Lycra shorts with a “diaper” sewn in and brightly colored tops with pockets in the back. Why do those serious cyclists dress so funny? In a word, because bicycle clothing is functional. It is designed to maximize your comfort while keeping you visible.
The bicycle shorts are all about comfort. The thick chamois pad (called a "chamois" since they were originally chamois leather) may look somewhat odd while you are walking around, but as soon as you sit on the bike, it pads your toosh and absorbs excess perspiration while riding. The longer cut on the leg also prevents chafing from occurring between your upper thigh and the nose of the saddle. When I first stared riding, I was a hold-out for a long time, continuing to bike for months in my nylon running shorts. But once I was on my first bicycle tour, with 60 miles each day, I quickly realized the need for bicycle shorts and bought my first pair during the tour. Since that day 28 years ago, for anything longer than a few miles, I ride in bicycle shorts. If you are looking for your first pair of cycling shorts, the Pearl Izumi Quest Shorts or Bellwether O2 Shorts are two to consider.
The other interesting article of clothing are the pocketed tops, called jerseys. The bright and sometimes even gaudy tops help to keep you safer, by making you highly visible to motorists. And those pockets in the back are great for holding things. In the “olden” days, it held our bananas and bag of gorp. Today it still holds all those great snack foods, for eating on the go, but it also holds your cell phone. Others may carry a multi-tool and a spare inner tube for quick and easy access. The Pearl Izumi Quest Jersey is popular basic jersey.
If you are new to cycling, you may still be bicycling in your running shorts or even your cut-off jeans. But I can guarantee, if you stick with the sport, you too will become a convert to those “funny looking clothes”.
Pearl Izumi and Bellwether are just two of the many brands of bicycle clothing Indianapolis available from Bicycle Garage Indy.