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Bike shorts and hygiene

Old 07-24-21, 08:50 AM
  #1  
cyclopath256
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Bike shorts and hygiene

Hi!

I am planning a 5 day bike tour, starting from my doorstep and wild camping on the way. I am using cycling shorts with padding, but only have one pair. Since they are quite expensive where I live (90 Euros in Germany), I hesitate buying another pair. I know that wearing underwear under the shorts is a big no-no in the cycling community, but I have even considered that to increase the level of hygiene on the trip.

Do you take multiple cycling shorts on multi-day bike tours? How do you care for hygiene down there?

Thanks!
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Old 07-24-21, 09:13 AM
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Tomm Willians
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I was not aware that wearing underwear was an issue?? I’ve never cycled without them and cannot think why it would a problem??
much cheaper than extra cycling shorts……
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Old 07-24-21, 09:15 AM
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I'd buy several pair. Maybe start a go fund me page if you have to. Otherwise just rinse them in fresh clean water at the end of every day. If you have a little oxyclean, or other sanitizer, then add it, but rinse twice with the last being just water. Let dry in the best breeze you can, but if they aren't completely dry the next start time, why care, they'll be sweaty soon anyway.

Underwear will just increase your chance of getting sores from wrinkles and abrasion. Underwear won't make anything any better. It's the microbes, fungus and stuff that will grow in the moist fabric that will bother your skin. They need to be removed daily so their population is kept to a minimum.
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Old 07-24-21, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Tomm Willians View Post
I was not aware that wearing underwear was an issue?? I’ve never cycled without them and cannot think why it would a problem??
much cheaper than extra cycling shorts……
It's been universally accepted...forever...that you don't wear anything under cycling shorts with a chamois. Never.
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Old 07-24-21, 09:26 AM
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Not sure what your accommodations on the tour will be, but, if you turn your shorts inside out and leave them out in the sun, the UV rays will kill off bacteria. You can also bring a small bottle of Woolite and rinse them out in a sink between uses. Personally, I'd take two pairs; one to ride in while the other is sunbathing or drying out.
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Old 07-24-21, 09:36 AM
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Buy more riding shorts. If you can't afford them you shouldn't be touring the countryside. Easy for me to say I suppose. At least carry some soap and wash the shorts everyday. Even if they don't fully dry at least the bacteria will be neutralized.
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Old 07-24-21, 09:40 AM
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Wear underwear and only wear cycling shorts when cycling. Make a point to keep them clean as you can.
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Old 07-24-21, 09:55 AM
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Thanks to all your answers. Okay, I'll bite the bullet and buy another pair of cycling shorts. That way one pair can be washed in the evening and the second pair worn during the day while the first pair dries.

Which brings another question: given how slow the padding dries, how do you dry it? Ideally I would like to hang it up somewhere on the bike where the wind would act like a dryer, providing it doesn't rain of course. Do you have any experience with that?
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Old 07-24-21, 10:11 AM
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Get a shock cord and attach the pants to the rack. I put them on my back rack. Time and sun dries them, typically before the end of the day. In fact, I dry most of my clothes that way while on tour.

BTW. if it is less expensive, just purchase a chamois and wear it with shorts you may already own. Or buy a less expensive short, such as nylon athletic shorts. I am not aware of any advantages of wearing skin tight shorts on a tour where the goal is site seeing and not speed.
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Old 07-24-21, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I'd buy several pair. Maybe start a go fund me page if you have to. Otherwise just rinse them in fresh clean water at the end of every day. If you have a little oxyclean, or other sanitizer, then add it, but rinse twice with the last being just water. Let dry in the best breeze you can, but if they aren't completely dry the next start time, why care, they'll be sweaty soon anyway.
A gofundme for an extra pair of cycling shorts? hahaha now I’ve really heard it all.
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Old 07-24-21, 10:23 AM
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If you buy more shorts, get a pair with a removable liner/chamois. So then you can use the same outer shell with several pairs of liners. A lot of shorts now come as a shell without a liner, which you then buy separately. So you could buy one shell and 2 or 3 liners to rotate.
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Old 07-24-21, 10:30 AM
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cyclopath256
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Thank you all! That was some excellent advice!
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Old 07-24-21, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclopath256 View Post
Thanks to all your answers. Okay, I'll bite the bullet and buy another pair of cycling shorts. That way one pair can be washed in the evening and the second pair worn during the day while the first pair dries.

Which brings another question: given how slow the padding dries, how do you dry it? Ideally I would like to hang it up somewhere on the bike where the wind would act like a dryer, providing it doesn't rain of course. Do you have any experience with that?
Hang them inside out, preferably in the sun, with them stretched out some. I tour with two pair. Sometimes I hang the from the bike bars.

If they don’t dry over night you can strap them to your rear rack if you have them. Wind and sun will dry them pretty quickly.

And wearing unwashed shorts won’t mean the end of the world for you.

Last edited by indyfabz; 07-24-21 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 07-24-21, 11:51 AM
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Underwear under padded cycling shorts is not a big no no. I wear seamless, form fitting and breathable underwear under my cycling shorts all the time. Underwear isn't going to do anything to help the OP's sweat, bacteria and taint odors but other advice has been offered for that. I'm only chiming in because the Internet has propagated a slew of rules not just for cycling that people hold as a universal truth.
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Old 07-24-21, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Chuck M View Post
Underwear under padded cycling shorts is not a big no no. I wear seamless, form fitting and breathable underwear under my cycling shorts all the time. Underwear isn't going to do anything to help the OP's sweat, bacteria and taint odors but other advice has been offered for that. I'm only chiming in because the Internet has propagated a slew of rules not just for cycling that people hold as a universal truth.
I would say the advice pre-dates the internet by decades. Nothing to stop you being different though if it works for you.
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Old 07-24-21, 12:07 PM
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I've ridden in a pair of bibs for 5 straight days. Probably not the best idea but I was ok with it. The jersey smelt much worse.

I don't really need padding and sometimes nowadays, I use black "crew" rowing shorts. They are tight and black but no pad. I think I paid $10 for two pair online.
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Old 07-24-21, 12:12 PM
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I got the advice well before the Internet was around not to wear anything under my cycling shorts. I can't imagine needing (or wanting) to have anything, regardless of how form fitting it is, underneath my cycling shorts.

I'm not going to make fun of anyone else for doing so (well, maybe privately).
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Old 07-24-21, 01:33 PM
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I believe cycling shorts are actually designed to be worn without any material (i.e. undies) between the skin and the pad. The material that makes the pad is better for sweaty skin contact than underwear, plus the absence of wrinkles or chafing from underwear material. That's been my experience anyway having started with special "cycling" underwear at first and then no underwear for the last 20 years or so.

Anyway, another reason not to wear underwear is if you use chamois cream. I've recently started using it more than in the past and it help with potential sores.

I have baggies with a removable "liner" too. But that liner is pretty much a scant bicycle short, not much different than my old non-bib shorts. I can't see how that would reduce the issue in the OP- still requires the same maintenance / cleaning as any bike shorts. Just buy another pair of bike shorts and wear them under baggies - and that's any baggy shorts, not "bike" shorts - if you like wearing baggies.
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Old 07-24-21, 01:37 PM
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Wear the clean pair on day one.
On day two wash them and strap them to your rack to air dry while you ride commando style.
Repeat
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Old 07-24-21, 01:59 PM
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Apart from everything else that's wrong with underpants on a bike, after washing them they take longer to dry than bike shorts. On short tours I take two pairs of bike shorts and a pair of undies for off the bike.
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Old 07-24-21, 02:30 PM
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If you want to wear a underwear then use the sports type underwear that is made from synthetic material. They look pretty much like cycling shorts anyhow. So you'll be fine just wearing them and nothing else.

But if you need cycling shorts for the chamois, then don't use anything else between the cycling shorts and your skin.
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Old 07-24-21, 02:38 PM
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I don't know why someone would wear undies with cycling shorts unless they had some medical or digestive issue. On tours I prefer to go commando after the ride, let the parts air out. Bring a pair of boxers for sleep wear. Also, in the past I've used the heated hand dryers/blowers in restrooms to dry stuff. I read recently that they can harbor germs so that may not be a good idea.

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Old 07-24-21, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
It's been universally accepted...forever...that you don't wear anything under cycling shorts with a chamois. Never.
When not riding a grand tour event, I wear underwear. I also have a kickstand on my bikes (most)
gm
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Old 07-24-21, 03:33 PM
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If not the bacteria or fungus, the dryed/caked salt quotient would do me in and abrade terribly.
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Old 07-24-21, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
The jersey smelt much worse.
So true.

Many years ago I rode 6 days without a shower and only rinsed my riding kits a couple of times and then only in cold spigot water. Three of those days were pretty warm and humid. Checked into a motel after the sixth day. The woman working the desk looked at me like I was a Sasquatch. When I emerged from my room after cleaning up, the young girl sweeping up the parking lot said “You look like a totally different person.”
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