Even if you’re just a casual cyclist, investing in a pair of padded bike shorts is well worth it to add an extra bit of comfort to your ride.
They aren’t just for the hard-core cyclists out there — anyone can benefit from riding with a bit of extra cushion. Padded shorts work very simply: The insert, a.k.a. the chamois, acts as a shock absorber while you ride. This cushions your backside and prevents uncomfortable chafing down there, which is especially important during the warmer months, when we sweat more.
(Related: 5 Handy Biking Apps to Amp Up Your Ride)
According to Ira Kargel, co-owner of Gears Bike Shop, padded shorts “move with your body to help with chafing and shifting, which you could still experience with a gel seat cover.”
There are a few things to know before you take the shorts out for a spin. First of all, the chamois is designed to be worn against the skin — so no underwear. Second, you get what you pay for. “If you spend a little bit more, you get more breathable fabrics, better stretch and a higher-quality chamois with gel or cut-outs for breathability,” Kargel says.
And third, you might want to invest in chamois butter. It’s like hand cream, but for your crotch. If you’re going on long rides, this petroleum-free product won’t damage the elastic in your expensive bike shorts, and will really help prevent chafing and reduce friction between your thighs and the seat.
Let’s ride! Here are some products to try:
Samsara Performance 7″ Short, $ 149, samsara-cycling.com.
Women’s Pursuit Attack Short, $ 100, pearlizumi.com.
Specialized Women’s SL Race Bib Shorts, $ 235, redbike.ca.
Chamois Butt’r Her Anti-Chafe Cream, $ 28, mec.ca.
Now that you know about padded bike shorts, here are some post-bike ride rituals to try.