Bib shorts: are they the most archetypal piece of cycling kit ever created? Unique to the world of cycling, they combine comfort, practicality and classical styling in one unarguably fit-for-purpose lycra and padding.
Or do they?
Whilst most of us who love bibshorts and bibtights really love them, there are plenty of doubters - and with understandable logic.
That logic? Loo stops.
Let's not mince our words: whilst they're brilliantly comfortable, bib shorts can be a pain for us ladies during a longer ride when nature calls. Having to strip off extra layers is enough of a phaff indoors in privacy, let alone out in the middle of the Yorkshire Moors.
Don't worry: help is at hand.
This year has seen a wave of solutions to this timeless problem. Multiple designers have been hard at work creating innovative solutions. We have a whole range to choose from.
Whilst every design is different, here are the main categories so far:
1. Extra Stretch
Simplicity is often at the heart of the best designs. Several brands have reasoned that there's no point in overcomplicating things and have simply created designs that allow for bibshorts to be pulled down without having to take off top layers.
The straps and other relevant material is stretchy enough to allow 'access', but ingeniously remain sufficiently taut to keep everything in place when you're riding.
Endura are at the vanguard of this kind of design. They put together this priceless video to illustrate:
Pearl Izumi also offer a similar design, also reckoning on simplicity being the best solution.
Even Castelli, those doyens of classic Italian cycling designs, have reconfigured their iconic Velocissima bibshorts to include stretchy straps for easy pitstops:
If you'd rather keep the straps and material unchanged from traditional bibs, then clips are a good option. These allow for the straps to be unclipped and the bottom half of the bibs released when the moment comes.
Rivelo have gone for this method, building on their enviable reputation for high quality bibshorts, and resulting in a beautifully neat piece of engineering:
Finally, the ultimate: magnetic clips allow for an established design to remain largely unaltered, but also eliminate any danger of fumbling about to reclip a traditional fastening.
As you would expect, the magnetic ends actually seek each other out, meaning life becomes even less stressful during your stop.
Iris are pioneers in magnetic clip designs, and just one reason why their bibshorts are arguably the most sought after we've ever had on the site:
If you're still not convinced of the merits of bibshorts, either traditional or reimagined, then of course there's still the option to go with bibless shorts - traditional padded cycling shorts with no straps or torso support.
These remain a firm favourite for many, and the healthy debate as to which works better on a bike will no doubt continue for as long as we all keep riding!