMMV.

Offline HobbesOnTour

Re: Alternatives to bike shorts?
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2023, 01:43:15 pm »
Ditto on the not wearing of any padding.
I use quick drying boxers. My preferred saddle is a Brooks B17 but clocked up a fair distance on a C17 too.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Alternatives to bike shorts?
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2023, 02:00:08 pm »
You can wash riding stuff when you shower. Laundry facilities every night are not necessary.

Offline UncaBuddha

Re: Alternatives to bike shorts?
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2023, 11:31:46 am »
As to question 1, most chamois is "molded" to have channels and grooves where you don't want pressure and padding where you do (over your sit bones). I have yet to see a "saddle pad" that has similar characteristics. The pads seem to just be a blob of padding. This blob allows your sit bones to sag down into that nice cushion but also allows cushion to fill up the places where you don't want pressure. Ouch.

I find I can ride multiple days by using Bag Balm on my crotch when suiting up. The BB has anti-bacterial properties that seem to keep the rash at bay.