Mountain biking is too much fun to do sitting down – time to throw caution and your padded shorts to the wind!
Those of you who read my blog will know already that I am a great fan of Urbanist cycling pants. Then recently British brand Bike Nicks sent me their new cycling g-string to try (above) – lovely lacy pants complete with a integrated and discreet pad (its roughly the same thickness as a panty liner).
Those of you used to riding in shorts with a pad the size of a rolled up bath towel may shake your head in disbelief: but, in my experience, a padded g-string could well be all that you need for most rides. What’s more, they can be worn for the rest of the day with comfort and discretion – and they add a little ‘va-va-voom’ to your wardrobe. You can’t say that for the rest of your mountain bike gear, now can you?.
Here’s why padded pants are great for mountain biking:
The key to a comfortable undercarriage isn’t just your padded shorts: it’s your saddle and your ride position.
Arguably you can get away without a women’s specific mountain bike, but you really don’t want to be riding on a man’s saddle. A good cycle store will fit a saddle by measuring the dimensions of your bum (by which I mean sit bone width) – a process that is thankfully slightly less humiliating than it sounds. They will also make sure your saddle is angled correctly. Get this right, and you will be a lot less reliant on your shorts for comfort.
And we’re not road cyclists: those ‘queens of suffering’ ride in pretty much the same position for hours on end on bikes with no suspension and hard tyres: as a result they tend to be grateful for padded shorts within thirty seconds of setting off. Mountain bikers meanwhile, are out to have fun. And this means moving around the saddle in response to the challenges that the trails throw up (and down) – and we have suspension and big fat tyres to soften the blows. The result? We spend less time in the saddle (considerable time behind it, in fact), and when we are sitting down (on the right saddle) its an altogether comfier experience.
Mountain bike shorts are often sold without a padded liner. That’s not because we don’t need one – but it is an opportunity to think about how much padding you really need (and this is a highly individual choice because we all differ ‘down there’). But be wary of too much wadding – it can get in the way when you are trying to manoeuvre round the saddle (especially if you don’t have a dropper post).
Why not just wear pants? Well, the pad isn’t just there to act as a cushion – its other function is to absorb moisture that could otherwise result in friction and chafing. That’s why you should never wear pants with conventional padded shorts.
So, what’s it like to ride in a padded g-string? At no point do I feel sawn in half or rubbed raw: I do feel more agile and free to move around. And if they get wet through my shorts as a result of splashing through puddles, then they soon dry out because there is so little fabric (compare that to a soggy chamois!).
They are also great for commuting, nipping out to the shops, and travelling light on mountain bike trips. Oh, and there’s no VPL (visible pad line). Result.
Bike Nicks thong is £26.99 and available in black or pink. Fuller cut cycling pants are also available.