We’re all well aware of just how important it is to partake in regular exercise. Nobody wants to be inflicted with any preventable illnesses as they approach old age, and exercise can greatly reduce the risk of strokes and heart disease. But exercise can also be hard-wearing on your joints and muscles. Runners can end up with problematic knees and feet due to the negative consequences of prolonged running on hard ground, and weight lifting with a bad technique can result in a multitude of problems.
Cycling is a great exercise because it’s unlikely to result in damaging wear and tear, even if you cycle for hours every day. It’s also a lot of fun, and you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy some scenic sights and soak up the outdoors. If you’re thinking about making cycling one of your new hobbies, you’ll need a bike, the appropriate gear such as helmets and gloves, and you’ll need the right clothing.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re not too keen on their look, cycling shorts are a must for regular bikers. There are many people who think bike shorts look embarrassing because of their tight fit, and you might get a few laughs out of your friends the first time they see you wearing them. However, bike shorts are designed specifically to improve your performance and make sure you’re comfortable while riding.
What Do Bike Shorts Do?
The primary purpose of wearing bike shorts is to provide you with comfort on long bike rides, and you’ll want to enjoy lengthy journeys to get as much benefit as you can from your hobby, both in terms of health and enjoyment. That tight spandex that’s currently putting you off purchasing shorts helps to reduce air resistance, and that means you can go faster without tiring yourself out too quickly from fighting against the wind.
In addition, they’re made from materials such as spandex and Lycra to give you the full movement of your legs. These materials boost the evaporation rate of sweat, and that allows your skin to breathe while keeping you free from painful chafing. You’re not going to get much joy from your hobby if you experience pain and discomfort every time you hop on your bike.
Bike shorts might even prove to be a good aid for other exercise routines, but make no mistake, they are made specifically for biking. Seams are strategically placed, padding is woven in exactly where it’s needed, and their build ensures they provide sufficient wind block while allowing your skin to breathe. Now might be the time to get over your fear of looking a little unfashionable if you want to get the most benefit from your healthy hobby.
Choosing Your Next Pair of Bike Shorts
Shorts can vary wildly in price, and although the fashion aspect is unlikely to affect your final purchase, you need to know what factors affect the quality of bike shorts if you’re going to make a wise and informed investment. Here are some of the factors you might want to take into consideration when purchasing your next pair of bike shorts.
- The price – Shorts tend to be priced between 15 and 80 pounds, so you’re going to need to decide the maximum amount you’re willing to spend before you head to the high street. It’s unlikely you’ll need to buy a pair costing more than 80 pounds unless you’re into professional biking activities. You could probably find a pair cheaper than 15 pounds, but it might not be a wise investment if you want them to last and do their job properly.
- Different types of padding – If you’re planning on entering a triathlon, you’ll probably need shorts with the thinnest padding you can find so your swimming performance isn’t hampered. There are also different types of padding made specifically for either men or women, so make sure you’re diligent if the style doesn’t make the intended gender clear. Also, it’s worth noting that padding manufactured with chamois will require more care than padding made with a different synthetic material.
- Shoulder straps or waist band – Most bike shorts are usually fastened by an elasticated waist or straps going over the shoulders. The shoulder straps image might not be your cup of tea, but many people find it much more comfortable than the elasticated waist band alternative, and maximum comfort is going to be your friend if you’re planning on embarking on long and arduous rides.
- The tightness – Of course, the biggest factor that makes bike shorts often considered unattractive is their famous tight fit. If you’re really passionate about not squeezing into tight spandex, you can purchase shorts that are slightly baggier than typical shorts. You also might need shorts with pockets depending on where you’re planning to ride. If speed is what you’re all about, you really should get over your fear of spandex and go for the famous tight fit option. If you intend to ride about town and make a few stops as you go, baggier shorts with pockets might work best for you, or you could always carry some baggier shorts to change into if you still want the best performance.
- Style – This is the last factor on our list because the colours and patterns on your shorts aren’t going to affect your biking ability. They’re also not designed to be worn on the catwalk, but given you’ll have a large selection to choose from, the style will inevitably be a factor you’ll take into consideration.
The benefits of biking are endless when it comes to your health, but the best thing about biking is just how enjoyable it can be. You can do it alone, with friends or with family in towns, cities, the countryside, woods and next to rivers. In fact, it’s a great way to spend a full day if you plan out your journey beforehand and decide where you’d like to stop for a break or a meal.