Undoubtedly a decent pair of shorts / bib shorts are the most vital piece of kit in a cyclist's wardrobe to ensure a comfortable ride. However, if you have spent any amount of time shopping for that elusive pair that tick all the comfort and style boxes, you will know that it's a minefield out there.
Never fear, help is at hand in the shape of bib short connoisuear Kirsty Ho Fat, who is confident that you can find a pair of shorts that not only suit, but flatter your figure and more importantly, make sitting in the saddle for hours on end as comfortable as it can be.
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We all know the amazing benefits reaped from cycling in padded shorts or bibs. Surely we must! Why else would many of us suffer the indignity of the Tena Lady waddle from an overzealous chamois pad. And admit it, who really enjoys revealing their lumps and bumps for all the world to see in impossibly skin tight Lycra?
It's so unfortunate that to enjoy the comforts of modern bib short technology, with all its anti-bacterial, spongy chamois padding delights and injury preventing compressive Lycra, that the majority of us have to suffer in the sartorial stakes. I promise you though, it really doesn't have to be this way!
Thanks to a cold winter and 7 months of pregnancy where I've been eating for two, I've somewhat softened and grown a substantial amount of unwanted flab. You certainly don't have to 'mind the gap' between my thighs, as gone are the hard-earned toned quads.
Due to my pregnancy I've resorted to wearing my husband's cycling shorts, as they're the only pair that fit my blooming body. After just 3 weeks in said shorts it's safe to say that the gripper band round the thigh and I have fallen out catastrophically. Sitting there, taking pleasure in squeezing my thigh fat like toothpaste, it's just not on.
So fed up have I been stuffing my thigh back in the sausage skin, sorry, gripper band, that I have relented and bought a new pair for the last trimester of my pregnancy. A rather chic pair of Brighton's best Morvélo Velocissime Race Bib Shorts.
Rather than selfishly pedal off quietly into the sunset, smug in my sausage-free thigh cycling haze, I thought I'd share with you what to look out for so you too can banish that dreaded sausage-leg effect!
1. It's all in the gripper
Or not. Traditionally, waved lines of elastic gripper are sewn into the band around the thigh to keep the leg of your cycling shorts from riding up as you pedal.
Over the past couple of years a new technique of laser cut thigh ends has appeared. Essentially the cuff material is sheared, by laser, to create a non-fraying finish to the thigh. Inside the thigh cuff is a fine layer of almost jelly-like material that grips your leg stopping any movement, it's almost like a piece of pasta that sticks to the ceiling when ready to eat.
There isn't any doubled-up material at the cuff and the cinching associated with the sewn wavy elastic is no longer necessary. This is the technique that Morvélo use in their race bibs and combined with a slightly longer leg-length than usual, they are simply divine and really do flatter the thigh area!
Do not banish the traditional gripper to the bin though, as they are perfectly capable of flattering the thigh as explained in the next point if used correctly.
Morvelo Love Laser Cut Legs
2. Leg length
It doesn't matter how little excess thigh fat you have, if shorts are simply too short, you're going to suffer sausage leg. Whether they have laser cut thighs or traditional grippers, nothing will save you. End of!
You'll be pleased to hear that here at VeloVixen we've found a simple solution and that's to stock a wide range of suitably long shorts that sit gracefully just above the knee. Take the new Onyx Prisma shorts from the 2015 Primal range for example. With a traditional leg gripper, sitting comfortably 1-inch above the knee, these are one heck of a flattering pair of shorts, they don't ride up and they certainly don't give you sausage leg!
Primal & Polaris Have Got You Covered
3. Sport a cycling skort
If like me you do a fair bit of touring on your bike, you may look into a skort, padded shorts covered with a rather elegant looking skirt top layer.
The benefit of a skort is that you get the padding and compression of Lycra, while avoiding the awkwardness of a tight short, perfect if you want to jump on and off your bike subtly in a countryside cafe.
Sport A Skort
4. Go loose
If you and Lycra just don't get on, then there's also the option to wear MTB style baggy shorts. Forget 'The Rules' from Velominati, wear what suits you and what makes you feel comfortable in the saddle, because if you don't, we can guarantee you will be turned off cycling!
Whether you favour bright, bold colours or the classic black, we have got the perfect pair for any taste. For the colourful, check out the range from Flare Clothing Co, and if you're a traditionalist these new Escade MTB baggies from Primal that are perfect to give the coverage that Lycra just can't.
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