Your Guide to Padding
You have probably seen cyclist shorts at one point in your life. The signature padding can be the difference between loving and hating getting on the bike. Our bodies weren’t made to ride bikes, so we must find ways to make cycling comfortable and safe. Basically, these shorts reduce chafing, control moisture, remove pressure points, and they are shock absorbing.
Cycling shorts are usually made from stretchy materials, like Lycra or spandex. The key is that the shorts move with you, not against you.
The padding in a bike short is called a chamois pad (pronounced "shammy"). It is made to breathe, prevent bacteria, and remove moisture. The padding is made to reduce the pressure of your sit bones on the saddle.
Liner vs. shorts
There’s a difference between liners and shorts. Trust us- you don’t want to be caught on the trail in a lining. Fun fact, they are usually see-through- and sometimes you can’t really tell until they are on. A lining goes under a non-padded cycling short/pant. Shorts are worn on their own and are tight fitting.
Bibs vs shorts
Both are made of stretchy material and include a chamois (the pad that allows you to sit comfortably on your saddle). However, bibs are equipped with suspender-like straps and often go higher up the stomach and back than the standard short. The advantage of a bib is that they usually keep the chamois right where it needs to be. They also don’t dig into your stomach when you’re riding because there’s no waistband. Bibs also don’t need to be continually adjusted and pulled up like shorts might due to the shoulder straps.
**Pro Tip: Most people don’t wear underwear with shorts. Chamois are designed to be worn against the skin, wearing something under them defeats a lot of their benefits.
The tightness of your bike shorts all comes down preference. Mountain bikers often prefer baggier shorts that are abrasion resistant with liners inside. These allow the biker to get off and hike or do other activities. Road cyclists often prefer skintight shorts to be as aerodynamic as possible. The fit of the shorts should never cut off your circulation but they should stay in place when you move.
What could be more annoying than your shorts constantly riding up? Often, shorts will have a sticky layer on the bottom that will prevent against riding up.