This Space for Rent

Well, here goes nothing

After a considerable period of looking around for tights that don’t come with a chamois, I found something at REI (REI is expensive, but it has the decided advantage that if things don’t work out you can return them) that has the tight nature but doesn’t have a pad (If I wanted a chamois of some sort, I would find some suitably soft woolen fabric and fabricate my own – I suspect that if I can stand tights I’ll need to do that anyway, because the non-chamoised tights out there are designed for running, not perching on top of a bicycle and pedalling for extended periods of time. I’m not worried that much about me chafing (I can do 300 miles in regular woolen ¾ths johns and my bits are, at least last time I checked, still in working order) but that the fabric will chafe away and leave me aflapping in the breeze. A nylon wear surface on the outside of tights means that there’d be stitching poking through the inside, and I’d want to have some regular fabric there instead of having stitching going scrape-scrape-scrape-scrape against me 80 or 90 times a minute for 18 hours.)

And if this fails, there’s always shopping for XXL womens +4s (there are a lot more clothes-cut womens +4s than mens, and they don’t have the horribly aggressively baggy cut which appears to be the fashion for mens (non-tighted) athletic clothing) so I can have pants that fit around my thighs and hips without being ridiculously too large around my waist (at 51 years old and ~190 pounds, you’d think that mens +4s would fit. But no, the Chrome +4s I’m wearing these days are fine around the hips and legs, but ridiculously huge around the waist. I’ve got about 2 inches of excess waistline on them, and if I use a small enough belt to tighten the waist it pleats, then pouches down between the belt loops.) The only +4s I’ve found that actually fit well were the Swrve “Sprinter Cut” cotton ones, and I went through the seat in a pair of them in only about 5000 miles a couple of years ago (plus they’re cotton, which is just a little too warm on a hot summer day.)

So, running tights it is. Plus a pair of traditional bike shorts so I can experience the full joy of dealing with someone else’s idea of comfort for a short time before screaming in exasperation, yanking them off, and returning them in a state of great indignation (no, I won’t be doing all of this at once, and I certainly won’t be doing the second step in public. There’s a very small subset of humanity that gets to see me flapping in the breeze these days, and that doesn’t overlap with the rando community at all despite my occasional peep about “wouldn’t it be nice if….?”)

Update: I bought the pairs of tights, and they arrived on Saturday. So I tried them on, to universal disapproval at home. And I took a couple of pictures and put them on flickr (not there anymore, sorry) and waited for comment. People looked at them, but did not comment (and those who did – bikey acquantances of mine – disapproved,) and when I wrote notes to other bikey friends about them I got nothing but disapproving silence.


They are much cooler than my traditional layers, and I am (at least theoretically) fast enough now so that temperature regulation is more important than looking foolish, so I guess what I’ll do is save them for solitary brevets, permanents, and other rides that are far enough out in the country so that nobody sees me while I flash along by my lonesome self.

And I also have a second experiment I need to do. Normally I don’t have any sort of padding between my bits and the bicycle (aside from whatever padding a layer of wool and a layer of nylon provides) but I rely on my bike fit and saddle choice to keep my genitals from being tenderised as I ride along. This works most of the time (if I’m tired or injured and ride slowly, I sometimes forget to keep my hips rotated, which has unexpected surprises during undisclosed activities after I’ve gotten off of the stupid bicycle) but that’s with two layers of fabric. The non-bikey tights, since they don’t have a chamois, is only one thin layer of polyester/stretchy thread blend, so it’s basically World Naked Bike Ride every time I go out wearing just them. So what I need to do is go and ride a tighted short loop (60-70 miles) sometime soon and see just what’s left when I’m finished with it.