Updated: Aug 26, 2021
Every single one of us has made this cycling mistake when it comes to jumping on a spin bike, going for a ride in the neighborhood or showing up for your first group road cycling ride: wearing underwear.
OK... let’s say you are that rare newbie that has been attending cycling classes at the local RIDE Indoor Cycling Studio where our favorite #ridetribe cycling instructor Sandy Byrne teaches. (This lady is amazing...her internal compass...is ride every thing, every where, all time and riding makes her feel like she can accomplish anything!)
📽️Scenario...picture this ...
After a few weeks of regularly attending spin classes, your favorite wonder-woman undies in bright red peek out from beneath your favorite Athleta capris, and the nice lady next to you on bike 6 leans over and says, "Bless your heart, honey, you don't wear undies when you ride your bike indoors or under your bike shorts- that is a no and not good for you."
It happens on the trail and road rides as well - we went out on a scout ride for the PinkStrong Shero Mission Ride, and Irene stated immediately after the ride, "I think I need a new seat - I am raw in all the wrong places💔." After a few probing questions, we found her undies were interfering with her ability to be amazing.😱
But we'll save you from those awkward beginner moments by providing you with a simple instruction to correctly wear those cushioned, lined or padded bike shorts.
We got you, friend.
Let’s get you riding like a boss and give you a guide on how to wear cycling shorts appropriately for attending spin classes or riding outside on the roads, trails, and gravel cycling paths.
How to Properly Wear & Buy Cycling Shorts
So you've taken the plunge and purchased a pair of bike shorts with a cushioned, sewn-in chamois (pronounced "shammy"). You're left with just one question: How do I put these things on?
Put that one in the category of "Things Nobody Tells You." Whether you're new to the sport or have been pedaling for years without cushioning, you've probably heard that you should purchase some "appropriate" bike shorts. However, the guidance usually ends there, which, to be honest, may lead to some very awkward rider mistakes.
Panties and tightey whites need to be uninvited to every spin class, trainer and bike ride you have planned for the future.
Leave The Undies At Home.
The obvious first step is to wear your bike shorts without underwear. The chamois inside the shorts is intended to drain sweat and dry fast, which not only keeps you cool but also prevents germs from growing, which may cause rashes and blisters.
The chamois is also designed to sit snugly against your skin when you pedal in the saddle, preventing friction and chafing.
That means going commando in your chamois shorts, because wearing underwear adds an extra layer of material—often cotton—as well as more seams and other details that might trap moisture, bunch up, and create friction. Because friction is not your friend, leave the drawers at home.
How To Put On Cycling Shorts
No one ever teaches you how to put on bike shorts. There is a sure-fire simple two-step method you can use to put on your shorts to guarantee your chamois is ready for the ride.
To ensure that they operate effectively, and avoid having an angry kitty kat or raging manly bits full of grief- you should put them on correctly.
What does that even mean? The fabric nearest your treasure box should be smooth and taut throughout - [tight is right most of the time], with no sagging or bunching, and the chamois should fit tightly against your skin.
It should feel like a second skin when you put on your cycling shorts.
Pull on the shorts, then lay a hand over the pad between your legs and bend your right leg up and out, pushing the pad firmly into position, then repeat with the left leg. When finished, the shorts should fit snugly and smoothly over your body, with no sagging, bunching, or bagging.
How To Wear Bib Cycling Shorts
Place the straps beneath your jersey.
If you're wearing bib shorts (shorts with suspender-like straps that keep the shorts in place), the straps are meant to be worn underneath, not over, your cycling jersey. If you're wearing a base layer, slip it into your shorts and tie the straps over it before pulling on your jersey.
For women, the following should be worn in the following order: sports bra, base layer, bib straps, and jersey.
Should You Butter Your Bum?
Some people choose to add chamois cream—an anti-chafing balm or lotion that you apply to your skin or the pad—to further minimize friction and the danger of chafing.
Did you know... chamois cream was required when chamois pads were composed of high-quality leather, similar to a baseball glove, rather than high-tech synthetic material. Today's meticulously made chamois pads, on the other hand, are built to function without them.
Personally, we feel there is something wrong if you need to rub all types of lotion on yourself.
To bike without friction or sores, you shouldn't require a bucket of chamois cream. You most likely have shorts that do not properly suit your physique.
Many on of the cyclists and riders on our team swear with the right shorts for the distance, type of riding and seat setup - they only have to use a minimal amount chamois cream. We welcome a bum check after our next training ride for our PinkStrong Shero Event.
Worth mentioning that if you’re going to be riding in wet conditions, especially for a long ride, chamois cream can provide added protection in those more extreme circumstances.
Likewise, if you plan to ride on gravel or rough unpaved surfaces where you may be shifting around in the saddle a lot, a layer of lotion can help reduce friction and keep you comfortable.